Ask Our Project and Quality Assurance Manager Anything in Our First Ever AMA

Jack Kitterhing has one of the most important jobs at WPMU DEV: Project and Quality Assurance Manager. Basically, it’s his job to make sure our plugins do what we say they’re going to do, and do it well.

What you probably don’t know is that Jack has been the first person to take on this role. As WPMU DEV has grown, ensuring our plugins are top notch is a priority and Jack has worked hard to oversee and guide the development of our recent releases.

We get a lot of requests in our forums for new plugin features, as well as questions about upcoming releases, all of which Jack takes on board and answers when he can.

So in our first AMA – Ask Me Anything – here’s your chance to ask Jack anything right here, whether you want to know about how certain plugins work and why, what to expect in upcoming versions of our products, or even what Jack had for breakfast!

If you're a WPMU DEV member, you've probably run into Jack Kitterhing in our support forums.
If you’re a WPMU DEV member, you’ve probably run into Jack Kitterhing in our support forums.

Meet Jack Kitterhing

Here’s a bit of background about Jack: He’s based in the UK and was a super helpful WPMU DEV member who helped out a ton in our forums before applying for a job on our support team.

After some time as a team leader, he stepped up to take on the Project and Quality Assurance Manager role last year to guide the development and improvement of our plugins.

Ask Me (Jack!) Anything: Getting Involved

Anyone is welcome to ask a question, whether you’re a member or not. This post will be open for comments for 24 hours, giving readers in all time zones the chance to get involved.

Jack will be answering questions throughout the day and will return to answer questions tomorrow (he needs to sleep, after all!).

We’re looking forward to some great discussion!

99 Responses

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    I found a bug in Pro SItes recently- (the coupons don’t work.) I had it acknowledged as a bug *after* I jumped through a bunch of hoops and *after* a support person looked into it from the inside. It was AFTER that I was told that others had reported the same.

    It’s not fixed yet – so now my question: Are problems well tracked, labeled as bugs so the wheel isn’t fixed again, and if all that’s a “yes”, how do you determine the priority of time and effort to get that doesn’t-do-what-it-says-on-the-tin bug squashed? Should I be checking a “known bug” repository before even posting for support? If I found it’s there, how would I then give it a *bump*?

    • Code Norris

      Hi there @awemaker,

      When a bug is reported by a member, support should check in our bug tracker to see if the bug has already been reported. It’s possible in your case, the bug was confirmed after your initial post which was missed.

      If the bug hasn’t already been reported, support will try and replicate the issue, once successfully replicated (generally the same day), it’ll be marked as a bug on your support ticket. This is then logged in our internal bug tracker, where it’s evaluated on how important it is. For example a fatal error or a plugin not activating, a new releasee would generally be made within a couple of hours (I should point out this has only happened a few times and releases were made within 30 minutes to fix it).

      The developer will be assigned a due date to get the bug fixed by, it’s important to note that the due date is to have the bug fixed and committed to the plugin repository, not a actual release being made.

      If other bugs have come in around the same, we generally will hold back a release for a few additional day, so we’d release all fixes in one release. Because of this, we’d generally provide beta’s in the forums so the member can continue building their site without having to wait for the release.

      Our developers are all assigned plugins, but one developer can have multiple plugins, sometimes this means that we have to prioritize what to fix first, with Pro Sites, we’ll be having a release at the end of this week, it should have been last week, but our Ultimate Facebook plugin needed updating due to changes in the Facebook API. The same developer is in charge of both plugins, because the API changes rendered the majority of functionality in Ultimate Facebook broken, it was a decision that was made to fix that first.

      It’s not easy making these types of decisions but it has to be done.

      In your specific case, I’ve checked the bug mentioned and that was fixed 14 days ago and committed to the repository, this means a beta should have been provided on your support ticket.

      I’ll package up the beta and post it on your support ticket later on today for you.

      Thanks! :)

  • Hey Jack,

    I’ve been a member for a long time and have used so many of the WPMU DEV plugins for many years. I’ve found them incredibly helpful over the years and they have saved me countless hours of work. I’m also fond of the idea that I can get all the plugins and themes under one subscription since I end up using plugins and themes I didn’t think I’d initially need. It’s nice to know I can use them without pulling out my credit card again.

    I also appreciate the support team. I’ve had a lot of questions over the years, many of them trivial; sometimes a fresh set of eyes helps a lot and the support staff (including you) have consistently been incredibly helpful and patient with me. So thank you and also thank you to all the support staff!

    I thought it would be cool to have demos of the plugins. I don’t think you would need a separate demo site for each plugin since you could probably group all the complimentary plugins together under one test site. It’s been at the back of my mind for a long time and I think it would be helpful to quickly test out a plugin or just check the admin screen for full options so I know which plugin is best to use for what I need.

    I also thought it would be cool to place links on the plugin pages to some corresponding posts about how to use them for different purposes. There have been a lot of WPMU DEV plugin tutorials that would be helpful for people to see, but I wonder if they can get easily lost among all the other different kinds of posts on the blog, especially since the current plugins category on the blog shows posts on any and all plugins (not just WPMU DEV ones). It would be nice to be able to access all the WPMU DEV plugin posts a bit easier.

    It would be neat to see a lot more WPMU DEV plugins that integrate well with each other. For example, having the e-Newsletter, Automessage and Membership 2 Pro work seamlessly together would be a real bonus. You can use them all at the same time, but it would be cool if there were more integrated options like selecting an e-Newsletter template to use for a M2 email, for example. I don’t think this is currently possible, although, I might be mistaken.

    Those are the ideas that have been hanging around my head for a while. I’ll post more if I think of any. Thanks so much for your time!

    Cheers,

    Jenni

    • Code Norris

      Hi Jenni,

      Thanks for your kind words! It’s means a lot to both me and the whole team, when we get awesome positive feedback like this. :)

      Re: The demos, we did use to have demos for a few of our plugins, including Directory, Classifieds, MarketPress and some others, we found quite often that we’d make a very small change (sometimes as small as a font size via CSS) and we’d then get complaints that the plugin didn’t look the same out of the box.

