Only a few days have left until the end of 2021, and I wanted to take a look back and review important events, releases, what was done right and what plans failed to complete, and how this year will help shape the next one.
Let’s start with plans vs completed projects. I always have more things in plans than what I can actually complete, because sometimes, I might work on things more than I planned at first, or I will do things outside of the initial scope, or I will simply get stuck doing something I planned, and I have to go in the other direction. It is one thing to make plans, realization of plans is not straightforward process, there are hurdles along the way that can prove to high to jump over.
So, when it comes at what I wanted to do, and what I actually failed to do, there are two big misses this year: GD Mail Queue and GD Rating System. Both have gotten multiple minor releases to fix bugs and other smaller stuff, but I have failed to release major updates for both these plugins. On one hand, that shows that both plugins are stable and work well, but I had several features for both that I failed to implement. GD Rating System Pro will get major update (along with many of its addons) in January 2022, and I will try to put few most requested features in, and at least make up for missing the mark with this plugin in 2021. GD Mail Queue Pro will get major release in the first half of 2022.
But, I did manage to do more when it comes to some other stuff. The shared Dev4Press Libraray has seen more major updates than I planned at first, culminating with the major interface change that landed first in GD Knowledge Base Pro in November 2021. And, GD bbPress Toolbox Pro managed to sneak one extra release this year, with the last week release of version 6.7.
The biggest development work this year was done with the new Dev4Press website, that was completely remade using GeneratePress theme, and largely based on the Gutenberg Blocks. This process took longer than anticipated, because other work largely influenced the website development, and I spent a lot of time learning blocks development and doing things along the way, so instead of launching new website in May, it was in the works until the end of August 2021. Yes, along the way, I learned a lot about blocks, I released major GD Knowledge Base Pro 5.0 (the largest release this year, by far with full blocks support and more), I created a lot of blocks for other stuff, started tutorials series on my personal blog, and more.
The point of the story is, that planning far ahead in today’s world is very complicated. Setting broader goals is better, then stating that I want to release two major updates for this plugin, or three major updates for another plugin. This is a business, and business decisions are influenced by the customers focus, and that can shift over time. The main selling point on Dev4Press are plugins for bbPress powered forums, and I still intend to keep most of the development efforts on the bbPress related plugins, and that will be main focus in 2022. But, other plugins, like GD Mail Queue, GD Rating System and GD Content Tools are quite popular, and will get some new development efforts too. I am still making plans for the first few months of the next year, and will share provisional development plans in early January.
The most important take for next year, as far as Dev4Press is concerned, is to not be bothered too much with number of releases, it is to plan releases based on the features plugin users really need. And, the goal for many plugins would be to make them more up to date with the updated interface (and to use latest Dev4Press shared Library), with modernized code base based on the PHP 7.2 and newer versions.
Let me know what you think about the work done on Dev4Press in 2021, what would you like to see more of in the next year and if you have any suggestions. For now, this is the last post this year, and I wish you all a happy new year!