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Interesting official packages in Meteor

Jan Dvorak
Developer, organizer and sci-fi writer.
Updated on ・3 min read

There are many interesting packages under the official MDG handle on Atmosphere. Many of them are building blocks of Meteor, some extensions and some specific extensions and connectors for different fron-ends. Yet, if one digs deep enough you might find some historical and/or interesting packages that show us a bit of the inner workings, history and what might have been. Here is a selection of packages that I found interesting to talk about.

mdg:recurly

Let's start easy if you look through the official packages you will find many packages with little to no description meant for internal use or unfinished experiments. The Recurly package is one of them, showing us that Galaxy hosting most likely uses or has at one point used Recurly services.

mdg:chromatic

Chromatic and MDG design components which are in some form used till this day in Galaxy have a significant number of packages. This one is probably one of the most important from historical perspective. While Chromatic itself didn't get the necessary attention to take off (probably due to Meteor limitation), it almost immediately remade by fans into what today is Storybook and one of the original authors continued the work in automated tool also called Chromatic, that ties into Storybook.

foobar

🤣
Well, looks like something escaped during testing and it wasn't just one.

mdg:tutorial-diff-box

As the name suggest this is used for Meteor tutorials to show diff box for git commits in the tutorials.

mdg:tutorial-registry

Related to the diff box above it looks like this package was meant to provide an easy way to create special tutorial packages that could then be showed on the tutorial page. Maybe something worth revisiting?

localstorage

It seems like an eternity, but there were days when we had to support IE 6 and 7 and their lack of modern features. Now it seems like a bad memory, especially with how Meteor handles things now with creating separate bundles for modern and old browsers.

spiderable

Precursor to mdg:seo, that would make your Meteor App accessible to search engines and phantomjs to crawl.

census

Around Meteor 1.3 MDG wanted to get more usage information by creating this optional package.
By default Meteor apps have a unique id that gets created when you create your Meteor app and is then reported to stats server together with what packages are you using. Some might dislike this, so there is a handful package-stats-opt-out package which prevents reporting on what packages you are using on your project. Still this only gets info on estimated 20% of Meteor apps and census was suppose to offer a voluntary way to get more data to MDG. After the initial discussion though the package was postponed and disapeared in the memory hole leaving only a remnant on Atmosphere and a closed PR.

facts

Facts is a strange package about which purpose I'm not entirely clear. The official description is Publish internal app statistics, but from the code it looks like it gathers information locally about used packages and then allows to display the data.

mdg:method

For a long time (and in a way lasting till this day) the default Meteor method was found to be lacking in more complex apps. This package was first attempt to fix that. Most notably including schema validation, calling the method directly rather than through magical string and other improvements. This then lead to mdg:validated-method and continues to this day.


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