      We definitely would love to revisit demos at some point and it is something we’ve been considering lately. :)

      That’s a great idea about having links to relevant posts on the specific plugin pages, that’s something I’ll definitely discuss internally, I agree there’s lots of values in the posts and tutorials and they could be extremely useful for nearly everyone.

      With the integrations and possibilities of integrations, that’s something we’re looking at a lot more lately, especially with the great new code base of M2 and MarketPress 3.0, allowing greater extendability. And of course integrations with Upfront. :)

      Thanks!

  • WPMU DEV Initiate

    I work in the Mortgage Field Services Industry which is just now realizing the benefits of Open Source Technology. Based upon your experience, what is the best way to gauge wants and needs in a given sector? What I mean is that many of my Clients use WordPress and as such if I want to query they on what they would like their WordPress site to do, how is this done? Currently, I use a Google Doc. And then how do you meaningfully measure metrics in what works and does not work for them? I am hopeful to drill down upon their desires so that I may outsource their requirements to outfits like yours as you already have a plethora of plugins which eliminates the need to proverbially reinvent the wheel.

    Thanx!

    • Code Norris

      Hi there @Foreclosurepedia,

      Thanks for your question, it really depends on exactly how you want to do it, based on your current workflow, I’d say create that Google doc like you do and then compare what everyone wants. If you have 10 clients that all want the same feature, then you might want to look into finding something suitable for that or finding out exactly what they want.

      I also find that sometimes making suggestions works better than asking, so if you know the clients field of work, you might be able to suggest certain plugins and features that you think would be useful, you could then build up a list of plugins you use for specific requests. :)

      Thanks!

  • Flash Drive

    Hi Jack,

    While I generally like the functionality of many of the plugins, and really appreciate the ability to have a single provider for most of the plugins I need to use, I have found that there is a huge lack of response to community needs in terms of updated features.

    Take for example, the MarketPress plugin. I had a need for a UPS shipping module. It wasn’t yet available – although many other members had requested this feature for as long as a year plus back. For an online commerce plugin a UPS shipping module just makes sense as a CORE feature! Finally, I went ahead and coded one. After I sold it to a few people, WPMUDev finally released one (straight copied some of my code). I don’t mind that you guys used the code or anything – just that it took someone making one on our own before you all finally got around to releasing one. If you look at the MarketPress support area you will see that there are a great many new features requested. Usually members are told that you will look at that for the next release, but few new features ever get released.

    The same is true of many of your other plugins I use.

    I seems to me that WPMUDev is more interested in releasing totally new plugins than making the ones you already have truly useful for the community. Is it more important to have a huge number of plugins with marginal functionality than to have fewer, quality plugins that are well supported? When I look at your plugins now when considering their use, I have to look carefully at what is NOT there as compared to the pro offerings from other companies. I have found several cases where just the very basics are in place. With no assurance that your plugins will ever have feature updates – even when the support forums say they are in the works – I am finding I have to choose a plugin from another shop.

    At this point I am trying to use plugins from developers that update frequently and are more responsive to users needs… judging from the comments in the support forums I don’t think I’m alone in this criticism.

    All the above said, I think the people you have answering the questions in the support forum are great. Very helpful and I know they are trying to help members get the plugins working in a way that matches their needs.

    Is there anything in the works that will allow developers enough time to track user’s needs and be responsive with changes?

    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

      Got to agree with dlamar on pretty much every point made in that post. Jack, please advise WPMU management that there are some huge holes in your company’s processes. WPMU is a premium plugin company that is way more expensive than many others. Superior service, or at lease some level of responsiveness, should be expected.

    • Code Norris

      Hi there @dlamar,

      We certainly wouldn’t directly copy or use any code without prior consent. Would it be possible for you to email me a copy of your UPS shipping module so I can take a look at this for you? If that is possible please send to contact(at)wpmudev.org with the subject line Attn: Jack Kitterhing

      Regarding the progress on some features, over the past few months we’ve really been working on being more proactive with adding new features to existing plugins, you’ll see this with the massive update to Pro Sites, Membership 2 receiving a complete new feature set and the upcoming MarketPress 3.0 release.

      It can be a tough decision on how quick to implement a requested feature, while we do and are trying to get everything included members want, there also has to be a business decision on development time, for example if 2 members have requested a feature that’s going to take require major development work, say 30 hours. We have no problem adding that, but how quickly it gets added depends entirely on how useful it will be for the plugin, or if it’s an edge case.

      Let me know about that UPS module, I’d really like to get to the bottom of that for you. I’ll also investigate from my side here and see if I can find anything out about that. We take these matters very seriously.

      • Flash Drive

        Hi Jack,

        The UPS module thing was a couple of years ago I think, and i’m not really concerned about it. I didn’t really write it to make money, I just needed it – as did so many other MarketPress users.

        The bigger issue here is that some of your plugins are sorely missing important functionality that should be considered CORE to the plugin.

        I expected the ‘business decision on development time’ response. That is the canned response always given by a development manager. The argument does have merit – no argument there. The real problem I have is that you are spending lots of development time on releasing ‘new’ plugins and not enough on fixing the ones you already offer.

        Sure, some requests are fringe use cases, but if you go through the support forums and virtually any of your major plugins you will find multiple member requests for no-brainer core functionality that is just plain missing.

        Perhaps a big pow-wow with the support staff on a plug-in by plug-in basis would help you to realize the huge issue here. I agree with shorton – WPMUDEV isn’t cheap – and the plug-ins need to have expected core features, really premium support and responsive developers.
        The subscription cost isn’t worth it otherwise.

        • Code Norris

          Hi there @dlamar,

          Re: The UPS module, I’d be more than happy to take a look at the situation and attribute any of your code to you within the plugin. I’ll still look into in the UPS module even though it was some time ago, as any matter where a developer takes code they shouldn’t is a matter we take very seriously.

