We want to show off concrete5 at SXSW, and we could really use some help getting there.
We've never asked for much beyond your attention since we went free and open source some 18 months ago. We've gone from a dozen clients around Oregon to over 100,000 downloads and 25,000 active sites with almost 14,000 members in our forums - we've built something people love and depend on.
Yesterday, I was lamenting the fact that searching concrete5.org (specifically, finding the search input field on the website) wasn't as easy as I thought it ought to be.
Todd, one of our excellent developers, came up with a great solution for those who use Firefox: a custom Firefox search plugin. His original used google.com to search concrete5.org, and while I can appreciate that, I'm hoping that our search has improved to the point where that's not necessary. With that in mind, I've tweaked it so that it searches concrete5.org directly.
Installing the search plugin:
The following instructions assume that your copy of Firefox is in a standard location.
First, download concrete5.xml above, and then…
On Windows: Copy it to "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins"
On OS X: Copy it to "/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/searchplugins"
Restart Firefox and concrete5 should appear in the search engine list, below the search field, complete with a nice icon. Thanks again, Todd. You may have even given me a reason to occasionally ditch Safari.
So my lawyer called me up the other day with interesting news.. "Your trademark application for concrete5(tm) is going well, you're gonna be able to turn that TM into a little R with a circle any day, just get that c5 crap off of your website."
Thanks to the Usagi Project for putting this video together.
5.2 has been officially released, no more "release candidate."
We've landed two large projects that will improve concrete5 in dramatic ways. First, we're helping a very excellent creative agency build a big site for a major organization, and it involves a complete overhaul of the file system and asset manager. This is wonderful stuff. This means no more single directory with timestamp prefixes on files, but rather a well thought out system with versions, permissions, meta data – all sorts of nice stuff.
Second, we're building a major ecommerce implementation for a fun children's book publisher that integrates concrete5 with Magento Commerce. Both are very powerful applications for what they do, and should behave well as one product in the future.
We're also releasing some more add-ons to the marketplace, starting with the ad block today and with the calendar block right around the corner. The forums are going to be heading out to our beta team & user groups shortly – progress is being made on all fronts.
All of this means we're quite busy, bringing on more help, and generally loving where we are with concrete5! We have to scale back our already limited involvement in the day-to-day postings of the forum. Andrew and I are going to try to get through all un-answered threads once a week if we can, but you're going to have to continue to rely on the community experts that have already started to answer most stuff in there. If you would like an "official" view on something in a timely fashion, I would strongly encourage you to evaluate the worth of concrete5 to your business and join our Partnership Programs, where we promise your issue attention within 48 hours, typically 8.
So I hope you're all having a great start of '09 so far – it's clearly going to be a very exciting year.
Wow, what a year.
A year ago, we had no idea we were going open source. By summer we were releasing early versions of our re-hauled CMS. By the fall we were getting over a thousand visitors to concrete5.org a day. We were featured as Project of the Month on SourceForge and we've been the subject of dozens of positive blogs and interviews. Sites powered with c5 are springing up all across the web, and we couldn't be happier.
With v5.1 we saw concrete5 go multilingual, and now we have translations for Danish, German and French available (we'd like more!) Folks are using our (previously) secret sauce, and we're hearing so much positive feedback. With v5.2 (being released as I type) we've started adding lots of features for end site owners to love. For a complete internet n00b, it is still far easier to get started with Wordpress than it is c5 – we're trying tochange that.
The concrete5.org website was just got a complete re-hauling. We took it down for 24 hours and turned it back on with a new Marketplace, improved search and Forums, rearranged help… really too much to even mention in this post, read about it over here.
We have a several Add-Ons that will be made available for sale on the Marketplace in the coming weeks, and we're even more eager for the c5network of developers to submit their own.
2008 has been a crazy adventure, I'm confident 2009 will be even more so – and that's because of You. Thanks for your continued love and dedication to c5, it's exciting to get out of bed every day and see what's happened. Let's take over the web!
Well you may have noticed our concrete5.org site was being "renovated" for the last 24 hours. With the amount of community activity we've been having, we just couldn't find a reasonable way to stage and launch our updates any more gracefully, so thanks for bearing with us through this interruption in services. We'll do everything we can to avoid it in the future.
