Random Thoughts

A lot of discussion has taken place regarding the Community Builder phenomenon and its popularity. Many Joomla/Mambo websites are based upon the CB suite or its derivatives. This, of course, generates much concern and uneasiness on behalf of the numerous website teams regarding the future development of the core product.

The product, as most products in this environment, is progressing down (or up) its roadmap (will post a separate article about this in due time) at a slower rate than that desired by its growing community (I guess this is healthy). The CB Team is of course aware of this - has been for some time now. This is the NUMBER ONE driving factor for the re-engineering of the component's core engine to incorporate an open plugin framework. It's obvious that such a popular component needs as much help as can be offered and properly managed. The plugin framework and its published API allows, and invites, third party developers and even intermediate Joomla/Mambo developers to safely (meaning without core hacking) extend the existing functionality without compromising the overall integrity of the product. Hopefully, this decision will prove correct and will allow the CB Team to focus on more core engine features - only time will tell.

Let's not kid ourselves. Take a look at the mamboforge.net area. Count the number of active vs. inactive projects. Look at how many have stopped short of a stable release - how many just died. Some, the successfull ones, have managed to find new blood to continue - others have been fortunate enough to find some semi-commercial twist to sustain their growth and extend their life cycle.

All of these random thoughts cross our minds every day. The more the project succeeds and grows in popularity, the more we think and ponder away at speculating about the future. Should we do this? - should we do that? - how do we get more people involved? - can we find methods of making some income? - should we even try? - what happens to the project if (knock on wood) something goes bad for someone on the team? A lot of soul searching takes place every day. Of course it would be awesome if somehow we come up with a terrific idea that makes us rich and keeps CB alive and free for a very long time. This may happen - most likely it won't.

Many keyboards have been pounded at to express various community member views regarding the recent THANK YOU policy - some statements made appear very open - other statements very selfish. We even started a poll to try and reach some concensus. We had also done similar discussions over at mambojoe.com regarding similar matters.

The CB Team has reached a decision to offer detailed documentation on a subscription basis. We don't want to offer the code for a fee (even though other opensource projects do exactly this) and at this time we cannot commit to paid support services. We would rather use our time as productive as possible by focusing on core product improvements and collaborating with 3PD developing plugins. This decision will probably also spark interesting discussions and depates among the CB community. Some will understand - others will protest - who knows how many will just remain silent.

In the meantime, we encourage you to subscribe to the documentation service (we are working on streamlining this and will post article about it separately) to continue to help support the further development of CB. It will do good to the CB team, and it will do good to you, to your site, to your users and to your printer and your paper supplier. There are many degrees of freedom present in the Community Builder that need a lot of experimenting and helpful documentation to enable maximum exploitation.

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