          With adding new features to plugins, I understand it feels that way, but it is the truth unfortunately, there has to be a decision somewhere along the line as to what gets in a release and what doesn’t, I wish we had unlimited development time to add in all the cool things users suggest, but it just isn’t possible.

          I’m all to aware of the issue here with plugins missing certain functionality that has been widely requested, I worked in the support forums for over a year before taking up this position, and know first hand the awesome requests we get that can’t always be put into action.

          We do have internal trackers, where feature requests are grouped in release schedules, MarketPress 3.0 will introduce the much awaited multi-variations/attributes that has been widely requested among others.

          And we have a ton of great stuff lined up for future releases, we’re also working at shorter release cycles, so you should see feature releases every 4-6 weeks, rather than the 2-4 months (sometimes more), that you see now.

          Thanks!

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Hi There,
    This is a fun post! I have a few questions for you:
    1. Do you use testing software to help discover bugs? Something like Selenium or Capybara?
    2. How many bugs do you typically find in newly released plugins?
    3. How do you QA new plugins? What are your testing procedures?
    3. There was a bug in the membership pro plugin related to dripped content. I posted about the issue in the forum but it wasn’t fixed in a timely manner — took weeks and I am not sure if it is fixed yet. This caused me to use another membership plugin without dripped content issues (S2Member). How long does it usually take to fix a bug that isn’t critical to the overal performance of a plugin?

    Thanks — really looking to learn more. Great post — love the transparency!

    • Code Norris

      Hi there Chantelle,

      1: We don’t currently use testing software such as Selenium, though instead we’re working on implementing automated unit tests within some plugins using grunt js, http://gruntjs.com/
      One of the first plugins to have this implemented was Membership 2, which has been a massive help, using those automated tests we found 7 bugs before it even got to the manual testing stage. :)

      2: A new plugin being developed, will typically throughout it’s development period have in the region of 30-50 bugs (ranging from small to major), while this sounds a lot, developing a new plugin takes a lot of work and we typically get issues on new plugins in development fixed within hours so we can continue with the development. It also depends on the scope of a project, something like Membership 2 was a huge undertaking and a complete rewrite, so something like that would see more bugs than a smaller release like our Private Messaging plugin.

      3: Typically a new plugin in development will undergo various phrases, ranging from initial wire framing of both the admin and front-end, to a early alpha that has most of the functionality, at the alpha stage, it’ll be tested to check the functionality matches initial specifications and to find any early bugs. Testing in stages throughout development allows us to find bugs quicker than if we waited till a final beta.

      Once the alpha has been tested and any issues reported, the developer will continue working towards the specifications provided, I’ll normally meet with the developer at least once or twice a week to discuss progress and test new versions.

      At the end of development, when we have a version that myself, the developer, lead UX (User experience) and our designers are happy with, it’ll then be packaged up and sent to support for testing. Any issues reported by support are fixed and I’ll then complete the final test, once the final test has been complete, it’ll then be sent to the marketing department.

      My personal testing routine is based around everything, from the main specification, making sure everything works as per the specification, then I’ll check all generated pages, gateways and gateway responses (if it’s e-commerce related), I’ll then compare the UI and UX based on the mockups provided by the designers and the lead UX. Really anything and everything is tested, if there’s a menu link, a button generated, a widget, a shortcode, all shortcode attributes etc, it’s all tested. :) All this is done multiple times leading up to a release.

      Sorry to hear about your issue with the dripped content issue, I’ve asked someone to look into that for you, they should be posting back on your support ticket shortly.

      Thanks!

  • The Bug Hunter

    Hey Jack,

    Your amazing plugins have helped me launch several online businesses for over the past 3 years. I would not have been able to do it without them. My only issue I have ever had was with the delay in Support. Initial response is often very quick, however follow up after the initial response is sometimes days later.

    This is really frustrating if there is a bug issue, because it delays the fix for quite a while. I currently have a ticket that is over 3 weeks old and has been escalated to your dev team to provide a bug fix asap. I have had to shut off new customer sign ups to my site for the 3 weeks because of the Pro Sites bug. I continue to add new threads to the ticket with my own tests and input in the hopes of helping your developers fix the bug.

    Like I said, I LOVE what WPMUDEV provides, you are an amazing resource. I’d just like to see a little better follow-up to tracking tickets after they have been initially responded to, and a bit more communication when it comes to bug fixes.

    Have a great day!
    Chris

    • Code Norris

      Hi there Chris,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      We’re looking into improvements on internal updates to bugs, one of which is that a developer can mark a ticket as fixed and the system will post a auto update to your ticket letting you know it’s fixed and when it should be released (it’ll be clear that it’s a bot response), and of course our real staff will continue to monitor, but that should provide a lot more clarity in the progress.

      I’ve had a look at your tickets and our next Pro Sites update should definitely fix all your issues I believe, we’re working on a few outstanding issues, but I’ll provide you a beta on your latest thread, which should hopefully resolve the majority of your issues. :)

      Thanks! :)

  • WPMU DEV Initiate

    Hi
    I have a site running CustomPress for some CPT work (recipes) and LoopBuddy for the query and resulting pages.

    Trying to get a social media Pinterest “share” button to work. The plugins I’ve tried all work on the main page, but won’t allow for the “pin it” on the query resulting pages.

    Any ideas/help?

    -Adam

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    I love using some of your plugins but only a handful, and never use any of your themes. I am not someone who can justify the $100/month membership costs, however whenever I see a promo that takes it down to $10/mo for a year, I jump right on it since I do find a $10/mo value. Have you considered a tiered approach for someone like me who would be more than happy to pay $10/mo in perpetuity for less features? For example, I don’t use the forums/help desk much and don’t run any multisite blogs. Thanks.

