Welcome to another edition of the thirty bees update. This update is going to consist of two parts, the first part is to let you know what we are doing and why its taking so freaking long. The second part is asking you all for help in what ever way you can help. While also being a little more candid in what are the goings on at thirty bees.
What we have been up to?
This week we have bug fixed and update a few of our core modules. Namely the MailChimp module. Having a solid MailChimp module is one of goals we have set out from the start. Let me say however, MailChimp has one of the worst API’s to deal with. It works great for simple things like adding users to a mailing list, but it likes to drop or freak out when more complicated e-commerce information is sent. This coupled with the lack of support has made this module a pain, but a necessary pain. We have, however, been able to eliminate other issues that plague competing platforms, such as breaking checkouts because the API is unresponsive. So this is a huge win for us. The module is now very stable and ready for wide production use.
Stripe is another module that has been refactored. It seems we developed our Stripe module at precisely the wrong time. When we finished it, a few weeks later they released a new version of their API. A new version that contained several new features and several new payment methods. Since the refactoring of this module we have tested it in several live shops and it is pretty stable as well. This is another win for us!
The updater is what is holding the next release up. This is something we have taken a lot of flak for. In the beginning of thirty bees, over a year ago, I remember this being a major issue with Michael and myself. We both had a vision for the updater then, the one we (Michael) quickly threw together was not that vision. What we envision was a simple updater. One that was stable that we could automatically push updates to. This is why it is taking so long. We are trying to take our time and come up with a system that will not have to be changed in six months or a year. A system that can grow as thirty bees grows. But more so than anything else, a stable system. Our vision for the distant future is to be able to have shops automatically update without the worry of breaking things. To do that our first step is a stable updater. Right now it takes days to build an update and distribute it. What we are working for is an updater that can build releases in seconds. The end goal of this updater is quick bug fixes. By quick, we are shooting for releases every couple of weeks, or if there is a pressing bug, immediately. To do this takes work. It takes testing. It takes sitting down and brainstorming about what can go wrong, how we handle it, how the updater needs to recover. We are developing an extensive system, not just a module. A way of bring thirty bees into the future and making releases quicker and more stable.
We might not respond to every post on the forum, but we do read most all posts. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that one of the community members @musicmaster released an updated updater to thirty bees. I wanted to personally thank you for taking the time to fix the bugs in it and support our platform. It is things like this that help hold the community together and help the community grow!
How can you help?
If I remember correctly, Kennedy once said “Ask not what thirty bees can do for you, but what you can do for thirty bees”. Loosely translated of course. Several different posts on our forum have really shown us how much our community believes in us and how they want us to grow and succeed. Several of the members have come to me asking for ways to help thirty bees grow, what can the do that is within their skill set. I have been writing down things for the last several weeks that can help us, that many users from any skill set can do to help us.
Reviewing and voting on thirty bees helps us. In the end the more users and more developers that look at thirty bees as a platform, it helps us. The exposure helps us. It helps on a SEO level and it helps people to realize that we are a legitimate platform. I am not going to ask everyone to go on every site and leave a five star review, rather I would ask that you go an leave an honest review. Some of the places that we could use reviews are:
- Facebook – If you have a Facebook account, stop by our Facebook page and leave a review of thirty bees. When users check our thirty bees it might be an area where they look.
- GitHub – GitHub does not allow for reviews, but they have their own system of stars and forks. If you have a GitHub account visit the thirty bees repository and give it a star. There are sites like eCommWar that rank e-commerce platforms by the number of GitHub stars. The higher on the page, the more exposure we get.
- Softaculous – This is a big one for us. They display platforms in their e-commerce section based on views and reviews. We have made it mid way up the list, but the higher applications on the list do get more installs. If you have used thirty bees and your host uses cpanel, could you rate us? Maybe even leave a review? All you have to do is log in to your cpanel account, then find Softaculous. From there click on e-commerce applications and find thirty bees. There you can leave a star review or give a detailed review. This one would really help us the most, but please, be honest in your reviews.
- Alternativeto.net – This is another place we need the communities help on voting. One of our community members @FooLab posted a link a couple weeks ago and it has taken off. If you would vote for thirty bees here it would help us out.
We have an active community on Crowdin that is translating thirty bees into other languages. This is something we would like a community member to take over helping with. You do not really have to speak all of the languages that are being translated, but you would need to look over the translations are review them, then approve them so they could be used in the next releases of thirty bees.
Another area we could use help in is maintaining our core modules. The complicated modules we have under control, but the less complicated ones need periodic bug fixes, builds, and releases to our API. If you think this is something that you would like to help us with, please let us know.
Outreach is something that helps thirty bees as a whole. Reaching out to developers who are not listed as having compatible modules or whose modules are not in the thirty bees store. This helps us, this helps us in the fact that developers realize there is a growing community and this helps us when they list their modules in our shop from a revenue point. We would ask each of you, if you see a module you want to buy that is not in our shop or not compatible, contact the developer and mention the shop and thirty bees. We would also be interested in having a community liaison to help us with this as well. If you would be interested, please contact us.
Writing blog posts
Are you a developer? Or someone with a specialty? We would love to feature you on our blog. Having our community learn from other members of our community is an awesome thing. You can share your experience or expertise with the community and give tips and tricks. If you have an idea for a blog post you would like to write, please let us know.
I promised the community that we would make bi-monthly posts letting everyone know where we are at and what is going on with thirty bees, I hope this post answers some questions and also moves some of you to act to help thirty bees out. There have been many different discussions on the forum about how we are doing, what we are spending time on, and what we are spending money on. I cannot remember who I posted back and forth with, but I wanted to mention we are looking at migrating away from MailChimp because of the cost. We are still growing and our list cost is going up every month, so it does make sense to stop it before it becomes unmanageable.
I would also like to extend a special thanks to Raf from Mind Nutrition. He was one of the first shops we converted to thirty bees, he decided to become a Bronze level Patreon sponsor of thirty bees. Thank you so much for supporting us! and thank everyone in the community for supporting us. Together we will make e-commerce for everyone!