Category Archives: #eecms

ExpresisonEngine

Launch your #eecms add-on in 5 weeks!

ExpressionEngine developers, what if I paid you $1200 a year to sleep? Or watch TV? Or play video games? Would you take it?

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Charles here just made $20

I’m pretty sure I know the answer ūüėČ

What if I told you right now you’ve got code sitting on your computer that could earn you at least that much per year?

You don’t have to build a big software-as-a-service platform with thousands of subscribers and VC investors to “make it.” ExpressionEngine is a great place to start selling products to fellow developers.

You may be thinking, “What about support? How will I take payment on my site? What about refunds? Should I start a list of beta users? How much should I charge?”

I had those questions and more when I started PDF Press. I was releasing it with two competitors already on the market with great reviews & rates (one of which was a free add-on). I thought for sure no one was going to buy it.

I sold twenty-one copies the first day.

I did it by taking some systematic steps anyone can do.

Now here’s the pitch, tell me about yourself and your add-on idea here, in the last week of Dec I’ll pick three developers from the submissions. If you’re selected I’ll coach you for free over five weeks.

You’ll get:

  • Weekly one-on-one Skype sessions with me while we work out preparing your add-on for launch
  • Help with sales copy, pricing, documentation, landing pages
  • A free account on Unbounce to help you with a/b testing your landing pages
  • Promotion of your add-on through my newsletter and social media as I release case studies as we go through the process
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You won’t learn how to use generic crappy stock photos in your blog posts, sorry trade secret.

The only requirements I must ask are that you’re willing to sell your add-on for a price and you give me permission to publish data such as conversion numbers and sales data up to launch and a month afterwards.

Why am I offering all of this for free? A few reasons:

  • I love our community and I want to give back to it
  • I am passionate about developers getting paid their value
  • To start a community around developers launching “small products”

Start 2014 off right, signup for the contest today and let’s get started selling some add-ons!

Manage ExpressionEngine Licenses with MarvelShare

At Anecka one of the things we struggle with is properly managing ExpressionEngine license and plugin accounts for our clients. Not surprising considering a standard ExpressionEngine install can have over a dozen add-ons!

Totaling all of this together we spend over 130 hours a year just dealing with client accounts & software licenses. We figure a lot of other EE consultants run into similar problems, that’s why we created MarvelShare.

The easiest way to think of MarvelShare is Google Voice for email. You simply create a email address for your project “a+anecka-project@marvelshare.com” and MarvelShare will intercept emails to that address and forwards the emails to any number of¬†recipients¬†you choose. Think of it as a¬†miniature¬†mailing list for your team and your clients.

To show you how it works, let me take you through using MarvelShare to purchase an ExpressionEngine license for a client.

First create a new project in MarvelShare, let’s call it “Pohler’s Widgets”

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 7.55.36 PMNow that we’ve created an email address for the project: a+pohlerwidgets@marvelshare.com. Let’s add some recipients, just go an edit the project.

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 7.56.08 PMAs you can see, your email address has been added by default. You can click click “New¬†Recipient” to add an additional email address.

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Now that you’ve added your¬†additional¬†recipients, signup and purchase an ExpressionEngine license at EllisLab.com

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After purchasing the license for your client, when EllisLab sends the order confirmation everyone on your list will get the email. You can also use the same account to purchase add-ons from Devot-ee, hosting, and domain information.

MarvelShare will also save and group messages so you can easily find them later (no more digging through your inbox for one pesky license number)!

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If you’re interested in changing the way you manage license and account information for your ExpressionEngine clients, you can sign-up for MarvelShare for FREE!

Thanks and feel free to contact us at contact@marvelshare.com if you have any questions or concerns!

Building on Sand: Concerns w/ the Craft CMS License

Update: This article was published a year ago, since then Craft has updated their license. For my follow-up article on the new license, go here.

EllisLab made a major announcement on Friday for ExpressionEngine 2.7, mainly that they will be releasing a new field-type called Grid that directly competes with a popular add-ons provided by Pixel and Tonic (who released their own CMS called Craft which competes with ExpressionEngine).

Naturally the EE community (well, the #eecms hashtag on Twitter) exploded in debate over whether or not Ellislab’s actions would stifle competition in the EE addon space. EE Insider has a great series of reaction posts on Twitter for all you drama llamas. ūüôā TJ Draper has a good post regarding communication & messaging by EllisLab on this issue (and others).

