Giving Credit Where It’s Due

Credit Due

About a week or so ago, I was working on a WordPress project that called for an above average contact form. It needed to give visitors the ability to upload photos, receive auto responses and notifications, have built in spam blocking, and track submissions in the WordPress database.

After a bit of looking, I found cForms II, a WordPress contact form plugin developed by Oliver.

I began working with the plugin and was very quickly satisfied that I’d found a winner.

Now, in setting up this plugin, I made a mistake and was reminded of an important lesson, which became the inspiration behind this entry.

The contact form for this particular project was being used as an extensive questionnaire. As such, we decided to split it up over multiple pages to encourage people to make it all the way through. I came up with a way to do it, but it wasn’t working quite as nicely as I wanted it too.

So, I went over to the cForms II support forum and posted my challenge to see if anyone had any ideas or suggestions.

Oliver replied, letting me know that my request, though possible, was outside the scope of what cForms was meant to do. He also (and this is where the lesson comes in) pointed out the trend that people, developers especially, who’d been using and benefiting from the cForms plugin, had taken to the habit of removing credit for the work.

..And that’s what I had done.

Without even thinking it through, I had chosen to remove the credit link back to cForms from the client’s site. This seemed natural to me. The option was there; Oliver had been nice enough to provide an easy way to add or remove his credit link, and without stopping to think, I’d taken it off.

Now, sure, it’s all open source, we’re more than entitled to add or remove credits as we see fit, right?

Well, we certainly have that choice.. but is it fair?

In my case, there is no excuse. I’m a full-time web developer. I get paid for the work I do and I benefit directly from the work of guys like Oliver who’ve put their time and energy into developing a solid product. If it weren’t for him and guys like him, I’d have had to go and build the same thing from scratch.

Which brings me to the lesson that this served to remind me of, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31 As a Christian, no matter what I’m doing, whether it be work or play, I’m to treat others as I would be treated.

Now, being thus convicted, I began to give the situation some thought and was blessed with an idea. In my redesign of JonathanWold.com, I had finished up the work by adding a colophon. Traditionally, colophons were used in print media to provide details about the publication of the book. In the web, we’ve begun using it to provide details about what goes on “behind the scenes” of a website.

I’ve decided to start making the addition of a colophon a habit, in which I’ll provide a list of the resources and technologies used in the architecture and design of a website.

So, a big thanks to Oliver for his work on the cForms II plugin and for being very professional about the entire situation. It was a timely lesson for me to be reminded of and I thank you for it my friend :).

And finally, last but most important, I give full credit for my work, the good work I’ve done, to God. Were it not for Him, my conscience would have never been pricked and my sense of integrity would be non-existant. The things I’ve been blessed to learn and the people I’ve been blessed to meet, have all come as a direct result of His hand in my life. The mistakes I’ve made I take full credit for, but the lessons I’ve learned from them and the victories I’ve gained by applying each lesson learned, all are due to a God who’s been forever patient with me and never given up.

Have a wonderful day my friends. Remember, give the credit where and to whom it’s due.

Until next time,

-Jonathan Wold

P.S. Credit for the awesome illustration up top goes to my brother Joshua, who, in addition to his work with me and the rest of the team, does freelance illustration on the side.

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