How 3rd party developers are harming themselves
This is not a exclusive problem from SE, but here this type of problem is worst than another script that I work with.

Is really common that 3rd party developers compete with each other with their products, however with several people offering plugins that include features that are more core features than an addon is almost impossible to utilize plugins from two or three different developers. And there is still the problem when developers create a plugin that is not compatible with others plugin from themselves.

Some of problems that I face everyday.

- Each developer has a own way to develop plugin and when you need to customize it you will face a serious headache. SEAO themes will work only with SEAO plugin, since Younetco plugin has CSS class and ID with their company name (YN). This is one of reason why themes from developers that dont develop plugin always have some type of problem with 3rd party plugins.
- Younetco doesnt have a good pages plugin so I need to use the version from SEAO, however Younetco has a good Advanced Vídeo with a feature that SEAO doesnt have. Can I use the Younetco plugin? No. Why? Because the Younetco version doesnt integrate with SEAO pages and I need to pay a money truck to this.
- Some months ago I acquired the feedback plugin from SEAO and also nested plugin. Can I use the feedback plugin? No. Why? Because their plugins are incompatible and the feedback plugin only work with the default SE comment system. Guess who will be disabled?
- SEAO doesnt have an advanced blog system. Can I use the younetco? No. Why? Because there is a credit plugin in development from SEAO and doesnt make sense invest in a plugin that will not be supported.
- Recently I acquired the Mobile/Theme because the responsive template doesnt work so fine as it should. The numbers of items in menus from Social Engine create a poor UI and this is the reason why is better to use a plugin to simulate the mobile vision. Can I use my advanced video with mobile/table plugin? No. Why? Because they are incompatible.

Notice that I am neither talking about the native apps that are in most of case a ripoff. USD 79 by month for support with a starter fee of USD 299 (599 if you want to publish in you own store) is not the kind of thing anyone can afford to pay even more with Trump raising the price of the dollar. Can I use the Ipragmatech mobile version or younetco version? No. Why? Because they are incompatible.

I really would like that SE and their 3rd party developers could agree on some points.

1- If you release a plugin it must be compatible with your own plugin.
2- If you are creating plugins dont make them problem to purchase plugins or themes from another developer.
    • 2
    Marc @Leandro and @Gs, I feel your pain too!
    We have SE since 2009, in fact we started with SE 3 migrating later to SE 4. Over the years, we have seen the very beginning of some of the developers that we, owners, can name strong and reliable. The non-compatibility with themes/plugins is a real headache!! I really understand both of you.

    For us now it is clear: Socialengine Solutions and SEAO are the best (Hire-Experts are great too) however, we are a little "upset" with SEAO (we have seen them born) because they really PUSH site admins to only have their plugins, and theme, and this is something we dislike because as site owners we would like to have the freedom to choose which plugin fits best for us, for our projects. But they are very, very good developers then, we do not mind to continue "suffering" :)

    As per Blogs, we can say there is no better plugin than the one from Socialengine Solutions. When we saw it...we said OMG! It has beautiful design, well coded and it is very complete but....guess what? We also have Mobile-Tablet plugin from SEAO and...we can not have Blogs on mobile because it is not compatible! Well, only their plugins and SE basic plugins are compatible. So we have Blogs on desktop and no blogs at all on mobile. And same story with other plugins.

    So my wish for 2017 would be that some developers work more on integration of their plugins with 3rd party ones, by default I mean. Because of course any integration can be possible paying lots for customization. I mean by default.

    And btw...Hi @SocialengineSolutions (as you are also part of this conversation) You already know how much we love you! Excellent plugins, 10+++ customer service, and very, very good developers. Keep with the good job! ;)

    Hi @Donna

      • 2
      PoeticJustice No [369,Marc] , [176288,SocialEngineSolutions] are my developers, i found them first hahahah, so much love for SES

      • 2
      gs [369,Marc]
      I was fortunate to jump into this in 2015 so I didn't have to suffer as much as others did with incompatibility and growing pains.

      One thing I have noticed is that some devs develop their Plugins with some basic compatibility built-in. For example, some of the Plugins I have from Radcodes integrate with the Profile pages of many SEAO Plugins. Most all of my other Plugins don't integrate with anything unless they're from the same dev.

      I like many of the SES Plugins (I have several) but most of my site relies primarily on the Group/Page/Business Plugins and Extensions offered by SEAO. So, I had to build other things around it and some Plugins by SES (Radcodes, Hire-Experts, SocialEngineExperts, SocialEngineMarket, Webhive, etc) filled in all of the rest.