    • Code Norris

      Hi there @draivika,

      It’s certainly something that’s worth considering, on our annual plan with no discount it works out to $49 a month, (paid yearly), but providing a tiered pricing structure is certainly a interesting proposition, we had discussed before about offering a package with no support, but decided against it mainly because if anything was wrong it isn’t always clear if it’s a bug or a conflict etc, so it’d still need support to find that out.

      Thanks for bringing that up though, something worth thinking about. :)

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Jack,
    I am not going to write a novel here in this post. Hopefully your okay with that…
    I am just going to ask a question or two. So here goes…
    1) How do you decide what new plugin is built?
    And
    2) What is the procedure used to implement the new plugin?
    Me personally I am interested in seeing a Survey plugin…RR

    • Code Norris

      Hi there @RR151,

      1) Anyone in the company can pitch a idea, the idea would be pitched to the CEO (James Farmer) and he’ll ultimately decide if it’s something we want to forge ahead with, if it is, it’ll be put in order of priority of other plugins and features that are in active development or planned for development. Once a plugin has been approved to be developed, I’ll suggest who’s best to develop the plugin based on other plugins they may have done that are similar and also current workload.

      2), Once a developer has been decided on as above, we’ll draw up full blown specifications for features, general functionality, user experience and user interface.

      Once the specification has been completed which will include wireframes, we’ll pass over the wireframes to one of our awesome designers, they’ll design the icons, any images needed etc and our user experience expert will work on the optimal layout of everything.

      This phase generally takes between 1-3 weeks depending on the scope of the project, one this has been done it’ll be passed onto the developer to start.

      We aim to have a alpha ready within 2-3 weeks depending on the scope of the project, I’ll meet with the developer at least once or twice a week, as well as keeping everyone else in the loop (CEO, CTO, head of support etc), and I’ll be in close contact with our user experience expert.

      Once the project has reached a alpha state, it’ll be compared to the initial specifications and tested. Development will continue throughout with bug fixing and any changes needed along the way.

      Ultimately once the plugin is ready after the various stages of testing, it’ll be sent to the marketing team to write the sales page, the video and the announcement post for the blog, the docs team to write the usage guide and then it’ll be launched. :)

      Thanks! :)

  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    My biggest frustration with many of your plugins is that they don’t provide an overview of what they do. I’m talking about providing examples with visuals of what it can do from the user’s perspective. You’re great at providing information about the details (except you don’t always explain the obvious, like how you add the plugin to a page), but you communicate about the plugin only from the developers point of view, not the user’s perspective. I have spent a lot of time screwing around with some of your plugins only to find out that they can’t do what I need them to do, but had made the assumption that they could do it based on very sketchy and generalized list of capabilities. I think you company makes many assumptions about the skill or perspective of your customers that just isn’t always so.

    Can you work on being better at communicating with examples what the plugin features are? And it would be very useful and helpful if you then provided an explanation of how you created each example.

    • Code Norris

      Hi there!

      I totally understand how you feel about the sales documentation and what it can and can’t do, we actually had a great team discussion last week about improving the usage guides.

      And we’re actually already in the process of re-writing and organizing all the sales pages with more info on what a plugin can do, rather than the more generalized information, it should allow members to more easily see what each plugin can help them achieve.

      It’s definitely something we’re working on and are aware of :)

      Also if you aren’t sure if a plugin can do what you need, do always feel free to post a ticket if you are already a member like yourself, or if you aren’t (for anyone else reading this), you can always email us through our contact form and we’d be happy to advise if the plugin suits your needs or not.

      Thanks! :)

      • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

        I have posted tickets to find out and have been very discouraged, as the response comes from developer type people who are very good at addressing the technical side of it, but haven’t demonstrated an ability to approach the discussion from a creative, business, or UX/UI perspective. I need to be able to communicate with someone who understands my broader objectives and evaluate how the plugin may or may not be able to address those needs, then be able to brainstorm options and work-arounds should the plugin not out-of-the-box meet my needs. I only get specific answers to specific questions, and can never seem to get someone to think on a broader conceptual level. Usually I just get referred to the existing documentation, which as we have already identified is not sufficient.

        You need some Strategic and Producer type people to field these kind of questions. Coders just don’t think that way.

        • Code Norris

          Hi there,

          Sorry to hear that, support do try and provide alternative solutions and workarounds when the plugin can’t do what you need out of the box.

          Sometimes this isn’t always possible, as we get requests such as we need to integrate this plugin with this plugin, integrating a plugin directly will nearly always require a developer and rarely has a workaround, while a plugin may work alongside another, a direct integration is a very different prospect. :) That’s just a example, not saying that was your request. :)

          Thanks for your feedback, I’ll pass that on to the head of support.

  • HummingBird

    Its really frustrating if there is a bug issue, there is first reply with staff member. The first response is fast by staff that are non developers . Then you wait for a developer to be called into the conversation. I be-leave it might be better to have plugin developers answer with the first reply. or even the second reply, since the first reply would be did you shut off your plugins and do this or do that and please supply screen shots of the error. then when the person answers you its usually delayed a few days or I have gone weeks with out a reply. then usually I get a reply with, I will Ping the developer on this. If the developer was involved in the first place we would not have to wait.

    Another thing that really bothered me is Jobs and experts plugin. I purchased a domain http://www.jobsandexperts.com/ just for it and after installing and check it out I find there is no features to monetize the site unless bending over backward with all types of plugins and code changes. very disappointed in it.
    I did try other themes that do it but was not happy with them or the support I received with them. I will be waiting on the Jobs and experts plugin to mature and hopefully our requests for modernization gets answered hopefully.
    That being said. I do Love the plugins you offer and use a lot of them on all of my sites.

  • friend of Bill. W.

    hi Jack,
    i have a few questions.

