The Secret Behind Our Silence

2013 was a challenging and transformative year for MODX, not without its hurdles, to put it mildly. I felt it was important to share what's been going on in 2013 and where we're headed in 2014 and beyond.

By Ryan Thrash
January 24, 2014
The Secret Behind Our Silence
Image: 'Young Man Climbs On A Rocky Wall In A Valley With Mountains' from Shutterstock

Regular MODX.com visitors may wonder what’s going on with MODX. Some would probably even say the silence has been deafening. Now it’s time to share.

An Open Source Business

2013 was a challenging and transformative year for MODX, not without its hurdles, to put it mildly. But the saying is definitely true: what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. MODX is ready to enter the World’s Strongest OS Software competition.

Being completely candid, 2013 is when we (finally!) figured out the business of Open Source. This is incredibly important because it keeps a roof over the heads of more than a dozen families for the people that work daily to make better software. We’re bootstrapping every move we make, cash flow positive, and making profits. Not that anyone will be able to retire soon—don’t let your imagination run wild—but we are growing and looking for the right people to help us crush it in our industry.

2013 also firmly cemented the resolve of the incredible team that’s entrusted with fostering MODX. We’re 100% dedicated to building the tools that help you create amazing things on the web. We’ll keep sharing that software with the world, and offering commercial support and services around it to fund ongoing innovation. We’re in this for the long haul.

Getting Back to Basics

No matter how long it takes going forward, how long it’s taken so far, and between the lessons learned through 2013 and our re-confirmed commitment, a theme for 2014 emerged. It’s back to basics—simplify and streamlining things like crazy. We do it right, and our Community of MODXers just like you won’t be able to help yourself, and you’ll get involved.

That means we had to get or house in order, starting with the underpinnings of everything that runs the software, like user authentication and Package Management/Extras, what serves up the downloads and Add-ons to every MODX website on the Internet. Since doing this, our “Twitter monitoring platform” has not alerted us a single time to who is on deadline and needs to download Wayfinder.

In November, we also replaced our documentation platform with one built in our own software, giving us a lot more creative freedom to realize exactly what we wanted to realize, just like the millions of people around the world that use MODX software every day as users and professional website builders.

Plugging the Leaks

Currently, we’re fixing some other longstanding issues including search across the website, Add-ons, forums and documentation—suffice it to say, Elastic Search is amazing—and replacing the software that let’s people submit and maintain their Add-ons. We’re building a new website that streamlines the content to make it easier to find and uses straightforward, clear language. We hope the result is a site you send your clients to who want to learn about MODX and what it does for site owners.

Similarly, MODX Cloud has seen amazing improvements since July, when it came back home. Response times are faster, stability and robustness improved. Our new home-grown billing platform is about to go online that opens up the possibilities to do what we’ve really wanted for so long, including new plans, more backup options, and more robust solutions overall. It has laid the foundation for making it easy to get your sites out of MODX Cloud, or to keep them there if you wish, without having to open a support ticket to do so. And you will be able to pay by methods other than credit cards, including Paypal, Dwolla, Bitcoin and others in the future.

Our Forums must still be updated to the latest code base, along with some other housecleaning chores, but the majority of our legacy baggage is behind us.

Delighting MODX Users & Accelerated Innovation

Even though there’s more work to do across the board, we’ve learned the value of delivering awesome supprt. We’ll be extending support beyond Cloud in 2014, and doing our best to model after our support idols, MailChimp. We want to be the type of user-loving-and-delighting organization they’re known for, and we’re going to make it happen. MODX will be faster to start with and learn, easier to use and maintain, simpler to get the right type of help when you need it, and a really, really smart way to manage your digital storefront.

Part of delighting MODX users will also mean accelerated innovation. Rather than having to wait for our 3.0 release for the really good stuff, we’ll start incorporating it when we can in point releases. You’ll start seeing those with 2.3, and more in 2.4 and subsequent releases—which should be released with increased frequency. We’ll save the “3.0” designation for later, which will look totally different than what we could plan today. Smaller, more frequent iterations of innovation will allow us to have a more capable, usable and robust product in the future, version numbers be damned!

More Soon…

I hope you’ll get involved with MODX in 2014. There are some awesome things that will start in the near future, beginning with a big announcement on Wed, Jan 29th, that I think will usher in another wave of awesomeness for MODX. I can’t wait to share that with you soon!