      As far as custom dev work, SEAO has done some on their own Plugins, SES has done probably close to 100 hrs primarily customizing their own Plugins. None of that was integration though. My goto for that has been SocialEngineMarket. I originally approached SEAO about 2 yrs ago with a request for the primary front-end of the site, and they were simply not interested. I try to hire the dev that wrote the code rather than another dev whenever possible (for many reasons - primarily to eliminate finger-pointing and the never ending 'it's them' conundrum. Fortunately this turned into a great thing because SEM has been nothing short of supernatural. It's only a few hundred hours but man oh man - they have built something that exceeds even my expectations (like SES does with graphics design). SEM has performed major integration of a customized front-end into the SEAO GPB and MLTP Plugins.

      I mentioned all of the above because I do agree that more integration is possible between different devs' Plugins (like Radcodes does and some Hire-Experts') but some things simply can't be integrated for various reasons.

      It's too bad that SES' SpectroMedia Theme won't work for you when it comes to their Blogs (i.e. instead of using SEAO Mobile/Tablet. SES' SpectroMedia was my savior when it came to the most flexible and compatible Theme I could find, as well as a complete replacement for the SEAO Mobile//Tablet Plugin. I tried to use it but scrapped that within weeks of testing - especially since I had just begun to test SpectroMedia and realized what it was capable of.

      Wishing you much success!
      • 1
      SocialEngineSolutions [369,Marc] : Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Looking forward for your more love and support.
      • 1
      Donna Hello [369,Marc] :) Thank you for your feedback. I do know that as a third party developer myself (via my ScriptTechs), it is nearly impossible to make an add on that works with all other add ons as some js can conflict, or there could be other small issues. The only way to do that is to have the other add ons and I don't think third parties will share their add ons with each other. Best thing to do is check demos, check on your own cloned development site and ensure that it doesn't have issues. If it does, then you would ask one of those developers to make an adjustment. Some do it for free and others charge for those. It is up to each third party developer as to how they do things.

      We'll see what's possible in the future as the new marketplace matures though. :)
      • 1
      SocialEngineSolutions [369,Marc] We're really glad that your are liking our products and services and as discussed over email we would be working on compatibility with other 3rd party developers also as much as we can.

      Thanks a lot for your appreciation and we would be looking for your feedback on our new plugin released and Advanced Events plugin.
        • 2
        gs [176288,SocialEngineSolutions]
        RE: Liking our products.... compatibility with 3rd party devs ...

        A) I like your products very much too :)
        B) Compatibility: As I've mentioned on other posts, your SpectroMedia Theme is EXTREMELY compatible with many many plugins (approx 150 and counting). There are some SE Devs (not SES) that create themes that don't even work well with their own Plugins. Thank goodness SpectroMedia exists because it works when other devs' themes don't or won't. And it works great in Responsive as well (again, something few other themes even come close to doing, and definitely not as well as SpectroMedia).

        SES - keep up the great work :)
          • 1
          SocialEngineSolutions [185918,gs] : Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

          We are working on some more themes and robust plugins which you will surely love to have on your website.

          Special thanks from our Design team!
    • 1
    Dave I would add to the above remarks, make sure your plugin is tested and works before releasing them. Also, do not charge me for support for fixing your own plugins. I'm tired of 3rd party developers selling me support for their own scripts. If you design a plugin and I buy it, I expect you to support that plugin - period! Where's the incentive for 3rd party developers to provide a bug free plugin, when they can make a fortune selling support? Do they build in an obsolescence that kicks in after 60 to 90 days?
      • 2
      gs I agree with you to a certain extent, but no product is perfect. Obviously support costs Devs (and us ADMINs) money, so they have to charge for it somewhere. What I've seen is that many ADMINs complain about the price of Plugins (even the $19 and $39 ones). How can a Dev support a product when they charge so little and then have to constantly update it (typically for free) for many years while the foundation (SE in this case) updates through various sub-versions? So, if they don't charge much to begin with for the Plugin, and don't charge for years of support, and also have to spend even more time testing it (usually an impossibility due to the gazillions of possibly permutations/combinations of configurations), and have to update it for free for years... well, something has to give somewhere.

      I agree that some Plugins are buggier than others (I have one Dev I've worked with for over 18 months where I created approx 500 support tix so far). Buggy, buggy, buggy - and updates often overwrite fixes, so bugs return. And yes, I pay them annually for support because I need them to be there to fix things (or occasionally point me in the direction of who can solve it because it's not their bug). Yes, this process has gotten old and I'm very, very tired of it. But, I need their Plugins and they are quite extensive functionality wise, so what are my options?

