Thoughts For the New Year


#1

Hi Everyone,

As I’m sure most have seen, Norm will be releasing the Blocs API & the Brick Builder in a few weeks w/ 2.5 beta6. This is one of the ‘biggies’ in the development of Blocs and will allow users, but more importantly, developers to create and offer brics to the community for sale.

There are a couple of key thoughts that I would like to say & see everyone’s response.

  1. We need a central place where everyone can see and search through every 3rd party bric available to the community. Initially just a layout of product icons & a few screenshots, along w/ some basic information would be good.

  2. I have a lot of experience, coming from the RapidWeaver community, and one thing that I think everyone needs to be aware of is pricing. Many products, when Stacks launched in the RW community, were being offered for $5usd or less, but it soon became obvious that the pricing model wasn’t viable for 3rd party developers. And prices are now significantly higher. Please don’t assume prices to be low, when you will inevitably be asking for lots of custom capabilities.

Thanks & looking forward to seeing your feedback.

Bill (eager developer)


#2

For me I’m really not interested in paying for custom blocs. I chose Blocs mainly because it was “NOT” RapidWeaver or Wordpress. As I looked at these other programs it seemed that they were selling a stripped down program that didn’t have many features, unless you were willing to pay for them.

I see you have just signed up to the forum a few hours ago. Do you have any experience using Blocs? Maybe your are just looking at making custom Bloc to sell.

Many of the forum members have been with Blocs from version 1. We have a great community that have demonstrated a willingness to go out of there way to help others. I hope Blocs does not turn in to one of those programs like RapidWeaver.

Casey


#3

Hi Casey,

Yes, I’ve followed Blocs before there was a forum & when it launched :wink: Long time blocs fan here - Been keeping tabs on it ever since & talking w/ Norm off & on. I would say that the API has been a long time coming & is in anticipation & support of 3rd party developers. Why?, because just like any platform, Norm can’t do it all & there’s just not enough time to keep up w/ all the possibilities - that’s where devs. come in. It’s yin & yang kind of thing - users & devs supporting each other & growing the community.


#4

Well said regarding both statements.

Lets be fair, most are overpriced. Many are simply capitalizing on wrapping common things into extensions for those whom are not code inclined or wish to avoid it. Many offer features that should be native in any modern web app, and some are purely hilarious that they are even being sold as add-ons. For every legitimate one, there are 10 more just taking peoples money absurdly.


As @casey1823 pointed out, it would be a tragedy if Blocs become like RapidWeaver, thats the last thing Blocs and its users need moving forward.


#5

The new API will hopefully make it easier to add and share new functions.
Yeah, some will be paid, but I think many will be free or donationware.


#6

Just to chime in here quickly.

@Bill We have a plan to handle a central area for templates and Brics, but it’ll come later in 2018 and be intergrated into the app as well as online.

@casey1823 don’t worry, Blocs will always be a tool that has all the essentials built in, it will never become a shell were you need to pay extra for what I would call mission critical features.

What the API will do is offer developers the opportunity to add new Brics such as alternative light boxes or more advanced Galleries even features we’ve never thought of. There will no doubt be some pretty powerful Brics developed and I hope developers are able to make a little money from these to encourage them to explore and make more, it’s no different to what @eldar is doing with his templates. But I would also imagine a lot of basic Brics that I will encourage to be made free also.

But as a stand alone tool, Blocs will continue to rock but with the added bonus of sprinkles and toppings that take your fancy from those creative devs who build them.


#7

Thank you Norm for chiming in. I totally agree with what your saying. I’m not against this in any way. My observations of this is purely from going to Rapidweaver and looking around. It looks more like Rapid Add-ons.

I’m sure there will be some very nice Brics developed. Just as @eldar is making web templates, he also has been very involved in helping users get the most out of the Blocs app with his free and paid tutorials. I love supporting people that help others, that’s my main reason for using Blocs.