Here's just some of what changed:
- We completely revamped the home page and several landing pages to give the site a more friendly experience to the non-programmers out there. We also changed the footer around to be a bit more useful and friendly for everyone.
- A Marketplace now exists! You can browse Themes and Add-Ons, fill a shopping cart with them, make a real purchase with a credit card and instantly download the files.
- If you are a developer or designer selling something in the Marketplace, you now get credits in your account which you can choose to have paid out via paypal, or you can use to make other purchases around the site. You also get your own forums and ticketing system so you can provide ongoing support to your customers.
- Forums & Tickets got a bunch of small UI tweaks to make life easier. We now can easily set status of feature requests and bugs without going into edit mode. You can now drag and drop the posting window around your browser so you can see what you're replying to as you write (that one used to drive me up the wall.)
- We added member search, buffed out the profile, and introduced 23 new member "badges" that represent expertise and interest. Now you'll be able to see if that person giving you advice actually knows what they're talking about.
- We added a local user group map and search. If you want to have a physical monthly meeting of c5 folk in your area, we want to hear from you and link to you on our map.
- We put alot of work into making search more useful (i.e.: not suck so much). It's still got some ways to go, but it is way better than what we had.
- We seeded the marketplace with a bunch of free blocks we've made after listening to real world requests.
- Rearranged help and added some new screen-casts and articles.
- We added c5hosting and c5services Partner Program areas.
uhh… I'm sure lots of little things I'm completely spacing because it's all a blur at this point. Any rate, let us know if anything is off. Thanks for bearing with us while we rolled all that out.
Our hosting clients have long received preferential treatment from us. Pay me something, anything, to worry about your website every month and I'm obviously going to put a star next to your email in my in-box, whatever the subject might be.
The explosive growth of c5 this year has created a lot of new challenges for us as we look at prioritizing our already limited time. We want nothing more than to be worried about the core, promotion, and best practices around c5 – making it the most popular CMS on the planet. For that to happen, we all (c5 staff and community alike) need to consider the best ways to focus our time to help the project scale. We see several groups emerging in our young community already, and we're going to provide tools to help foster their growth.
c5network – The c5network members are simply anyone who has joined concrete5.org, or any of the local user group sites. We will connect this network of sites through openID, and by joining one you will be able to contribute and benefit from them all. Attend any meeting in the world you'd like to, get promotional discounts, early notice on exciting updates, everything you'd expect and more – for nothing.
c5services – Freelancers and webshops that are providing development services to customers using c5 are encouraged to join this affordable Partnership Program. Amongst many other benefits, a private forum ensures a timely response on any post from c5 staff.
c5hosting – Companies that host websites built with concrete5 are encouraged to join our affordable c5hosting Partner Program. Membership includes Whitepapers on how to centralize the c5 code base for a shared server, and how to setup the auto-generating demos we offer at getConcrete5.com/demo. Many other benefits are included as well as private forums with a guaranteed response by c5 staff.
Please don't take the existence of the c5services and c5hosting Partner Programs as any sign that we're less open source, free, or ‘good' than we were yesterday. We could have chosen a shareware or crippleware approach with c5, but we didn't and never will. We're not requiring you join any Partner Program to sell your goods in the new Marketplace, and we remain firmly dedicated to making the world a better place. Quite simply; we have to provide the same option for preferred support to the whole community, as we do to our hosting clients on getConcrete5.com.
More to the point, these are not private one to one retainers where big pocketbooks tie the core team up on the phone all day doing their work for them. These are more akin to Unions where you have the freedom and solidarity that comes from being surrounded by a group of your actual peers, in private. The real benefit here is instead of just getting access to us, members of these Partner Programs can openly share with one another as well.
So, for a long while we just had a single shared c5 demo setup that would clean itself out every hour on the hour. Crude, but an easy way to get a demo up. We started to really understand the downsides when we were seeing 900 new users in there at a time. Seeing things randomly change to Japanese under you is disconcerting as well.
Now when you want to play around with concrete5, you can easily get your own sandbox to play in. After 15 days you can even turn it into a paid hosting account.
Grab your own demo today!