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?

  • @TahoeBilly - that is probably the most intelligent contribution to this thread yet!  Good for you!  Thank you!  Some sanity came back into this thread!

  • Seriously, we've gone through dozens of posts on this subject and this issue has gone nowhere yet.

    Let's get practical - I've recently posted a proof-of-concept autocomplete facebook-like plugin. Since the feedback is good and there's no other real alternative in Elgg to provide an autocomplete for entities (with images and such nice stuff) I have decided to continue into making a complete plugin which will provide autocomplete for users/groups/custom data and it will be based on Elgg's views/input system meaning any developer can easily include the autocomplete plugin, moreover, you can use Kevin's Form plugin to include any autocomplete's in a form.

    Now to the practical part, if I'd like to get this plugin funded somehow, my current options are:

    1. Use to publish the plugin and raise a fixed fee from contribution of users
      (if you only hear about this website now you're way out of things... go and check it!)
    2. Place a Donation button on the plugin's homepage here in Elgg which in the best case I'll get $5 out of it by some nice guy and no dis-respect intended but that's far beyond the worth of a developer's time.
    3. Place the plugin in Elgg's community with that PayPal-type link where users pay via PayPal then get a download link

    Out of all of these options, option 1 is the best since it allows to raise money from people whoare interested in this plugin and provides a plugin homepage where we (the community of buyers and the developer) can decide on the plugin's specification so that all parties get their expectations right.


    So... how do we go on about this?

  • Again, any serious developer that wants to make money directly off of his plugins needs to follow the model that Elggdev has. If you do not, then you are not serious about business and you are wasting all of our time.

    Otherwise, follow the model of ColdTrick, offering their plugins for free, but coming up with awesome plugins that attract attention to their business, whereby they are able to get customers willing to pay ColdTrick to develop full networks for them.

    These are the only two, realistic and honest ways for developers to make money, without dragging down the community.

  • You are completely missing the point of this entire discussion then.

    This discussion's topic is how to fund/support plugin developers in order to stimulate them into continuing to support the community and build plugins. The topic of this discussion is not "how to build an Elgg-based business".

    I don't know about the rest of the developers but I don't sit at home doing nothing and I bet 99% of everyone else are the same as me - have family, jobs, etc where Elgg has become more of a hobby to start your own networking website and possibly a business venture but that's it.

    With that said, I don't plan on getting $1000 for a plugin but 10% of that would be a token of appreciation for a given average plugin. In terms of cost, $100 is about an hour's cost of a decent developer time. How long does it taken to build a plugin? then manage user's requests, bugs etc? then follow-up on it? For the most stripped-down version of a plugin that would span for at least a week of non-continuous work.

  • No, liri, you don't get free-market principles.  You stimulate developers to continue to support the community in building plugins by paying for their plugins on their business web-sites or by paying them to develop networks for you.

    The way to fund plugin development is to financially support those businesses who are developing needed plugins.  And in the free market, customers approach developers asking them to develop new and specific plugins, based on their needs.

    It's a simple diversity of mindsets here.  If you don't get what I am saying, it's probably because you don't understand the free market principles.

  • I do not want to criticize nor to get this discussion down a path I wish not to take, yet stating that I don't get free-market principles is just what you're doing.

    I personally lead an industry leading leading open source project for 2.5 years now with a great community around it and I've been participating in open source projects for more than a decade now.

    Let me break-down what you're saying into non-abstract words so that everyone understands you - you're saying that if a developer wants to get paid for his plugin that person should open a business so that customers may approach those businesses via their websites and buy/contract plugin work.

    That's absolutely an absurd point of view. How many elgg-based businesses are in here? ColdTrick? WebGali? what? another 2 more? And all of them have decided to base their businesses on Elgg's platform, that's cool. But how many free-developers are out there? tens of developers.

    So you're saying that every developer should open an e-commerece store and offer plugins? that's insanely absurd, that's exactly what we're trying to avoid here.

    You are entirely missing the point here, read Anna's first post, we're talking about how to maintain good plugin developers here. And this is a very common story in the open source community usually referred to as bounties where-as companies or individuals opt to pay X amount for an T type of functionality.

  • I never said that every developer should open a business to sell plugins. Some developers do what they do out of a love for the project and for recognition. I already made that point. Again, as for maintaining good plugins, it should be volunteer.  You claim that you have been with open source projects for 10 years.  Great.  It's volunteer.

  • abandoned

    Ok, it's been awhile since I came back here to check on things since I've been busy working on modding the forum.

    Hopefully I can finish the modding (30+) by this weekend and then we can test it out.

  • After those many posts, why not something practical:

    Elgg is basically a clever engine with a gui that lets you just login to the system. All functions and all corresponding gui's are placed in plugins. Thats where Anna starts with this blog.

    What we need in my opinion is a consistent and intuitive user interface and a basic set of functions that include the basic functions of blog, page, discussion, file,group, plugin management, language management, packaged in a way that this set of programs can be downloaded with the elgg engine and run out of the box.
    All plugins would be addons to this basic set.

    To pay the development I propose to make the download of this software payable (licence questions need to be addresses). You may call it a branch of elgg if you like. As in all software after development has been paid, this can be released into open public.

    I have a need for such a development and therefore I am willing to provide resources and funding. I invite other developers to contact me to see wheter we can do a joint effort