      Some Devs provide free support for Xdays/months. Some just fix the issues indefinitely, but appreciate when you give them a thank you (via coffee/breakfast/snack money). The point is, each has their own business model and I wish the MarketPlace had the ability to list many specific points about Devs rather than a simple up/down vote and review area.

      So yes, I wish Devs would test better before releasing - but some things simply can't be tested entirely by them, and (my guess is that) few have the money to pay for an internal testing staff (due to such market-driven low prices for Plugins in the first place). Buggy Plugins are frustrating for sure.

      I need Devs to support their Plugins and just consider paid support (however/wherever it's charged for or 'hidden'/included) it a cost of doing business for me. As far as incentive to provide a bug free plugin - that's where reviews come in (of both the Dev and Plugin). I do see your point - why fix it if Devs can get paid to fix it - but they have to be paid somehow/somewhere.

      Plus, some ADMINs bother Devs with numerous issues that have nothing to do with the Plugin, yet expect Devs to fix the problem for free.
      • 0 2 votes
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        • 1
        Dave Great reply gs! Thank you for your contribution.I just find paying X number of dollars for support which, may or may not be used in the period of time allowed is a waste of my money. I found a way around the problem by using fiverr to look for SE specialists. I found one person who knows SE inside out and backwards. He does all my plugin fixes at a fraction of the Dev's support charges. Again, thanks for your insight, maybe we'll get a few more comments and perhaps a few solutions.

          • 1
          gs Fiverr - now that's thinking outside the box - great idea Dave :)
        • 1
        Donna Great post [185918,gs] and very helpful.
      • 1
      Donna Hi Dave,

      Thanks for posting and sorry for the issues you've experienced from third party experts.

      For my own products (I have some I do after hours), I test on 4 local installs and my live demo before putting them in the market. I then provide support and fixes for free. GS has some good points below though. I make nothing on my stuff as most is free and the one for sale is only $7. I've asked on the free ones for a review as a thank you. No one has posted any reviews. It's hard to continue with freebies when I can't even get a thank you.

      Even though my own are free to very low cost, I do provide bug free (as much as is possible). Nothing is 100% perfect. However, if a bug is found, I fix it free (in the product so it will be fixed for all).

      Third party experts have to also contend with issues from server conflicts, other plugins, setting conflicts and sometimes client customizations that break their plugins. There are many factors involved in this process.

      There will be a certified marketplace soon. Once that is in place, the experts that participate will have their products tested and certified to work with default SocialEngine core features. Perhaps that will be an answer to your concerns.

      Have a good weekend.
        • 1
        Dave Thanks for your comment Donna. It's really appreciated when members provide constructive ideas and thoughts about a difficult situation. I know it's not always going to be error free, but like you mention - getting a handle on how Dev's work with SE core is always a great idea.
    • 1
    Sieg I post my first review in the new marketplace. I dont know if is a bad review, I mean the plugin doesnt work to me (that use a latin language with several accents) but work for others so I am not sure if this is the best way to review a app. By my experience and considering other scripts that I worked with the main reasons why someone complain about a plugin is: I - Bad Support, II - Plugin compatibility with plugins from the same developer, III - Plugin compatibility with plugins from others developers, IV - Lack of Development Standard and feature standard (where I include design problems like a plugin where logic is completly different from all others plugins like Younetco RSS Feed), V - Scam (where I include omission of important information about the plugin that would make a client not buy him).

    I think that more than a Thumb up/down or star review we could make a more granular control of problems. Bad support by example is a problem of developer and not plugin by itself. You can have an awesome plugin with a real bad support that would make any client to avoid it. The points II, III and IV are plugin problems that users can contribute throuhg a list (like the github ticket) of issues that the developer can solve or not.

    Just notice that I am not suggesting a public support system in the marketplace for itens II, III e IV, I just think that if I as a client have an important information about compatibility of plugins (and I have several) I would be happy if this would help others users to avoid the same problem that I have. There is nothing worst that buy a plugin and after a couple of hours working with it discover that it will not working properly for you. Another member here saved me from spend some bucks with a Younetco plugin that work completly different from any other plugin developed in the Social Engine Marketplace. I think that we all want that developers still working to provide better plugin with a minimum of issues to all users.
    • 0 1 vote
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      • 1
      gs I suggested a review section that provided much more than a thumbs up/down or a X# of stars rating ( offered several parameters - hoping for these and many more based on Admin input). That is too generic (for reviews of Devs and Plugins). There are many different things that should be rated (for Devs & Plugins), where each could have it's own rating/score. I don't want to knock anything new before it's rolled our completely as SE may still include the ability to do more than allow a thumbs up/down. That is a quite useless measure for a review of almost any type of product.

