We have 4 big challenges within ocProducts at the moment:
- We have been developing v10 (Composr CMS) for some years now, and we need to devote time to getting it finished.
- We need to stop the feature-creep, new sponsored-functionality has been extending the size of the v10 indefinitely.
- We have a lot of client projects on, roughly one large project per employee.
- Hiring skilled developers is a really big challenge nowadays. Projects are harder, the base of technologies is broader, and developer demand outstrips supply.
Here's the tough decisions we've had to come to:
- No new sponsored functionality or functionality from client projects should be expected to get into v10, however much longer v10 takes to get finished. Consider it v10 to now be in feature lock-down. Sponsorships are likely to be in a v10.1 release, or a v11 release, depending on what our post-v10 plans turn out as.
- If you sponsor something on the tracker you should not expect it to be delivered for v9 anymore, as the v9/v10 codebases are very diverged now and we cannot do the substantial forward-porting or back-porting required.
- Any new customer development projects that we have not had a live discussion about yet, are unlikely to start until after v10 is released. We will prioritise getting v10/Composr out the door over most such new projects. This does not affect the projects that we have for our customers that are either currently ongoing, or we have already been discussing in more than a few words of detail. It does not affect design work. It does however include any new development requests within support tickets, regardless of ticket priority, and new sponsored functionality.
These are tough decisions for us for 2 reasons:
- Almost all our income all comes from paid work, so it's a significant financial commitment to shut off new project income for an undefined length of time.
- We honestly feel we exist to serve our customers and our users, so telling people that a project could be many months until it starts (for example) is no fun. We have to balance the needs of our paying customers, against the needs of the wider ocPortal community.
We would like people to be patient where possible. Frankly speaking, prospective website owners almost always rush things far too much – in most cases taking some more time to actually prepare a project would be greatly beneficial in any event. Put together a proper business plan document, a proper financial plan, and create all the design documents you need (sitemap diagrams, user journeys/stories, page layouts). A few dozen pages in writing really should be done before starting any substantial project. You can work with ocProducts designers, or independent designers, to help you produce these kinds of materials.
We recommend that projects that have an urgency to begin development in less than 6 months be started up by third party developers. Such developers are very welcome in our community, and there's some chance ocProducts staff may answer programming questions posted on the forum.