The Advanced Custom Fields plugin for Wordpress is a generic solution to the problem of adding custom fields to any plugin. Rather than recreating this functionality in my CRM plugin it would make more sense to develop a similar generic plugin for October (you have also recognised this).
My approach to CRM is that every successful CRM solution is customized in some way so my CRM is intended to be extended with your own plugin. This will always be more powerful than using custom fields, no matter how advanced I make them. Extending a plugin with your own plugin is easy in October and adding custom fields is something that you will likely only do once anyway: when setting up your CMR. So no, I have no direct plans to expand this functionality.
Ok thank you for the reply! That makes sense to me. I'll reach back out once we've got that up and running. Also, you and I were emailing but all my emails to you were bouncing back. Just FYI. Thanks again!
That is strange... The continuous efforts to ban spam make using email more and more troublesome. I noticed that my email from 21/2 also bounced. The forum seems to be OK so maybe I should let October handle mail :)
Please find my bounced mail from 21/2 below:
As somebody who has spent upwards of $100,-/month on CRM solutions as a customer and as a software developer myself, it is my experience that people generally expect far too much from a CRM. A CRM is a nice tool but it is no carpenter: It is not going to built you a business or get you customers.
I cannot tell you which CRM solution will be best for your business but I use the following criteria to select suitable candidates for my own CRM needs.
Tools should be simple and not too ambitious. It is better to have something that does the basics very well than to have a lot of bells and whistles that distract you from the important stuff. Be sure you know what that is to you upfront (and write it down!).
A lot of software can and should be standardized. Although a CRM should use standardized building blocks, any CRM that is going to work for your business should be tailored to fit your business and the way you run it. It is not enough to have an API, you need to have full control: This means no SaaS.
Technology is just a tool, not a solution. Only people can get you the results you are after. Make sure that the people who will be working with your CRM are committed to it and make sure that the people who are going to support your CRM are too (especially if this is you or your team).
I have used, tweaked and built CRM solutions and they always, always, failed to live up to my expectations because they did not meet one or more of the criteria above.
Some other considerations to keep in mind:
PHP is a very popular programming language for the internet. It may not be the cool new kid on the block that is popular this season but because it has such a large user base it is always developing and integrating new ideas. Because of this, developers are easy to find and affordable.
PHP is free and open-source but Zend (the company behind PHP) also engages in several commercial activities: Software sales, Training, Consultation, and more.
A framework helps standardize basic operations like interacting with a database, login, etc.
Laravel is free and open-source but also engages in commercial activities: Software sales, Training, and more.
October is built upon the Laravel framework (although Laravel is mainly used behind the screens) as both a CMS and an application framework.
October is free and open-source but also engages in commercial activities: Partner subscriptions, Marketplace gratitude, product promotions.
Plugins for October
I would say that 99% of the code used by plugins for October (including my own CRM plugin) is maintained and developed as part of either PHP, Laravel, October or free plugins by the community.
Most developers offer both free and paid plugins and some also offer training and consultation services or even hosting.
My CRM plugin is not free but it is affordable and supported by a commercial company (mine). It is bound to also disappoint you (a CRM always does) but could be a viable option if you are a freelancer or part of a small team looking for a customizable CRM to structure the interaction you have with your existing customers and help you follow up on prospects. I also have some free plugins to complement it’s functionality.
The best free open-source CRM alternative that I know is Espo CRM ( espocrm.com). It offers extended features like workflows for $300,- and is highly customizable without coding. I have looked at Laravel Bab but prefer Espo myself.