Yesterday was a big day for us. The first public showing of our Listings plugin and the whole concept behind it. I’d like to take a moment to explain what our long term plans are with listings, when it comes to the way we’re building it.
There are numerous WordPress plugins available that do something related to showing and managing listings. There are job boards, classifieds, real estate listings and marketplace like functionality. All of these plugins have so much in common, so we started thinking about a generic listings plugin that could do everything related to listings, but not bother the user with millions of settings or confusing configuration.
Generic core and niche extensions
It was pretty obvious to us that we had to split up the functionality in different packages, perhaps even separate plugins. We didn’t want to put all the functionality in a single product, because it would overwhelm end users having to go through all these settings.
Also, how often does it happen that someone is running a job board on their website and at the same time wants to list their collection of boats? Not often, we think. But if they wanted to, we wanted to make it possible to do that!
So we decided to go with a core plugin that is as generic as possible. You can create any kind of listing with it. You can list your favourite cars, stuff you are selling in a garage sale and with a little bit of work you can put your own Craigslist together.
Our niche extensions (which will be available for free) will provide specific functionality aimed at serving a specific niche. The first one that will be available is the Jobs extension. This will not only offer specific meta fields, but also offer ways to apply for jobs, filter and search through them and a lot more. You only install this extension if you have a need for that functionality. We want to give our users the opportunity to compile their own perfect listings experience.
Add-ons compatible across the Listings platform
We like to think about Listings as being a platform, where you can install just the functionality that you need. Having this shared platform via the core plugin, this gives us a unique opportunity to make our add-ons compatible across the platform.
Say you buy an add-on for having people pay to post a job on your job board. You can use that same add-on to make people pay for posting on your Craigslist like website.
Not only do we make it more attractive for end users to invest in the Listings platform, it’s also a lot more efficient for us to maintain. Instead of having to maintain, support and continue development on a payments add-on for each separate use case, we can now maintain one plugin that supports all these use cases.
Forking WP Job Manager
Now that we had the concept figured out, we just needed a technical plan. After the WooThemes acquisition by Automattic, we saw a decline in activity in the WP Job Manager GitHub repository. We thought that was a shame, as we really liked the plugin.
Since the jobs niche would be the first one for us to release a Listings extension for, we started exploring the possibility of forking WP Job Manager into two separate plugins. One generic core and one jobs specific extension.
We liked the way WP Job Manager was put together. A solid code base, easy to expand and modify. Taking it apart proved to be slightly more challenging than we originally hoped for, but we succeeded in doing that.
We owe a big thank you to the WP Job Board plugin and the original developer, Mike Jolley, in particular. Having the solid foundation of that plugin for our Listings platform has really kickstarted our project.
Future and roadmap
The current stable version of the Listings plugin is v0.2.0. We pushed a really early version of the plugin out to the public, so that everyone can start testing it already. Meanwhile, we’re working hard to get the jobs extension ready. Our goal is to release a first version of that extension in the next couple days.
Our team is currently hard at work to get the first paid add-ons for the platform ready. Once we’ve extensively tested the core plugin and the jobs extension, made it jump through a couple hoops in all kinds of different scenarios, we’re ready to tag 1.0.0.
The 1.0.0 release also marks the moment when our full website will go online and our collection of add-ons will be available.
Collaborate with theme developers
We would love to work with theme developers to make themes specific for the Listings platform. While we can make themes, our expertise is in plugins. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re willing to explore the options with us.
Onwards and upwards!
As you can probably tell from our tweets, posts and everything else, we’re very excited about this project. We’ve already got lots of constructive feedback from the community and are really thankful for everything you have to say.