In launching 5.7 we've certainly rocked the boat. Between the dramatically rethought UX, the completely revamped code structure, and the lack of the simple upgrade path we've always maintained in the past, it's no secret we've taken a pretty big gamble with concrete5.
We've also gone rather quiet compared to our somewhat self promotional past. After years of spending as much time talking about our work as doing it, we started to feel like we were in an echo chamber with a broken record. 2014 was a tough year as 5.7 had been "coming sometime soon" since mid 2013 and the community was understandably at a loss for what they should be doing next. We saw gross marketplace sales dip 30% by the end of the year. Our team went through painful downsizing as we let a client we'd done a million dollars of work for go, so we could really focus on launching 5.7 and not chasing their unique needs.
After a long cold winter I am how happy to report that spring has come, the sun is out, the birds are chirping and things are looking up! Gross marketplace sales increased 12% last month. Since November started (and we started urging people to try 5.7) we've seen it downloaded 146,652 times from our own site alone (not including github and 1-click installers). There's over 34k unique installs of some version of 5.7 out there that have pingd concrete5.org to see if there's an update available. The number of 5.7 installs that actively hit us every month for update information is increasing on average by 11.17%. The total marketplace sales for the top 5 themes for 5.7 from the beginning of November are:
The data is exciting and while there's a long road to walk, we're relieved to see everything heading in the right direction. What's even more exciting to me is the feedback I'm getting personally and the opportunities that are coming our way now that 5.7 is stable.
We've seen the results from a usability study the US Army did on 5.7, and while there's some simple things we're tinkering with now, the take-away was "5.7 is so intuitive that users could edit a webpage without instruction. This is a huge accomplishment."
We've launched SimpleSites which let people provision a copy of 5.7 instantly and puts us in direct communication with them via Intercom.io so we can better tell what's working and what isn't. This immediate feedback is leading us towards really powerful improvements like the step-by-step walkthrough engine and improved help dialogs that will launch in 5.7.4.
We're working with a large university to build a 5.7 web application and iOS mobile app that talk to each other to share data. We've seen high end hotels and banks use 5.7 for live sites. Weve seen other IT groups use 5.7 as a white labeled web builder for vertical markets. There's interesting partnerships developing out of Asia. Opportunity abounds around 5.7.
There's a lot more work to do. The content migration tool described on GitHub is important. Our developer docs continue to slowly grow. Several vendors seem eager to offer eCommmerce solutions at a range of price points, and we have our own ideas for a more enterprise grade eCommerce solution as well. Conversations aren't done enough to replace our Forums add-on yet, and they need to be. Sometimes all of this work to be done can feel overwhelming, but one of the most exciting things to see is the real open source community contribution that's happening around 5.7 now.
I reached a point last year where I felt like endless long posts from me in our forums about what we should or shouldn't do were hurting as much as helping the situation. As I mentioned earlier we adopted a "shutup and get to work" philosophy. While I know some active folks on concrete5.org have felt that more as "head in the sand," the reality is it's working. Look at the push of effort as we get close to a 5.7.4 release on GitHub: https://github.com/concrete5/concrete5-5.7.0/pulse - for the first time in perhaps ever, Andrew is not the lead contributor but instead is approving and providing direction to an amazing community of developers who want to see 5.7 be everything we know it can be...
Thank you gang, 2015 is looking to be a great year for concrete5!