Standalones and !!!Libs will take the same amount of time to checkout, as they do the same number of update calls due to !!!Libs's externals (okey technically !!!Libs will take longer because it has to update it's root folder and make an update call for every embeddable lib... whereas standalones like Babble will pull down many embeds at once with one call).
Only the libs that are needed are actually loaded with standalones, !!!Libs loads EVERYTHING.
Standalones are supported by their respective authors, !!!Libs is a hackey throwntogether solution that is designed for SVN-updating users, but the majority of it's users were getting it from out of date zips.
For the lib authors, standalones have all the advantages. The only complaint is "too many addon folders," which I think we've made it clear that we value performance gains over purely cosmetic issues like crowded addon folders.
Thanks for clarifying this, I didn't realize the standalone libs are only loaded when they are needed. That's neat, I see why it's a better technical solution. I value performance over cosmetic issues too, after all I'm using Linux. :)
Now, I have one question. Since I can't use WAU, I can't see what structure it creates. I believe what it does is same thing as individual checkouts from SVN of each library it contains, i.e.
Why do you guys use it? Seriously..im interested in the answer, because 1) it causes lots of problems for me when I try to distribute my addons, and 2) Standalones are better (technically)
I'm curious why are standalones better technically?
I've been using !!!Libs for some time now, main reason being reduced load times and reduced SVN checkout times over embeds (I update my addons regularly from SVN). I preferred that over standalones because I like my addons folder clean (I tend to fiddle with it maybe too much), and also WAU is a no-go, since I'm a Linux user (it's somehow ironic that WoW can run perfectly through Cedega while WAU cannot :P ).
Anyway, I'm not complaining, you're the authors and you do what you want to keep things simple and clean, I can just change my update script to reflect the new order. :)