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Suggestions for Add-Ons

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by Andy R, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. Andy R

    Andy R Member

    Obviously having a thriving community to develop additional functionality is a very important asset to any software product. I hear that vBulletin.org has been mentioned here and you will have something similar. What I would like to suggest is that you put some thought into building financial incentives for developers to "build apps" or add functionality to your system. All too often someone is kind enough to release their code but rarely maintains it or updates it because there is no financial incentive to do so. If you developed a marketplace where developers could make some money by providing added functionality it would give more incentive to have developers support their add-ons.

    This could also be a revenue source for XF since you could take a commission of all add-ons that are sold through your system. It would require you all to have a process in place to check the code to make sure it meets your standards (similar to the way iPhone apps are approved).

    If you did something like this we would not have to deal with a hodge podge of apps like PhotoSucks products. Since your own development resources will be limited, consider partnering with other respected developers and letting them develop and maintain added functionality.

    I'd rather have a limited number of add-ons available that were all tested and supported then having to wade through thousands of script kiddie hacks which could be written poorly. Quality has a price and there is a lot of demand willing to pay the price.

    Keep up the great work, it will be exciting to watch this project grow in the future.
  2. Tigratrus

    Tigratrus Well-Known Member

    What Andy said!
  3. Tigratrus

    Tigratrus Well-Known Member

    See? ^^ would have been a perfect use for the Like "shout out"/"notes"/"postette" system. ;)

    On Topic though, I'm really hoping that there is something like what Andy suggested, there is tons and TONS of unsupported dreck on .org. Ever since we watched a good mod project (vBlogetin) be destroyed when vBlog was announced, I've felt that what was really needed was a way for the Forum Dev crew to partner with independent developers. Those developers should feel comfortable putting real work into a commercial modification and not have to be afraid that the rug will be pulled out from under them and their entire business torpedoed because the mothership decided to move into their dev space.

    I'm really hoping that with XF we see the dev community really embraced and empowered by the core platform developers, the potential synergy, and benefit to the community as a whole would be substantial. And with the company being owned BY the lead developers this time around, I have hopes that it might be a realistic chance. I'd feel a lot more comfortable opening my wallet to buy commercial mods/extensions if such a system was in place, and I imagine many others would too.

    It'd also be a GREAT way to spur development into all the areas that Kier and Mike just don't have time to work on atm, while still providing the XF team with income from thier % of mod/extension sales!

    +oo :)
  4. Reeve of Shinra

    Reeve of Shinra Well-Known Member

    There have been countless times that I've wanted to find a new style for a certain forum software and had to trudge through peoples signatures looking for links to their dev site. I understand xenforo itself may want to stay an arms length away from third parties (for various reasons) but a place where customers can find these resources would be ideal and an "app store" that would help us find styles or products that we can then purchase on the the providers site would be great.
  5. creativepart

    creativepart Active Member

    Count me in as a supporter of this idea as well. I think it would be a great way to go. And, just like the iPhone (et al) App Store, there could still be free apps mixed in with the paid apps. And, the XF developers could see additional income as well.
  6. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    The main issue for commercial developers is that their sales suffer from underexposure. If XF wants to be successful in attracting commercial addons then XF needs to make it easy for webmasters to find those addons. The solution can range from a simple link directory, to an app store, to another promotional platform.

    Deserted free addons and poorly coded free addons are a huge issue at vb.org
    If XenForo can tackle those issues then XF will leave the competition behind.
    GodForum.com and Tigratrus like this.
  7. Tigratrus

    Tigratrus Well-Known Member

    Well put. It's a win/win for everyone.
  8. Peggy

    Peggy Well-Known Member

    hmmmmm, interesting.....
  9. Jafo

    Jafo Active Member

    I agree.. As one of those who are kind enough to release many of my mods, I have fallen into the maintenance trap. Most of the time my reasons are economical. How can I justify spending hours maintaining even one add-on when it pays zilch? I simply only have the time to work on projects that offer a reward because, well I have five mouths to feed. Any financial incentive to develop would surely improve my participation providing it is not just token reimbursement.
    Abomination likes this.
  10. Andy R

    Andy R Member

    Sell the apps, take a commission. Sell the maintenance fees on the apps and take another commission.

