After 10 years, I'm done with IPS

Russ

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So if I buy IPS today and in 5 months I purchase an add-on, I essentially only get updates to that add-on for a month unless I renew IPB or the add-on developer is willing to work with me privately?
 

ShahinPB

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So if I buy IPS today and in 5 months I purchase an add-on, I essentially only get updates to that add-on for a month unless I renew IPB or the add-on developer is willing to work with me privately?
Yes, you are correct if they are purchased from marketplace.
 
Last edited:

Taylor J

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So if I buy IPS today and in 5 months I purchase an add-on, I essentially only get updates to that add-on for a month unless I renew IPB or the add-on developer is willing to work with me privately?
If you purchase the addon through the marketplace yes you are correct.
 

Pete

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Where's the incentive for sellers to not sell through the marketplace? The exception is if they already have a site in place and are selling for 4.4 and below - but as more and more sites upgrade to 4.5+, that reason surely must make it more and more attractive for sellers not to bother doing anything outside the market place.

All of this 'you don't have to use the marketplace' is predicated on creators being willing to accept more work that they could reasonably have expected the marketplace to do for them. But I still think it's a bit soon - give it a few more months as people renewing to adopt 4.5 start hitting their own renewal cycles and the story might play out a little differently.
 

JayCeeS

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Up until vBulletin's change to a flat rate and to this day in XenForo, renewal was EARNED through software development, improvement, and support. It was not expected that customers will renew unless the software support or development warrants it.

If IPB's intended route is that their software becomes less and less usable without a subscription, then that's what it should be called -- a Subscription. A subscription is obviously mandatory to retain a level of service. Renewal implies something that is done on the customer's timetable. vB and XF agree. IPB disagrees.
How is IPS not earning it? The software is constantly getting developed and improved, at one point so much so that the 3rd party devs were struggling to keep up (3.x.x version) and support is always there and willing to help.
 

Russ

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How is IPS not earning it? The software is constantly getting developed and improved, at one point so much so that the 3rd party devs were struggling to keep up (3.x.x version) and support is always there and willing to help.

There are valid times where it's very reasonable not to renew your software license for a certain time.

Screenshot_26.png

I'm aware this was during their big 4.5 release and also that the marketplace wasn't even a thing at this time. That being said, this would be one of those times where many communities would have zero benefits in renewing assuming they didn't need official support (or forum support, I'm not sure how IPS works exactly with that). It's not just IPS too if one of my XenForo licenses expire I don't rush out to renew it simply because I love XF, I'm a bit practical and will renew when an update comes out typically.

The IPS approach, it's a bit more aggressive. "Sorry, you don't have access to updates/support on your plugin you purchased last month even though it states 6 months with your add-on purchase because your IPS license is expired but you can try reaching out directly to the developer". Really this is my biggest problem with this whole approach. I feel like you should be able to interact with your paid plugins assuming they're active even if you're slightly expired. If a plugin requires a newer version of IPS then the update should simply state that and it's up to the user to renew at that point.

I love the marketplace they introduced and I'm actively looking at IPS for style development, just a little feedback though.
 

Chemical

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It's definitely tough, but the question of liability comes into play. If IPS is selling them and presumably taking a cut, one must also assume IPS is taking some percentage of liability in the reviews - if a plugin wrecks a site, does the site owner have legal recourse to IPS? Such processes are complicated and important to hammer out and why I think more clarity is needed on 'the process'.
Assuming some form of liability is both a legal and moral issue. I wonder, should liability for loss of system/uptime (call it what you will) be tested legally, whether IPS might find themselves in a difficult place. As it is, from what we know, most folks questioning this are hobbyists, or small businesses and pursuing legal recourse is not something they are geared up to do. As for general behaviour, businesses are under no obligation to act in what a 3rd party sees as an ethical or moral way. Just as clients affected by their behaviour are not obligated to keep quiet as and when they are affected by it.

As for the 4.5 marketplace changes, I question the motivation for this. I've read numerous statements from several IPS staffers, each and several claiming changes were driven by improvements in reliability, quality and so on. But, each one leads me to the same conclusion - time would have been better spent refining and bug fixing IPS core.

My battlefields have taken me to both ends of the spectrum where literally no ecosystem exists beyond a wiki page on the developer's website (one platform I help maintain installs of), to mostly-completely unvetted battleground (XF, though I understand from Chris D that egregiously bad developers will be removed if there are enough complaints), to review on first submission and not updates (SMF, Moodle), to sanity check on every update (IPS) to 'full and formal code review on every update you're going to deploy to production' (us), and I think there's merit to all of the above positions, but it comes down to how much risk the parties are assuming and more importantly what the expectations are if something goes bad.
I don't see there being bad developers as such. Just bad marketplaces. One should feel confident that the marketplace they choose to shop in, sells, or promotes products that have achieved a certain level of quality. So for example, if forum vendor A runs a largely unregulated marketplace then I expect to find unregulated products. Like the way much of Amazon has been heading these past 18 months or so.

