Today is a big day, I finally released my first plugin for Vanilla Forums. It was about time, I started using Vanilla in February, and worked on several plugins for many weeks, but they were all “work in progress” and I never felt that they were ready for release. It’s so typical of Developers, looking for an unreachable “perfection”.
Two words about Vanilla Forums
If you don’t know it, you should try it. There are many forum frameworks available on the market, but, in my opinion, Vanilla is by far one of the easiest to use, and one of the fastest. It’s not as widespread as phpBB or vBulletin, but it’s powerful and well designed. Although its documentation is somewhat scarce, such issue is more than compensated by Vanilla Community. Even though I joined only a few months ago, I feel that I already became famous, considering the plethora of questions I asked. Still, not a single one had been left unanswered.
The reason behind the plugin
Unfortunately, one of the features that Vanilla is lacking (as of version 2.0) is the possibility of running scheduled tasks. If you’re familiar with CMS like Drupal, you’ll know that they expose a special URL which, when opened, will go through all the Cron Tasks registered by plugins and executed them one by one. Although many Users won’t miss such feature, it becomes very important for bigger communities, where the need of regular maintenance tasks acquires a higher level of importance.
I, for one, needed exactly that feature for the first plugin I developed. In its simplest form, it will query forum’s live tables to create statistics, but it will become slow once enough data will be collected. Its Cron Task will, therefore, involve consolidating older data and produce snapshot summaries, to be queried instead for better performances.
I won’t go into much technical detail in this post, as all the information on how to use the Cron plugin is on its download page, on Vanilla Addons website. If you use Vanilla, feel free to download it and give me your opinion. Should you like it and find it useful, feel free to buy me a coffee. 😉