Borek Bernard and Jan Voráček, creators of VersionPress, announced that they’re transitioning the plugin into a free, open source project hosted on GitHub. In addition, they are releasing VersionPress 3.0 Beta, the first version released under the new model.
Open Source Is the Way Forward
In a post on the product’s site, Bernard explains that the only way for the project to be successful is to open up development to the public.
“Towards the end of 2015, we started feeling it was the right time to convert the project to a fully open-sourced one,” he said.
“The project started to be in good shape – had a clear direction set, most of the technical groundwork was laid, and we moved to GitHub. While we had most of WordPress core covered pretty well, there was still this huge ecosystem of WordPress plugins and themes that could cause trouble to VersionPress in millions of different ways.
“In the long run, the project had to turn into OSS should it be successful, and fortunately, in 2015, we met investors who understood this and supported our vision,” Bernard said.
The transition involved quite a bit of work migrating from Bitbucket and JIRA to GitHub. Old Wiki documents and other assets were migrated as well. In addition to the migration, old issues were translated to English and Daniel Bachhuber, who maintains the WP-CLI project audited the code. The project’s website also received a facelift.
By transitioning to a public development model, Bernard hopes to tap into new resources to solve challenging problems.
“We’ll need your bright minds to solve some of the more difficult issues later this year, like how to integrate with complex plugins with custom DB structures,” he said.
Despite being GPL licensed, free, and open source, the plugin will not be hosted in the WordPress plugin directory anytime soon.
“It stays in the ‘Early Access’ phase where it works well in certain scenarios but there are still many incompatible plugins, themes and hosts,” Bernard said. “There’s no magic solution to this, unfortunately, and more and more plugins and scenarios will be supported over time.”
Early Access Program Discontinued
The Early Access Program, which provided initial funding to develop VersionPress beyond its crowdfunding campaign, is being discontinued.
“EAP was of great help but couldn’t really fund the project, by far,” Bernard told the Tavern. While the team doesn’t have a replacement for the revenue provided by EAP, Bernard plans to build exceptional value around the core of VersionPress which he says will remain free forever.
How to Follow the Project
VersionPress 3.0 beta marks the first major release in more than five months. It includes bug fixes and a number of enhancements. You can follow the project’s progress on GitHub where you can also receive support, browse documentation, and find access to their Gitter room for real-time communication. Pull requests from the community are welcomed.
This is great news! This project has great potential, but many rough edges. Making it open source and available on GitHub should help speed development.