wpXtreme – Another Take On The WordPress App Store Idea

WPExtreme LogowpXtreme is trying to take the WordPress App Store idea to the next level. The site recently launched and provides a method to download plugins and themes through their marketplace. While their plugin didn’t function properly on my local WordPress install, it worked just fine on the Tavern website.

What Is wpXtreme Trying To Accomplish

While the app store is the best way to describe wpXtreme, it is aiming to be much more than that. In conversation with one of their lead developers, he told me “Even if we provide users with an App Store-like buying experience directly from the WP dashboard, we’re much more than this. wpXtreme is more of an ecosystem aiming to create a standard for plugins and (soon) for theme development. Specifically, all plugins available on the WPX Store are required a) to be built on WPDK [http://wpdk.io], an Open Source framework we developed, and b) get validated by our staff“.

Requirements To Sell?

In order to sell a plugin within the Xtreme marketplace, it must be built using their open source framework called WPDK. Sellers will also need to sign up to their developer program. This is a similar process Apple App Store developers have to go through by using the Apple SDK, having each app reviewed before it’s approved for sale on the store, etc. Unlike the Apple process, developers who create plugins using their open source framework can sell them on the Xtreme marketplace as well as anywhere else on the web. However, because of the requirements, not every developer will be able to tap into the audience wpXtreme offers.

Licensing

All plugins, themes, and support are provided as is under the GPL 2.0 license. When a marketplace item has a 1Y symbol, it stands for one year of product updates, priority support, and full documentation. This is in line with the business model a lot of commercial plugin developers are using. The free license provides access to basic support resources, partial documentation, and product updates. The interesting thing about free licenses is that if at some point the free item goes commercial, free license holders will be able to upgrade to a yearly subscription at a discounted rate.

WPExtremeLicensing

The Marketplace

Their marketplace already has a number of plugins and themes available, most of them for free. If developers choose to sell plugins through them, they’ll be able to keep 70% of the sale with 30% going towards wpXtreme to cover their costs. As a user, wpXtreme becomes another resource for themes and plugins. Their plugin doesn’t replace the existing methods of obtaining them from the WordPress repositories rather, works alongside them.

WPExtreme Plugin Store

The shopping experience is not bad. Browsing through themes and plugins was a breeze. The use of colors for items makes it easy to see important information. Clicking the more button takes users to a page that has ratings, features, a description, changelog, and a link to install the theme or plugin. You’ll need to be logged in to download any of the free themes or plugins. Thankfully, an Xtreme user account is free.

Have To Use One To Use The Other

The fact that plugins connected to wpXtreme will stop functioning if it’s deactivated is a huge turn off. When I asked why this restriction was in place, they told me it’s because the plugins are using wpXtreme which is a framework plugin.

All the plugins downloaded from the WPX Store require our wpXtreme plugin as the main “engine” to correctly work in a single WordPress installation. This means any plugin, no matter if a paid or free product, will be disabled as soon as the main plugin, i.e. wpXtreme plugin, gets deactivated.

What I can say for sure is that all plugins run exclusively on the wpXtreme “main” plugin because the latter is a framework itself and the former work as enhancements of the core functionality provided by wpXtreme. That’s the same approach we embraced for Extensions, which we introduced just yesterday, and how they work as plugin enhancements while they technically are plugins themselves.

WPExtremeDeactivate

I don’t like the idea of marketplace items relying on wpXtreme to be activated in order to function. If wpXtreme stops working or if the marketplace closes up shop, then whatever purchases were made in the marketplace will stop functioning as well. I searched their website for some type of sunset clause but I didn’t see any. I’d like to see them implement a clause that states that if they were to go out of business, that they would make it so that purchased items can work independently of their framework plugin.

What Will It Take To Succeed?

One thing that would help wpXtreme gain momentum is if their plugin was allowed to be hosted on the repository. Just like the WP App Store plugin, wpXtreme is not allowed within the repository because it provides no functionality. It also serves as a pointer to a third party. Unfortunately, two WordPress plugins that were actively developed prior to Xtreme launching will no longer be available in stand-alone form. Those plugins are WP Bannerize and WP CleanFix. Both plugins have been assimilated into the Xtreme marketplace with WP CleanFix now having a price tag of $15.00. However, both of these plugins now serve a primary role of pointing people to wpXtreme. Users have already expressed their displeasure at having to download another plugin to use an existing plugin.

