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Funding ProcessWire / More community efforts


pideluxe
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From the recent discussion about the roadmap & wishlist for 2021 and some other posts by @ryan, it comes to my mind that developing and coordinating the whole project for one person is becoming harder and harder and leads nearly to the reverse of expanding the ProcessWire ecoysystem. This is not against Ryan, i think everyone here knows how engaged he is about ProcessWire, but he has only 24/7 (sometimes i think he's got far more than that...). 

We as the community could support the project (financially) to relieve Ryan and could take over some tasks from him. This could be, but is not limited, to:

  • Building a Foundation/Association/Company to ensure the persistence of the project and to fund the work put in ProcessWire of Ryan (and others). Nearly every other CMSs i checked has something like this (Drupal Association, Typo3 Association, Joomla Foundation, Wordpress Foundation, Contao Association, ...). This also puts more trust in the project, if someone new will check on his engagement in ProcessWire.
  • Assigning persons/teams to work on things:
    • Extending the core (when necessary)
    • Developing and maintaining major modules (e.g. page builder, admin themes, internationalization, marketing, ecommerce system, ...)
    • Testing and inspection of modules developed by others
    • Making translations of modules (translation of the core is mostly covered, i think)
    • Working on PRs & issues submitted on github
    • Working on the homepage
    • Coordinating the community efforts

I know, some resorts are already covered by others (e.g. @Pete for the forum, @horst for images, ... ), but there are many other areas where this ist not the case. By joined efforts by the ProcessWire community this hopefully will also attract new developers to the system and by a growing number of users this assists in the things above in a circular process. What do you think? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

What we need is really easy ways to contribute and build motivation towards contributions. 

- slack/discord for real-time Comms

- merging PRs in the Processwire repo instead of the weird closing the PR and copy pasting it in. I raised a PR years ago, got no feedback and was told it may have fine in via copy and paste. I closed the PR myself to reduce noise and haven't entertained the idea of contributing since.  Unless this has changed, start treating it like a modern open source project

- roadmap on the GitHub board

- indentified maintainers on the GitHub repo

- a backlog / causal kanban style agile setup

-  monthly maintainer video calls to go over backlog etc. Maybe anyone can join. Maybe video recorded. 

- a patron or way to donate to the PW project. This pot can be used to pay maintainers to work on critical features etc. E.g. through donations with have enough money to fund 1 week of work, what should Ryan / another maintainer take time off their normal work to work on. 

- key goals established for the core maintainer team. We should as a whole be marching the same direction. (Though obviously people can work on what they want, but has to pass review)

- a plan that @ryan is comfortable with to slowly distribute the reigns. We don't want to move too fast and over burden the core. 

- some sort of backlog voting system, instead of posts on the forum. 

- Id really like to modernise the process around Processwire. That scares anybody larger than a sole freelancer away from the project. Bigger users mean more support. More pro modules being sold etc. 

- on that note. Can we have the shop not just be Ryan's modules but extended to other pais for modules. I don't like that they are strewn across the web. (And Ryan charge a fee.) 

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On 3/2/2021 at 11:38 AM, StanLindsey said:

What we need is really easy ways to contribute and build motivation towards contributions. 

I hear what you're saying. I wonder whether it's worth having a look at something like how Umbraco (https://our.umbraco.com/) is structured.

It's built on ASP.Net rather than PHP, but next to ProcessWire it would probably be my next most preferred CMS because you can do pretty much anything with it, and a lot of concepts are similar, although I still think ProcessWire overall is easier to work with, looking objectively I think maybe Umbraco has a community and business model that might be worth looking at, as some of what they do might work with ProcessWire.

One of the things they do is offer preconfigured hosting with Umbraco installed and maintained, and I wonder if that might be something that could be a source of funds for ProcessWire, and also a way around the idea that ProcessWire is developer focused and not so much for end users.

Have a few professional site profiles, and the option for quick deployment and hosting taken care of, and it might be easier to get more people onboard with ProcessWire.

I want ProcessWire to thrive, as I enjoy working with it, but clients ask me what happens if something happens to me, so I need to know that it continues to support an active community so that I can reassure clients that there are plenty of people who can support them if for any reason I cease being able to. 

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5 minutes ago, Kiwi Chris said:

Have a few professional site profiles, and the option for quick deployment and hosting taken care of, and it might be easier to get more people onboard with ProcessWire.

