Uniting all WooCommerce developers

Written by Coen on November 8, 2013 Blog.


Over the past year and a half, WooCommerce has become the go-to eCommerce solution for WordPress. Many people make a living based on it, or have come to rely on the plugin in one way or another. We want to continue to support this growth and we want WooCommerce to remain the reliable eCommerce solution it is at the moment.

To help us do that, we’ve set up the new blog Develop WooCommerce, dedicated to everything that keeps WooCommerce running. It’s now open to the public.

Why a separate blog?

WooCommerce has grown incredibly quickly over the past few months. The number of downloads and also all the people who’ve gotten involved in any way. In the future, we see for our plugin, we require more communication with our community of developers. While we’re happy with how we’ve published information about (beta) releases, for example, on this blog, we don’t want to clutter this blog with small bits of development news every day.

So, the new blog is completely focussed one one product: WooCommerce. If you don’t use WooCommerce, or don’t think you’ll find anything useful on there, that’s fine. You can just keep following our main blog like you used to and nothing will change.

This new blog is also not going to replace anything we are currently doing. We will not be doing anything support or feature request related there.

Stay on top of WooCommerce development

In the first blog post on this new blog I explained what exactly we’re going to change in the release schedule for WooCommerce. Starting with version 2.2, we will be pushing out two to three new versions per year. Next to that, we’re also going to make the releases slightly smaller, so we can dedicate enough time to every new feature and change. This is to ensure the quality remains high and the new features are made with ease of use in mind.

This means that instead of having one big release each year (it’s almost nine months since we’ve released WooCommerce 2.0), we’re now going to release the same amount of new features, spread out over multiple smaller releases.

Not only will this make our releases more frequent, it will also freshen up our development schedule. No longer is there the need to wait many months for a new feature to ship. We’re trying to get into the habit of releasing a new version every three to four months, so the time between completing a new feature and actually being able to use it is much shorter compared to how we handled this in the past.

Getting more contributors involved

We also want to involve more external contributors in future releases.

At this time, we’ve got almost 200 people who have contributed code to the WooCommerce plugin. A lot of these changes are smaller patches, which we are really grateful for. What we’re now actively looking for, is more people who want to get involved in the development and take on bigger tasks.

With our new blog, we can give more insight in the development process of the plugin; it should be easier for developers to find out where they can help out. Hopefully everything will become a little bit more structured, and easier to follow.

Follow the new blog

This new blog is for everyone who wants to keep track of WooCommerce development, see first hand how we make decisions about specific features or to find out where you can help out. While we will still post the most important announcements about new releases on this blog as well, you’ll only get the inside scoop via the Develop WooCommerce blog!


15 Responses

  1. Elliot
    November 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    This is bloody fantastic. Top work and thanks for building up a great community – we’re proud to be a part of it.

  2. dotp
    November 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    What happened to the blog’s theme? It seems to have disappeared and is a completely unformated P2 Theme?

    • Coen Jacobs
      November 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      You mean compared to our Houston P2 child theme?

      We agreed that this kind of blog needs a different theme than Houston. We tried and it didn’t work with long posts like on this new blog (because of narrow content column, for example).

      In the future we might build a child theme on top of it, when we need anything specific. For now, the default P2 works and it’s the content that’s most important on a blog like this, obviously. 🙂

      • dotp
        November 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

        I must be missing the point. This new WooCommerce site is just a blog, right? Like, the same kind of blog that Woo develops themes for correct? It has posts and runs on WordPress (even long posts). And people comment on those posts. Nothing special or unique in terms of functionality for this new blog right? So why does it look so unprofessional? The blog’s design doesn’t reflect the quality of the Woo brand. And yes, I understand the content is the most important, but I think Woo can and should do much better than this for the developer blog. Would you want this blog to look like that one?

        • James Koster
          November 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

          It is a blog targeted strictly at WordPress (and specifically WooCommerce) developers. A place for people to discuss the WooCommerce development process on a technical level. Similar to make.wordpress.org.

          This blog (woocommerce.com/blog) is for product announcements etc. Stuff relating directly to customers. The vast majority of readers here have little interest in day-to-day WooCommerce developments. Of course big announcements (major releases, extension / theme launches) will still be announced right here.

          Make sense?

          I’m not really sure what you mean about it looking unprofessional. It’s a standard install of p2 which is used on thousands of web sites across the net. Including make.wordpress.org.