I also understand some designers have different needs and Blocs cannot possibly do everything. I’m looking forward to 2018. One thing I think everyone will agree, apps that don’t evolve will eventually fad away.

Casey


#8

I think it is a bit early to begin this discussion but certainly good to raise it as a going forward thing to consider.

I hope the Blocs Addon “area or whatever” will be a professional, up to date and free from commercial influence area. The evolution of Blocs Addons will be very different from RapidWeaver because there is such a high level of core functionality already built into the standard Blocs, that Blocs already functions without any Addons. The Addons will exist just to address specific fringe requirements and for complex stuff such as forms, blogs, eCommerce, databases, etc…

The RapidWeaver Add-ons area is heavily driven by paying developers who get product promotions and is also influenced by developers who request that their customers rate them and some even run rewards for rating them. In addition, the best and most useful developers do not even add their products to the Addons. This is all a big shame for RW users and a route that I hope and have confidence in, that Blocs never goes down. Looking forward to Norm continuing to be a Blocs developer and not an Addons police enforcer.

Pricing is a difficult one for many to understand because the effort to develop and support is often not understood and can be a great deal of initial and ongoing effort. Pricing tends to be a self regulating thing anyway so that should sort itself.

Very exciting year ahead.


#9

The good thing is, customers are able to choose by themselves if they will buy custom brics or not. Adding additional features with custom brics will support the success of BlocsApp and will not work against it.

I am sure and have trust in @Norm that this won’t happen :+1::slightly_smiling_face:


#10

I’ve used Rapidweaver for a few years, both personally and for occasional client work, but I’m really looking forward to using Blocs full-time. If you exclude 3rd party plugins and make it a straight shootout, Rapidweaver looks remarkably limited as Realmac have become too reliant on 3rd party developers in my opinion, leading to high running costs.

_Q) What do you need to do in Rapidweaver? _

A) Acme developers make a stack for that and it cost $20, but you’ll also need another stack and that’s $15. Isn’t it amazing what you can do in Rapidweaver!!

Having the new developer API, together with version 3 of Blocs next year just made it a whole lot more interesting, but I hope Norm can avoid the performance issues that exist when using Rapidweaver with 3rd party plugins, such as ridiculously slow page previews using Stacks or failure to export changes accurately when projects are updated in some instances.

When problems occur with Rapidweaver, there is frequently a lot of finger pointing and buck passing, so users are left frustrated after purchasing 3rd party products and losing hours in time troubleshooting. I really hope the API eliminates such problems by forcing developers to maintain certain quality standards. Indeed the API itself should not be a block to achieving those goals.

The costs of ownership with Rapidweaver can quickly stack up (forgive the pun) and it’s clear those costs have been rising in recent years. For any developers who plan on being part of the Blocs community I would strongly suggest building trust by providing demo versions of paid products. To the best of my knowledge only one Rapidweaver developer does this as standard and I’ve often been disappointed by others after purchase.

None of this should dissuade 3rd party developers from creating products for Blocs. Think of this as customer feedback that will push you to produce excellent products with little requirement for after sales support, because clients are happy and everything works as expected. If Blocs takes off as I expect, these forums will be heavily populated by former Rapidweaver users within 12 months.


#11

That was not the context of my comment, of course it can be good for Blocs.

But as Rapidweaver has so aptly demonstrated, there can be many that fall under the context of what I stated previously above. Which isn’t necessarily beneficial for users nor reflects positively on the associated app, regardless of if an add-on being purchased or not.


#12

RapidWeaver without it’s addons would have gone out of business years ago. The base products UI hasn’t changed much in its 15 year life. RapidWeaver out of the box isn’t built on a responsive framework like bootstrap.
I’ve only been using Bloc’s for a few months, and I’ve seen @norm add more new features than RW has in the last two major releases.
If you’re not familiar with RW, it’s near worthless without a minimum of the stacks plugin ($50) and a bunch of stacks addons($100’s) alongside a purchased theme or framework.
I don’t see Bloc’s going that way as Norm continues to develop new features built into the base product. I’m looking forward to the new API, as well as Blocs 3 that will be utilizing the latest bootstrap 4 framework.

