Should XF Developers Release Paid Addons?

Discussion in 'XenForo' started by ozzy47, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. ozzy47

    ozzy47 Tazmanian Veteran

    9,137
    832
    +4,334
    Only issue with that is what you or someone else thinks should be in the core could be two different things.

    You may think A should be in the core, but not B. While another user thinks B should be in the core but not A.

    It's up to the owners/developers to guesstimate what would be the best features in the core, while avoiding bloat. Sure customers can give suggestions, and they may very well be added.
     
  2. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

    4,853
    1,307
    +1,921
    Chris DChris D nicely worded and i agree the free stuff that you can make with the knowledge that you have on Xenforo 2.x will help developers as well as documentation.
     
  3. ozzy47

    ozzy47 Tazmanian Veteran

    9,137
    832
    +4,334
    You are always going to find people that will complain about someone having a advantage over them. This could also happen if Daniel Hood had access to the early alpha testing, but 100 other developers did not get in on it. I am also glad to see it is a minority. :)

    I am sure that other developers can get in on alpha/beta stages to help them gain early knowledge on what they need to do to upgrade their mods to the new coding standards. Heck in the early stages of vB5, while working for DBTech, we were in in it, to help us learn the new system, as well as to try and help IB improve it. :confused:

    I have also said that you would be willing to guide other developers along when you can, cause I know you are not going to monopolize your knowledge to your advantage. :)

    I have mentioned this as well. Of course you would need to get your paid mods up to par with XF2, it would be unfair to you, and to the community for you to not be allowed to do so. ;)
     
  4. InMyImage

    InMyImage Participant

    60
    13
    +20
    Is the person who brought this up actually a developer? If so then it would seem like one response should be for them to participate in the alpha (if they are a big enough developer) or beta (if they are a smaller, but known developer). I wouldn't expect a developer who has not produced any addons or simple minor free addons to be accepted into an alpha or beta program automatically. This is the model that I'm used to seeing in the software industry.

    Absolutely true. Frankly from what I've seen it really is a non-issue but I'm not a competing developer either ;)

    Beyond what Chris DChris D said the other time commitment that can't be downplayed is the fact that developers tend to work a lot of overtime near the end of a release cycle ;)
     
  5. Digital Phoenix

    Digital Phoenix Coffee Ninja

    1,870
    697
    +1,291
    It was HWSHWS I don't believe he's actually a developer, I could be wrong though
     
  6. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

    6,721
    1,532
    +3,416
    First, I see no problem with it. IMO its silly to whine that a few people might have a little knowledge advantage. I dont see addons where there are many of the same basic thing trying to one up each other. So I see pretty much no competition.

    THAT SAID... It seems to me that XF should have some kind of developer certification system whereby active developers have early access to things so they can have their addons upgraded with changes and ready to go with new XF releases.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  7. Robust

    Robust Developer

    1,389
    432
    +665
    Doesn't matter. I eliminate all the competition anyway. :whistle:

    On a more serious note, Chris was a 3rd party developer before and still does personal projects. He can't change who he is and what he does in his spare time because he took up a job and some are scared it hurts their ability to compete. I mean, I'd say that's competition eliminated, because Chris' hands are more tied.

    Being a developer myself, I'm more than happy to see Chris as a developer still and he does great work. He saved me some time by offering a feature fledged solution, XenProductManager. Alongside that, the Notifications add-on was supreb until mostly integrated into XenForo (making XF more worth it for the customer, I was a bit sad initially because I bought the add-on not too long before it was included into XF 1.5, but he made a lot of it up with XenNotices being extensive to XF 1.5, so I'd say he cared about his customers nevertheless). He has customers, he can't just say "these are now unmaintained because I joined XenForo."

    Personally, I don't understand some people. XenForo is an 'unsaturated market' (if you want to consider it a market and render it in business terminology only)... How can a businessman/developer complain??? Try opening a web host instead...
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  8. Robust

    Robust Developer

    1,389
    432
    +665
    Well, you only sleep a few hours a day. You got all the time in the night. ;)

    Edit:
    LOL :LOL::ROFLMAO: :biglaugh:
     
  9. HWS

    HWS TAZ Member

    204
    108
    +140
    As I brought this discussion up at XF.com, let me first say that I have no problem with Chris doing what he is doing. As I said: I would do the same in his position. And I also know Chris is regularly working with Stuart (even before he became official developer), who seems to be the last person left to massively sponsor new XenForo add-on developments. Daniel is also one of his regular contractors.

