iScripts is developing a new PHP framework
When you develop an application in PHP you have the option of developing it Core PHP or a PHP framework. Core PHP is the language in its framework. It gives you maximum control, but you have to create everything from scratch. PHP frameworks on the other hand, make application development faster by providing a basic structure for which to build the web applications. These PHP frameworks help to rapid application development, which saves developers time by providing building blocks, and roadmaps to follow. Frameworks can also help developers to build more stable web applications as most of the bugs in the structure would be addressed already. The basic idea behind a PHP framework is called MVC ( Model View Controller). MVC isolates the business logic from database layer and presentation layer. This is similar to tier architecture in other technologies like .net.
Historically, iScripts applications are developed in core PHP. Even though we use similar components, the development time for each application is significant. A big issue with core PHP application is when a third party designer tries to modify an application. Without basic understanding of PHP, it was difficult to make modification. In early 2010, we completely separated designs and code in most of the application. This helped third party design integrations to an extent. Anything you did in the design area was limited to the design area only. Design changes wouldn’t mess up the functionality or security of the application. We started this with iScripts Multicart, iScripts Socialware and then implemented it for other applications.
In early 2010, we started using frameworks. We decided to use CakePHP as the framework of choice after a long and exhaustive study. We designed a couple of products using CakePHP. Both iScripts VistaCart and iScripts Gostores uses CakePHP framework. However, in the months after the release, it was apparent that there were many short falls to the frameworks. Another issue was that we had to train our growing development team in the CakePHP framework.
For the last few months, we have been working on a few MVC frameworks. Our goal is to port all the new applications and existing applications to the new iScripts framework. We hope this will make customizations and improvements easier in terms of using the framework. Like most of our new applications, this framework will support multiple languages natively. As of now, we have 2 new products being developed in the new framework. We have a separate application also being developed in the framework. We expect to port the first existing iScripts product for a new version starting January 2011.
Current plan is to release iScripts framework to market April 2011. With this framework, we hope to create an ecosystem of developers and designers who can work with us on modifying iScripts products to meet customer demands.
I see a number of online businesses getting started using hosted platforms or encrypted software solutions. Initially it might be okay when you think you know exactly what your customers want and need. As things progress you will realize the business model you had in mind may not be very accurate. Success of a great business is to adapt to a successful model early in the life of the company. The slower you are, more painful it is going to be.
There are number of articles about the flexibility of business models. Two main examples cited are Paypal and YouTube. Paypal started out as a company to beam money between palm pilots. Fortunately they figured out how to reinvent their model in time. YouTube started out as a online dating site. Imagine what if YouTube was created using a hosted application or using software which is encrypted.
Some of you creating the online businesses know exactly what your business model is and know who your customers are. Good for you, since you are among the tiny fraction of entrepreneurs. For most of us mortals, we have a good idea of what we want to do and we have an idea who our customers are what they need. Beyond that we have not done any user group research that would cost us tens of thousands of dollars. Our focus group testing is normally at beta launch or for some, after the site launch. Sometimes we know we have been right all along, sometimes we figure our models need little bit tweaking. Wouldn’t it be nice if you have freedom and flexibility to do so? When you are using a hosted solution or an encrypted software solution you will not have the freedom to do so. Before you buy any web business software, you want to know if you what it takes to customize the software and what’s involved and the cost. You would be surprised with the answers from many solution vendors.
iScripts develops the turnkey web software and distributes it with full source code that runs behind it. We don’t encrypt anything at all and we are proud of it. It’s not the smartest thing to do for a software company to share the source code with the world. We understand it and we are fine with it. We want you, our customers to have an option to change your online business anyway you want to. With the source code, you can get any PHP programmers to make the changes. iScripts can also do these changes for you. In most cases we would be the most economical and timely solution as we created it from scratch. You come to us for customization because you choose to, not because you have to.
Compared to hosted solutions and SaaS offerings, installable software might be teeny bit time consuming to install and set up. You might save few minutes in setting it up. But you are trading it for being stuck it in a rigid business model for a very long time. Once your business is established what would be the cost of migrating to a new platform if you can at all. However for short term projects hosted or encrypted solution is very well be fine.
