Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
Those were the three questions posed by the artist Paul Gauguin in the title for one of his most famous paintings (seen below). Those questions have been coming up a lot in my mind recently as we prepare for our first official stable release of Pligg. We’ve been working on Pligg in some capacity for over three years now. It wasn’t until less than a year ago that Pligg became a full time job for myself, and since I took the new role Pligg has transformed from a PHP script to a full-fledged Content Management System.
For those who are unfamiliar with the history behind Pligg here’s a brief summary of the past 3 years. We founded ourselves in December 2005 as a fork of the open source script provided by Meneame.net. Originally I had translated Meneame from Spanish to English and hosted a download, but quickly after that things started to take off because everyone back then wanted a Digg clone and Pligg was the first supported script to provide that. The next 3 years had plenty of bumps on the road, everyone contributing was doing it part time and a lot of personal issues including family and school distracted the developers from moving the project forward in a timely manner.
As an open source project it was difficult to find much cause to continue to develop besides the satisfaction of building a great script that everyone wanted. Over time we were beginning to lose sight of what inspired us to start the project and it was at that time that we considered selling the site to a company who would be able to continue our work properly. While we knew at the time that Pligg could potentially become a profitable business, we hadn’t yet discovered the right formula for making Pligg a success both financially or as a CMS. That started to change though only a few months after we considered selling our assets when we came up with the idea of selling premium templates and modules through a digital shop. That in combination with site-wide advertising has been able to provide me with enough income to develop Pligg as my day (and often night) job for 9 months now. During that time things have changed a lot, and all for the better.
What are we, now that I’ve committed to a full-time work schedule? I think Pligg has finally crossed that blurry line that divides PHP scripts from true content management systems. Now that we have jumped into the deep end of the pool where all of the other CMSs play it’s time for us to dunk some heads under the water and show why Pligg is a serious competitor.
Soon we will be releasing our 1.0 Final version of Pligg, but don’t let the name fool you we will continue to be providing some smaller fixes for the foreseeable future. The 1.0 release marks the first release that we are confident that most of the bugs have been fixed and most importantly we won’t be making any more major changes to how templates or modules work. This is important because we want to future-proof templates and modules so that upgrading won’t be such a pain down the road. We’ve designed templates so that modules should be adding in new features automatically so that if anyone wants to add a feature to Pligg they shouldn’t need to modify any template files. I can hear the sighs of relief from the template designers already.
Looking back over everything myself and the other developers have accomplished and even the mistakes that we’ve learned from over the years I’m very proud to be the founder. I would like to take this chance to thank everyone who has participated in developing Pligg, including any users who have either moved on to other projects or chose to participate in life instead of developing an open source script. I must also thank those who have made a financial contribution to Pligg. Over the years we have received a few very generous donations from members who expected nothing in return and the money gained from that has given us the ability to develop features that non-paying users benefit from.
Pligg has become my life, I wake up every day to emails and forum posts and end each night with more of the same. What’s sad is that I really enjoy this lifestyle and being able to create something that other people are inspired by. It’s been a great opportunity and I have learned a great deal about web design, development and project management. If you are interested in becoming part of our content management development team, we always have spots open for talented PHP developers or template designers.