Well, it’s not great news! After two years of working on the project, alone and without enough funding. I have to admit that we (myself and the community) have not achieved enough to make TwitchPress a viable solution…today. The plugin works for many as they need it to, despite some saying it doesn’t at all but it’s often just a configuration issue.
Despite it working for many, including streamers with thousands of followers and many subscribers. As of today, I will not recommend the installation of TwitchPress and I predict this status will apply until January when I can review progress in relation to the new Twitch API requirements. I will focus on existing users who have had it installed for weeks, even months and continue to gather user feedback from them.
Here are my concerns which amount to potential friction between myself and the community…
- TwitchPress is currently adding more than a second to the TTFB (Time Till First Byte). Such a negative impact on WordPress is unacceptable and this will now be a high priority. A big thank you to Nooky for reporting this.
- Twitch.tv API version 6 has not been finished by the Twitch developers but I am behind on supporting the features that are available and being behind on this is concerning as the old API will go offline early 2019.
- TwitchPress got to where it is because year one was decently funded by a popular member of the gaming community but year two has not been.
- I struggle to schedule dedicated development hours on top of the hours I put in from my own time…as a hobby! I’ve always required both to sustain a normal work-flow as the stop-and-start of development can be a drag on productivity. I can see many areas of the plugin I would happily re-do within a decent number of dedicated hours.
- Sadly the plugins biggest investor (there are more than one) is being let down by a failure to establish a suitable design for a specific service they need, I must be honest with such things as not everyone will share the fact in a one-star review or make public complaints.
I’ll give more details below and a summary of where I am as a developer with this project…
New Twitch API
Twitch.tv API version 6 has not been finished by the Twitch developers and they cancelled their plan to shut down version 5 for that reason. That has given me time that I wish I never needed because it means I’m behind. However, despite the extra time we have, I cannot guarantee readiness.
Nobody knows what the future holds so we need to be smart. TwitchPress needs to catch up on the work that has been finished for the new API named Helix! I’m aiming to have it done before 2019 and I’ll still have more to do when the Helix is updated. If this is not done before version 5 (Kraken) goes offline, TwitchPress will do nothing for anybody.
Naive Expectations…and Hopes
Year one was decently funded by a single member of the community but year two has not been. There has been an appreciated trickle of donations through Patreon.com and although the number of patrons has declined (just two today) I’m still full of hope for the future.
Their investment will never be forgotten and for two years I’ve dedicated myself to providing them with support, even for none TwitchPress issues. That will not stop either as the Twitch streamers I’m talking about continue to provide a professional level of feedback that helps me to prioritise.
I truly hoped that I’d make many more connections like this, with two-way support, but I may have been naive.
Possible Premium Strategy
I’ve made it clear, over the last 12 months, that there is no funding for this project and I work alone. I’ve expressed the size of the project and the ambition behind it in an attempt to communicate the fact that users need to adopt a professional approach when building their WP site.
As per the plugins included licence, it’s for others to decide if they wish to make use of my work, how they use it, in whatever condition it is in. But I have always tried to encourage people to look at the bigger picture as this plugin is not just an add-on, it often becomes the backbone of a WordPress installation. This is a responsibility for me, even if the licence protects me.
It might be time to communicate the seriousness of this project and obtaining more funding by establishing a premium strategy, just as soon as the above issues are sorted. I would hope that a premium element would slow people down and make them truly consider their need for this plugin. Also, the level of dedication and investment they want to make because even from the very beginning I’ve stated that this project belongs to the Twitch community.
Design Issues…to be re-done!
I can see what needs to be done to improve the core of the plugin but sometimes I’m adjusting older work and sometimes that wastes time in the long run. Often the first approach is exploratory and should be re-done when it starts needing attention. On the positive side, I know where, how and I’ve added plenty of issues to the projects GitHub to stay on track…however slow I’m going!
I don’t want to type much longer, there is much work to be done! The fact is I never-give-up and I don’t really know how to quit. So do not be under the impression that it has even been considered. Today, with this post, I’m simply ensuring that my communication with the community is covered and I have peace of mind when it comes to my reputation of being an honest developer who believes in transparency.
The gaming community doesn’t get enough truths and I don’t intend to add to everyone’s frustrations. That doesn’t mean I won’t and plenty great developers piss people off because we simply can’t truly foresee how a new project will play out.
Today, I’m going to spend some time considering a strategy for testing and improving performance. This will no doubt create a ripple of changes and is a branch of work that could take many hours itself. Getting it right, will truly make this plugin powerful and worthy of a premium status on top of full support for the new Twitch API. It is almost there, but not today and that status should not be ignored!