Many Changes at devot:ee: Add-on Store, New Host, and More
May 12, 2010
by Ryan Masuga
The last couple months have been busy at devot:ee, and we have numerous changes to talk about including the launch of the add-on store, our new web host, eliminating paid memberships, and a few other odds and ends.
Over the past few months we've been working on a lot of updates to devot:ee, and this week we were finally able to unleash things all at once.
We're excited to announce the opening of the ExpressionEngine add-on store here at devot:ee! Over the past year, we've had growing numbers of visitors and repeat traffic to the add-on library, which now numbers over 800 entries. ExpressionEngine users are already on the site viewing, bookmarking, favoriting and rating the add-ons, so we thought it would be enormously convenient to just offer them for sale as well. This is great news for both developers and EE users: Developers: Whether you're already selling add-ons every day on your own site, have contemplated selling add-ons but have been put off by the effort involved in setting up a store, or you've never sold an add-on in your life, we believe we have a great solution for you to get your hard work to EE users everywhere. EE Users: By purchasing add-ons through devot-ee.com, you'll now have the benefit of seeing purchases that span multiple developers in one place. Starting a new EE project? You might no longer have to visit 4-5 separate sites to get the add-ons you need to get rolling. Ryan Irelan posted an interview at EE Insider about the add-on store just this morning.
We eliminated the "devot:ed" paid membership level. We now consider every registered user to be one of The Devot:ed. All registered users now have access to every feature including bookmarks, favorites, and more. We did this for a few reasons, but mainly because maintaining recurring memberships is tedious. There were a ton of conditionals needed all over the templates, and the extra task of running a cron job to work with a custom member expiration add-on to auto-expire members and put them into an "expired" member group when their membership was up...it was just too much. We decided to simplify because we want more people using the site, period. For those of you who did sign up for paid devot:ed membership...we salute you. You will always belong to that special member group (consider yourself immortalized as Founding Members). As a "thank you" we're offering the original devot:ed members a coupon for use in the add-on store. Your paid memberships were instrumental in helping get the site off the ground in the first place. Not only were they a vote of confidence, they helped cover the cost of the immense amount of time put into the site over the last year. Again, thank you.
EllisLab and EngineHosting: We're Covered
We're proud to say devot:ee is the official place to go for 3rd-party ExpressionEngine add-on information. As Leslie Camacho stated in his recent EllisLab Partnership Opportunitues blog post:
EllisLab and EngineHosting have been working with Ryan Masuga at devot:ee to make devot:ee the official go-to place for 3rd party add-on info. EngineHosting has donated hosting services and EllisLab's Greg Aker has lent his expertise to Ryan as needed.
Thanks to the folks at EllisLab for helping us out. Big thanks to Greg Aker for his tireless assistance on all aspects of the site since moving to EngineHosting.
Hosting with EngineHosting
We've been bouncing around on various servers ever since launching the site. Earlier this year, we moved to a slice on Slicehost, and while there the page load times definitely sped up. However, we had very little recourse as far as support when things went wrong. I finally emailed EllisLab to see about moving devot:ee to EngineHosting, and we made the switch in early April. I was wary to do this for a couple reasons, the most important being that all development on devot:ee is versioned in Git, and there is no shell access on EngineHosting servers. I was afraid of changing the entire workflow that Jacob Russell and I have. But based on a ton of very helpful feedback and advice from Derek Jones and Greg Aker, we decided to try it out. Everything has worked out fine. Page load times are great (except on one template, as many of you know, and we're working directly with EllisLab to fix our huge queries there), and we are able to keep our Git workflow and deploy releases via SFTP from our devot:ee Git repository housed at Beanstalk. Huge thanks to Nevin Lyne and his team for offering to host devot:ee, and the great support that has come with it.