    1 – Upfront “theme builder” explanation.
    2 – Upfront release timeline – with regards to “theme builder”.
    3 – WPMUDEV views on “PEEPSO”
    ______________________________

    1 – Upfront “theme builder” would be similar to “HeadWay Themes” in the sense that the theme has to be built front a completely blank canvas with global styles, headers, footers being manually specified etc. ? The reason i ask is because the existing themes (Scribe etc.) are already so incredibly flexible and powerful that everything can be changed/edited and therefore made into a completely different looking theme. so what would be the main differences/advantages of a “theme builder” ? perhaps ability to sell them on theme forest etc. ? i think that would be great exposure for wpmudev considering the overgrown infants and A**holes you guys have to deal with in the industry ; (who said MATT ?) lol
    https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/10-years-as-a-wordpress-entrepreneur/
    any hoo moving along;

    2 – is this “theme builder” planned to be released together with version 1.0 of the existing Upfront themes ? or will it come after ?
    i know you guys don’t give ETAs but surely there must be a reasonable plan you are working with :-) hint hint pretty please ? hehe

    3 – ok so in my stupid humble opinion “The Whip” is the best wordpress newsletter BY FARRRRRR.
    and from this mornings newsletter i pleasantly learnt about PEEPSO.
    about time for a “premium” competitor for BuddyPress.
    wpmudev seems to me to have always appreciated community plugins having made your own and offering great integration with BuddyPress as well.
    is there room for PEEPSO ? i am trying it out and the activity posts seems very quick and i think it has great potential even thought its still a new born.
    they say that they are reaching out to companies and developers for obvious integration and exposure support etc.
    would wpmudev consider spending resources (plugin integrations, individual plugins, etc.) to support this new player ?

    look forward to your kind and informative assistance,
    regards.

    • Code Norris

      Hi there @amused,

      Thanks for your questions!

      1: The idea of the Upfront builder is that it lets you create your own Upfront child themes all from scratch, all our child themes are actually built using the Upfront builder, allowing you to use the same tools as us.

      It starts you off with a blank canvas allowing you to use the drag and drop functionality of Upfront to create great child themes, it also allows more control over things like page templates, especially the blog layout and control.

      There would certainly be nothing stopping you from selling your own Upfront child themes. :)

      2: The current plan is to release the theme builder with version 1.0 of Upfront, though I can’t give an ETA on that, but trust me it’s worth waiting for, it’s extremely powerful and will allow you to create custom child themes with ease.

      3: Ha, thanks! Glad you like the WhiP, I’ll pass on your feedback to the editor of the WhiP. :)

      I’ve only had a look at PEEPSO briefly myself, but my first impressions are good, seems nice and easy to use and with it already working on the eco systems of add-ons, there’s certainly a great chance it’ll get some traction going. We never rule out creating add-ons for anything, if something’s gaining traction and a user base, we’ll always look into it. :)

      Thanks!

  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    HI Jack,

    First, thanks for taking the initiative and opening this discussion.
    To start I want to say that I love the concept of WPMUDEV plugins and themes. I won a one year free subscription and I can use all your good stuff.
    But! I have to say that I was very excited to start and leverage the free membership. I installed a few of your plugins and the new upfront theme and found issues with a few of the major plugins. These issues are document with your support team which is doing a great job trying to find solutions to the issues. However, the response time is lacking. As someone who need a quick turn around on issues I find the process slow. example: if the e-newsletter plugin cannot send emails this is a big issue for me. Yes your team is doing its best but its to slow. If I was a paying customer I would probably cancel my membership and use something more stable. and its sad as you guys have great stuff.
    What I’m saying is that if you can get stability with the code, get the correct testing and user scenarios, with timely response that will be great.
    Another example is the appointment + plugin that I was looking forward to use with a few of my websites. The fact that it does not support one service in multiple locations is a deal barker for me. The logic of creating a service per location does not make sense and does not scale (you can read more about it in my thread with your support team). This force me to work with another plugin (that do have these features in place) and another ecommerce solution rather than using WPMUDEV solutions.
    The upfront theme is great but still have bugs in it.
    For all the above I couldn’t get a clear answer on ETA to fix the issues which push me to use other solutions and drop the potentially great products WPMUDEV have.

    So my questions to you are:
    Is it possible to get ETA for bug resolution and feature requests?
    What WPMUDEV is planning to do in order to reduce the bug fixes timeframe?

    I believe that getting some transparency on this will help WPMUDEV users plan and build great WordPress websites.

    Thanks,

    David

    • Code Norris

      Hi there David,

      First up, congrats on winning a years Membership! :)

      Regarding the issues you’ve faced, I’ll try to address them one at a time. With Appointments+ it was originally developed with 1 to 1 appointments as it’s core specifications with no locations in mind, over time we’ve made additions to try and change this as best as possible, while still allowing backwards compatibility.

      We are actually working on a bookings plugin that sounds like it’d be much more suitable to what you need. :)

      We have a full team of awesome Upfront developers working on the Upfront core and new child themes, there’s already so many improvements waiting to be released and we commit to the repository on average 9 times a day, we know there’s work to be done, but the improvements are huge and when the next release comes out I’m sure you’ll love it.

      We also are happy to hear any and all feedback so do post it and it’ll get back to the right person, whether that’s a UX, UI issue or something’s broken.

      Normally we are happy to give ETA’s on smaller plugin fixes, but not always a release, though we can post a beta in your thread when it’s fixed.

      With new releases and feature requests, we don’t provide ETA’s, as lots can change and we don’t want to disappoint anyone by missing a release target. Which is why all those targets are internal only for staff. :)

      Hope this helps, let me know if you’d like any additional clarification.

      Thanks!

      • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

        Thanks Jack,

        Reading some of the threads on this AMA reinforce the common thread of the required improvement for WPMUDEV. This is a great opportunity for WPMUDEV to rethink how to reposition itself in the hearts and minds of its clients. So, its great that this AMA is happening.

        The big question is what WPMUDEV will do with all of this.
        If no improvement will take place with the way products been released, fixed, and updates WPMUDEV will miss the point of what clients are saying here.

        I really hope to see some improvements and would like to help however I want to state that not all client can act as beta testers unless they have lots of time on their hands. QA is something that should be rooted in the hart of the company and products that don’t work fully as intended should not be release as such.

