Open Question: Using Encoded Joomla Components

Back at the beginning of 2007 I wrote about why I’d love Joomla developers to stop encoding components and gave a rundown of why encoding bugs me.

However, sometimes the only solution, short of writing your own, is to use an encoded extension. We’ve faced that problem this week, moving a large and popular site to Joomla. To evaluate whether or not to use encoded work, we came up with a list of criteria that might be useful to some of you:

  1. Does the extension degrade smoothly if there’s a problem? Correct answer: yes. Some will crash the whole site if they fail to work.
  2. Are the bare minimum of files encoded? Correct answer: yes.
    Who knows which file may cause problems in future and we may need to
    fix it without waiting for the developer.
  3. Can I have a development domain? Correct answer: yes. Any good webmaster needs to test on a live site.
  4. Can I edit my license? Correct answer: yes. If I’m moving sites, I needn’t wait for the developer to edit it for me.
  5. Is the output encoded? Correct answer: no. There’s no reason to stop people redesigning what users see on the frontend.
  6. Does the extension call home? Correct answer: no. There’s no good reason for my site to talk with yours.

Over to you … what else do people need to consider if using an encoded extension is unavoidable?