Funding plugin dev

It might be a good idea to start a fund/get donations to develop some of these plugin ideas. I, for one, would be willing to fund some plugins but I need a repository of ideas that I can look through.

I'd like to see:

  1. plugin desc: what does the new plugin aim to do? The plugin dev or nominator should create this and pitch it to the community.
  2. popularity: how many people want this plugin? A voting or rating system would do the trick.
  3. cost: how much funding is needed? Maybe a progress bar could even show how far we've come along in terms of getting 100% of the amount.
  4. time estimate: how long would the plugin dev take?


  1. Would people send funds to a PayPal account or just pledge the money without paying anything until the 100% mark is reached? If the former, how can this be refunded? Would an expiration date help solve this? For example X amount must be raised by X time. If not, all paid money will be refunded.
  2. Can the developer take donations or charge for the plugin?
  3. Are there minimum or maximum donations?
  4. Could we host this elsewhere? We all know the pains of having to search for plugins here on Elgg or having discussions about them (eg, notifications on topics, not groups)... might another solution be better?

I'd like to see more growth here on Elgg but it's obvious that there aren't enough good devs out there. We support them already by giving them feedback, suggestions, even thanks but sometimes they just don't have the time to give back to the community because they have paid work to do. Might paying them help?

I see a number of existing plugins that are good but could be even better, however, I'm quite sure that the dev can't add features or integrate the plugin better because of lack of time.

Your thoughts?

  • abandoned

    I'll be putting together the rest of the forum over the weekend. I've finished installing several mods but have about 15 more to go.

    In the course of reading and evaluating available mods, I've come across some interesting stuff that may be a good start for a plugin marketplace. Thanks to Dhrup, I've been pointed to other discussions about this same issue and the idea for a marketplace was floated in one of them.

    I'm also taking notes on how mods/plugins for phpBB and Drupal have been sponsored so perhaps the same model can be applied here.

    I'll keep everyone posted.

  • Here's how I would go about listing plugs/widgets for funding.

    Setup a matrix of text boxes.

    Anyone can start a new "proposed plugin" row. They fill in a "desired plugin" idea. This person states what he wants and what he can pay. If a developer contacts him and they agree to terms. It's a done deal! Most likely his 30 days of work and $50 doesn't catch a fish so-

    Anyone can else can notes in the next box and become a co-sponsor. They add of course "changes/additions/options" to the plugin. And so on and so on, and also how much they will add in payment for the plugin. And so on and so on. All the developers can watch the pot grow and offers feedback until one of them takes the bait!

    Picture in your mind 5 co sponsors easy to read what they need added changed and their offer to add to the cash pie.

    The best part is you put this on the Elgg site on one page and at any given time the whole world can see every plugin that is being sponsored whether it has started etc.

    As far as I am concerned after its completed the buyers should not give copies away and the developer can sell copies for very reasonable prices, like Vazco does.

    You'd have the whole picture in the matrix grid updated. Easy to see and easy to add money to the pot.


  • Hi TahoeBilly,

    I do like your ideas here.  The fact that some people will want to have quite unique functionality does not detract from the = fact that many will want similar functionities that do what they say on the tin... like like Facebook and Twitter connect, calendars etc, and want the slickness and reliability of TidyPics and Izap Videos.

    Your Grid sounds like a neat way to see what is wanted and what has sufficient following/pledges of seed money to get it going... and again, I agree with the concept of the dev needing to make a living too... and if there is a freebe version for the community and a commercial version, it seems complete.

  • I will say this, but it shouldn't be taken as a criticism of the subject matter.

    Developing a plugin that suits a specific client needs, or, just a great idea that can suit any user, is development and coding work. That work is carried out by a developer. I am unable to see how on earth any developer can put time into writing a plugin with a funding of $50 or $60 collected from a dozen people???? Is this not the charge of half an hours work???

    At the end of the day, I believe it's a matter of demand and supply. If a client/user needs a plugin, they would source it out to a developer. The developer then would quote on it. Then, it gets delivered and, as in most code work, the ownership of the code remains with the dev. The dev can then sell copies to others who may be interested.

    In my opinion this would do 2 things: First, the dev would be encouraged to contribute small and simple plugins into the community for free as a showcase of their work. This would encourage clients to place orders, and secondly, it adds an element of responsibility to the dev to support their plugin. They may even create and sell updates and extensions of their plugins.

    This is the normal way of doing business in the industry, it's a simple matter of buy and sell.

    Now, the issue is there has to be some kind of classifieds, or, commercial plugin list with information on the dev and their work. This can be on elgg, or any where elgg, but elgg might want to consider showing a link to that list.

    I have written code that I sold for $500 on elgg. Subsequently, I sold 4 more of the same code, again, on elgg and for $500 each. Despite that, I am now even with my time cost. May be I am not such a great dev, but even if that's the case, I still need to ensure that I get paid for hours I work.

    Clients/users need to be realistic with their expectations. Most SN operators want to create, launch and promote a successful online network fetching users, advertisers, sponsors...etc worth billions, but want to buy plugins for $10. More importantly, devs are handing out plugins like candy.. $5 and $10, donations..etc. So really, to a certain extend they are putting the price on their own demise. It would be great if you get 200 plugin requests everyday for  $10 plugin.. but we all know that's not the case.. if so, then we might as well open a plugin Kmart.

