Any October user can become an author. You need to sign up for a free account and register on the Author Registration Page. A PayPal account is required only if you are going to sell paid products. The technical aspects of becoming an author is explained on the registration page.
You can manage your plugins on the Author page in the Account area. When you create a new plugin you should upload the plugin ZIP archive, specify the archive file URL or specify the Git address and branch. New plugins will go in to Draft status. Draft plugins are not displayed on the Marketplace yet, but you can edit the plugin description, upload an icon, write documentation and assign categories.
When you are ready to publish a plugin, click the Submit for approval menu item in the sidebar. We review all plugins before they can be published. Using the Submit for approval page, you may provide a final copy of the plugin archive, its URL or Git URL. In the following days, you will receive an email notification to tell you if the plugin is published or rejected.
It is possible to hide published plugins. Click the Hide menu item on the sidebar of the Plugin Details page to hide a published plugin. This feature is only available for published plugins. To show the plugin again, click the Unhide menu item. Unhiding a plugin doesn't require any approval.
The Manage updates menu item allows you to update a plugin or theme on the Marketplace. Note that if you're updating a plugin you should increase its version number in the Plugin version file, otherwise existing plugin installations won't know that it was updated.
Updating plugins automatically
Plugins can be updated automatically by using a hook update URL. To find this navigate to the Manage Updates screen of the plugin, there will be an Update URL displayed. Keep this URL secret as once opened it will trigger a new build for the plugin. You can trigger this URL automatically every time you push changes. Some examples are below:
For GitHub, navigate to the Settings page of your Git repository and click on Webhooks & Services. Click the Add webhook button and in the Payload URL field enter the Update URL from the plugin updates page. Click Add webhook to complete.
For Bitbucket, navigate to the Settings page of the Git repository and click on Hooks. In the drop-down menu, select POST and click Add hook. In the URL field, enter the Update URL from the plugin updates page. Click Save to complete.
For protected plugins, you can give OctoberCMS rights to view the repo by granting permissions to the special user octoberapp on GitHub and Bitbucket.
Suggestions for Marketplace product authors
Since the Marketplace grows quickly, you may want your plugins to be noticeable and people to use them. There are a few simple ways that could help you to achieve this goal.
Use quality plugin icons
Good plugins require good icons. The plugin icon is the first thing the Marketplace users notice when they browse the plugin list. Quality, bright and recognizable icons draw attention. If you develop a plugin that integrates a known service, like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, don't hesitate to use that brand's icon or logo. For non-integration plugins you should use a quality icon that expresses the plugin's purpose, there are websites that offer free icons and also premium paid icons. Here are some example services where you can buy nice icons, the Noun Project and Icons8.
Write good descriptions
The Create/Edit screen for a plugin or theme has three text fields: Description, Details and Documentation. The Description text is displayed in the plugin list and it is very important. The description should briefly but precisely express the functionality of the product (plugin or theme).
The Details field contains the text displayed on the individual detail page for your product. Users make the decision to use a product after reading the details. The contents of this field should tell the users what exactly the product does, what functions it includes, how end users are supposed to use it and how to configure or customize it. The details shouldn't describe too much about how a developer uses it, there is a different section for that. This is a good a rule of thumb: the Details field is for end users, the Documentation field is for developers.
In the Documentation field describe as much as you can about using the product as a developer. If the product is a theme, explain how to set up features or make any customizations. If the product is a plugin, explain what components are included, which properties the components have, what variables are injected to the page and so on. Remember - the more details you provide in the Documentation, the fewer questions your users will need to ask. Also, quality documentation is always a sign of a good product!
Provide quality screenshots
A picture tells a thousand words so screenshots are very important. Sometimes a single glance is enough to understand what a product does and what the final result will be. For plugins take screenshots of the functionality and back-end user interface that is included. For themes take screenshots of the front-end pages. Always style front-end pages before taking screenshots. Use known CSS frameworks for the demo front-end pages, such as Bootstrap, since they are recognizable and this could save you time.
Charis Ketikidis is an author of top-performing October CMS themes. In this post, he shares his thoughts on the commercial potential of the Marketplace for authors and tells us about the importance of product quality and customer support.