But as we've collectively agreed (I think?), maintaining marketplace integrity is a challenge. Who for example can claim what is or isn't, valid or desirable functionality? Let alone at current pricing levels, having the resources to test that functionality for every new release. But, that's not to say it can't, or shouldn't be done. It's just a question of resource and to that end I'd happily pay double or treble for an app that's been installed and thoroughly tested by a third party, preferably the marketplace operator themselves. But I am one of a very small group that feel the same - I'm convinced most see $30 products as 'not cheap' and the thought of paying $100 for the same thing, minus a few annoying bugs, is of near zero interest.

That may be a poor choice of terminology on my part. I come from platforms where 'theming' is a complex and nebulous definition which can include replacements of templates or renderer components and where even a specific 'theme' can replace the templates and rendering pipeline for specific plugins on a per-plugin basis where appropriate.
Yes, themes are more than just the odd template change and what the dev sees as a snazzy pallette. From my perspective, I see themes more as browser Apps, working largely on the client, pulling what they need from server side resources.

In my brief look at the marketplace last night, I didn't get a strong sense that the skins/themes/styles/whatever you want to call them were markedly different in terms of structure and layout, which makes me suspect I need to consider writing addons to get to what I want to do, and then have the skin around them be styled. Can perfectly work with that.
There's a couple of theme 'devs' on the IPS marketplace that if you are taken in by what they say in their theme descriptions, would have you thinking they've produced functional and aesthetic works of art. Until you see what they've actually done. To balance this out, I've had the pleasure of meeting a couple of superb 3rd party plugin devs responsible for producing some really nice functionality.

Sure, and I think that's the realm I'm entering. On the one hand, that will be less drama, on the other there is a part of me that is saddened by it because part of how I learned was getting involved in writing mods and so on for various things over the years - and I'm still naively socialist enough to believe in open source. (I work on Moodle-related plugins and hosting for a day job and I go to the Moodle conferences as a presenter so...)
I've been coding for almost 40 years - Assembly, C native and x compiled, LISP, Pascal, Prolog, 6809, 68k, 88/86/N86,V20/V30/SPARC, RISC/CISC, OS9, Unix, Xenix, CPM DOS, QDOS, Windows, Embedded/standalone, Comms, Drivers, OS, TSRs :ROFLMAO:, JS, and for 15+ of those years I worked in an environment where using (or copying) open source code would get you fired and walked out the same day. And for a time I bought into that. Until I realised that no corp was ever going to produce ubiquity and utility in the form of Linux, jQuery etc.

But in saying that, even now I am wary of using any code that doesn't have an SLA attached to it. Which ultimately is what this entire thread is about - when you buy a product from XF, IPS or any other forum/community vendor, what exactly are you getting? It's not so bad with Discourse because you have the choice of using it for free. But when there's a fee attached, if we pay 100c in the $ for a product, then I believe we have the legal and moral right to expect same in return in terms of the product doing what it says on the tin.

Well, what you can do is what my world encompasses. I don't know how viable this is for IPS or XF but like I said I come from Moodle. Moodle has all the tooling built in to run both PHPUnit and Behat tests and supplies a pretty comprehensive test suite for itself with these frameworks. Plugin authors are encouraged to submit plugins following the same guidelines.
There is one IPS dev who is trying to get his fellow devs to adopt a uniform and unit tested approach. I don't think he has had any takers.

It's also my understanding that IPS does not unit test its code.

From what I see, you could probably write a ruleset for PHPCS without too much effort, and automate that into the marketplace process as a step and if an upload's PHP files don't meet that, don't allow it. I actually think from what I'm hearing this would negate the very worst developers without IPS folks having to intervene. If you're feeling really bold, adding in PHPMD for some sanity checking, maybe PHPStan or Psalm for static analysis. DevOps: automate everything you can.
You are way above me with regards what's available. But from a first principle point of view, I believe all code should be capable of being self testable. And by that I mean, on demand, running a reserved internal routine that self tests its own functionality. Apart from that, we were always taught to write use cases first, unit tests second, code third. And fourth, to test any given app, you'd assemble series of use cases, run their unit tests and evaluate from there.

I don't know how feasible it is for IPS/XF/etc. to invest in building out a full PHPUnit/Behat automation suite, but my experience is that if you give plugin authors the tools to do this sort of thing, they tend to actually use it out of pride wherever possible, and I think if you're going for a marketplace, making it easier for developers to show quality benefits everyone.
Much of this would come part and parcel with a versioned API, which has an inherent need to test for well formedness of request and availability of requested functionality. Plus, the response is guaranteed (assuming no core API errors and correct method call) to return the expected well formed response. Add permissioning, for example dev class 3 can use class 3 API requests and you have the start of a framework that whilst not as rigorously considered as a use case -> unit test -> code -> application test approach, at least allows ad hoc growth in functionality to be matched with a similar level of functional surety.

