To address a continuing stream of support and feature requests for WP-FB AutoConnect, the most popular of my 3 WordPress plugins, I’ve decided to create my first premium plugin (or more precisely, my first premium add-on to a free plugin). It ties into WP-FB-AutoConnect’s hooks and filters to enable a rich set of additional functionality, documented here. Although I’ve more or less stopped adding features to the core itself, I figure that charging a few bucks for more “specialty” options could provide a good compromise, helping offset the time cost of maintenance and justify future development.
Ironically enough, it turned out that choosing and setting up an eCommerce site to sell and distribute the plugin took far longer than the coding itself 😛 But I figure it was a good investment, because I know I’ll eventually need the ability to sell other digital (or even real?) products. Now that I’m familiar with the framework, adapting it to any of my (many) other projects should be straightforward enough.
(For those who are interested, I explored a number of different options. Most eCommerce services charge monthly fees and sales percentages, which I find ridiculous considering how many fantastic, free, opensource solutions are out there. My first choice was oscMax, a popular derivation of osCommerce, one of the first big opensource eCommerce packages. But it turned out that the codebase is a horrible mess – not to mention the frontend doesn’t even validate. So I ended up going with OpenCart instead, which while not quite perfect, is about as close as I could find. With just a few modifications I got easy, instant digital download sales. No upfront cost, no monthly fees, and no per-transaction kickbacks. If the numbers justify it perhaps I’ll eventually setup an SSL certificate so I can do my own payment processing and circumvent PayPal’s surcharges – but for now, it’s good enough. Yay for OpenSource :))
Oh, and while I’m on the topic of web programming: the other day I was Googling around for one thing or another, and stumbled onto an interesting list. Apparently I’m ranked among the “Top 1000 Wordperss Plugin Authors.” Actually, the top 500. Cool!