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The Jigoshop Vision in 2012

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In the past week, we’ve released Jigoshop V1.1 and topped an amazing 50,000 downloads, so it seems like a good chance to pause for a moment and outline what we’ve got planned for the rest of the year. Since launching 8 months ago, Jigoshop has been an amazing project and adventure that has kept us all incredibly busy.

In addition to downloads, Jigoshop now has 27 extensions available (and there are more every week, including later this week), and 12 themes have been launched. Plus we’re showcasing more and more great examples of how people are building their business with Jigoshop.

As with any business, we’ve had setbacks, but the benefits of embracing the philosophy and community in the open source world has meant that there’s always someone contributing something amazing to inspire us to move past any negatives and focus on progress. And in recognition of all the amazing help and support we’d had, we want to share our aims for Jigoshop in 2012.


The Jigoshop Core:

The ultimate ambition of Jigoshop remains our constant focus – “WordPress eCommerce software that works”, and that means software which enables anyone to be able to run their own shop easily and effectively, allowing them to make money from a hobby, start a new business, or improve an existing one.

We’ve monitored feedback from our forums, and via email and social media (Twitter, Facebook and Google+), and the results of that information have led to many of the change we’re making for the future, which has really started with Jigoshop V1.0.

We’ve made Jigoshop quicker to use, quicker to load, and easier to build on for the future, to enable third party designers and developers to add to the incredibly Jigoshop ecosystem. And we’ve worked on 3 main elements of the free product – Security, Reliability and Support. In terms of security, we’ve made our own improvements and enlisted the help of the leading experts in the field. For Reliability, we’ve looked at all the essentials of eCommerce and rebuilt several areas to ensure you have a stable platform for your business. And we’ve already launched new Support forums and continue to look at the most efficient way to answer your needs quickly, whether that’s responding to questions or improving the Jigoshop Knowledge Base.

Jigoshop Extensions

Going forwards it will be quicker and easier for anyone to design themes and plugins to work with Jigoshop. Taking the time to rebuild various elements of the software means future development work can proceed more quickly, and we can also take the time to look at improving our own plugins.

We’ve also got plenty of plans for themes over the next 12 months including some amazing contributions from various designers, and easier ways for any developer or designer to earn money by supporting Jigoshop, including our new Affiliates scheme which allows you to now only earn money by selling your own products, but also by recommending other themes, related plugins and support packages.

And in case you didn’t realise – our own Extensions section of the website is powered by Jigoshop, meaning that we rely on our own product to power our business.




The Jigoshop Community:

In addition to our new Affiliates program, we’re also stepping up the ways we can support the Jigoshop Community. That means everyone using Jigoshop, whether you’re a small business owner, designer, developer or agency serving multiple clients. Expect to see more information and material on how to best use Jigoshop in a range of settings, more opportunities to contribute and be rewarded for your effort, and more ways to keep up-to-date. In addition to the blog, you can follow us via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, or by signing up to the Jigoshop newsletter.

We also want to be more active in our support and engagement with the wider world of open source and WordPress, including tunnelling our way out of the Jigoshop offices to attend more events and talk to more people about how we can continue to improve Jigoshop. And virtually we’ll be improving the ways contributions and feedback are reported and rewarded.

So it’s going to be an even busier year than in 2011, but tightening our focus means more progress for us and more opportunities for you to work with Jigoshop. Thanks for all your support so far and here’s to 2012!

Our forking views

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Forking has always been a contentious issue for any open source project. It refers to the ability for anyone to split GPL licenced code into a new project with the consent of the original copyright holder without needing to gain further permission or even notify them, and is a very useful feature if a developer has given up on the project and let it stagnate.

It’s also used when there’s a large disagreement between parties over the direction of a project, and in that case, forking tends to be less productive as it generally splits both developers and users between the two camps.

Very recently WooThemes has announced that in addition to hiring Mike and James (formerly of Jigowatt), they will be forking the Jigoshop code to produce their own version of an eCommerce platform. And while this is technically allowed under the GPL V3 licence, there seems to be some confusion we’d like to clear up.

  • Forking the Jigoshop code base does not mean that Jigoshop ceases to exist, grow and evolve. Indeed we’ve got more contributors than ever before and have more new themes, features and plug-ins on the way, to keep building the brilliant momentum we’ve had since launch.
  • Although James and Mike contributed to the core of Jigoshop, they were not solely responsible for it. We owe a lot of the Jigoshop codebase to the Github & WordPress communities and we thank you all for your contributions to the project so far.
  • Woo’s bid to buy out the Jigoshop project grossly undervalued the business and didn’t come close to covering our initial development costs, not forgetting the planning, time and effort both the Jigowatt team and community put into the project.
  • Woo then made to an offer to ‘collaborate’ which led to their decision to fork Jigoshop. What hasn’t been made public is that collaboration offer included conditions which would have given WooThemes full strategic control over the direction and development of the Jigoshop project in the future.
  • References have also been made to the fact that Jigoshop will remain open source, and therefore the whole community will benefit from future development of either fork, which is true, and is ensured by Jigowatt retaining copyright of the project to be certain that Jigoshop (and forks of it) will always be licensed under GPL, and existing users will not find future improvements become unavailable because any copyright holder has decided to switch to a proprietary licence.

It’s perfectly within the rights and terms of the GPL licence for a project and code base to be forked, and there is certainly nothing to stop anyone from doing exactly that. Indeed, within GitHub, forking is also used as an alternative way of contributing to the original code by demonstrating an alternate approach.

However, when forking is done needlessly, it has a negative effect on both projects, as it splits the potential developer and user community, and it’s sad that this might happen when we are not only open to collaboration and partnership opportunities, but have always encouraged them. We’re completely confident in both our internal team, the amazing Jigoshop community of users, developers, designers and testers, and the fact that working together, all of us can create the best possible solution and maintain the great tradition of open source success.

In praise of GitHub, and the benefits for Jigoshop

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If you’ve ever taken a really close look at the various licences you can use to release open source software, you’ll know that there are a lot of ways you can comply with the rules that might not be obvious at first – for instance, instead of sharing your code when someone downloads your software, you could give them a written promise that you’ll share the code if they ask. Not the easiest or most practical route for a number of reasons, and that’s one of the reasons why making Jigoshop available via GitHub has been a great decision.

Jigoshop Project on GitHub

What’s a GitHub?

If you’re not a developer or you haven’t encountered GitHub, it’s a very simple and effective hosting service for software projects, with the Git revision control system, and free options for open source projects.

What that means is Jigoshop is available on Github, and anyone can take a look and get involved, and a growing number of external developers and designers have been doing just that. Why not come and join the group working together on the Jigoshop project on GitHub?

It also means that we can keep track of everyone’s contributions, and support those efforts wherever possible, as well as getting feedback on the latest version of the code.

And we’re not alone – GitHub now hosts over 2 million repositories of code, which is pretty good going for a project launched by just three people in 2008.

So how does that help you?

If you’re a developer looking to collaborate on the Jigoshop project, then the benefits might be obvious, but even if you’re not interested in coding, then there are massive bonuses from the team forming around Jigoshop on GitHub.

It means we can provide better code more quickly by collaborating with more people. It means that we can include and track those projects, and it all boils down to a free and open Jigoshop evolving all the time to be the best possible eCommerce solution for WordPress.

And that means a better online store for you, a better experience for your customers, and more money for your business.