MODX 2013: Creating Amazing

MODX is very much alive, and is on its way to being bigger than ever. No foolin’. Ryan brings clarity and details the plans for MODX in 2013 and hopes you’ll get behind MODX, chip in where and how you can, and help us all create amazing experiences on the web.

By Ryan Thrash  |  April 1, 2013  |  7 min read
MODX 2013: Creating Amazing

MODX is very much alive, and is on its way to being bigger than ever. No foolin’.

If you follow MODX, you may know the last few days have been "interesting". So much so that I received dozens of calls, emails, Tweets and IMs asking, with complete sincerity and merited concern, if this was some sort of elaborate April Fools' joke.

Stopping Uncertainty

The announcement that MODX Cloud was becoming SiphonLabs left a lot of questions and doubts about the future of MODX. We want to clear that up. Jay Gilmore and myself have worked on all things Community and Open Source for months, full time, and will continue to do so. Jason Coward will continue to be the lead architect and mentor for future MODX software releases. And, the future could not look more promising for MODX.

We still believe MODX Cloud is a great tool for building and managing MODX sites and we'll certainly continue to use it ourselves.

As far as speaking further to their plans, I cannot speak on their behalf, just as I hope you understand that they don’t speak for the future of MODX, either. If you want to stay abreast of all the latest MODX happenings, please subscribe to our email newsletter in the footer of this site.

The Path to Today

The last year has been challenging as we debated how to build a solid business that would see MODX soar. Most of the team firmly believed in MODX and its future, including many of the people at Siphon Labs. Some did not.

We are past year 8 of our OS journey, and the size of our global user base is startlingly large, and yet nearly impossible to accurately measure. We made the very deliberate decision to make MODX-powered websites untraceable, rendering MODX sites virtually invisible to the “top 10,000” lists some love to point to as conclusive evidence of popularity. This is the right thing to do for users, but if you don’t get this it can lead to drawing profoundly inaccurate conclusions of Community size, strength and engagement.

On the list of things they don't teach you in OS [Open Source] school: it takes a long, long time to grow a big, strong community. MODX has the code, the leadership and a strong community roots that are still growing, but MODX is just barely seeing daylight right now.—John Coonen, CMS Expo

MODX has traction—more than even John realizes! I know the "big three" are paying attention to MODX, too, just like we should pay attention to some things they've done well. (We are.)

The Future is Bright for MODX

Thankfully, MODX is fortunate to have savvy investors that believe in the Community and in Open Source. To that point I have been entrusted to lead MODX going forward.

Their trust and faith means they've reaffirmed their commitment to what they originally invested in: MODX. Without them, MODX would have never developed into what it is today or have the amazingly bright future that lies ahead. For that I am tremendously thankful, and I would like to share some highlights of what is in store for the rest of 2013.

Help Create Amazing Web Experiences

Our purpose moving forward is to help create amazing web experiences. This sets a high standard for how we make decisions at MODX. If something doesn’t fit this purpose, it’s not the right course of action. We’re not out to make “meh” because the people that use MODX are not out to make “meh”. We will create the most truly awesome software the world has seen for people that build and use websites.

The unfair advantage that MODX has over all others is the Creative Freedom it offers to everyone—coder or not, and that’s baked into its core. If you can imagine it, or have a static prototype, MODX can power it today no matter what—mobile responsive websites, feeding native iOS and Android apps, brochureware, custom web apps, or whatever comes next.

MODX adapts to your content, not the other way around.

Get Involved

If you use MODX, we’d encourage you to get involved today. We’ve already had a team of four awesome community members take over as lead maintainers for MODX Evolution. Jason has rekindled MODX Revolution development, and we’re excited about the roadmap for MODX.

Just like other OS projects, we want the MODX Community involved. Here’s some ways you can help.

Ambassadors & MODX Professionals

MODX Ambassadors are passionate MODX users that donate their time to help spread MODX. You don't have to be an amazing or experienced presenter to get involved, you just need to borrow a page from Nike … just do it.

Similarly, the demand for MODX-powered projects continues to accelerate. If you use MODX in your business to build amazing things on the web, then you can apply to become a MODX Professional. There are many organizations all over the world looking for people just like you to help them on their next web project. Not only is it a great way to support the software you love financially, but it’s also a great way to get increased exposure and credibility as a MODX Pro.

Core Development

As mentioned above, we’re getting qualified developers from the Community involved in all aspects of the MODX codebase. If you have what it takes, we’d invite you to start working on issues and submitting pull requests. For questions about working on the core, let’s talk in the Core Development forum board


MODXpo EU in November 2012 was awesome and frankly exceeded all expectations. Mark, Bert and Sterc did an amazing job and all the heavy lifting to plan and organize it, and we’re excited about hosting another conference or two in late fall—one in the US and one in Germany. Who’s in?

Commercial Support and Development

In Open Source, Commercial Support is the world’s oldest profession. As such, the MODX team will continue to offer direct, vendor-backed support, straight from the source. This gives organizations a safety blanket by working with some of the best dedicated MODX talent in the world, and it also helps keep the architects and code mentors in touch with real world MODX use cases. Two types of organizations benefit the most from this.

The first is larger organizations, often “enterprise” customers, with governance that mandates working with the vendor for support. The second are MODX Professionals who work with MODX on projects that may otherwise be too large to take on, or they need specialized deep knowledge for large scaling or complex deployments. In either case, MODX will help you do what you do best, while we fill in the gaps.

Commercial Add-ons

Initially, we expect to see a flood of premium themes hit the MODX Marketplace. It’s something we’ve talked about for a long time and will deliver upon later this year. But in talking to a lot of MODX shops, we realized there’s a lot of amazing applications that would never see the light of day if there’s no financial incentive to do the hard work—generalizing, documenting, bundling and supporting. Think of it as iTunes for MODX, and you’ll eventually even be able to buy from inside of every new MODX website without having to go to a central website first.

One key point of difference for developers for other platforms … MODX fully embraces commercially licensed Add-ons as long as you’re using the public APIs. Not only are we’re happy to see them promoted to the MODX Community, we hope you make a million bucks!

If you have some code laying around you’d package and support if you could sell, please let us know.

MODX Sponsorship and Giving

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that MODX has a lot of vendors that want to see it succeed. From e-commerce solutions to web hosts, and everything in between, they see the value in MODX and also have noticed our previously-mentioned momentum.

There are two types of opportunities here, the first is a Services Directory for people looking for minimal commitment but that want exposure to MODX site builders and users. The second is a more strategic relationship that involves additional co-marketing opportunities, and a sponsor logo on the footer of every MODX marketing page.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that more than a few individuals have asked repeatedly for a simple way to just give cash to MODX. While we have never focused on this as a strategy, in the past, we have put up a form to allow you to give to MODX, and all proceeds will be put towards funding the ongoing development of the software so many love.

Here’s to the Rest of Us

It’s going to be a crazy fun and busy time for the rest of 2013. I hope you’ll get behind MODX, chip in where and how you can, and help us all create amazing experiences on the web. And if you’re new to MODX, welcome aboard and get ready for an awesome time.