    This is more a topic for the owners of XenForo and not for Chris or other employees. It is affecting their business and it's ultimately their business decision.

    I (being first a XenForo customer and multiple add-on purchaser and only second a very small, but professional developer) assume that this situation (official developers are allowed to release paid add-ons and do custom work) will add important load to the reduction of professional add-ons coded and the falling number of developers for XenForo down the road.

    XenForo is a very small market. There is not much money to earn. Many developers have already left and some developers do not post any more at XF.com. Official developers and staff will always be chosen first if someone looks for a developer or wants to buy an add-on. So they clearly have an advantage.

    They also have another advantage in knowing new code prior to other developers. Not only for XF2, each single new version makes a difference. Other developers have to recode their add-ons once a change occurs in official XenForo code, official developers won't release new add-ons with old code as soon as the new code has been found (may be long before a release).

    In addition other developers need to take their own unpaid time to learn and inspect the original XenForo code (which changes with each release) whereas official developers get paid for reading and working with it.

    Official developers can ask (and will get paid) a higher price for custom work and their add-ons and nobody will complain. Other developers who are asking for more than $5 will get several "Why do you charge so much?" posts into their resource threads. Even 1-star reviews of non customers just because of pricing happen very often. The "standing" of professional developers of premium add-ons is already very problematic within the XenForo community.

    I know that Chris is a highly talented and absolute capable coder. But there are several others out there who are talented and capable with professionally coded XF add-ons. And many of them already left XenForo. Ask sonnb (whose gallery was hard work and at least as good as Chris' at the time it was chosen as the official gallery) if he is satisfied. He has not released a single resource since then and sparely updates his existing add-ons (before he was very prolific). Even we changed from sonnb's gallery (which we liked very much) to the official XFMG gallery some time ago. Just because it is "official". Ask vbresult if he is happy that Slavik needs to just announce a non-existing XF app add-on and gets 100 times more echo than his existing and working XF app add-on. Ask Bob why his fantastic Article Management add-on won't be released at XenForo. Ask xfrocks why he does not release any updates of his add-ons at XenForo any more. Ask Jon, Syndol, Ragtek and many many other professional and very talented coders why they have left XenForo.

    Sure, there always will be more or less talented young people coding for fun and releasing add-ons for fun. They don't care about anything and want to show what they can do. And often leave once life calls and school is over. But can and should a professional XenForo owner rely on them (have to rely on them)?

    IMHO XenForo needs to decide what way they want to go with the add-on community. IMHO this is as important than coding and releasing XF2. Currently there are not many well-known professional developers left. Some new developers have appeared but it is to see how long they will last if they see that there is no money to earn. And, what if Audentio fails? They already face strong headwinds.

    This is the long story of my small throw-in there. We don't even need to talk about it, because I think that Mike and Kier are very intelligent people who know how to steer their company. I also think the current problematic situation with professional XenForo add-on coders is well known by them. And I am sure they will act if they need to act.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  10. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer

    723
    952
    +1,628
    I wasn't going to bite, but there's just so much rubbish here, I have to.

    Damn right, it's a topic for XenForo, and one that was had a long time ago. They don't need to get involved in an additional discussion about this. They have explicitly allowed all staff to get involved in their own projects under the strict condition that the work is in no way affiliated with XenForo. The most important thing to note: It is NOT affecting their business.

    This is merely hyperbole. Which we will no doubt discover as this post progresses.

