v7 was a non-backwards compatible jump from v6, but that’s the only time we’ve ever done that, and we certainly don’t want to do it again.
A stock concrete v7 site can absolutely be upgraded to v8 and v9 and will be upgradable to v10 as well.
Now, will there be changes that add-ons/themes need to make to work on new versions? Probably?
Might a development shop that has built a bunch of custom code on top of a version of Concrete need to go through some development work to use the next major version? Yup.
This is kind of a cake and eat it too situation.
If we want ux updates, a better CMS, and new ways to manage content, we have to expect extensions to require updates from time to time too. There’s nothing keeping people from running Concrete v.1 in production, and I’ve certainly seen some very old sites out there.
It’s not like we’re charging some license fee and then sunsetting your software out from under you. We’re simply saying that we can’t provide security updates to every legacy version of Concrete, keep building new features and improving the core, and provide a seamless upgrade path for all extensions, and whatever custom code any 3rd party shop has made, all for free in an open source project.
Look, I get it. We still have client sites running v8 that we have to upgrade. No one is sending me Slack DM’s begging to be the person leading those projects. Upgrading software is a lot like vacuuming my house. Not a lot of pleasure in doing it, and the longer I don’t, the longer & nastier it gets when it finally happens. It’s a chore, but it is nice to have a freshly cleaned home.
As the project maintainers we’re always going to have to play a balance between offering some security support on recent legacy versions and also championing the need to keep things moving forward. As far as I understand it, it’s either this, or enjoy the version-less experience of SaaS. If there’s another way to manage software, I’m all ears.
We did send an email out to marketplace developers last week pointing out that v9 was first released in 2021 and we’re going to stop offering extensions that are only v8 compatible in 4 months. To me, it just feels wrong to simultaneously be selling extensions for something we’re telling people they should be upgrading away from.
Will we continue to offer downloads for existing licenses for older software? Possibly? We sunsetted the 5.6- marketplace a long long time ago in terms of finding it in our dropdown menus, but those pages still exist on our site and can be found through search. So, if you bought ChadStrat’s calendar add-on in 2012, I think you can likely still download the latest package for that extension. Do I want to promise that we will always do that? Nope. Even that feels like a bad idea to me at this point. I mean, Chad’s certainly not maintaining that. It doesn’t seem very realistic to expect marketplace developers to be providing updates to packages they wrote and sold a decade ago at no additional charge.
It’s not like I can go download ScreenFlow version 1.7 from the email I have archived from 2012 either. I can go buy a new copy for $165, or I can enjoy the one I have on a USB drive somewhere. Telestream doesn’t make it their job to be the library of congress for my past purchases, at least past a certain point - which is usually a couple major versions back.
That does lead to my last point. On the new mini-marketplace we’ve built and integrated with our SaaS hosting, extensions are offered on monthly & annual subscriptions. Under this model you’re always dealing with the most recent version of the extension’s available codebase, and the extension developer is being compensated overtime to keep their software healthy. I know when Formidable upgraded to v9, they did so in the form of a new extension with a new cost. I think in 2023 in a world of SaaS it makes sense to be thinking about the ongoing cost of maintaining safe and healthily maturing software. Expect our marketplace to continue to move in this direction over time. We’ll always want to embrace the spirit of open source by not relying on compiled code and letting someone take the copy of the code they’ve paid for and run with it when they want. That said, we’ve put our marketplace developers in a bad position by allowing there to be an expectation that upgrades should always just happen and be free forever.
Hope that helps, just trying to make things better and move forward for everyone.