        I’m looking forward to the new appointment plugin, the main question is how long do I have to wait for it? if we are looking at a month time that’s great.

        I love the upfront theme but I must say its not working smoothly and I spend too much time trying to design my site multiple times but things don’t work. This is very frustrating. So getting an update that works will be great. (BTW submitting a support request with repro steps and images consume lots of time).

        Getting ETA for small issues is ok however getting ETA for big issues is even better. I understand that committing to a date is something WPMUDEV is not willing to do as it give you more flexibility with setting your priorities and making changes. however, please note that the “E’ in ETA is for estimated and by no mean means a commitment. Yes, if the ETA date slip it disappointing but it actually set some productivity frame in place for the product/development teams and show company maturity.

        Please understand that clients like me sign contracts that are time bound as this is the nature of most business (execution tied to a time frame). When its loosely managed or when deadline are not met it translates to a lose and that something that nobody want.

        I hope to see changes coming from WPMUDEV bases on this AMA an I look forward to see them soon.

        Cheers,

        David

        • Code Norris

          Hi David,

          Definitely, a lot of the questions and points made in this AMA, we are aware of and are constantly working on improving everything.

          We have new processes in place for releases, fixes and are looking into further improvements for bug fixes and tracking, which should be implemented very soon.

          For the new booking plugin, we have some wireframes, specifications and use cases, it’s currently with the designers for them to work their magic and then it’ll be passed on to the developer, we’re definitely looking at more than a month I’m afraid and it’s too early to say exactly how long it will be. :)

          With regards to Upfront, we’re working 24/7 on improving that, some of the next big updates include performance and usability, we have some new prototypes in the works as well for various parts from drag and drop to the post editor.

          Completely hear you on the ETA’s, we used to (back when I was just a member in 2012), provide ETA’s in the forums, unfortunately when some of those weren’t met, it caused multiple issues, I can assure you that ETA’s are managed tightly internally and in the near future we may look at again providing ETA’s in the forums and a public roadmap is also a possibility.

          Thanks!

      • Design Lord, Child of Thor

        Hi Jack, is there any way to find out more about the bookings plugin? I am using Appointments+ in an intranet environment. I was approached by another internal service about them using Appointments+ but it would have been difficult to adapt to their needs. Booking software might work for them, is there a description of this upcoming plugin on the site somewhere?

        Btw, working with Appointments+ has been at times frustrating: the plugin wasn’t 100% fully there in my opinion, and it was difficult to find out what it was missing until we installed it & discovered the gaps on our own. That said, the developers — especially Jose — have spent a lot of time working with us to fix things and add functionality. I really appreciate Jose’s help and our client is happy. Thanks!

        • Code Norris

          Hi Lisa,

          Thanks for your question! We don’t currently have any details on the site about what the bookings plugin will provide, though I can say it’ll be geared towards multi-day and multi-people appointments.

          Whereas appointments+ is strictly geared towards same day appointments and one to one appointments. :)

          Glad to hear that José has been of great assistance! I’ll pass along your feedback. :)

  • The Incredible Code Injector

    Thanks for doing this. I have received amazing service from your support team and want to send kudos to Michelle and Jude especially. They did some amazing work for me and I am very grateful.
    However, I have found that your support is either hit or miss. If I am lucky and I get someone good – he/she will give me a great answer right away and we are done. Many other times I can go back and forth forever and then the support disappears

    My question (finally) is – how to you decide priority when it comes to support and do the people who give support also develop the plugins?
    Thanks

    • Code Norris

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your feedback, I’ve passed on your compliments to Jude and Michelle. :)

      Support will also try to answer your question in the initial comment as best as possible including a resolution, sometimes for more complicated issues this may not be possible, for example where they need to check with a developer. Support should never disappear though and if you have any issues with that, drop us an email via our contact form and we’ll look into it as a matter of priority.

      Priority is rarely given, as we’re lucky to have a awesome support team of 20+ staff around the globe that gives us great coverage and quicker response times. In rare cases priority will be given if support has been delayed for any reason, though this wouldn’t effect the response time for other members.

      The people providing support, are not the developers of the plugins themselves, rather they are dedicated staff employed full time by us, who work around the clock remotely from multiple countries to provide great support. :)

      Thanks!

      • The Incredible Code Injector

        Thanks for your reply
        As a follow-up – most of your plugins are like 60% functional and then when I ask how to do this and how to do that – the answer is that it requires customization and I should go to the job board
        1. the job board is horrible – worse than elance etc etc – people there say they have experience but in the end they do not
        2. Why not test the plugins with non-techies like me to make sure you have all the features built in
        thanks

        • Code Norris

          Hi Michael,

          1: Sorry to hear about your experience with the job board, if you hire someone and they don’t deliver, while we can’t get involved in the legal side of things, it’s always worth emailing us and we’ll contact the freelancer involved and try and get the project moving, if they don’t respond, we will remove them from the jobs board.
          I’d always recommend getting references. :)

          2: We try to make sure a initial release has all the features it needs, though they’ll also be something extra to add which we do try and add gradually to improve the plugin and implement feature requests. :)

          Thanks!

  • New Recruit

    At the moment upfront is an amazing platform for creating WYISWYG themes but out of box, its totally imcompatible with 3rd party and even wpmudev plugins itself. Such as Woocommerce and Marketpress. Through some knowledge of CSS and HTML you can easily make it work. My question is what is planned for upfront to make it more user friendly?
    Will Legacy Themes be compatible with upfront?

    I’m really a fan of MarketPress, but it is still extremely glitchy. What does the future hold for this plugin? Will the import function be revamped so that mass uploading is possible? Currently I have to do only 50-60 products at a time.

    Thanks for you wonderful plugins!