Simple Add-on URLs
With the release of ExpressionEngine 2.0, there is less reason to pigeon-hole add-ons into one type or another, because a single add-on can include the different types. Previously we put the main add-on type in the URL: http://devot-ee.com/add-ons/extensions/playa/. Although you can still enter a URL that way (we're using a .htaccess rule to remove the extra segment for compatibility with any existing incoming links) you can now just as easily type http://devot-ee.com/add-ons/playa/. We hope this makes it a little easier to directly navigate to specific add-on pages. Quick! Bucketlist! Is that an extension or a module? It no longer matters which: http://devot-ee.com/add-ons/bucketlist/
More to Come
We look forward to spending a lot of time improving the site in 2010. If you have suggestions, we'd love to hear them. Just recently, a devot:ee user asked about changing the default search from "Everything" to "Add-ons". We asked about this on Twitter and everybody agreed that this was a great idea - so we changed that as fast as we could. If there are other things we can do to make the site easier to use, let us know.
The changes look (and load) great Ryan. Great job to you and Jacob on all the hard work in the past few months. :)
Seamus Holman (Gridwork) 05.12.10
Fantastic news! It makes so much sense for this site to be the official repository, I find myself coming here more and more lately. And the add-on store just reinforces that point.
Great additions to the greatest bestest wonderfulest EE oriented site anywhere.
Todd D. 05.13.10
Two thoughts. Glad to see all the changes. Maybe offer the ‘Founding Members’ group a unique ‘badge’ like they had with the Devoted badge. Second thought… coupon for founding members? Where?
Glad to see some movements, i have to admit going to 100 different places for each different extension was driving me nuts!!! Now for some package deals hopefully!!!
Jacob Russell 05.13.10
Todd, the coupon will show up during the checkout process, all previous devot:ed should see it there.
Christopher Healey 05.17.10
Loving the updates guys! I agree with Todd D. It would be really nice to some how recognize the “Founding Members” publicly with some sort of badge next to posts, profile, reviews, etc. Stroke our egos a bit and make us feel special haha!
Todd D. 05.17.10
Christopher, thanks for backing me on that idea. I’m thinking you might like this link. :)
Jérôme Coupé 05.17.10
Congrats and great news. Keep up the good work !
I love it. The greatest change, one that’s been on my wishlist, is to have an add-on store. For a while, devot-ee has been the default place (mine anyway) to look for add-ons, and it’s great to see the folks at EE are recognizing it as such.
One more thing, I did a quick check of the submit an add-on page, and it still says you cannot choose a file to upload (“the ability to upload files directly to devot-ee is coming soon…”). Is this still supposed to be there? If so, when is the exact date that direct uploads will be started?
Jacob Russell 05.17.10
Rob – That upload deals with non-commercial add-ons and is separate from the commercial upload. A bit confusing, but we having integrated the ‘old’ upload/github section with the new commercial upload section. Mostly we just need better labels.
Ryan Masuga 05.17.10
Rob, the label is outdated. There are two separate file upload fields – one for commercial add-ons sold here on devot:ee, and one for everything else. The second “free” field can be either a file upload or a link to GitHub. We had the upload as a “beta” for a while, but it works fine. There are quite a few free add-on files hosted here on devot:ee already.
Ah, I see. Well, now that devot-ee is being recognized as the official EE add-on repository, I suppose those outdated labels should be updated. :)
Hi Ryan, love the site, come to it often. Problem is most times http://devot-ee.com/filter/?s=date is blank – any chance of a once and for all fix?
All the best
Ryan Masuga 05.18.10
Lee, we are aware of the problem with that page. I know it’s annoying, but client work has kept us from tweaking it.
We’ll try and come up with a temporary fix this week while we work on a long-term solution.
Ryan Masuga 05.18.10
rsanchez1: I updated the label on “free” file uploads to be more clear.
Lee: I made a temporary change to the Filter page that may help eliminate the white screen.
Rob Sanchez 05.18.10
I guess there are two rsanchez’s :)
One suggestion: it would be nice if 2 new add-on categories were added – Control Panel themes and Forum themes. There are already several free and commercial CP and Forum themes. Probably some authors would like to sell them through the new store.