  • I concur with Carlos. There is a danger here of devaluing a developers worth, its hard enough to make a buck out there as it is. The other issue I see is people beginning to be very demanding over the speed a plugin is developed. Its bad enough how demanding some folk are over the free pligins. Imagine how they will be after donating $5.00 to one..God Forbid!!

  • Hi Carlos... how many cents worth this time?  I think you have missed the point a bit. 

    The idea would be to collect a very reasonable contribution, or payment in full for work... it would be up to a developer to opt in or out.

    And, in terms of the ownership of the code... interesting... how often to you pay for something but do not take ownership of it? Who does the intellectual property rights for the plugin belong to?  the creator of the idea or the person that makes it...I think I know the answer to both of those questions in terms of strict law, however, things can be arranged differantly by negociation and agreement.

    The proposal being discussed provides benefits both ways... a dev can undertake a plugin job even if the £ on the table is less than the full development cost, because ther is potential to sell the commercial version, but because the plugin idea is developed by the community, they get the non commercial community version.  If however, they do not see potential for sales of the commercial version, they will want a greater contribution of hard cash.

    I think your idea of one small simple plugin donated to the community so people know what you are capable of and then you will get work is a little nieve... have you had a lot of commissions? I would venture that others who put up more get more.

  • @Mark,

    1. Ownership of the code has always been the property of the writer/coder. Even paid versions of desktop applications.

    2. Just like in photography, as an example, you get the finished photos, but you pay more to own the rights to reprint, distribute, or simply own the IP. Often, if it's a $100 an image for use, it's $2000 to own. Check the reputable stock images website to varify this. Another example is JQuery, Lightbox..etc. You can buy or download them, but you don't own rights to them.

    3. I never said you don't own your purchased code, but what I said was you only own the rights to use it, and the rights to re-produce, copy, distribute, sell, publish or otherwise pass onto another person remains the right of the code author, and you as the buyer, do not have those rights. It would be like you buy a script, then pass it on to another user. This is not right.

    4. I got many many many requests to write plugins or do some work on a number of elgg based websites. More often than not, I would reject the work because either I am busy or the client is not prepared to pay my rate. And I am happy with that. As matter of fact, I had to disappear for a while because I was getting too many messages from people asking me to do work, the latest one offered me a partnership in their SN in addition to my fee. (But that's only because they wanted someone on board who will be always be there).

    5. If every developer contributed with one or a few small simple plugins and they put themselves as available to perform code work for clients.. the entire process of plugin development would run much smoother so long as each plugin is provided with proper manuals and support just like any other 'off the box' product.

    Let me say this.. elgg will end up with thousands, if not tens of thousands of plugins scattered allover the planet.. and that might be good prima facie, but, when you look at the plugins, you will perhaps find that there are allot of duplicates, plugins that do the same thing and plugins that are mere simple mods of another plugin. This only adds confusion and prolongs the process of getting a website running.


  • abandoned

    Thanks for all your input.

    @TahoeBilly: Interesting concept for sponsoring a plugin.

    @Mark: This was what I was thinking too. Not highy customized plugins but more general use plugins that many people are looking for. People who want to further customize can just hire the developer to do the work.

    @Carlos, chambos67: I imagined that it would be the developer to state the cost, or donation goal, and not the users so that he/she, in effect, would be in charge of saying what their time is worth. Although chambos67 phrased it in the passive impersonal tense ("there is a danger here of devaluing a developers worth"), I think it's important that the developer know and accept that he/she is responsible for the valuation ("I am de/valuing my worth").

    I also agree that a small donation goal of $60 wouldn't be enough for a decent plugin. Would having a minimum cost for plugin dev would address this issue? Or shall we just leave it to the developer to estimate?

    Quotes I've received for some plugin development work are between $150 and $400, of course depending on what I wanted/needed. So I was thinking that plugins would fall within that range as well. Thoughts?

    Lastly, this brings us to the question I posed in my original post: Are there minimum or maximum donations to consider? chambo67 hinted, maybe jokingly, at $5 but I think that may be too low a floor. But that's just me.

    Looking forward to your replies.

  • I guess, from a developer's point of view, the question is: if I have a plugin that I value at $100, will I get $100 every time the plugin is downloaded?

    Devs wont care whether you call it a purchase price or donations so long as they get the price of the plugin each time it's downloaded. As matter of fact, I prefer it if it's called a donation because I don't have to pay tax on donations.

    But, what is wrong is for me is to spend $1000 worth of time on a plugin that gets used on 7000 websites and all I have to show for it is $200 worth of donations. I could make more money handing out free coffee to the homeless, at least I can get paid to slap a sponsor's ad on my van.

    Ultimately, every plugin should have a price, and, that price should be paid every time the plugin is used.. how to logistically organise this, is really irrelevant so long as it works.

    Again, I am one amongst thousands, my opinion and the way I do business might not suit others, and that's fair enough, so, whatever others chose to do, I genuinely wish them the best.

  • @Carlos, I guess that's the price of being a (plugin) web-developer.  The heavy-weight developers, that write full, compiled programs or who develop the huge (web) applications and sites are the ones who get the real money.  And, after-all, you are building plugins on an open-source platform.  So, what you write, for a plugin, needs to be open-source and re-usable.  I think that talented plugin developers, like Jeroen and Kevin, etc., get their real bread-and-butter from the projects they do, not from the plugins they write.  Just a guess.

    @Brett, this is where my attitude toward Anna comes from:

    I don't like her snotty, know-it-all, who cares about the past, let's trample on everyone for the sake of progress, attitude.  And that's why I don't respect her leading up this topic.