      Let's be patient and hopeful there's more to come :)
      • 1
      Sieg Just to know, this is the review, possibilty the first from the new marketplace:

      Just curiosity if I dont recommend a plugin where clients can know that it is not recommended? I just saw the number of reviews and nothing more. Just think a plugin with several "not recommeded" and a single 5 star review, this plugin may seems wonderful for those that dont know how the review system work.
    • 1
    (deleted) I have to echo this X2000. A lot of these developers are coming out with the exact same kinds of products but with just a few different features and mostly just layout differences. I am trying to stick with one developer as to not have these issues as you are having now. (I have been using SE since the year 2007 and so for the last 9 years have had to deal with this often) When your main developer does not have a plugin you have to go where the other person has theirs and then it causes all major issues. Now you could have your main developer design a module but with all the problems and errors and issues the general publicly bought, it scares me to shell out the money for a sub standard product and for which I will pay again to have upgrades done in the future for changes as SE changes or to fix things that do not work well in the first place.. This would not be a major concern quality work were being done and not just who can one up the other. And I am not pleased with many of the feed back and comments on many of the SE developers time on projects that it takes them to complete. I have even offered to cost share the development of a new plugin that can be released generally and then left at a discount for myself but then I look at the quality of work and my own past experiences with the developer and it pushes me away. And it seems that no developer is willing to sign any development contract that states my needs and my requirements. No bitching intended since I understand they are running some sort of business, (but which I am also) but if I am going to pay $15,000 for just ONE of the major modules I need designed and developed.... I am NOT going to pay the bulk of the money up front when comments from other end site administrators have posted things about lack of communication and with the quality of work being sub par. I am the one who needs the protections in place since they are all over the world and I have no real legal protections in place. I want to pay 20% to secure as a retainer and from there as agreed milestones are met, they get bigger increases in pay. I DO not find this as too much to ask and so should the developer if they are producing quality work, fixing issues, communicating and responding to issues as the development goes on, and have general trust in their quality of work. I would expect any good business or developer to be OK with this for my protection. But sadly many of these developers are all over the world so if you pay a bulk of the money up front and then work is slow and not of quality, then there is not much you can enforce from a legal standpoint. It is a pain in the ass and it should not have to be if quality of work and being a great developer were the forefront. I want to pay more for above standard quality and a developer who will stick with my needs and requirements on a custom project vs. going to a developer who will charge a lesser amount but is difficult to work with.
    • 0 1 vote
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      • 1
      Donna We completely appreciate your frustration and we want to do everything we can to help, but we would like to ask that all our community members refrain from using hostile language or profanity.
    • 1
    Donna Hi Leandro and gs, thanks for your posts.

    We understand your frustration and concerns.

    We would like to ask you to re-evaluate this after a few weeks once we have some improvements out. We think you, and everyone, will appreciate the changes. :) Note that something had been mentioned in that blog before and has been in the works for a while now.
    • 0 1 vote
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      • 1
      Sieg Yeah! I already read about this, but the roadmap was not clear about what is comming. I am getting really tired of deal every day with developers when I should be focusing on my community and to discuss with developers that are not clear about how their plugins works. You dont have idea how much do I get disappointed when I buy a plugin and then discover that it is useless because another plugin from the same developer does not work with it. If all plugins work the same way why one works differently?
        • 1
        Donna I actually have a very good idea. Remember, I'm a client, third party developer, and staff here. I've not made plugins here yet (released) but hope to soon. Every app I made from v2 to v4 at the other script was tested several times over, on different sites, before release and any issue brought to my attention was fixed, free.

        I'm not a client here yet, but will be also. However, I have sites on another script and know full well how it is when a bad add on mucks up the site. I had that issue with YN add ons on that other script. Then my live site was left vulnerable when they left an phpminiadmin on my site when I expressly told them not to even load one, they had full cpanel access at the time back then. So, yeah, I know the frustrations, believe me.

        I can tell you I am extremely excited for what is coming and I am 99.9% sure everyone will be thrilled with the improvements. I have a strong feeling that your issues going forward will be resolved.

