Amember 4 feature list tracking thread

Discussion in 'Pre-Sales Questions' started by skippybosco, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. kengary

    kengary aMember Pro Customer

    Nov 13, 2008
    Thank you skippybosco for this thread!

    When I read your original post it makes me ask a few questions:

    1. Why drop Smarty? What does that mean? What system would you replace it with. I'm actually quite a fan of Smarty templates and was glad when I found out aMember uses them. But maybe that's just me.

    2. Aren't a few of the things on the requested list available in 3.1.8 Pro? Seems like it does some of the Ajax stuff on the signup form at least, doesn't it? (I read it real fast and maybe I don't get it.)

    3. A lot of these requests can be provided by 3rd Party plugin developers. (DISCLAIMER: I am one of those! ;-D) So maybe that's a way to use your car analogy...use third party developers (for now) to pimp your old ride. I've been known to pimp out a few WordPress blogs and aMember sites myself.

    4. I too am VERY concerned that when version 4 comes out to know just how many of the plugins I've developed (and have purchased from others for use on my site) are going to either a) stop working or b) be obsolete if the functionality becomes included in the new release. It's either going to be a huge debacle or a huge opportunity when it happens depending on who you are and how you look at it I guess.

    For those of you thinking of jumping ship to a new system (or buying a new car) or for those like me who've thought about writing a new feature-for-feature script (as jazzedge says) it would take a massive effort and a huge amount of time to duplicate the functionality of aMember and to come up with as many possible connections to other systems that have evolved over the years here. So you'd have another long wait most likely.

    Take the new membership script (WordPress plugin really) WishList Member for example. It is a very nice system (can you smell that new-car smell? I've seen people in love with it who post in forums with that crazed fanatical look in their eyes about it. ;-D) but compared to aMember it is highly limited. It works great (as of this writing) for JUST those people who ONLY use WordPress for their digital content and digital products (which works great BTW) and ONLY if they use PayPal, QuickPay Pro or 1ShoppingCart (maybe ClickBank?) for payment processors and ONLY use AWeber or AutoReponse Plus for their email list. That's it. Eventually there will probably be more but for now that's all you got.

    If you use or some other payment processor directly or your site has forums or you use Joomla or you deliver physical products or you use MailChimp or etc., etc., etc. you get nothing out of the shiny new WishList Member (for now).

    And...oh yeah, from what I can tell their code is all encrypted and there is no plugin system for you to hire someone to make it do whatever else you might possibly want it to do. If you need them to add a feature or hook into vBulletin or something...not even sure if they have plans for that...but if they do I hope they have a big staff because otherwise your wait time for those enhancements will make Alex look like a formula one race car I'm betting.

    I'm exaggerating of course and I didn't mean to go off on a tangent about WishList member but unless there are any other new membership systems coming online that I don't know about (and I know there are others that have been there a while that compete with aMember) it IS the shiny new car that you can go get if you want it. (I'm going to use it on a few of my projects that meet it's limited parameters.)

    At least with the third party developers that can create a plugin for you for aMember you have a chance of getting what you want without having to wait for Alex if you don't want to, albeit not for free. But still, it gives you a much bigger staff than other solutions potentially.

    It's definitely possible to make aMember look more like a new car. David at Membership Academy and others do a good job of matching up the aMember templates with whatever the rest of your web site looks like.

    It's also possible to make it perform under the hood more like a modern car. Just like tuning a real car, that's going to cost you more money than a stock engine, but at least it's possible because there are people out there like me who have gotten under the hood an tweaked a few things. And yes, just like hot-rodding a real car, once you do that then if the manufacturer has any upgrades they may no longer fit...and you're warranty is invalidated. Every one of us has to decide what our business rules are and what is worth it to us.

    So I do understand the concern and I echo it here myself that for whatever reasons Alex is remaining silent on this topic and that is cause for concern. I'm not making light of that at all with anything I've said above. It is important for all of us to know that this platform does not have a limited shelf life. So it would be nice to know once-and-for all if there will be a version 4 or not, because if not...then perhaps someone will step up with a newer system...or maybe Alex would like to sell the company? I'd be interested. ;-D


    PS: Sorry for all of the parenthesis! (And also anything I said that is not accurate. Just my opinion here.)
  2. skippybosco

    skippybosco CGI-Central Partner Staff Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Hey Ken,

    Let me preface my response that the list in the first post is not "my wishlist" but rather an aggregate of feedback at the time across the forum and private messages sent to me on the topic. This response, however, is strictly based on my viewpoints :)

    This was derived from a statement Alex made in this thread regarding his belief that using Smarty was a mistake and that future versions would not have it (granted this was from 2004). While there are some limitations introduced as a result of it, I personally have no issue with Smarty and make use of {literal} when I need to work around it :)

    This thread started in March 2008, you are correct that some if it has since been implemented.

    Totally agree, with one caveat, there are some limitations as to what can be without the need to modify core code. Whether that is a better use of a true API, extending additional hooks or even the notion of class/function overrides.

    If it provides any comfort, in communication with Alex he suggested that plugins using the documented integration method would be compatible. That being said, integration that modifies existing pages or core code may be at risk for rework obviously.

    Agreed. There is certainly a sweet spot where 80% of the population resides which could limit the scope of such an effort in the short run, but identifying a valid differential would be key to success (function, speed, price, ... )

    While traditionally found in open source models, perhaps an opportunity exists for a forked version of the 3.x code base where licensing fees are still paid but branded and marketed unique (and includes a community forum that supports instant email notification and PMs ;-p)

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