While many developers are used to consuming open-source projects, or even to contribute to them, few of them know the amount of work it takes to manage a community.
It’s a huge energy to deploy : writing documentation and examples, answering issues and reviewing pull requests… To have it done in a way that satisfies the community, you need full time collaborators on it, without generating any revenue from it directly.
We thought about it and resigned : we are too small to carry the weight of it. We would never have been able to finance it from our other activities. Besides, we would like to offer our integrator partners most of our project’s benefits and not keep them for us to finance the project.
When heavy structures struggle to provide satisfying community management, and we all here have some examples in mind, do you really think a company with less than 10 people could do better ?
On January the 1st of 2018, we totalized more than 4000 hours of work on Front-Commerce. In invoicing terms, it’s more than our sales revenue in 2015, the year we started the project.
If our product answers a business need, why couldn’t it be sold and make our investment profitable, while providing quality services to our clients ? To targeted shops, the price of the licence should be amortized very quickly as Front-Commerce drastically improves development time and sells conversions.
Selling our product means mostly providing quality support, and by it the continuity of the solution.
We have determined that 2 developers would be working on Front-Commerce support full-time, answering support tickets and evolving the solution with new features. As we aim for medium to large scale projects, it appears to us that this is a pretty comforting leverage for potential clients, as we already spoke with many agencies and e-sellers around the globe.
There is a lot of room for multiple solutions, open or not, bringing the “PWA” label and a stack of tools and libraries to build great e-stores. Anyone can choose to use a proven solution with reliable support, or to dig into an emergent open-source one.
Finally, let’s stay watchful. It’s easy to launch an open-source project at first and then…tadaaaa… offer an enterprise version.
As we explained, maintaining a software solution takes a lot of time, and so costs a lot. Our reason to ask for a commercial licence is honest and transparent. Sooner or later, our competitors may also need to find ways to finance their efforts. For those who are displeased by our approach, keep some bullets for the next months…