I’m also waiting for the new preview app coming soon I hope.


#13

Just my 2 cents. I developed some CMS Stacks for my own use in Rapidweaver, which I use at about 40 client sites. I never started selling them, because there are too many other Stacks out there, which libraries were in conflict of the ones I am using. I think in Blocs this will be different, because there exists already the basic Framework (Bootstrap). So as developer I can already relay on it an I do not have to add another one, which will perhaps be in conflict with Bootstrap/Foundation,… I think if BlocksApp provides the basic libraries, an the developer will use them, without adding other ones, the performance should rest the same as now.


#14

Honestly, I just kind of took a bit of acceptation to a thread being started under the premise of thoughts and then detailing the groundwork of why things should be considered worthy of being priced higher, before the Blocs API is even openly released. It just seems out of place to try and lay such pricing groundwork like that to a community and create such expectations.

If an add-on is worth a higher amount or even worthy of payment, it should be proven based solely upon its own merits and decided upon by users. Not because of some upfront discussion of perceived value by any developer, even if just hypothetically.

Perhaps I will start “Robin Hood Custom Blocs Brics” and offer free solutions to all the Brics that should be free but people are instead trying to inappropriately or unproportionately make money off of, as seen widely in the Rapidweaver community.

:wink:


#15

Full ack. In addition, the inappropriate Brics you mentioned would be much more difficult to justify, as BlocsApp already has so much functionality built in.

At the end, only these developers are successful, which provide exceptional addons and provide first class support.


#16

Yes, I think RW is so basic on its own, even adding google fonts is something one could folk out cash for.


#17

That can likewise be offered for free if one so desires. :wink:


#18

Nobody is expecting 3rd party developers to produce a host of terrific products and never charge a penny, but the reason many of us are coming over to Blocs is because we are unhappy with Rapidweaver and by extension many of the 3rd party addons.

None of us are compelled to buy that $15 stack that allows us to simply send an email or make a button vibrate, but I think the whole Rapidweaver mentality is out of date. They are operating as if nothing has changed since the days of iWeb, but nowadays we are competing with everything from Wordpress to Squarespace that provide faster and cheaper alternatives.


#19

Hi Everyone,

I think most of the concerns can be boiled down to: ‘Make good products that have new or better features or make things easier and then users will make a judgement on whether to buy’ - That’s fair - I was just trying to ask that when you look at a product, please don’t make a judgement based soley on price, as products do take a LOT of hard work and time to develop & support. I think that’s reasonable.

Looking forward to serving the community.

Bill


#20

It will no doubt be plainly obvious who genuinely wishes to advance the cause of Blocs as an app and help the community - verse those whom show up and desire to just potentially exploit the community for money through add-ons and don’t participate with Blocs overall.

Personally I thought of the Developer API as more of a means to add to the app and make it better for everyone with additional features. With useful Brics potentially even being rolled directly into the app release itself to advance the app for all users. Not really a monetization model for 3rd parties, but seemingly many 3rd party developers just see it as a payday via Blocs users and are eager to swoop in. I however thought of it as an opportunity for people to help advance the app through third party contributions in the spirit of helping everyone, mostly @norm to advance the app through these contributions adding features to the app itself.

Currently both Brics and Blocs, have much room for advancement concerning features, including even basic common things.

Take this as a basic example:



So because Blocs users potentially do not have the ability or desire to search out an API / Library / Framework and use the apps features to hook these things into their project with provided usage instructions, someone will now make a Bric and charge Blocs users $10 or more for common open things that are readily available for all to use?

:warning: Sorry but that is the exact definition of the majority RapidWeaver add-ons, and like stated above its absurd.