• Official Post

    By starting in 2008 with the first free designs for WoltLab Burning Board 3, I wouldn’t even imagine what the time brings the following years. Years full of joy by using, extending and designing within the WoltLab ecosystem. But also some frustrations, some without an effect, but some with big impacts. Long story short: the way KittMedia is selling products for the WoltLab ecosystem will change.

    What changes?

    First and foremost, we will stop selling designs and plugins in our shop and in the WoltLab Plugin-Store.


    Furthermore, we will completely shut down the website https://shop.kittmedia.com in the future and let end our era in the WoltLab scene as designer and developers.


    This includes the following subdomains and all of its services:

    https://shop.kittmedia.com

    https://preview.kittmedia.com

    https://demo.kittmedia.com

    https://docs.kittmedia.com

    Why does it change?

    There are many reasons why we decided that way. Here are the most important ones.

    Time

    My focus shifted the last years towards WordPress since my main work is located in this ecosystem. So I also started Epiphyt and develop WordPress plugins there. So there was less time for WoltLab products, and is until today. Additionally, I’m not that familiar with the codebase of the WoltLab Suite so that the biggest tasks have to be taken by Dennis, who always has time troubles. And this is going for years now and we just can’t keep up with the development speed (which some of you may already notice since feature updates have been very rare).

    It’s not worth it anymore

    Yes, we don’t just do it for fun. Fun is a big part of it, since we use our free time creating and maintaining our products. But let’s be real, we won’t do it without the payments. And these have been fewer and fewer the last years. Of course, one problem is that we didn’t keep up creating new features, but also when it comes to new customers. Additionally, this trend is not new and has started already on 2015. Compared to 2014, the most successful year when it comes to the order amount, there’s just 1/7 of orders these days.

    Unpopular decisions by WoltLab

    There have been quite some decisions we publicly disliked. E.g. the removal of +1 and -1 for reactions, which replaced the like system, the upcoming new icon system for Font Awesome icons, the new live push system, which is only available as part of the WoltLab Cloud (and I bet some very interesting and cool things in the future will be, too) or rejecting good feedback for nothing.

    This list would be very long but also not that helpful. For me at least (I won’t talk for Dennis on this subject), it sadly often lacks on communication between WoltLab and its “community”, especially the developer community, and willingness for changes – it feels to me like ignorance sometimes.

    We don’t see no future

    Since the orders on our website and on the Plugin-Store become less and less, we always thought about the project and if it’s worth it. And since WoltLab also showed up in their last announcement that they also struggle with selling new licenses, it was clear for us that it doesn’t get better from this point on. Additionally, we don’t see any fundamental change that would affect the continuous loss in new customers from WoltLab itself, where we rely on as developers.

    The “community”

    Long story short, the community around WoltLab is no real community. It’s no together, it’s rather small groups having their elbows out for no good. Yes, it has been better the last years since some really toxic people went away, but it’s far from being a community to feel good.

    What does not change?

    We still have a massive knowledge when it comes to the WoltLab ecosystem and its products. And we will continue to support our customers. That means, any administrative task, will it be installation, updating or bug fixing via custom contract will still be available.


    Also the hosting, which mainly hosts WoltLab software, will still be available in the same manner.


    And last but not least, Dennis still offers customizations and individual plugin developments.

    What comes next?

    We will stop selling our products on March 31th 2023. Every purchase until then will be regularly processed and and receives updates within the scope of the German statutory warranty obligation, which is two years from purchase date.


    We will eventually disable downloading the products anytime after this date, including access via package servers. These will then be shut down, too.


    The support forums will most likely disappear on the same date. Then, there will be no more support for the products except for the warranty obligation as described above.

    What else?

    In the end, we say thank everyone being involved in this project. It was a great journey and we could collect so much experience. And we thank all our loyal customers. Without you all, I believe we wouldn’t do as much for the project as we did.


    And last but not least, I will also thank WoltLab for this time. It was much fun to try and create these products, for me it was also a great honor the time I was moderator in the WoltLab support forums and even though some their decisions are a reason for why we leave the ecosystem, not everything was bad.

    FAQ

    Will you provide updates for WoltLab Suite 6 and beyond?

    This is very unlikely, but not impossible. It depends on the work we need to invest.

    Can not just another developer maintain the products?

    We have not talked to any other developer regarding this. If a developer wants to take any of our products to maintain it he is free to contact us.


    Currently, there is no plan to change ownership of the products.

    Has the announcement to on-premises licenses something to do with that?

    Yes, but not the way you might think. Yes, our thoughts have been come up with this announcement again. And yes, you read it right: again. If I’m right the first time we thought about leaving the WoltLab ecosystem was around WoltLab Suite 5.2. It was a new decision from year to year whether we would leave or stay. But especially the last few years when I started creating plugins, themes and services around WordPress, I had less and less time. And this was also the time Dennis struggled with his time, too.


    So we wanted to do so much but we just didn’t manage to do so. So the project was more dripping …


    So yes, it has something to do with it, but not from a content point of view but more from a general “there is another change we don’t like”.

    • Official Post

    At this point, a few retrospective words from me:


    My journey into the WoltLab ecosystem began in 2008 when my sister and I took over a forum system for a then DSDS winner who was very close by. So now more than 14 years ago.


    After some time (mid-2009) the community realized that a few functions were not yet available in the Burning Board at that time, and I tried my hand at developing my own that were neither intended for distribution nor for resale.


    For me, that was the milestone in the WoltLab community and the path led to my own website, via WBB-Ultimate and ultimately to the contact with Matthias and the resulting cooperation. Without Matthias contacting me, I would never have become a part of KittMedia and would probably have left the scene quietly and secretly in 2014 after the above mentioned forum was closed. So thank you very much, Matze!


    Matthias has already explained the reasons that led to the decision on both sides, which is why there is no need to go into further detail here. Case sticking point was definitely the lack of time! While Matthias moved more and more towards the WordPress ecosystem, I used the time that then remained between my main job as an executive and family obligations for commissioned work and otherwise only did the bare minimum when time allowed it. In the end, major work in the form of developing new features only took place on the KittMedia Shop, the rest trickled along, which was really a shame because we still had some cool things in the queue. Unfortunately, some have been in the queue for years.


    Big thanks to all companions!

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