It’s a fair debate and raises issues surrounding competition between platform vendors and the vendors building products that extend those platforms. I might write a post about that issue, but for now I want to talk about something Derek Jones (CEO of EllisLab) said in the post that has been mostly ignored.

Additionally, our third-party development community (including Pixel & Tonic for that matter) does not have to worry that we will attempt to legally prohibit anyone from duplicating, improving, or modifying functionality that we decide to build into ExpressionEngine…

Ironically, the license agreement currently in place for Pixel & Tonic’s CMS explicitly forbids the type of add-ons that enabled Brandon Kelly to build his company within our community. Wygwam, Playa, Matrix, Assets, none of those could have existed if EllisLab took a similar view of third-party development for ExpressionEngine.

That statement took me by surprise, this was the first time I had heard any restrictions to add-on development in Craft so I decided to comb over the license (I encourage you to read it as well:¬†http://buildwithcraft.com/license). Sure enough, the current Craft’s license forbids:

  • modifying core code or database tables
  • developing or using modules that replicate, duplicates (whole or in part), or replaces features in Craft core or its Packages
  • creating plugins that use undocumented features or APIs in the system

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This makes Craft’s license by far one of the most restrictive CMS licenses I’ve seen. Craft’s closest competitors,¬†Statamic and ExpressionEngine both let you modify core (as long as you don’t redistribute) and neither restrict developers or users from creating/using competing add ons.

Let me repeat that, even if you don’t intend to widely¬†distribute the code and only use it for personal use, you are violating the license. Also if you just USE a plugin that violates the license, by extension YOU are violating the license as well.

So what do you need to do if you (or your client) violates the agreement? Well you’ll have to uninstall your instance of Craft immediately

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But it’s not like they can track if you’ve modified core or are using a forbidden plugin right? Oh wait turns out they can and the license gives them the right to collect this data.

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This raises serious concerns about both using Craft in my consulting business as well as developing plugins on the platform. So far Pixel and Tonic have responded to these issues by saying the language in the agreement is there “to protect themselves.” They promise to elaborate further.

I hope they offer serious thoughtful solutions & clarifications on their license to potential customers & partners. BTW a “you can trust us because we’re nice guys” isn’t a convincing argument. My clients rely on me as a consultant to offer software solutions for their business, if I propose a solution that exposes them to¬†litigation¬†or a TOS violation that effectively shuts down their website, that’s a show stopper. No matter how good the CMS might be or how nice the vendor is (and P&T are nice folks).

Listen, I want Craft to really fix these issues with their license because I love the product. I’m have the greatest amount of respect for Brandon Kelly and the team at Pixel and Tonic. When they build a product they put their hearts and souls into it and do their best to give their customers the best possible experience they can. That’s why it’s so sad to see such a great product limited by such a heavy-handed licensing agreement and on that fundamentally goes against what made Pixel and Tonic a great add-on firm in the beginning.

PS: While in the process of writing this article I had a few exchanges on twitter with the @craftcms account. I think it’s only fair to include the dialog:

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PSS: Just for fun (I have a weird idea of what fun is) I took a word count of the Craft, Statamic, and ExpressionEngine licenses. Statamic was a svelte 506 words, EE clocked in at 779, and Craft was a whopping 1844 words (“Going to the club like ‘Whatup I got a big license…’ “). No real point, I’m just a dork.

EECI Talk: Extending your ExpressionEngine add-ons with KnockoutJS

Now that I have a blog like a real Internet person, here is my talk from last October at EECI 2012. If you haven’t heard, EECI is a large annual conference for ExpressionEngine and CodeIgniter users. 2012 was my first conference and the first conference where I was a speaker. Being a speaker at a conference was a great experience and I learned some important things:

  • When you’re a speaker, people are more likely to make the first move and introduce themselves. I’m an introvert, so people coming up to me to make introductions really helped me network.
  • Don’t code live onscreen, just don’t. Also lots code is pretty boring, so keep the code samples down to a minimum
  • Have a good idea of the experience level of your audience, too basic and you could lose a significant portion of your audience
  • Focus on answering the WHY in your talk, not really the HOW or the WHAT. If they’re interested, they’ll do the legwork after the conference
  • Load your deck online FIRST
  • Record the audio of your talk, you’ll learn a lot about how you speak and present.
  • Be funny, but be careful to not alienate your audience and be “edgy”

Anyway it was a great experience and I hope to speak at this year’s EECI as well. I’ve attached my KnockoutJS talk below and the audio recording. Enjoy!