That did not work in 2014 - maybe it works in 2021 - wow, time flys 😅 https://processwire.com/talk/topic/7400-instant-processwire-dev-hosting-lightningpw/

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13 hours ago, bernhard said:

That did not work in 2014 - maybe it works in 2021 - wow, time flys 😅 https://processwire.com/talk/topic/7400-instant-processwire-dev-hosting-lightningpw/

Interesting. I wonder why it didn't work?

With Umbraco, the hosting comes under Umbraco.com so it's associated with the project rather than a third party independent offering. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it?

Another open source project that has a similar model is Directus, and of course WordPress does the same.

First party support for instant, managed hosting is more likely to inspire confidence than yet another third party that may or may not continue to be around.

WordPress offering first party hosting doesn't stop plenty of third party hosting, but it does mean plenty of people get to experience WordPress without needing to install anything.

Because ProcessWire has a completely different model to WordPress and is more suited to building custom apps, what might be nice is to have a selection of certified ProcessWire apps for different purposes that users can host.

I'd certainly be happy with an official 'app store' model where ProcessWire gets to take a cut that helps support the project in return for offering global exposure and handles billing. I have a few projects for clients I've been working on that I can see will have wider appeal, and they're not really modules as such but more complete sites, and I've been thinking about how to look at distribution.

Umbraco sets the bar high in this regard, requiring quite an expensive fee to cover review of any paid modules and I guess profiles, presumably to ensure that the store doesn't get filled up with low quality contributions. I think some sort of fee to cover review of paid modules and profiles would be reasonable, but maybe not as steep as Umbraco.

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7 hours ago, Kiwi Chris said:

Interesting. I wonder why it didn't work?

You and me both.

From the outside it seemed like a very nice idea and the numbers initially posted seemed to indicate a decent level of interest. Hard to say — could be any number of reasons: technical issues, problems with the business model, or simply the classic "moved on to other projects". The service was quietly taken down, and the Twitter account or support board were never updated to even mention this 🤷‍♂️

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I'm not sure who would really pay for such a service.

Most of PW users are tech-savvy, so I guess they WANT to have the control over their infrastructure (or choose any of the cheap hosting providers out there...). Installing PW is no problem for them.

On the other hand people that dont want to handle any technical aspects (like hosting or installing PW) are likely more happy with one of the plug&play CMSs?!

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The only funding possibility for Processwire now is (as i know) by selling pro modules. 

For selling more modules, Processwire have to be used on more projects. So it have to be more populer. 

In my country Turkey Processwire is not known at all. (Turkey has over 80 million people)

Everone could put different effort in this undertaking. So my role is such an organisation could be to promote the use of Proceswire in Turkey. I would love to do this. 

I own a MsExcel Forum with nearly 300.000 members and this forum could be a good starting source for building a Processwire community in Turkey.
---------------------
Edit : You would ask "why a separate community?" 
In Turkey the knowledge of foreign languages are is very low.
So people are asking for Turkish documentation, examples or explanation.
Therefore a local community would have larger members count.

 

 

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1 hour ago, bernhard said:

I'm not sure who would really pay for such a service.

Most of PW users are tech-savvy, so I guess they WANT to have the control over their infrastructure (or choose any of the cheap hosting providers out there...). Installing PW is no problem for them.

On the other hand people that dont want to handle any technical aspects (like hosting or installing PW) are likely more happy with one of the plug&play CMSs?!

I have to disagree with this, to an extent.

If I did client projects of my own I'd very much appreciate the option of off-loading the hosting and day-to-day maintenance of said sites to someone else. Sure, most of the time a "general purpose" hosting plan is good enough and ProcessWire is great in that it has very rarely really "required" updates, but I could imagine a plan dedicated to ProcessWire providing some extra services that a general purpose one won't and can't 🙂

At the same time I don't really see why this wouldn't work for business clients as well. We host the sites we build in-house, and I can say that a lot of time and effort has gone to tweaking that setup, and maintaining the platform and the sites on it is an ongoing process. If hosting wasn't an important part of what we do, or we weren't quite as familiar with the inner workings of ProcessWire, it would make plenty of sense to subcontract that service from someone who actually specializes in it.

Many companies that work on other platforms, such as WordPress, choose external hosting — not because they can't do the hosting, but rather because it's not their core business. There are also numerous "developer oriented" hosting platforms out there.

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29 minutes ago, teppo said:

I have to disagree with this, to an extent.

