Support » Plugin: WooCommerce EU VAT Assistant » Plugin removed from WordPress repository

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Plugin Author Diego

    (@daigo75)

    Hi Rogier,
    Before explaining the underlying issue, I would like to clarify that the EU VAT Assistant is still working fine, and it’s fully supported. There isn’t technical issues, we’re just dealing with a minor conflict with the new regulations on WordPress.org.

    Why the plugin was closed
    The WordPress Team closed the plugin yesterday (9 December 2018), because the EU VAT Assistant, like every other Aelia plugin, is based on our mini-framework (the Aelia Foundation Classes, or AFC), which is a plugin that has to be installed separately.

    The EU VAT Assistant can detect if such framework is missing, and asks the administrators if they want to install it manually. To make thins simpler, the plugin also offers a convenient “one click” interface to perform that operation. This is how the EU VAT Assistant always worked, ever since we released its first version, back in 2014. Apparently, now this presents an issue.

    The issue
    The new rules for the WordPress repository indicate that a plugin can’t download another plugin from sources other than WordPress.org. Since the “one click install” downloads the framework from our site, that feature is no longer allowed. Due to that, the WordPress team deemed necessary to close the plugin, and informed us about that closure right after it was performed (we didn’t receive an advance notice about this).

    As explained, the reason for the plugin closure is not technical in nature. The EU VAT Assistant works perfectly fine as it is, and it’s not affected by bugs or any technical issue. More simply, there’s a disagreement on how our plugin is designed, as its architecture is deemed by WordPress team to no longer conform with the repository guidelines.

    Possible solutions
    The only non-conformity in the EU VAT Assistant is the fact that the plugin allows administrators to download the required AFC mini-framework from our site. From a technical perspective, this could be solved easily in a few ways:

    1. The AFC framework could be hosted on WordPress.org.
    2. The “once click install” feature could be removed from the EU VAT Assistant, thus removing the “download from an external site” altogether.

    Unfortunately, neither of the above seem to be acceptable to the WordPress team. The first solution won’t be allowed by another regulation, as WordPress.org can’t be used to host framework plugins. The second solution won’t be allowed either. Apparently, requiring a manual installation of the framework would imply that the EU VAT Assistant “doesn’t work” out of the box, which is another of the requirements on WordPress.org repository to ensure a smooth user experience (which makes more sense).

    The WordPress Team suggested that we modify the the EU VAT Assistant so that it doesn’t require the AFC framework, or so that the files from the framework are part of the plugin itself. Unfortunately, that won’t be an option.
    The decision of having the framework as an external plugin was deliberate, to make our plugins modular, more efficient and more robust. The target was to move away from the old practice of carrying around redundant copies of the same shared libraries, in multiple versions, and have a single, shared framework. Other developers adopted such approach as well (popular themes like Genesis and Avada also use a framework plugin).

    Rewriting the plugin to go back to the old “bundle everything” design would be a significant step backward, and it would introduce a significant risk of causing conflicts with our other plugins, which are based, and will be based, on current architecture. As you can imagine, we can’t redesign all our other solutions just to comply with a restriction on WordPress.org.

    Current status
    As of today (10 December 2018), we are checking possible alternative solutions with the WordPress Team, and see if they would accept one of them. Should they decline our proposals, we will keep hosting and distributing the EU VAT Assistant and future updates from our site (here: https://aelia.co/shop/eu-vat-assistant-woocommerce/).

    Thank you for your thorough update on this matter!

    Back to the same doctrine again. Why can’t a framework be available for download in this directory?!

    A plugin that doesn’t have an immediate use can’t harm no one, but depriving users of a practical and useful solution because of a debatable rule is quite harmful. Do the decision makers even know what this plugin does and how useful it is in the European Union ?!

    @daigo75

    Thanks for your effort!

    On one side, I can understand the decision to not allow plugins to be dependable on an external framework, but I cannot understand at all that they decided to apply this ban 4 years after the plugin release.

    Also, if we 100% followed this “doesn’t work out of the box” doctrine, then no WooCommerce extensions could be allowed in the repository. This is just complete nonsense.

    Can you please make it more visible, on your website, that the plugin is still free and the support plan is optional?

    Plugin Author Diego

    (@daigo75)

    I’m sure that the policies have been put in place for a reason, whether we agree with them or not. Originally, I tried to upload the framework on WordPress.org, so that everything would be in one place, but I was told that frameworks are not allowed. There was no other choice, but hosting it externally.

    Status update
    I already had a conversation with one of the WordPress Team members, and we haven’t reached an agreement, yet. Apparently, the only solution acceptable to them would be to pack the framework as part of the plugin, as per “traditional bundle with everything” architecture. This is exactly the opposite of our target, as we wanted to avoid having to pack the same framework with each plugin (dozens of them).

    The current architecture is leaner and greatly reduces the chances of conflicts due to multiple, incompatible versions of the same framework being loaded. Changing it all back across the board would be a step backward and it would require an enormous amount of effort. Unfortunately, it’s a risk that we can’t afford to take.

    In worst case, the EU VAT Assistant will remain hosted on our site. The page includes a note at the top, specifying that the plugin is available free of charge. It should be visible enough (I can’t make it size 40, or it would mess up the page). πŸ™‚

    Thanks again for clarification and for your efforts in giving back to the WordPress community.

    Plugin Author Diego

    (@daigo75)

    Status update – 12 December 2018
    We should be getting close to having the EU VAT Assistant reopened. We made a couple of change to the plugin (made easy by its flexible architecture), and they are now reviewing them. If all goes well, the plugin should get back soon.

    If you would like to know more, you can read the post we published today: EU VAT Assistant on WordPress.org – Update 12 December 2018.

    Thanks again for your patience and for your support. πŸ™‚

    /me is doing the chicken dance

    You’ll release an update on your servers that will change the update server back to WordPress.org, for those of us who are already running the last version, right?

    Plugin Author Diego

    (@daigo75)

    That should happen automatically. WordPress itself tries to fetch updates for any plugin whose slug matches one from the repository, so you should see the update notification as soon as WP checks for the new version.

    Phil

    (@philclothier)

    I see the plugin is back! Thanks for your efforts Diego πŸŽ‰

    Plugin Author Diego

    (@daigo75)

    @webdados I’m not sure what the chicken dance is, but I guess it’s something positive.

    @philclotier Indeed, the plugin was restored faster than expected. I guess we will have to publish yet one more post to announce that. πŸ™‚

    Hello,

    thanks for the update.

    Just to clarify one thing: it is still mandatory to install the plugin “Aelia Foundation Classes for WooCommerce” with “WooCommerce EU VAT Assistant” version 1.9.2.181212? Thanks.

    Plugin Author Diego

    (@daigo75)

    The EU VAT Assistant is still based on the Aelia Foundation Classes. The difference now is that, if the EU VAT Assistant is installed by itself, it can load its own embedded copy of the AFC Framework, which is inside the plugin.

    If the AFC is already installed, it could be worth leaving it where it is, because all other Aelia plugins will need it (i.e. you won’t need to install again it later). If you wish to remove it, you can do so, the EU VAT Assistant will simply load its own copy.

    Thank you for your explanation, Diego.

    I hope you have nice holidays!

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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