    It is merely a fact, as is well documented from people's experiences with other platforms (not even exclusive to forums), that developers can come and go for a variety of reasons. This is not exclusive to XenForo. Developers stretch themselves too thin, burn themselves out, their circumstances change and many other reasons. Even if I was approached first for every single custom job going at XF, do you really think I could find the time to accept enough of them to even have an effect on the market? If you actually think I could -- I'm flattered -- but I can't. Seeing as you care so much about it, the amount of custom work I have been approached for since I became an XF developer has actually decreased and the amount of work I have accepted has decreased even further than that. In the interests of transparency I have worked with two clients on a freelance basis since I became an XF developer (14 months ago). One of them is Stuart Wright and I suspect we will continue to work with each other as we have done for the last 2-3 years. The other was a new client recently - ironically when they contacted me it seems they had approached a number of other developers before contacting me. I wasn't even their first choice. Even if I wanted an advantage - there isn't one.

    Again this is hyperbole. The level of changes between XF 1.3 - XF 1.5 haven't been considerable enough to even apply to what you're insinuating here. In fact, I can't even think of a specific example where any of this applies. My thoughts about the perceived advantage with regards to XF2 are above, I won't repeat myself there.

    More hyperbole. As it happens, I don't ask for more than most developers, and I certainly don't ask for more than all developers should be charging. Developers shouldn't undervalue their skills. If you're not charging $40 - $60 an hour you're undermining your abilities. If you're charging $5 for a premium add-on which you're supposed to be supporting for months/years to come, you're crazy. "Nobody will complain". Is that right? I've had several situations in the past where people have turned down my quotes due to price. There's even (very recently) someone complaining about the price of my product manager add-on. Where you get some of your ideas from, I have no idea, but they rarely correlate with the reality. Side note: Reviews left on Resources at XF.com complaining about the price where the user has not yet purchased the add-on are not allowed and will be removed if they are reported.

    Thank you. And you're right, there are many others. I recommend them to people when I do not have time to work, or if people ask me for suggestions. Just to be clear, my gallery was not chosen as the official gallery. I was chosen as the next XF developer. The Gallery came with me, not the other way around. Sonnb is a talented developer, there's nothing to stop him from continuing his work, unless of course he falls under the same category as discussed earlier - maybe his situation has changed or there's some other reason. Have you asked him or are you guessing? I can't comment on the other projects, but there could be many reasons these developers are unhappy or have left. I'm sure you don't know the answer too - I'm certain it isn't the catch all reason you're suggesting.

    All I'm going to end with here, really, if you're so concerned about what Mike, Kier and Ashley think, go and talk to them about it instead of singling out the "official developers" (e.g. me) and making them feel bad. I shouldn't be having to defend myself to you and be made to feel like I'm the cause for what you're suggesting is a dire situation within the community. And on that note, this is the last word I'll say on the subject.

    I've got a small add-on development market to continue destroying.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Pure Genius! Pure Genius! x 1
    • List
  11. Digital Phoenix

    Digital Phoenix Coffee Ninja

    1,870
    697
    +1,291
    Quite frankly, I think HWSHWS is seeing ghosts where there aren't any.

    There's a name for that, but as decent person I'm far too polite to mention it.

    Edit

    Chris DChris D you really shouldn't feel bad, hws is a minority, and from what I have seen, the majority of the XF community will back you on that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  12. HWS

    HWS TAZ Member

    204
    108
    +140
    No, you are not. And you don't have to defend yourself. I don't know why you think you need, you don't do anything you are not allowed to do. In fact I also think you care a lot more about XenForo than just your contractual paragraphs.

    It is your right to see the current add-on developer situation with XF as "regular fluctuation". I see it different.

    And it is the right of XF owners to not optimize their business as much as it would be possible. They can do what they want.

    But again, everybody (including me) should be allowed to raise their concerns.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  13. PacMan

    PacMan Tazmanian

    4,279
    792
    +360
    As this sounds like a comprehensive addon, I'd buy it just to learn how to convert an addon from XF1 to XF2.
     
  14. Robust

    Robust Developer

    1,389
    432
    +665
    I felt bad for him, his gallery was great. Why he stopped is beyond me, and I don't think (and hope) that it was due to Chris being employed at XenForo.

    Honestly, Slavik comes across as less rude to me, and as having more integrity (he spent good 5 figures and fired many people to get a good app made) as well as he's making a real app, vbresults is making an Internet applet wrapper. So it's no wonder Slavik's app gained more traction.

