Dev Diary #5

Ok – I missed a week in my Dev Diary, but here we are, back at it again. I’ve managed to get my support chats down to 7 now which is great considering we were up at 280+!

I’m sorry for the recent slow delay in replying, this should hopefully be a thing of the past now, especially since I’ve added new repositories for chats which need to be tracked – namely bug reports, feature requests and documentation requests.

Work this week

It’s unlikely I’ll actually get to working on any bug fixes this week thanks to some other admin work I need to attend to.

Removal of lifetime support

I’ve finally decided to remove the lifetime support feature on our plugins. I’ve discussed this with many, and the fact is that in the WordPress world plugin buyers expect to be paying yearly for continuous support. That means, I’m giving a freeby out that no one is really looking for. So – that is going to come to an end very soon – I’m aiming for this Saturday.

There will be a drop in the price we charge for each plugin and the plugin pack, to go along with the prices moving to yearly. Anyone who has already purchased will be unaffected – you’ll still have the plugins for life. I’ll be cloning the existing WooCommerce products in our system then changing the old lifetime product URLs to include ‘-earlyadopter’ or similar slug. WooCommerce remembers what you’ve purchased based on the product ID, so this way you’ll still have never-ending downloads of all updates that come out.

Removal of per-country pricing

I’ve developed a JavaScript-based currency conversion plugin. The current country-based currency plugin I’m using is decent, but having different prices per country comes with a bunch of issues:

  1. I get screwed on currency conversion by PayPal and they won’t let me withdraw with anything other than my home country currency.
  2. My accounts are far more complicated now I have 3 currencies. Reverting to just GBP will make this far simpler for me.
  3. Page cache is not as effective when you’re keeping a separate item in the cache per country per page

You’ll see this new JavaScript currency conversion tool on the site possibly today, maybe tomorrow.

Prices will be changing to + tax rather than inc tax

This is similar to the lifetime support – most people are expecting tax to be added to the price on the checkout pages. The fact that I’m not doing this is just another freeby I’m accidentally giving away. This also complicates the product and archive page cache since then I need to know which country inside the EU they are in prior to displaying that page. Ajax pricing really helps here, but I’ve seen issues with it even though it’s perfectly configured – for example, the price on the product page saying it’s tax free, then saying including tax on the checkout pages.

So this is all going to change too to + tax, then the final price will be calculated based on your location and whether you enter a valid VAT number. If you enter a valid EU VAT number and your are non-UK and your GEOIP locates to the country you claim to originate from, the VAT will not be charged and this will instead be recorded through our automated VATMOSS system.

Automating my tax returns

I’m half-way through fully automating my tax returns through xero. I intend to complete this this week so I can stop paying my accountants the exorbitant amount of money I pay them for doing seemingly very little very slowly. I’ve submitted all my expenses, sales and bank/paypal details to my accountants and yet they still haven’t completed my last two VAT returns and the fines are building. I’m obviously not very happy about this, and given I got the accounting prize back at high school I think I should just take on doing my own tax returns.

That way, the amount of effort involved in me doing each return will directly affect how much effort I put into fully automating those returns and everything will become smoother. This will also give me better visibility of my cash flow which is imperative moving forward so that I can start planning for a new hire.

Finding a new hire

I’m not going to hire them yet, but I’m going to start putting feelers out to see who I can find, ideally to work with me 30 hours per week. The aim is to be in a position, with a clear understanding of my cash flow, to be able to hire them in May or June.

Removal of the ‘Standard Performance Analysis’

The Standard Performance Analysis was meant to be a price-competitive entry to give advice and pointers to people, but pretty much every one sold I ended up giving them the full performance analysis. That’s detrimental to me in a big way and it’s detrimental to all you plugin owners since the performance analysis service is then not really subsidising plugin development – rather it’s getting in the way.

Thus – the only price available now for the performance analysis is the £1299 + VAT price which gives you the full analysis.

As a side-note, I’m pulling my recommendation for Cloudways. One of the performance analysis jobs I’ve been bogged down in over the past 2 weeks was on a Cloudways server, and still even now their Varnish page cache is delivering a ‘cached’ page in 1100ms. I say ‘cached’ because when that client ran their FB campaign, ‘cached’ pages were hitting Apache, nginx, MySQL and PHP. That’s the opposite of cached. On top of that, it was tedious to say the least to try and configure their system properly. They are providing a managed service, so I understand stuff being locked down, but if you’re going to lock it down have it locked down optimised FFS.

Summary

This week is the final clearing of old support tasks. I’ll keep on top of support chat, keep triaging the bugs, and feature requests and then next week I can start fresh and plough through any bug fixes.

Dave Hilditch

I'm the owner of WP Intense. I code plugins to help with performance and automation and I write stack-building guides.

Chat to me directly through our on-site chat bubble.