Topic: Thoughts on plugins...
I was wondering what most of you think of plugins. One of Rails', greatest strengths is that it is a full stack architecture. You don't have to worry about integrating an ORM module with an MVC framework with mailers and loggers, etc. Of course the price is that you are loosely constrained to do things the Rails way.
Some people also claim that not having to evaluate 4-5 different contenders for each of those pieces is another bonus for Rails.
However it seems like the exponential proliferation of plugins is at odds with Rails' core strengths. There are stories of plugins that don't play well together; numerous plugins break on different versions of Rails, etc. I hear stories of a lot of plugins that aren't well maintained; plus now you need to spend time evaluating the N versions of a plugin for doing X, for instance the large number of login plugins/engines/generators.
As a result, I've tended to stay away from plugins with a few exceptions for things that don't directly interact with production code (ie test helpers)
In other frameworks I'd consider the plugin ecosystem an extremely valuable thing, but in Rails I wonder if its something that will cause Rails to lose its defining character.