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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


Behind-the-scenes

Behind-the-scenes It was great to get the big news off our chests last week. We're rebranding, and have been privately planning to do it for quite some time now. :rockon:

The truth is we haven't loved the ocPortal name since soon after it was released. Nobody really uses the word "portal" anymore, "CMS" (Content Management System) has long since become the standard term people use – and nobody knew how to write "ocPortal" correctly anyway. We really love the new name and are so excited to make the leap forward. "Composr CMS" really rolls off the tongue, describes itself well, and let's us appropriate "CMS" as our own abbreviation :devil:.

I want to use this blog post to mention some random things that have been happening behind-the-scenes. We've been quiet during the v10 development, and a lot happening in general is invisible, so now's the chance for me to fix this.

Changing company


I want to welcome and introduce our full-time staff team, because sometimes people might be forgiven for thinking ocProducts is just me, given I'm usually the public face and bug fixer ;).
  • Chris G – CEO / Lead developer / Chief nerd
  • Rajesh – Operations and project management
  • Aaswini – iOS and Android development
  • Nanda – iOS and Android development
  • Raji – ocPortal/Composr development
  • Vishnu – ocPortal/Composr development
  • Amit – ocPortal/Composr development
  • Manoj S – Design
I'm the only UK face at the moment, even though we've always been a UK company, so I should address this. The reality is UK programmer salaries have risen 25% while in the wider UK and US economies small businesses were shutting down, jobs lost, personal savings draining, and salaries frozen – and the broad economic growth is in non-English speaking countries. Most programmers in the UK and US are tied up in large corporations or VC-backed companies, or large brand agencies, and commercial independent development is mostly happening in either Eastern Europe or India nowadays. So realistically we can't currently build a business based on UK programming staff for what we're trying to do in our business – which is provide the most affordable advanced solutions to people who aren't necessarily large corporations. It does make it very challenging, but it's okay because over time (with very careful hiring) we've picked up a team of very talented hard-working people, and it's a sustainable model for us that delivers the value our customers need (we've not increased our basic hourly rate since we launched back in 2004). We're also far more diverse than we used to be, with developers from a range of cultures, religions, races, and genders.

Changing web


The web has been changing rapidly, and we're on the front-lines giving people options that we think they need to still have.

It used to be that with ocPortal we were allowing people to build far more sophisticated websites than they'd necessarily expect to be able to have. Now advanced websites are the norm, but the norm is for anyone without a mega-budget to completely lose control, because you only get them via (for example) your company page on Facebook, your channel on Youtube, or your blog on Tumblr, or by paying mega-bucks to have a solution made on something very complicated like Drupal. People need to be able to customise their layout and code, and their security, without third parties making changes at a whim, shuttering services, advertising to your customers, or sneakily give all your customer's private data away to marketers and governments.

The corporate world has been doing something of a takeover of much of the Internet too. Netflix has to pay American ISP duopolies to stay in business, new generic TLDs are heading for non-open usages, tech companies spend enormous sums lobbying politicians for laws to go the way that suits their investors (thankfully net neutrality in the US went the right way, but only due to lobbying money being on both sides), startups are awash with huge sums of venture capital money (=money from the big banks, paid through intermediaries), and often now the fate of corporate-run Open Source projects rest on the back of third parties you may not be able to rely on rather than genuinely enthusiastic people. I'm proud we've been a privately-owned and controlled company for 10 years, not corrupted by the need to make returns on venture investments. If things are to stay truly Open, Internet Freedom is just as important as Open Standards and Open Source – and we stand up for all 3 of these things.

We aim to use our company to bring professionalism and quality to Open Source, to make the best CMS for sophisticated websites, to take the needs of our users seriously – without our company representing the kinds of corporate problems discussed above. Sometimes doing this requires expert juggling skills, and sometimes it leaves us completely exhausted (definitely me in recent weeks) – but the fight is well worth it.

Changing product


I'd like to take this moment to thank all our sponsors for functionality in version 10. The overall rebranding and relaunch is being done off our backs, but a lot of the actual new features have been directly sponsored by our users. We're enormously grateful to you all!

v10 has been a long wait, and we're still not done, but you'll find it has been worth it! I sincerely hope so at least, because we've kept you all waiting a long time ;).

10 years


Oh, and ocPortal is now 10 years old. Actually it's nearly 11 years old now, but v10 has been taking so much energy, we totally missed the celebration. So…




This was the second of five weekly news posts discussing the future of ocPortal. The next post will be posted as news and talk about how our tutorials are getting refreshed.

Composr CMS has been in development ever since ocPortal v9 has come out. We've been somewhat secretive of the overall re-launch because we knew it would take a lot of time and didn't want to get ahead of ourselves. We aren't giving a release date yet because product releases aren't a source of income, so the investment is sustained through our private client work, and done between projects. Never-the-less, it is a huge priority for us so we are getting this information out now, and pushing forward for a release ASAP.

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