A number of active developers will need to first pass the requirements and then buy into their idea of creating a better WordPress ecosystem. While those requirements act as barriers for developers, the process of having to install the wpXtreme plugin to access the store is a barrier to entry for users. Both aspects of the marketplace will need a large contingent of support in order to gain any steam along with any chance of long term success.

8 Comments


  1. Wow, a proprietary framework for plugin dev, no distribution through the repo, plus it stops working without their mothership plugin. Not so sure about that.

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  2. Hi Jeff, I’m Nicola, the Ceo of wpXtreme. First of all thank you for your deep review and your feedback. Let me now comment your doubts.

    About the wpXtreme plugin dependency, this is actually a mandatory aspect because of some components embedded in the wpXtreme framework. The feedback about the sunset clause it’s great and we will add it to our website pretty soon.

    To be true, if we were to go out of business, the downloaded plugins won’t stop working, maybe only the store and the plugin/themes updates (as all the plugins on the wordpress.org repo). This is the same for every plugin/theme maker that stops its activity.

    About Bannerize and Cleanfix, it’s true what you said, but the plugins on the wordpress.org repository are working (only bannerize has some bugs, and we will release a newer version on the wordpress repository soon). Unfortunately, at the moment we are only a few people in our team, so it’s very difficult to pursue business and our opensource passion, but we work hard to do it at our best.

    Regarding the need of downloading wpXtreme as a barrier we will soon release the possibility to download single plugins/themes directly from our website and then get wpXtreme with just one click.

    I know that our goal sounds (and it is) hard, but we believe it could be a good plus to the WordPress community and developers. I really hope that your prediction will be wrong! ;)

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  3. @Scott – our WPDK framework is opensource, under GPL (as all our code) and we will be happy of any contribution; unfortunately as pointed out by Jeff, at the moment we are not able to distribute our plugins through the wordpress.org repo, but we are studying a method. As I previously said, we love WordPress and opensource, so we will continue to support the community and we will give back as much as we can, but I think that wpXtreme could be also a good way to help developers build better software and monetize it. For the record, we’re about to officially launch our renewed Dev Center in the coming weeks.

    About the fact that a plugin stops working without mothership plugin, it’s normal imho because wpXtreme it’s also a mini-framework too. I hope you will give us a try and maybe you can give us useful feedback too; if you wanna also contact me personally, feel free to do it!

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  4. Sounds intriguing.

    The plugin not working without the WPDK framework is a non-issue.

    (@Nicola – what happens if I am working and developing offline on localhost??)

    You ever notice that a child theme stops working if you take away the parent?

    Or that anything that uses a framework doesn’t work without it?

    Or that any WP theme or plugin needs WP.

    I’ve started using the Redux Options Framework and rather than include it, will make it a user requirement. It’s not as smooth or transparent process but makes my plugins have a smaller footprint, and allows the user to keep Redux up to date easily. If they have six of my plugins, why do they want to have Redux there six times? Just makes backups bigger and maintenance for me a lot more cumbersome.

    @Nicola, will check out you WPDK, but (if you aren’t already) would love to see it include an options framework and metabox framework. Currently I use Redux, HM CMB, and Tom’s Boilerplate. Would really love to have one (modular) solution instead of three.

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  5. @Chris Howard – wpXtreme works fine in localhost. We tested it under MAMP and Vagrant and looks ok, but for any issue just contact us.

    About WPDK, yes it includes options framework and metabox framework. We know Redux very well, but we took a different approach; we started from the low level stuff, so we add a lot of functionalities while Redux is mainly a “visual” framework. We are making WPDK better every day and if you want to contribute, test, use it, you’re welcome!

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  6. I want you to get in touch with me in about 6 months and provide me a report on how well the wpXtreme app shop is doing. Very interested to see how this takes off, if it does :)

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  7. @Jeffro: sure, we’ll get back at you in months and share how wpXtreme is doing.
    Thanks again for your feedback, as well as those from your readers.

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