As an aside, I do feel that theme presentation could be improved using some simple techniques relating to meta layers. For example, getting devs to use vendor defined CSS constants rather than ad hoc literal CSS selectors. I appreciate some of this is already in place with client side controller references, but it could go further still.

One other thing which is troubling my colleagues and me is how IPS is going to deploy plugins into its much discussed phone/tablet App? From what I can see and have read, the App only supports core functionality. What then does that make of the introduction of the ACP marketplace? It seems the promotion and claimed increased uptake of Apps via the marketplace is only going to lead to the question of why don't they work in the App? Which they won't be able to do until and, or if, IPS reworks its architecture to support the seamless rendering of 3rd party App functionality. Perhaps I've missed something. Would be interested to hear IPS' position on this. Will the App support 3rd party plugins? And if so, does that in turn mean a rewriting core -> plugin interfaces.

Our customers seem pretty happy with the new marketplace. The number of marketplace downloads close to doubled on the release of 4.5 thanks to the higher visibility of the add-ons.
But will they be reaching the same conclusions, as many of us have done here, when their IPS licence expires? :unsure:

It’s not about that everyone is unhappy but its about giving a good customer experience
hallelujah :tup:
 

haqzore

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Dec 6, 2012
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I love the marketplace they introduced and I'm actively looking at IPS for style development, just a little feedback though.
1) Hell yea!
2) This deserves more attention, for many reasons.
  • You are someone whose livelihood is at stake with the marketplace.
  • You have years of experience in forum development/sales /etc.
  • You actively develop for other platforms that DO NOT have this style of marketplace.

And yet you are still considering entering the IPS market. I weigh your opinion more than the average admin for these reasons.

But, each one leads me to the same conclusion - time would have been better spent refining and bug fixing IPS core.
But they are refining the core. They have been. And they are fixing bugs. IPS is not known as being bug-ridden.

I just don't see the cause/effect relationship you are insinuating here.
 

Nev_Dull

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I'm not an IPS client (though I've considered it). However, I think the Marketplace concept is good -- or at least in line with what a number of other companies are doing. The problem is they've set up the technology without (from what we've seen here) consideration of the policy and procedure of the business backend.

The simple answer would be (as some have suggested) to change from a licence and renewal system to a subscription service. All addons in the Marketplace would become additional paid assets under the current subscription. If a customer doesn't renew their subscription, they no longer have access to any of the subscribed assets. Easy to manage and easy to understand. Even if you subscribe to an asset a week before your renewal period, you still lose access to the files if you don't renew your subscription. That ought to mitigate any potential liability issues with addons.

There are those who balk at the idea of subscription software. That's something the company would have to manage through their marketing. I think most current customers would continue to support the company under a new model.
 

Morrigan

I put the Cute in Exe"cute".
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Well Nev_Dull Its also not the reason that some people purchase licenses to self host. I certainly don't want a "subscription based service otherwise I'd be using the IPS hosting service. I own 8 licenses can you imagine the amount I'd be paying to maintain these with their lowest tier (which one of my licenses would need a higher tier).

I couldn't.

3 months is more than I pay in a year for the licenses. This includes my monthly server costs.

This additionally means that all of the marketplace devs are now employed/paid by invision which I additionally don't believe is feasible. Each dev chooses how much they earn per item they sell on the marketplace. This would change the structure of how the marketplace fully runs including that IPS, at that point, would be forced to control more aspects of the market than they already do. At this point then IPS would not only be fully responsible for each dev and their product, but their own which is not what IPS wanted to do with this change at all.

I personally love this:
Screenshot_26.png

I hope everyone noticed that this is precisely 6 months (give five days) which means that while maybe if your license expired in the middle there you may not have renewed but that still fits a 6 month renewal time frame......

I think I have more to say but I'm going to thumper myself for a moment.
 

Russ

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I hope everyone noticed that this is precisely 6 months (give five days) which means that while maybe if your license expired in the middle there you may not have renewed but that still fits a 6 month renewal time frame......

I can't tell if you're happy or not that you're essentially forced to renew under these marketplace changes. :D
 

Morrigan

I put the Cute in Exe"cute".
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You're not forced to do anything. Last time I checked most of you you were adults with your own credit card. Its perfectly reasonable to expect people to keep their license up to date because most "bugs" are implemented when IPS makes changes and fixes. So if you're not updating the software then the likelihood that you need to update your plugins is extremely low.

