Nov 012010
 

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! :mrgreen:

  11 Responses to “WP-FB AutoConnect Premium”

  1. Congratz!

    I could have told you avout os Commerce though. Stian and I worked with that for a year. It’s the most horrible, entangled, spaghetti of a non-validating codebase ever produced. Why didn’t you i.e. check out Joomla?

  2. Justin if you really want to have a great system, you should look into the S2Member WordPress plugin. It allows you to sell digital goods as well, and the protects your posts and pages based on membership level or a custom capability.

    I’m using it on BP-Tricks. When someone purchases my premium theme they get access to the documentation pages and can download the files (the files are also protected). They can they suddently access the BuddyPress support group, which is also protected nicely.

    It completely integrates with WordPress and extremely awesome and powerful. I can now built up a community and offer premium services all from one place, with one login and existing members can purchase new themes/add-ons with a few clicks. Not to mention they can view their purchases/downloads directly from their BP-Tricks profile. It’s pretty nice!

  3. @Peder: Yeah…I seriously couldn’t believe that it’d be so popular and yet so HORRIBLY disorganized. I mean come on, even the default theme doesn’t validate! People actually use that?

    Regarding Joomla, isn’t that more of a large-scale general-use CMS, like WordPress? At a glance it seemed far more than I needed (vs an eCommerce-specific package). Besides, if I was gonna go the route of CMS+Plugin, might as well’ve just used something for WordPress since I’m already so familiar with it…

    @Bowe: I didn’t know about S2Member, but I did consider using a WP plugin vs a standalone system and decided to go standalone for a few reasons. First, my blog and plugin sales really are two distinct things, so I’d rather keep the databases separate and independent. Also, by using a plugin, any other site on which I’d want to create a store could only use WordPress…but by using something standalone, I can adapt it to any other projects I like. Seems far more versatile 🙂

    I can see that having one single management system and user account would be nicer, but the flexibility of not being tied to WordPress seemed to outweigh this convenience.

  4. Ey! We used in 2004! When there were no other open source alternatives and nothing on the web validated. Firebug wasn’t even invented yet. Nor was JQuery. We ended up rebuilding the whole codebase and figured in the end we might have been better off building our own from scratch anyway :-S

    And FYI, google.com doesn’t validate either.

  5. Yep, I know – but Google’s non-validation is deliberate and carefully implemented. osCommerce’s is due to sloppy, malformed code. Big difference 😛

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPBACTS-tyg

  6. I would be curious to know how sales of your premium plugin go after a month or so. Let me know. I hope it takes off…..seems as though a lot of people really like your plugin

  7. Thanx – yep, I hope so too!

    It’s gone pretty well already actually, though I have another feature or two I want to throw in before I make it *really* visible (i.e. from within the admin panel of the free version of the plugin, meaning it’ll be put in front of everyone who’s using it)

  8. I just purchased your premium FB autoconnect, and dropped the php file in the plugin folder, but the admin is not seeing the upgrade.

    I have a multisite with buddypress. I have the root blog for buddypress on our “community” site. I’m confused at how your login will register our new users. Basically, everyone should be registered into the same site. Is this a problem or a configuration issue? First I need to have the upgrade working to find out.

    Also, your support pop-up form did not load.

  9. The support page is here; please see FAQ31.

    What support pop-up form?

  10. I purchased the premium. Should place the php file in the wp-auto-connect folder or should it be in the /wp-content/plugins folder ??

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