Planning a Large WordPress SaaS Product

This past year I have launched a WordPress SaaS product and as I have been adding features and adding to it I keep finding myself asking the same question. Should I build each feature as a separate plugin or group them together in larger plugins?

Based on feedback I received from a few people on Twitter earlier this year, I am under the impression that as long as everything is coded properly there is no performance benefit necessarily from either option. Functionality being the same as well, I am looking at this question purely from an organizational, ease of development, and project management perspective.

I determined early on that I didn’t want the entire product in a single plugin because it is hard to organize tasks and track the development of each feature. Right now, I have features grouped by common functionality.  For example, I have one plugin that has all of my dashboard related features in it, such as modifying roles and capabilities, tweaking the editor, modifying image uploads, etc. As I start looking to integrate third-party plugins, such as Jetpack and Gravity Forms, into my product, I plan to make one plugin to house all code needed to integrate all third-party plugins.

Taking my current structure and breaking it down one step further, I could build each as a separate plugin. For example have individual plugins for roles and capabilities, the editor, the media library, Jetpack integration, Gravity Forms integration, etc. My gut tells me that this level of granularity would be overkill,  but I keep asking myself the question.

With this post,  I am hoping to gather feedback, recommendations and opinions from others in the WordPress development world on how they have, or would, approach this and why. While the product I am working on right now is fairly small, I expect it to grow to be quite large over the coming years and am trying to set myself up for the future and make long-term development and maintenance more efficient.

If you have a few minutes and wouldn’t mind leaving me your thoughts in the comments, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you in advance!

My Goals for 2016

Something I have never really done is set goals for the new year. I feel like I need to do that this year to pressure myself to dedicate time for them. It is something I have been thinking about more now with my business so I figured I would set some general professional goals for myself as well.

Start a Blog

For years, I have wanted to start blogging, but for one reason or the other, I have never just gotten started with it. Well, this year is the year. I have my blog up and my goals with it for this year is to build a custom theme for it and post at least two posts per month throughout the year.

Become More Involved with the WordPress Community

I made some great connections and found a wealth of help within the WordPress community in 2015. I hope to expand on that and take more of an active role this year.  My goal is to complete at least two of the following items in 2016:

  1. Submit at least one plugin to the WordPress plugin repository.
  2. Volunteer to help with a WordCamp.
  3. Attend a local WordPress Meet-up.
  4. Contribute a patch to WordPress core.

Learn JavaScript Deeply

While I have a decent handle on the JavaScript language over all and have used jQuery quite a bit, I have not ventured into the realm of things like Backbone.JS, AngularJS and React. With the directive from this years State of the Word being to “Learn JavaScript Deeply” I am making that one of my goals in conjunction with learning the WordPress REST API. I would like to:

  1. Build a custom endpoint using the REST API and use it in a production project.
  2. Use Backbone.JS (possibly with the REST API) to create something in the WordPress dashboard.
  3. Build something basic using the WordPress REST API in conjunction with either REACT or AngularJS as the front-end and WordPress as the back-end.

Favorite Podcasts of 2015

Something I had never gotten into nearly as much as I always wanted to was listening to podcasts.  My current commute to work is between 45 minutes and 1 hour so I have plenty of listening time.  For most of the year, I went back and forth between audio books and podcasts, however, more recently, I placed my Audible subscription on hold and have been listening to podcasts everyday.

Below is a list of my favorites from this year.  If you are looking for something to listen to, give them a try!

Apply Filters
If you are a WordPress developer, you definitely want to check out Apply Filters! Brad Touesnard and Pippin Williamson do an excellent job sharing their experiences, in-depth information on plugin development, and discussing details on new and upcoming features within WordPress. I enjoyed this podcast so much, I went back and listened to every episode!

Bootstrapped Web
Are you bootstrapping a business online? If so, then you definitely want to listen to Bootstrapped Web!  Brian Casel and Jordan Gal give you a view into their businesses and discuss their experiences running their businesses online. They also cover a wide array of topics in detail that will help anyone get started if trying to launch an idea online!

DradCast
I started listening to the DradCast fairly recently, but it is already one of my favorites. They have made some changes to their format and so far, I really enjoy it. While still somewhat focused on WordPress, Brad Williams and Dre Armeda host a special guest each week and discuss current topics in WordPress, the Internet, and technology in general.

Free Beer and Hot Wings Show
The Free Beer and Hot Wings Show is a syndicated radio show that is based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan on WGRD 97.9 FM.  They can be heard on a number of stations, however, they also offer a VIP Podcast for a small fee a year which gives you access to recordings of every show as well as extra content.  I have been listening to them for over 10 years and if you are looking for some great laughs, check them out.

Post Status Draft
Have trouble keeping up with the fast-moving WordPress community? Brian Krogsgard and Joe Hoyle do great job discussing the latest WordPress news and interviewing members of the WordPress community. Because Joe is part of the WordPress REST API team, there have been quite a few episodes with good discussions involving that topic this fall as well.

Startups for the Rest of Us
There is a wealth of entrepreneurial experience between hosts Mike Taber and Rob Walling.  Whether you have launched your software product or just thinking about starting one, you will be able to take something away from each episode. If you are starting or running your own software business, give these guys a listen!

The Talking Dead
Not to be confused with AMC’s show The Talking Dead, this podcast recaps each episode of The Walking Dead and has actually been around longer than the TV counterpart.  I find the in-depth review of each episode great and find myself learning things I might have missed when watching the episode from time to time. If you are a fan of The Walking Dead and looking for a way to get more out of the show, give this one a listen!

WordPress Weekly
Hosted by Jeff Chandler and Marcus Couch, WordPress Weekly is an in-depth review of pressing topics in the WordPress community. Whether it be details on the latest release or great discussion with a special guest there is a lot to be gained from the content they put out. It is recorded live if you want to tune in as well!

WP Dev Table
Jason Resnick and Bronson Quick host WP Dev Table via Google Hangouts and then record it for release on the podcast.  Primary topics of discussion include best practices, source control, workflow, and other development based topics. Hopefully this show will see more regularity in 2016, but if you are a developer looking for a great podcast, listen to their back episodes.

Do you listen to others I should look into? Let me know in the comments!

Happy New Year!

The past year was particularly rough. From starting a new business to just dealing with the typical day-to-day stuff it has seemed to be to be one thing after another. Regardless, we made it through and will keep on going!

I look forward to the new year and hope it will bring new experiences and excitement to myself and my family. Starting this blog is something I have wanted to do for years and I look forward to sharing my experiences as I go through the next year.

I hope you all have a fun and prosperous 2016!

Hello world!

Hello world! …and welcome to my new blog! Being a developer and at this point assuming that the majority of the blog posts I will write will be related to development in one way or another I figured that was an appropriate way to get things started.

Over the years, I have benefited greatly from the willingness of countless others around the world that have spent their time and resources posting how-to’s, tutorials, tips, tricks, and other general information on their own blogs and websites. Those efforts have proved to be invaluable and it has been a goal of mine for the last few years to start my own blog so that I can post my own tips, tidbits, or anything else I feel is worth sharing. In hopes that someone following in my footsteps may benefit from something I have learned, stumbled upon, or discovered with a stroke of luck as I have in the footsteps of others.