    • Code Norris

      Hi there @Donavyn,

      Thanks for your questions, we have massive plans for Upfront and we’re working on plugin compatibility daily. We have BuddyPress, BBpress and some other plugins working great with it now and we’re working on e-commerce plugin support. :)

      Legacy themes most likely won’t make it as Upfront themes, as they’d have to be completely re-built, re-designed and we have such awesome themes being worked on for Upfront, you won’t even be thinking about the legacy ones once the new Upfront child themes are released. :)

      MarketPress will be getting a huge update very shortly, with a lot of the core code re-written and some great improvements, I’ll look into the import functionality for you, keep an eye on the forums for a MarketPress 3.0 beta in the coming days.

      Thanks!

  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    Hi Jack,

    Sometime ago, we had conversation with support tech Adam for the following sign in challenge on our multi-sites site (Neighborhood Boutiques). We use Pro Sites. Here’s the challenge:

    1. Once a new member has been approved and paid, we set up her multi-site.
    2. The login information email does not arrive to her inbox.
    3. The login information email doesn’t go to her spam or trash box
    4. The login information email doesn’t appear to go anyplace that the new member or our admin team can find.
    5. To remedy this situation, we have to manually send the login information with a generic password we set
    6. Before the new member can access her account, the new generic password we create must be manually inputted into her settings as “change password”, which indicates the system is creating the login email; but it is not being auto sent out or it is and not going where it’s meant to go.

    Adam accessed our site but could not recreate the challenge we are having, so he turned it over the “2nd level support”. That was at least a month ago and we have heard nothing from 2nd level support on the matter or from Adam.
    This is slowing us down in terms of a new sales system launch in less than 30 days.
    Please advise. . .

    Thank you,

    Linda S. Fitzgerald
    http://neighborhoodboutiques.com

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Hi Jack,

    Thanks for doing this! What would you say is the best resource you know of for the ins/outs & do’s/dont’s of multisite administration – i.e. best practices, like what to do in advance of WP updates, what maintenance tasks to perform, pitfalls to avoid, etc? I’ve found blog posts and books that cover different aspects of administration but I haven’t come across one comprehensive resource that gives me confidence as a first time multisite admin that I’ll be doing the right things along the way to make sure I’m able to prevent and handle emergencies, make sure I don’t create problems for myself down the line, etc.

    – Scott

  • New Recruit

    Hello,

    My post/comment might be different than everyone else.

    I’m looking for a Community/Social Networking website, unfortunately I’m not an expert in WordPress. So I wanted to know if you provide assistance (free/paid) for Customizing or Creating a Social Networking website for me or know anyone who assist me with that.

    So basically, I’m looking for a great looking Networking website using WordPress. I would like the features to work the same as Facebook where people will be able to request/make friends, approve/decline friend requests, block/unblock friends profile picture, timeline, email/messages, individual chat, group chat, post photos, create album, Feeds page, Member Dashboard, members won’t have access to the WordPress dashboard, settings option for members, language switch option. I think you got the idea. I don’t want it to look like Facebook, just like Facebook features.

    Any idea?

    Thanks!

  • Flash Drive

    Why do you have tons of manuals on how to use WordPress, but when it comes to documentation for Plugins, there is squat? Why also do you show one thing on the plugin page and not mention it doesn’t work like that out of the box. You shouldn’t have to customize something to look like the sample. I was so excited when I bought my membership but have been disappointed because most plugins seem to be missing a key piece to make them awesome. If it weren’t for Domain Mapping, I wouldn’t continue with the service.

    • Code Norris

      Hi there Rebekah,

      Sorry to hear you’ve been disappointed in the service, currently all plugins have a usage guide on the main plugin page, though we’re working on improving this in a few ways, we’ll have a complete new layout and more in-depth details covering every aspect of the plugin and how to achieve various results.

      It won’t happen overnight, but it’s something we’re aware of that needs improving and is one of our current top priorities, the new layout should also improve usability.

      I’ve taken a look at your events+ ticket, which I believe is what you are referencing and that style is definitely achievable out of the box, I’ll respond to your ticket shortly.

      Thanks! :)

        • Code Norris

          Hi Rebekah,

          Yeah, after checking the simple checkbox for showing the featured image hasn’t been implemented yet.

          Some themes depending on the events+ template used will automatically display the featured image, though not all, events+ will be getting a lot of usability improvements over the coming months. :)

          It’s certainly been a very interesting experience and a lot of members and non-members have made some interesting points both about the products and things that either annoy them or put them off renewing.

          It most probably sounds like sales speak, but we are genuinely looking into improving a lot of the main plugins and have some massive updates planned, which will greatly improve the overall user experience. And of course internal systems are being implemented to make sure everything runs as smooth as it can. :)

          Thanks!

  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    Hy there @jack

    I’ve submitted this a couple of day ago and the answer was that i needed to wait. That is not a problem at all in waiting but would love to get at least some indications on how we coul go ahead with development.

    This is the thread, i think it can be usefull for everyone to be able to use name servers in place of ips for their domain mapping.

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/integrate-rage4-api-with-pro-sites

    • Code Norris

      Hi Larry,

      Great question! Personally for our own plugins and themes, I’d like to see us introduce complex automated unit testing across everything, you may have seen one of my comments above how we use it for Membership 2, it can literally save hundreds of development and testing hours.

      Then the manual testing could be more focused around use cases and user scenarios coming at it from a more UX point of view, while still making sure they’re are no bugs.

      Unit testing greatly improves efficiency in my opinion. :)

      Thanks!

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Hi Jack.
    I don’t have a lot to say…
    Just want to say I love WPMUDEV.org . Thank you for the work that you do. I understand it’s not easy work.

    With that being said, I have one question…when will Ultimate Facebook be fixed? I read in one of the earlier responses that one of the other plugins was set aside to be fixed because Ultimate FB needed to be taken care of first due to API issues. My problem was that the plugin wasn’t pulling in all of my Facebook pages…which was a grave disappointment considering I found a FREE plugin that did pull them all in…(before the API went south). So I’m not sure what is causing this hang up, but I would really like to be able to use the service I’m paying over $500 bucks a year for (although my last upgrade was done with a FANTASTIC black Friday discount- thanks for that!)… None the less…it’s big and bold on your homepage that your plugins are guaranteed to work… please honor that.