I'd be happy to be wrong with my opinion here 🙂 I've put a lot of effort in setting up my infrastructure and it looks like finally I've found a good combination of all the puzzle pieces playing well together (Hosting+Server administration, GIT for version control, RockMigrations for Migrations, RockShell for all the maintanance and installation stuff to spin up a new pw instance, create db dumps and restores etc.). I just have the feeling that 90% are happy with the usual workflow: develop locally or directly on the server (I've done that myself for years) and then simply copy files over. That's something that any regular hosting provider supports... and my feeling is 80% of the remaining 10% are happy managing it on their own.

If I'm wrong and anybody is looking for processwire hosting in DACH write me a PM 😉

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Funding Processwire,

Here are my thoughts, I think it could be a really good cash cow for many people, but only if they focus on something so many people out there want.

Mind you I am not a developer, but an end user who needs developers to build stuff for me.

Two of my sites are: www.rugpijnweg.nl and www.backpaingoodbye.com both made by people here on the forum.

For me, like many others, my sites have to make me money.

Therefore speed is important, hence I use procache on all my sites.

Building blocks are important for easy building of pages that generate the action I need. Backpaingoodbye is good with that, all repeatermatric things in there.

What I love about processwire is the speed and that anything can be built. The last part is also the problem, if I want something new, it has to be built.

What I think processwire needs is something like www.thrivethemes.com, which is a separate company with an offering on top of wordpress, like there are more, but I particularly like many of the things they are making.

What I hate about my sites with processwire, is that if I have some changes added to a site of mine, it just is a stupid nightmare to port new stuff to other sites that use the same profile.

I guess rockmigrations would be great for that, but there you go, I need a developer to run things again, and I now have 4 sites running the same profile.

For that reason I am now even considering moving over to wordpress, I got me a subscription to thrivethemes, but I HATE wordpress with a vengeance... all these stupid updates all the time.

Thrivethemes itself is buggy and does not make sense, it produces slow sites, but hey I can get a lot of functionality.

The underlying problem with processwire and its funding is that it is IMHO too much tech oriented, brilliant minds who build incredible things, but the huge market out there is just forgotten, and wordpress gobbles it up.

And then people build stuff on top of wordpress and make a very good living.

So here's what I believe would work:

- get a group of people together and decide on & build a basic site structure that has all the fields anyone needs, with upgrade paths in place should the structure be extended

- on top of this site structure build a storehouse of repeateable blocks with a page builder like thrive themes is using, but then better, more processwire like

- then have the designers go crazy on developing a number of front end variations that change the look and feel of the whole site, just by pointing the whole show to a different css file

- have some developers working on creating more building blocks focused on different niches, par example the coaching business would require agenda booking, same for hairdresser salons.

- this way it would be possible to offer niche specific sites, including hosting

I have ideas how this could work, and would like to hear if people are interested to develop these ideas further

Let me know

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This sounds very exciting! I know someone who has already put thousands of hours into modules and techniques that could serve such a scenario very well... 😎

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31 minutes ago, bernhard said:

This sounds very exciting! I know someone who has already put thousands of hours into modules and techniques that could serve such a scenario very well... 😎

You mean yourself? Just curious😀

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On 4/3/2021 at 9:44 PM, bernhard said:

Most of PW users are tech-savvy, so I guess they WANT to have the control over their infrastructure (or choose any of the cheap hosting providers out there...). Installing PW is no problem for them.

On the other hand people that dont want to handle any technical aspects (like hosting or installing PW) are likely more happy with one of the plug&play CMSs?!

I'm in the former category - to now, but a couple of projects have got me thinking how the second option might be useful to me as well.

I've built a couple of sites (or I'd prefer to call the apps) on top of ProcessWire that have potentially a much wider market than just the clients I've built them for, however I'm just a single developer and having to manage hosting, billing, deployment, won't scale well the way I'm currently working, and although if I take the time I should be able to automate nearly everything, there's also the issue of discoverability, whereas if there were an option where people could people just click to sign up and choose an app of their choice with installation and billing all taken care of I think there could be a use case.

At least, I think the modules directory needs to support commercial modules from any developer, and also at install time, I think the choice of site profiles should be able to query the modules website and offer paid or free profiles other than just those bundled with ProcessWire. Obviously ProcessWire should get a percentage of any sales, just like big app stores.

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I think this is an important topic and @pideluxe makes some useful suggestions. The subsequent discussion provides insights into what is attractive about PW and what people think is missing.