    Obviously selling software can be lucrative but so can managing an ecommerce marketplace for digital delivered goods. If you can solve the installation process the way WordPress does with a one button update that pulls the file via ftp or sftp and use the same system to one click install apps that would be huge.
  11. GodForum.com

    GodForum.com Well-Known Member

    3rd party addons are the key to competing and winning ... look at how well they worked for FireFox and Apple

    ... anything more than one click to install means the programmers just added "wasting your time" to every line of their code

    ... and we know VB mastered wasting people's time

    ... will XF be different ? :)
  12. Dean

    Dean Well-Known Member

    I've been waiting for someone to type this. I believe there are many that want to help that fall into this category.

    In addition to the addons issue, that could theoretically apply to tech support (pseudo grass roots with nominal compensation).
  13. Kevin

    Kevin Well-Known Member

    When I was doing vB styles my biggest problem was piracy, not exposure. Was depressing the days when most of the support questions in the forums were from non-customers. :(
  14. Jethro

    Jethro Well-Known Member

    Would agree WordPress rocks when it comes to the auto upgrades.

    I've always liked the Resource pages some software products put up for their 3rd party addon suppliers. If you want a theme or a mod then simply find it in the resource and click through to the supplier. In invision circles a lot of "re-designed" skins, being nice here, have been stopped by IPS running an official resource option that allows designers to have their work up for Invision users to check out.

    Also rather liked the vB site of the month concept, also cool to check out what other people are doing.

    If xF ran a sort of re-seller thing for third party add ons wouldn't they run the risk of members demanding they fix issues if the original author decided to join the foreign legion or something?
    GodForum.com likes this.
  15. Andy R

    Andy R Member

    I don't think that would be an issue. It can be handled with well written policies. First and foremost, a disclaimer can be added similar to that with the iPhone store. Secondly, xF could include a buyout clause in the terms in the event someone wants to sell their add-on xF would get a right of first refusal. Furthermore, some add-ons might be available and then die a natural death (little demand).

    If the financial incentive is built into the system good additions will stick around a not be let go. Look at vBSEO & vBAdvanced for examples. If you can enable others to enjoy financial success with you and make the installation of add-ons very simple then you will make a ton of money with this project.
    Tigratrus likes this.
  16. STT

    STT New Member

    Which is why many free and open-source systems have one-click install like MyBB's plugin system or (god forbid this isn't the real way to do it) SMF's xml-based file modifications. I'm sorry, but doing things the phpBB way just doesn't make sense.
    GodForum.com likes this.
  17. GodForum.com

    GodForum.com Well-Known Member

    STT ... don't get me started ...

    upgrades and patches should also be done live remotely

    similar to MS live updates after approval is given by the forum owner

    and XF should also introduce NetApps ... no one is doing it :)
  18. Deepmartini

    Deepmartini Well-Known Member

    How about widget support so we can customize a front portal or CMS system?
  19. Tigratrus

    Tigratrus Well-Known Member

    Really like this idea. Keeping in mind that you can have both free and paid Xenstensions in the system, I think this is a win/win for everyone and it'd really encourage commercial Xenstensions which is where the real make or break functionality tends to come from. Esp like the idea of there being a buyout system where the Core dev team can buy the rights from a 3rd party... That would be a far better incentive for 3rd parties to do a great job, they could hope that XenForo will buy their project, this is much the same system M$ has used to great effect.

    What it really comes down to is fostering and empowering the 3rd party dev community, not sticking them off in a twilight zone caveat emptor area where the admins have no comfort level at all and have trouble telling the good stuff from the fly-by-night script kiddies. I think having all Xenstensions on the main XenForo site is a good first step/sign though!

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