Here is the bottom line you might need the flexibility for your business model more than you think. It’s good to know you have the option with us at iScripts.com
We are not supposed to count the chickens before they hatch. But still I think we have a pretty cool application in the making. Its almost ready to hit the limelight. As you know we have a multi vendor shopping cart and a online site builder software. We have been getting a number of requests from clients on modifying either of it to a online store builder – so that they can offer it as a service similar to yahoo stores, volusion.com or prostores to their clients. So this would allow them to be an ASP / or SaaS provider easily. This would a great addition for hosting companies, design houses and marketplace communities.
We have a new online store builder software in the making. Its independent of both iScripts Multicart and iScripts EasyCreate. Current plan is to allow the end user to select a domain or subdomain , select a payment plan and create store. The store would be saved on your server. Your customer can customize the look and feel of the store, add edit categories, products , shipping etc. from the management panel with few clicks. I am not sure about the name yet. But we have been kicking around the name iScripts GoStores for now internally. I will update you once we finalize. If you want to be keep posted about this application or you want participate in the beta trial let me know. If you want to take look at our beta demo contact me at abraham(@)iscripts.com Aji Abraham
iScripts has been offering online data backup for consumers over two years under the brand BackupToNet. We have decided to enhance our current solution based on all the customer feedback and experience, and make it into a private label service iScripts customers can offer. So if you ever wanted to start a online data backup service similar to the likes of carbonite, mozy, xdrive etc.. for individuals and small businesses here is your chance.
New product is tentatively named iScripts Backuper. You will receive a white labeled or private labeled client application (its the desktop application for your clients to manage and schedule backups). You will also receive the server software for billing, account management, backup management etc.. Off the shelf, you can start it as a standalone online data backup service. If you have a another business ( say web site hosting or large virtual community) and you want to offer it as a addon service to increase your revenue, there might be some customization required. We will do the customization for you.
We are still working out the details of the new product offering and licensing. We will have more info in the coming weeks. We plan to have the new product solution introduced in the next 2-3 weeks. New versions of client application and server software are in the last stage of beta testing. Our current plan is to offer the white labeled client software for free and can provide unlimited users. If you need private label version, there would be a small additional cost. The server application would be on a monthly license per server, at present it is set at $99.95 per month for the first server. As the software is fairly complex we would install it and configure it for you. naturally this would require you to have a dedicated server or a virtual private server at the least. So the data would be backed up to your server where you choose. So effectively you can start a data backup service for no startup cost and close to $200 per month ( assuming dedicated server for $100 per month)
All of our current products are released as open source ( “source available” for you obsessing about the definition of Opensource). As we are battling the piracy of our proprietary software, this one might be encrypted. This is not the road we had in mind, but looks like it is the one making more and more sense. Please contact us at (312)423-6728 or sales(at)iscripts.com with any questions, comments or feedback about the new product.
We have working demo of the online data backup software ( both server side and desktop client) available at http://www.iscripts.com/backuper/demo.php
We have been getting more and more questions from our customers about hosting. A number of times clients web hosts do not allow specific features of the servers to be used. A key example is the FFEMPG for iScripts Visualcaster – a video sharing script and iScripts Socialware 2.0 – social networking software. Number of customers have asked if we can recommend hosting providers. We are trying to be as neutral as possible when it comes to web hosts. A number of hosting providers are our distribution partners. So we do not want to promote some hosting companies vs. others. However it feels a majority of customers don’t care if the host with a third party provider vs another as long as the basic parameters like price, uptime, support etc.. are met.
So here is the question. If iScripts products are turned into a Software as a Service model, how likely you would use it vs the current Buy the script and upload into your servers.
Making the product into a SaaS model have a number of advantages. First of all you as the customer can focus on what’s important to you. No need to worry about the server type, upgrades, backup etc.. All the geek stuff will be taken care of by folks who love those.
You do not have buy the software. You pay a monthly fee for it which includes your hosting cost.
We spend a lot of time making sure the software runs on different platforms. With SaaS model we have controlled platforms. So we need not to spend our time making the product better, with new versions and new features
Piracy is an ongoing issue. With SaaS model it can be controlled very well. We can focus our efforts again to making the products greater instead of fighting people who tries to pirate our products.
Of course if you require customizations we would be available to do so, even with the new model. I think its a win -win for our customers and iScripts.
What do you think. Let me know your feedback and ideas about iScripts.com.