I am a relative newcomer to PW and am only an amateur - in two senses: (a) as a retiree, I can do stuff for for friends and family without commercial pressures and (b) I have never had any training (and it shows 😉 ). What attracted me to PW was the ability to build custom apps integrated into a website and give others the ability to manage the content. Having used WP (aargh - customisation is a nightmare and the admin is really clunky), CodeIgniter (well-designed, but hard work!) and some simple CMS solutions, I wanted something that was easy to use and took out a lot of the hard coding work, but was flexible and capable. PW ticked all the boxes. As well as straight CMS, I have now built two quite complex apps - a club management system and a self-catering cottage management system. PW has been a great tool for the job.

So the question is, why is it not more widely known and used? I think there are two issues, both of which have been mentioned by others:

  1. The project does appear to be very reliant on Ryan (albeit maybe less than previously owing to some of the excellent contributors to the ecosystem). This was not a problem for me (in fact a positive, because it has meant a clear vsion for the project), but is a negative point for some. My daughter, who is tech director of an e-marketing company, prefers WP even though it is technically inferior because of the greater assurance of continuity and the larger pool of people with relevant skills. The OP suggests some ways in which this perception could be changed, but I suspect that may not be possible without @ryan's active involvement.
  2. Over time, the user group has become more technical so that the appeal is narrowing. In some ways, this is a consequence of PW's success in enabling some pretty sophisticated sites/apps - this has attracted technophiles whose needs have further driven it in this direction. This has happened without any active decision on anyone's part. Some may feel very comfortable with this and think that it is a perfectly viable niche. I am not so sure - the risk is that the ease-of-use aspects are increasingly downplayed so that ultimately the comparison is with, say, Laravel, rather than WP.

The bottom line is that PW's initial attraction of being both a 'simple' CMS and a sophisticated app-building tool risk it ending up being between a rock and a hard place. That would be a great shame because IMHO it is better, technically, than the competition.

You may infer from my comments above that I think that part of the 'problem' is that the project is largely technically-driven - inevitable given the nature of those involved. This is not a critcism, just a fact of life. But perhaps the community needs to get more input from outside and think about PW's marketplace more broadly.

FWIW, I agree with many of the suggestions above, including

On 2/19/2021 at 1:42 PM, pideluxe said:

Building a Foundation/Association/Company to ensure the persistence of the project and to fund the work put in ProcessWire

 

On 4/2/2021 at 10:22 AM, Kiwi Chris said:

Have a few professional site profiles, and the option for quick deployment and hosting taken care of, and it might be easier to get more people onboard with ProcessWire.

 

On 4/3/2021 at 12:15 AM, Kiwi Chris said:

Because ProcessWire has a completely different model to WordPress and is more suited to building custom apps, what might be nice is to have a selection of certified ProcessWire apps for different purposes that users can host.

Pretty much all of @OllieMackJames's initial post. BTW, this one -

On 4/3/2021 at 2:54 PM, OllieMackJames said:

What I hate about my sites with processwire, is that if I have some changes added to a site of mine, it just is a stupid nightmare to port new stuff to other sites that use the same profile.

is one of the few things that actually irritates me about PW, which is why I am trying to do something about it (see https://processwire.com/talk/topic/25307-oh-no-not-another-migration-module/, but I really think something like this should be in the core).

 

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11 hours ago, MarkE said:

 As well as straight CMS, I have now built two quite complex apps - a club management system and a self-catering cottage management system. PW has been a great tool for the job.

 

As a matter of curiosity, any specific type of club? I've built or am in the process of building two, for quite different types of clubs with different requirements. One I'm getting paid for, the other more complex one I'm not, as one of the joys of serving on the club committee, and being the only member of the club with the capability to maintain and develop the club website. 

I suspect there are some base requirements for any kind of club, eg, track members, manage subs, handle newsletters, and maybe have a club website and blog but then beyond that there may be unique features depending on what the club does.

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53 minutes ago, Kiwi Chris said:

the other more complex one I'm not, as one of the joys of serving on the club committee, and being the only member of the club with the capability to maintain and develop the club website

Snap! The website is here but that is like the tip of the iceberg. Behind the scenes (i.e. in the admin) it does membership records, mailings, events management, news reporting, subscriptions etc. No credit card facility - we use direct debits courtesy of GoCardless instead - cheaper and more secure. Members access their details, book events etc. via the My NCOG page (no passwords - we use a one-time email token instead as we have a slightly senior group who are not reliable password users 😅). There are still quite a lot of rough edges, but it has been running for a couple of years now and does the business.

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