October CMS Moves to Become a Paid Platform

Posted in Announcements on Apr 12, 2021

Dear friends, today we have an important announcement.

October CMS has become a primary platform for professional developers and digital studios all around the world. Businesses depend on our platform. Our mission is to help them succeed, and this means that we must harness opportunities to do so.

For a number of years, indeed since 2013, we have developed and maintained October CMS (as a platform and a business), we have identified several continuing opportunities for improvement related to the original business model. Opportunities to alleviate potential risks for our platform users and their clients. Opportunities for more robust technical support and increased momentum of new system feature releases.

The October CMS mission and values have been updated to align with our platform users professional success:

Our mission is to offer professional web developers the highest quality CMS platform and ecosystem to achieve their business success. We value simplicity, clarity, reliability, and predictability above novelty and cyclical trends.

What does this mean for our users?

This means that as a business, the October CMS platform, its features, and processes now focus primarily on the needs of our professional customers. To this end, we have been working hard on a new release for over a year now, and it is ready to go.

We believe you will be pleasantly surprised by the new features and streamlined back end to October CMS to increase both its capability and ease of use.

However, we will also be moving to a new business model to ensure the continuity and sustainability of October CMS. October CMS will become a proprietary product and the licensing model is to be changed. Under these changes, October CMS will no longer be a free platform.

We believe that these changes are necessary in the interests of providing the timely and effective support expected of our professional users.

New License Arrangements

Under the new arrangements, all October CMS websites (projects) will require a license if they need to receive updates and access the Marketplace. The license fee will be $9 per project, or $150 per year for unlimited licenses.

The new license is not required for existing October CMS projects unless you need to update the platform core or plugins.

We will provide unlimited licenses for our annual partner subscription plans. Once the new October CMS is launched, you will be able to find the exact pricing structure on the homepage and the Features page.

The price comes with more than just a license - by purchasing a license you support the project so that we can build new features, fix bugs, create tutorials and improve the Marketplace. Keep reading to learn about platform and process improvements.

Updated Platform

We have implemented many updates to improve the platform, make it faster, and give it a modern look. What's more important, we’ve made October CMS fully compatible with modern development and deployment practices.

A sneak-peek of the improvements:

  • Composer is now the main tool for installing and updating the system. It now supports dependencies through the Marketplace. With composer.json you can install the platform with all the required plugins and themes, including your private repositories.
  • The platform core now uses semantic versioning. Major versions can now introduce changes that are incompatible with the previous version. Before that, we adhered to the policy of backward compatibility back to the very first version of the platform. Supporting it was taking a long time, especially when moving to a new version of Laravel. Now we can move faster.
  • We added the Editor - a universal platform for editing documents in the Administration Area. CMS template editors are an extension for the Editor. We also plan to update the Builder plugin to use the Editor as well.
  • We added the Child Themes feature. That means that there can be a parent theme implementing complex functionality, and a child theme that overrides parts of the parent theme. The parent theme can be safely updated without breaking the customizations.
  • The entire codebase has been carefully reviewed to a high standard. In particular, we have focused on performance and our philosophy of simplicity, which we believe the community has shown to appreciate.
  • There are many visual and functional improvements in the Administration Area.
  • A new Vue.js JavaScript framework has been added to the backend.
  • Support for Laravel 6 and PHP 8.

You can watch an Intro Video demonstrating the updated platform on our YouTube channel.

Updated Processes

We recognize the importance of planning and communicating when working with business customers and we have improved our processes accordingly. October CMS Portal displays the real-time status of features that are being developed, released and planned.

The new process involves carefully collecting all insights such as ideas, recommendations, bug reports, and feature requests from all our communication channels. An insight describing a new feature will be converted to a new Feature card on our Portal. If an insight refers to an existing feature, it will be recorded to that Feature, increasing its importance. You can also vote for features directly on the Portal. The feature importance will be considered during the planning and prioritization process.

Conclusion

This is obviously a big shift for October CMS and for our users. We understand that you will have questions. We have tried to anticipate and answer any questions below, and if your question hasn’t been answered in the post, please don't hesitate to email us at hello@octobercms.com.

Questions and Answers

When is the release?

The release will be announced in a few days.

How much is the license?

The license is $USD 9.00 per project or $USD 150.00 per annum for unlimited licences.

What if I am an existing partner?

Subscribers of the Silver, Gold and Bronze Partner plans can have an unlimited number of projects while their subscription is active. You can find full pricing on the homepage and Features page when we launch.

What about technical support?

We provide one free support ticket per month for Gold subscribers. Subscribers of other plans can get premium support for $97 per ticket and includes 1.5 hours of support time with service level agreements.

Do I need a license to run an existing website?

You don't need a license if you are not updating the core or plugins.

Will I have access to the platform repository? Can I submit pull requests?

Silver and Gold subscribers have access to the private repository, can submit pull requests, and we will collaborate closely with them on the codebase.

How can I upgrade to the newest version?

The upgrade process is described on this page.

Is it safe to upgrade my website?

The current version is a Beta version of the new platform. It may contain bugs which we will try to fix as soon as possible. Nonetheless, we do not recommend upgrading live websites until the stable release is available.

Is the new version fully backwards compatible?

It is mostly compatible. The only known incompatibility is related to the CMS User Interface extensibility. This issue will be addressed later. If you are using the plugins like Custom Fields or Custom Fields CMS, your installation might be incompatible. Also, some plugins that extend the back-end login forms are not compatible and must be updated by the authors. Although, we made sure that the two-factor authentication plugins for the Administration Area work properly.

What should I do if my installation is not compatible but I need to update plugins?

You can update plugins independently of the core and keep the old core.

Will the old core keep receiving security updates?

Yes.

What is the safest way to upgrade a production installation?

If you want to update a production installation, the safest way is to make a copy with a separate database and upgrade it.

Do plugins and themes Marketplace authors need to purchase a license?

Yes.

What will happen with the Private Plugins & Themes service?

As you can now use Composer dependencies to add private repositories to October CMS installations, the service becomes redundant. It will continue working but we recommend switching to Composer. We might phase out the service eventually.

Can I receive the latest version of the open-source version of the platform?

Yes, you will be able to download the ZIP file on release.

What happens if I stop paying the annual partner subscription?

If you had a license previously and the subscription ends. You can continue to use your website at that version perpetually, it just means you won't be able to receive future updates of the platform.

Do I have to upgrade? What about my existing projects?

You only need to pay for a license if you wish to upgrade to the new version of October CMS. Your existing website will still function normally and paid products can still be accessed.

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