    That's got nothing to do with Chris. He, himself, wants to release limited copies for it. He went to sell 10 copies for $100 each and was sold out in 1 day!

    He made them premium only. They're all released and updated, but you need to pay for premium @ xfrocks to download now.

    He left a long ass time ago. He was very talented indeed, ragtek. He left because he said XF didn't care about the community and said IPS cares more, and went to IPS. That's what I believe anyway. Those are meant to be facts, not my opinion on his opinions.

    Audentio made HUGE wrong choices. That's their business. XF isn't a start up company, it's a development company for forum software. Audentio is their own business and XF can't be held responsible for bad business decisions.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative! Informative! x 1
    • List
  15. ozzy47

    ozzy47 Tazmanian Veteran

    9,137
    832
    +4,334
    I probably would also. :)
     
  16. Snog

    Snog Enthusiast

    221
    615
    +232
    I can't think of any change since XF 1.1 that has caused me to recode any of my add-ons. There might be some minor fixes in a couple, but I can't remember them. And my top two add-ons have been happily chugging along without any major changes due to an XF change since XF 1.1.
     
  17. CanesInSight

    CanesInSight Aspirant

    17
    58
    +7
    I don't think it is a one answer fits all. It really depends on their persons stake in the project.

    First it isn't uncommon for those involved in a business to have restrictions. In the 1960's my grandfather worked as a mechanic on commercial aircraft and he invented a device used in landing gear. It was a big deal and got a handwritten letter of thanks from the CEO but also was reminded the airline owned the invention and he could not profit from it or share its details.

    So here is where I stand and it is different depending on their involvement

    Salaried developers or shareholders of the business should not released paid add-ons. They control the decision on what is included and they should add value to the business as that is their job. If a developer creates lets say a nice CMS and releases it for free then it would be fair for Xenforo to give a bonus or some other form of compensation as it ads value. Ethics is important and if salaried developers or shareholders start releasing add-ons at a price you have to ask why their time couldn't have been used on fixing an issue with the software instead of creating profit for themselves.

    I am ok with contractors releasing add-ons since their commitment to the customer isn't much.
     
  18. Daniel Hood

    Daniel Hood XenForo Add-On Developer

    301
    877
    +481
    I respectfully disagree with you on the last part. Salaried employees don't really have an obligation to improve the software outside of their hours (despite the fact in this situation they do seem handle the support forum outside of their "40 hours"). With software development, a lot of employees and employers work out whether the developer can freelance outside of the office or not before they even start. That's basically what he's doing, freelancing in his free time. Now, maybe he shouldn't be allowed to freelance on a platform he has "inside information on" (upcoming features, future code, etc) but that's debateable and personally I see no harm in it.
     
  19. r3v0lution

    r3v0lution Enthusiast

    135
    58
    +48
    That's like saying a mechanic cannot work on their personal vehicle on their time off... Makes no sense whatsoever!
     
  20. CanesInSight

    CanesInSight Aspirant

    17
    58
    +7
    There is a big difference between freelancing and creating product for a platform you develop. What happens if this developer wants to create a paid add-on for vbulletin? Would this not bring a diminished value to the platform? The part that gets tricky is if a handful of developers do this you end up with business that is then trying not to step on the toes of their employees product. As a consumer it is hard to trust a business where such conflicts exist. Again I am not talking about contractors but salaried employees.

    Let's use an example of 2 employees that work for Bob. Both employees have 4 paid add-ons that are successful. Bob and employee 1 don't get a long very well. Bob decided employee 1 has a product that should be included in base so Bob asked employee 1 to code a version of their add-on into base. At this point Employee 1 is likely upset because Bob is now going to give up employee 1's product and employee 1 is going to have to maintain both. Could we trust employee 1 would put xenforo's product first or would employee 1 purposely create an less product?

    The rules should be pretty straight forward.

    1. You can't create, support or promote a competing product
    2. You can't use your status with our business to gain clients or create product
    3.You can't sell mods of our product to our customers
    4. You may be asked to remove free mods you created when there is a business need
     
    • Informative! Informative! x 1
    • List
Verification:
Draft saved Draft deleted
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.