I have upwards of like 30 apps and plugins and I don't have to update them that often unless IPS makes a change that causes a bug. Which means that I already have an active license to have updated IPS to cause the bug to happen in the first place..... So honestly I find everyone complaining about it just a bit in the:



Camp.
 

feldon30

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Jun 7, 2013
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"We consider renewal to be a mandatory part of owning our products. We intend to increasingly deny access to support, resources, and also 3rd party resources and themes you've purchased unless you maintain your IPS subscription renewal." - IPS

"Nobody is forced to renew and people should put on their big boy pants and decide when to swipe the credit card. Everyone is just complaining." - Morrigan

This is called cognitive dissonance.
 

borbole

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Sep 15, 2012
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You're not forced to do anything. Last time I checked most of you you were adults with your own credit card. Its perfectly reasonable to expect people to keep their license up to date because most "bugs" are implemented when IPS makes changes and fixes. So if you're not updating the software then the likelihood that you need to update your plugins is extremely low.

I have upwards of like 30 apps and plugins and I don't have to update them that often unless IPS makes a change that causes a bug. Which means that I already have an active license to have updated IPS to cause the bug to happen in the first place..... So honestly I find everyone complaining about it just a bit in the:



Camp.

Very well said.
 

Nev_Dull

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Well @Nev_Dull Its also not the reason that some people purchase licenses to self host. I certainly don't want a "subscription based service otherwise I'd be using the IPS hosting service. I own 8 licenses can you imagine the amount I'd be paying to maintain these with their lowest tier (which one of my licenses would need a higher tier).
The thing is, it already is a subscription service. They just don't call it that. You aren't allowed to sell your "licence". You have to renew every 6 months in order to have access to the files, should you want to redownload them (including addons). A rose by any other name....

Calling it a subscription service doesn't mean the prices for addons would have to change. Devs could still set their own prices, but they wouldn't have to keep track of when every customer bought the product. Each sale would be tied to the individual subscription cycle, which the market place takes care of.

And as several others have mentioned, IPS has already accepted liability for the addons they host on the marketplace. If someone buys an addon from the marketplace that breaks their site and costs them revenue, they would be well within their rights to sue IPS for promoting that addon. (Hopefully, that never happens.)

As to your case, there's certainly room in a subscription service for volume discounts, should they be so inclined. I'm no fan of subscription services, but in this case, there's little difference beyond calling a spade a spade.
 

Russ

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You're not forced to do anything. Last time I checked most of you you were adults with your own credit card. Its perfectly reasonable to expect people to keep their license up to date because most "bugs" are implemented when IPS makes changes and fixes. So if you're not updating the software then the likelihood that you need to update your plugins is extremely low.

I have upwards of like 30 apps and plugins and I don't have to update them that often unless IPS makes a change that causes a bug. Which means that I already have an active license to have updated IPS to cause the bug to happen in the first place..... So honestly I find everyone complaining about it just a bit in the:



Camp.

As an adult, I can see both sides to this marketplace change, I just happen to land on the other side from you but that doesn't seem ok with you.
 

Pete

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I hope everyone noticed that this is precisely 6 months (give five days)

Um, it's American format dates (m/d/y), not European format (d/m/y) as shown by the 4.5.2 release as 09/17/20. That 4.5.4 release was 2 weeks ago.

Like I said, let's see what happens in a few months time when the 4.5 release cycle adopters are up for renewal.

EDIT: Oh, you're pointing to the 4.4 last release to 4.5 first release as a 6 month window. Fair point: but still not relevant when discussing the Marketplace - which was only new in 4.5. Have this conversation again when 4.5 is 6 months old and see if everyone has the same view. And that also makes the presumption that people were renewing at the point of last 4.4 release so ready to renew ready for 4.5.

Would be interesting to see how many people are active license subscribers vs live users of IPS not currently actively subscribed.
 

Morrigan

I put the Cute in Exe"cute".
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The thing is, it already is a subscription service. They just don't call it that. You aren't allowed to sell your "licence". You have to renew every 6 months in order to have access to the files, should you want to redownload them (including addons). A rose by any other name....

Calling it a subscription service doesn't mean the prices for addons would have to change. Devs could still set their own prices, but they wouldn't have to keep track of when every customer bought the product. Each sale would be tied to the individual subscription cycle, which the market place takes care of.

And as several others have mentioned, IPS has already accepted liability for the addons they host on the marketplace. If someone buys an addon from the marketplace that breaks their site and costs them revenue, they would be well within their rights to sue IPS for promoting that addon. (Hopefully, that never happens.)

As to your case, there's certainly room in a subscription service for volume discounts, should they be so inclined. I'm no fan of subscription services, but in this case, there's little difference beyond calling a spade a spade.
But this hasn't changed. Its always been a subscription for support and updates. I've had a license for over 13 years. IPS isn't suddenly making license renewals revolutionarily different.
 
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