  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    Like others, I find many of the plugins look great, but have long learning curves, given the relatively scant instructions on their use. I find there are very few with video instruction. Given that WPMUDEV introduced CoursePress, I’m wondering when you will have CoursePress courses and/or extensive video on many, many, more for learning to use your plugin library?

    In another area, other than the new Upfront theme framework, are any of the non-framework themes in the library going to be released as responsive themes? Many users were waiting for some ETA or at least direction, on when and if WPMU would meet current minimum responsive standards for sites. How about some idea on how you plan to handle these.

    Thanks,

    HG/mws

    • Code Norris

      Hi there HunterGatherer,

      We’re looking into introducing tutorials and courses about our plugins and WordPress in general, which will be powered by our CoursePress plugin, it’s still in the early stages, but I’m sure it’ll be extremely useful to most members. :)

      With regards to the themes, Upfront is going to be what powers all our new themes, all Upfront child themes are responsive out of the box and allow for greater flexibility and customization. We don’t at this moment in time have plans for non-Upfront powered themes to be released.

      Thanks!

  • New Recruit

    hii jack,

    First question
    ===================
    i develop a wordpress plugin and theme,
    i can check any deprecated or any error on my theme , using theme check plugin
    but
    how to check if any error or anything ( that is not followed wordpress coding standard ) on my plugin ?

    second question
    ======================
    can i sell my theme and plugin on wpmudev.org ?

    third question
    ======================
    how to actually get traffic from social media to my site ?

    thanks for let me ask you question

    regards
    wahsidin

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Hi, Jack! Thanks for doing this. Sorry the waters have been a little rough.

    Now then. I’m the sort of person who likes to look under the hood. I don’t just want to solve my own end-user problems. Instead, I’d love to be a WordPress expert like yourself and some of WPMUdev’s other fine customer support and dev folk :) . My very simple question (with what is certain to be a very complex answer) is this: “How?” I can learn anything quickly, but since I don’t know what I don’t know, it’s rather difficult to decide where to dig in. As a user of WPMUdev’s products, I’ve been learning stuff by osmosis as time has passed, sort of by grabbing bits of knowledge from here and there, but I know there are huge, huge gaps in my knowledge base and that I cannot learn what you know by approaching it from the perspective of an end-user. Yet everyone starts as an end-user …

    So, how did you become the WP expert you are? What was your path? What skill set did you start with, and what did you study and learn (and in what order) to become useful at WPMUdev? Can you suggest books or courses? I’d love it if you could make a list (1, 2, 3, etc.) of skills, languages, courses, etc. that a savvy person could wade through to reach your level of competence. Like, “In order to do what I do, you’d have to know X, Y, and Z.” Maybe that would help me fill the gaps in my knowledge base or point me in a direction.

    Or perhaps it’s not that simple and you lovely and amazing WP magicians have all arrived where you are the same way I’ve been trying to get there: by soaking up whatever knowledge you can, from wherever you can, by happenstance, until your pool of knowledge reaches critical mass and you suddenly find to your surpsrise–tada!–you’re what passes for an expert? :)

    And what ~did~ you have for breakfast, anyway? ;)

    Thanks again!

    • Code Norris

      Hi there!

      Great question!

      My personal path started at age 11 when I wanted to learn how to create a website, while looking around Google, I kept seeing WordPress mentioned and thought it’d look simple enough to use as a end user, but also quite powerful.

      Once I settled on WordPress, I started looking up anything I wanted to know, wether that be how to do something or how to create something, I was always researching, from blogs, tutorials and free courses, you can find pretty much anything you need. :)

      After a few of weeks of learning about WordPress, I started looking more into plugins and themes, that led me to WPMU DEV, where I signed up and became a member, I spent the next 6 months, learning every plugin inside out, even if it wasn’t something I specifically wanted to use, I still wanted and was interested in what it done, what it lacked and how it worked.

      Then after using various plugins by both WPMU DEV and other developers, there was features i needed for clients sites that just weren’t available anywhere, so I started looking into how to code, at first I started off with the basics (HTML & CSS), after a couple of weeks moving onto PHP and finally Javascript & jQuery, a little while down the line once I felt I’d grasped the basics I looked into WordPress coding standards and the basics of hooks and filters.

      You might find the following links to tutorials and courses useful,

      https://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Coding_Standards (WordPress Coding Standards)
      https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/ (WordPress code reference)
      https://pippinsplugins.com/category/tutorials/ (awesome tutorials from Pippin who created easy digital downloads)
      https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/powerful-must-have-tools-for-every-wordpress-developer/
      http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:wordpress (great video tutorials)

      I’d also highly recommend the Professional WordPress Plugin Development book, which you can get on Amazon.

      Breakfast? A very boring answer of Toast :)

  • The Incredible Code Injector

    Hi Jack,

    Thanks for doing this. I have two simple questions for you.

    First, is there anything in the works for an document e-signature plugin? I will be looking into this very soon as we have a need to do this.

    Second, any time frame on Membership 2 to be able to import from Membership Pro on a multi-site installation? I have a ticket open on this here: https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/unable-to-import-membership-info-into-membership2#post-911799. Unfortunately, I am unable to update Events + due to this and have some customization I need to do for our events but since Events+ will be changing some of the UI components, I am unable to do this until I can get everything updated. I know that I should be able to update Events+ but V1.8.1 does not recognize Membership Pro and therefore breaks the integration.

    Thanks for all you and your team do!

  • The Incredible Code Injector

    I am also having huge problems with Appointments plus. I need to at the very least let users know the particular service providers time zone and your support told me there is no way of doing so.
    I need a creative way – it is way to confusing – at least show me how to display a time zone so users can at least know which time zone the service provider is working in
    thanks

Comments are closed.