Why am I selling support?


In an ecosystem around a development framework, this is absolutely critical.

If you do not have sustainability in the ecosystem, great code decays into old flakey code. People start to wonder if the ecosystem is alive or not, its hard to find the good stuff amongst all the older plugins. This is just a reality of unpaid open source code.

I love creating Grails stuff and I love helping people. So how do we make this sustainable?

I’m hoping that offering commercial support will enable more high quality time to be dedicated to the Grails ecosystem. I’m hoping other developers will follow suit, as I think it is the only way to get a truly high quality ecosystem that gets developers really excited about a framework.

I should be doing this all in my spare time, you say? Well I do that a lot. I love what I do, but I need a life too otherwise the cool stuff doesn’t pop into my head and then in to TextMate to create new toys for you!

What am I offering?

I’m offering rolling monthly support contracts for a wide range of the free open source Grails plugins that I have created or contributed to.

All Grailsrocks support plans include:

  • priority email support direct from me via a professional ticketing system, up to the number of incidents per month covered by your plan. I aim to respond to all new tickets within one business day, within UK business hours (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm UK time) except during holiday periods. During normal working hours responses are likely to be a lot quicker than this.
  • at least one piece of Grailsrocks merchandise of your choosing – or you can waive the merchandise offer and $25 will be given to charity on your behalf (after all, having too much stuff is not good)

The higher plans include a monthly quota of support minutes for realtime Skype IM chat or Skype/FaceTime video calls. By arrangement, we will be able to interact directly during UK business hours (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm UK time) in this way to address problems that you are experiencing.

Each plan has a fixed number of named contacts from whom support requests will be accepted. Only these users will receive accounts within the ticketing system.

Obviously you are also supporting the ongoing development of these and future plugins, enriching the free Open Source Grails development community in the process.

What exactly is an “incident”?

An incident is a new support ticket that covers a single problem, defect or usage question relating to one of the supported plugins.

Incidents will be assessed as soon as possible and I will respond with appropriate suggestions.

If an incident is too vague or wide-ranging I may request that you rework it so that we are clear on what we are trying to solve, while still treating it as the same incident.

Should the remedy look like it will take more than two hours of my time to resolve satisfactorily for you, I will indicate this and offer to move the work into the normal plugin release cycle at no cost. I will also offer to fast-track it and an interim plugin release for you at a discounted contract rate which would be payable separately from your monthly fee.

What if I need a new feature implemented quickly?

New features will not be provided on request for those under support plans. However popular feature requests get implemented quicker – the entire community has a stake in the onward progress. Glaring critical bugs will obviously be prioritised for a rapid fix release.

If you really need to fast-track a new feature in a plugin, contact me as I may be able to quote a price to implement it, provided it is something that I think is a good fit for the plugin.

Will you still support non-paying users?

I will endeavour to continue supporting non-paying users in the normal places (Grails user mailing list, twitter, my blog) when and where I can. The fact is that this is becoming harder for me to achieve, but I do try to respond.

However I will no longer field direct email support for the plugins and will instead refer users to the public forums for this – so that I or somebody else can help, and the community benefits in the process.

The fact is I just don’t have the time with the client work I have to jump on every support issue that arrives in JIRA or the grails user mailing list. I only wish I did.

However the hope is that paid support will redress this balance for the good of all.

Will paying customers get different code?

Absolutely no way. Everything stays 100% open source. There are no private forks, no plugin features available only for paid users. All fixes resulting from paid support go into trunk directly. The whole point of this is to increase quality for everyone concerned, and people on paid support plans are also actively supporting ongoing development.

Which Grails plugins are covered?

The plugins for which I can offer support are currently:

I will be adding more plugins to this list over time, but not necessarily all plugins that I write (because some may be trivial, or I may be commissioned to develop some commercially etc).

NOTE: Currently Weceem CMS plugin is not included in the above list.

I may also deprecate and then remove some from the list once superior replacements are available. Candidates on this list that I plan to replace relatively soon with superior ones include Authentication and Navigation. Bean-Fields is likely to be replaced in the mid-term by a new Grails Fields plugin.

If a plugin is going to be phased out, I will give plenty of warning and explain publicly how to migrate.

What if we need more help? Are there other services you can offer?

You can change your support plan at any time if you need more support requests. You will be billed pro-rata at the point of change. If the upper plan is not enough please contact me to discuss your requirements. I can also offer retainer based consultancy, time and materials ad-hoc work and general consultancy.

Still got a question?

Please don’t hesitate to contact me.