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.