          • dotp
            November 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

            Thanks James. I understand the purpose of the blog and why you would separate it from this one. And I thank you because I don’t do WooCommerce customizations and just want to follow regular Woo news/updates here.

            I just have a hard time believing that a company like Woo that built its reputation on unique, high quality WordPress theme design would ever build a Woo company site and use a generic theme used by the masses. I mean, you’ve got plenty of Woo Themes to choose from to use for the WooCommerce blog theme. Why not use Canvas at the least. Are your own blog themes not good enough for the Woo Development blog? It’s just very surprising and not up to the design standard I would expect Woo to put their company name on and call it a Woo site.

        • Ryan Ray
          November 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

          If I can play a bit of a devils advocate, I would agree that the standard P2 design is dated, why else would we make something like Houston then? At the same time, Houston’s design doesn’t fit the content of our Develop WooCommerce blog. 😛

          Also, I don’t think we can equate it’s (Standard P2) number of installs into meaning it looks professional. It still may get the job done, but not visually for everyone. All the make sites don’t use the standard design either.

          All that being said, the fact that this outlet exists now is the point to anyone only complaining that it looks dated. Visual enhancements can come later! 🙂

          • dotp
            November 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

            I never thought I’d hear Woo pat themselves on the back for putting up a basic WordPress blog for their customers with a generic, non-Woo theme that has absolutely no design and saying “visual enhancements can come later”.

            When the Woo founders considered themselves developers (and maybe they still do?), I remember how much pride they took in design as well as development with each theme. Even Canvas in its earliest version as a bare bones design theme was carefully crafted visually by Mangus to be flexible and stand the test of time (it has!). Using P2 straight out of the box and then consoling yourself that at least you got running and design can come later is embarrassing. This is not what your customers expect from Woo.

          • Coen Jacobs
            November 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

            We are certainly not patting ourselves on the back for setting up this new blog. In fact, I have personally set it up and I can tell you that I’ve done this within 15 minutes. That’s not why we’re announcing this new blog the way we did. And it’s certainly not a 15 minute job, as we’ve been discussing and planning this new platform for a couple weeks now. Let me explain some more about the purpose of this new blog.

            If you carefully read this blog post and the two posts I’ve published on the new blog, you will see that the main message we are trying to get across, is that this is all about communication. It’s about communication with our growing community of developers.

            This new blog is a platform, not a showcase of what we can do when it comes to developing themes or showing off top notch design. We’ve set up a plain P2 website on purpose, so we could focus on the content and the goal we have in mind for this blog. I’ve never said that we would implement a pretty design later on. What I said, is that “we might build a child theme on top of it, when we need anything specific”. This doesn’t mean that we’re planning on making a custom theme for it, but have the option to do so, if the platform requires this.

            Finally, for what it’s worth, I’m actually a fan of how the default P2 looks for websites like our new blog. It’s clean and it does exactly what we needed to get our platform going. Not everybody will share this opinion, I’m very well aware of that. Design will always be a matter of taste. You may like something I think is ugly and this release has proven the other way around as well.

  3. dotp
    November 8, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    Good design is good communication of your content. You cannot and should not divorce the two.

    Sigh. I give up. Seems only Ryan was able to hear something of what I was trying to communicate.

    • James Koster
      November 9, 2013 at 12:13 am #

      I don’t really see how you can say that vanilla p2 doesn’t communicate content well. It might not be the most beautiful theme you’ve laid eyes on but really it doesn’t need to be in this case.

      Anyway the problem here is that we’re disagreeing on something that is totally subjective. So this is a pointless argument really 🙂

      I hope you will find the blog useful anyway, if not aesthetically inspirational.

  4. douglsmith
    November 8, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    The development should be a great resource to stay informed and increase development collaboration. Thanks for setting it up.

    Any chance you could add a Twitter feed to make it easier to stay up to date on new posts?

    • Coen Jacobs
      November 9, 2013 at 2:41 am #

      Thanks, we will set up a couple quick ways to subscribe early next week.

  5. allmyhoney
    November 8, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    Nice job woo, look forward to keeping up to speed on woocommerce developments.

  6. thenbrent
    November 12, 2013 at 2:38 am #

    Congrats team! Great to see moves to unite and serve the rapidly growing WC developer community.