And a lot of things have happened in these 4 years. Started using concrete5 version 5.6.x. At first I thought Zend was a bit too much to use and too slow. So I did have my doubts to be honest. But upon using the CMS and programming some blocks and single pages, it turned out to be quite the ease. Not the slowliness I remembered from Magento (back in the days), which took like forever to load (both frontend and backend).
Everyone who used version 5.6 remembers the "Designer Content" Add-On, made by Jordan Lev. It was one of those things you used to make blocks using an interface. I'm guilty too, it was quite convenient. It did lack quite a lot though, which meant for me to always edit/add stuff that got created. Nevertheless, couldn't live without it. It's got a stunning 115 reviews by now. Wow!
Then somewhere in Q4 of 2014 (or was it Q3?) version 5.7 got released. A whole bunch of people got confused with the "new way" concrete5 went. It had a completely different UI (user interface) and people didn't know where to click. Also some things got removed, like "adding a block" to an area with a simple "Add block" button right below the area. So many wanted to keep using 5.6, although 5.7 was a big relief code-wise. The "old" version had very outdated coding and wasn't up to coding standards at all. Nor was it using vendors/composer. So version 5.7 had to happen. At that point, I decided to get in too and explore.
Unfortunately, all Add-Ons of version 5.6 don't work in version 5.7. So.. no more "Designer Content" and all the other nice Add-Ons. That was the time I thought, why don't I create such a thing myself to speed up my own development and develop it to fit my needs. So that's what I did. Started of with a name that kinda fits block development, and named it "Block Designer". After all, you design blocks using an interface, so I thought it's a nice name (sorry if you don't like it!). I kept developing, adding field types whenever a new project needed it.
After a few project, I realized I didn't need that much time anymore as with Designer Content. It took away a significant amount of time I used to spend on editing/adding after creating the block. So I thought... the other Add-On is on the marketplace. Why not try that myself too? So that's exactly what I did. I read through the "Submit to marketplace" guidelines, updated some things here and there and got it uploaded. It went live just a day before my birthday (30th of October 2014) and it kinda started selling from day 1.
After the first month, I noticed that a lot of people needed that and a lot of things could still be added. I wanted, and still want, it to be an Add-On that got fast support and is open to suggestions/feature requests. So I did expand and expand along the way to make the product bigger. The base of the product got real solid and usable for A LOT of projects. It got purchased by quite a lot and it made me feel good.
That feeling to satisfy a lot of people to use the product on their projects, made me feel to create other Add-Ons too. So the next project I started was "List Designer". Create lists with link items, text items, image items et cetera. Mostly a footer of a website has a lot of "Useful links" lists or "Also read this" or "News" lists. That is where I use this product for in like 99% of my projects.
Unfortunately, this isn't a product ALL the users of Block Designer needed. So it's much less popular. Not a bad thing though, as I keep on needing - and using - it for most of my own projects. So no time loss there. Along the way I created like 15 more Add-Ons for the marketplace in the years to come. Some are a success, some aren't. But I'm proud of the first baby that got me to where I am right now. That's Block Designer. Combined with "Block Designer Pro", this is the perfect combination to make 99% of the blocks you need for a project.
Block Designer Pro is something that got created together with the community and my girlfriend. I know that's somehow weird, but let me explain. The community (users of Block Designer) wanted something like an "Image Slider" to be created with Block Designer. But with an image slider, you need repeating items. So an item would be an image along with a link. Or an image with a title. So you can add multiple items, which have the same fields. But the product only had singular fields. You could add multiple text fields, but not have them repeat for a specific group of fields. I knew it was going to take like days and nights before I could realize a thing like that to be automated. And therefore it would be quite pricey, which I didn't want to affect the base product - Block Designer. So my girlfriend said, why not create a new product/Add-On for it? Make an educated guess of the time you need and put a price tag on it. Well.. that made sense. But how do I code a new product, which would work with another product..
That took me some time to put together. I had to make some code changes to the base product first and get to the working table. But I couldn't be doing a new product with "only" repeatable items, right? In the meantime I had loads of other feature requests. So I thought, why not combine this repeatable type together with some of the other requests? That way it will add even more value! And till this very day, a very good decision. It's worth it for like 75% of my own projects, as repeating items gives you so much freedom. No more using the "Image Slider" concrete5 core block and change some bits and pieces. No. Create your own block that fits your exact needs.
So, almost 3.5 years after my first product, I got a total of 17 Add-Ons in the marketplace. The newest is currently "Live Chat", which is free! It's been used over 300 times already and will let you chat live with visitors of your website. Really, check it out if you haven't already!
Meanwhile, version 8 of concrete5 got released too. A real pleasure if you ask me and I never look back to the 5.6 days. Aren't starting new projects on 5.7 either, just because 8.x is simply stable and awesome (with Express)! A good thing is that all my Add-Ons work with the latest version(s) of concrete5, so get your CMS up-to-date if you can.
The community of concrete5, I have learned in these 4 years, is really awesome. Guys like korvinsanto, MrKDilkington, mnkras, mesuva, katzueno are really helpful nice guys. Oh, don't be disappointed if I haven't named you. My memory hasn't been what it was 10 years ago! So yeah, YOU are awesome too.
If you got this far reading, thanks. Awesome CMS, awesome community and awesome years to come for all of us. Looking forward to what's gonna be next!