        This forum is not getting updated yet but perhaps sometime if there's time.
          • 1
          gs Hence, why I asked for better review sections - both for developers and separately for Plugins. The problem I can foresee is 'bashing' happening there. Although negative reviews should be allowed, it shouldn't be like 'kicking a dead horse'.

          Also, better revew sections should allow us to 'read between the lines'. For example, there's a dev here (quite possibly the largest dev) that has glowing, upper 90+% reviews. But although their Plugins provide lots of useful (and for me, required) functionality, they have been full of bugs. I've spent over a year with them (almost 500 tickets - many with 5-10 issues on each) resolving these bugs - some taking several months (one took over 13 months to resolve - yes 13 MONTHS). So, 'good' and 'bad' and everything in between - there is hopefully a way to allow realistic/fair reviews that are useful and help both the devs and Admins.

          Just my 2 cents.
            • 1
            Donna We appreciate your feedback but would hope you will wait to see what's already coming. :)
            • 0 1 vote
    • 1
    gs Hello Leandro,
    I feel your pain somewhat. After spending several months moving toward another script (even purchasing it - just never actually installed it) I switched to SE. Compatibility was a huge problem until I found SES' SpectroMedia theme. It's is compatible with all 150 or so Plugins (from about 7 devs) and its responsive function works better than all the other themes I tried as well as SE and SEAO Mobile Plugins (not iOS/Android apps - just their mobile Plugins).

    I purposely stayed away from Younetco for many reasons (here and at the other script). I spent many months reading the descriptions for ALL the Plugins here on SE and compiling a huge list of features and comparing them to the functionality I required. Although there were some Plugins I would have preferred to SEAO, since the majority of the requirements I had were met by SEAO, this was the foundation (and the primary reason I went with SE) which I then built around with other needed Plugins (SocialEngineMarket, SocialEngineExperts, Radcodes, Webhive, SocialEngineSolutions, Hire-Experts, etc.). I guess I've been lucky because the compatibility has been great - primarily due to the SpectroMedia theme (even SEAO's responsive theme wasn't very responsive and didn't play well with many non-SEAO Plugins - but SES SpectroMedia has played extremely well). Certain features/functionality of a similar Plugin offered by a dev other than SEAO I often had customized into SEAO's Plugin.

    As you noted, some Plugins simply won't work with another dev's Plugins. I'm not sure if SE can do much about this for many reaons. Some Plugins specifically state they integrate with XYZ Plugins, and others (ex. Radcodes Folders) simply integrates automatically with some of its widgets (as do some Plugins by SES, Hire-Experts, etc.). Some of this has been by trial and error of course.

    Yes - customizing can be difficult when attempting to do so with Plugins from different devs due to their coding style and integrations with their Plugins. I typically hire a dev to work on their own Plugins which has turned out very well thus far. The major cusomizations to my site (primarily to many SEAO Plugins) has been performed by SocialEngineMarket (SEAO refused on multiple occasions to perform this) and SEM has done an INCREDIBLE job - truly remarkable. If they were surgeons, I'd entrust my life to them - they are that good. Their coding style is also better than much of what I've seen with other devs).

    RE: advanced blog system
    Have you looked at SEAO's MLTP? Your needs may be more than what this offers for blogs, but it offers a lot for not just blogs, but much more.

    ==> RE: A dev's Plugin should be compatible with their own Plugins
    This can somewhat be required but at times it's not about compatibility but rather about Integration. For example, many SEAO Plugins integrate with their Group/Pages/Business Plugins, but some don't.

    As far as a Plugin creating problems with/for other dev's Plugins, SE may be able to help more with this - especially as far as .css standards go. Some devs use .css to 'fix' everything imaginable which bloats the .css files.

    Sorry to hear about your bad experiences. I can't speak for Younetco compatibility, but as far as all the other devs & Plugins I use, SpectroMedia Theme is the best and most compatibile theme I've found, and works very well (IMHO) for Responsive. They even created a custom header which eliminated a huge menu structure I was using. It's very clean and takes up just one 'bar' across the top of the Theme. Their support is superb as well.

    Wishing you much success and better days ahead with SE.
      • 1
      SocialEngineSolutions [185918,gs] : Thanks a lot Greg for appreciating our theme and the efforts we put into the Header customization work.
      We are too looking forward for SE's new website and policies, for implementing and focusing on following SE standards while developing themes and plugins.
      • 1
      gs Also, I wish more devs would share information about customizations they've done for Plugins - both their own and those of other devs. This could provide the community with a wealth of ideas for additional functionality and integration.
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