Our new APEX Plug-in support service
We recently announced our new company initiative called FOS which is dedicated to everything open source. Part of this initiative is to offer an affordable low-cost commercial support service for plug-ins developed by anyone. We want to encourage the use of plug-ins and we want you to feel safe in the knowledge that you have someone to call on when you need help.
In the beginning, we are offering a list of specific apex.world plug-ins that we support. We will work with the existing developer of the plug-in to resolve issues and help with improvements, whilst compensating them for their time & effort. In situations where this is not possible, or it’s a plug-in built by a 3rd party or in-house, we will make the necessary changes & fixes. For open-source plug-ins we can fork the plug-in to provide and issue GitHub pull requests to keep the main plug-in up to date for everyone’s benefit. You can find the initial list of plug-ins we support here.
If you are using other plug-ins that you want support for, contact us, and we can come to a custom support agreement for your situation.
Why offer Open Source Plug-in Support?
APEX open-source plug-ins are great for the reason that they provide missing functionality from APEX which you can install and use just like you would a regular APEX feature without writing the code. They’re free to use and you can get them from apex.world, or in the past from apex-plugin.com, or even Oracle’s website. They are a boon for productivity and in many cases provide the functionality we wouldn’t be able or have the time to create ourselves. However, they are not used in many business applications for a number of reasons.
APEX Plug-in Challenges
There are several drawbacks to using open source plug-ins, the No.1 being who’s going to help me when it breaks after upgrading to a new version of APEX? and who can help me quickly? delays cost money, not being able to upgrade costs even more down the line. It’s a bit of a stretch to believe the plug-in author is going to fix it for you immediately and do so without being paid for it. Some plug-in authors do, but there is no guarantee even from those ones when it comes to the time that “you” need help.
Sadly this issue means that a lot of companies do not use plug-ins or have a very short list of allowed plug-ins. Therefore developers miss out on functionality and productivity benefits. You end up having to write the code yourself, meaning you need the expertise and must also make a time investment into the creation and maintenance of your solution. If you don’t have these skills or the time to invest then you end up forgoing that functionality and the users of your application are the ones that suffer.
As plug-in advocates, this is something we would like to address by offering a support service for open source plug-ins, or plug-ins your company may have developed but no longer have anyone to support it.
What about other plug-ins?
If you would like to have an apex.world specific plug-in added that’s not on the list, simply let us know. We will review the plug-in and reach out to the developer to add it to our list of supported plug-ins. For plug-ins you have built in-house and would like to remain private we can come to an agreement on support costs. For older plug-ins from apex-plugin.com we can also come to an agreement on how to support them for you too.
Are you a plug-in developer?
If you are a plug-in developer and would like to have your plug-in included in our support package please contact us. We will review your plug-in(s) and let you know if we can provide support for them i.e. there are certain criteria your plug-in must meet to be included e.g. security, code quality, type of plug-in, potential usage, etc. We can be the first line of support that enables your plug-in to be used in more applications than it otherwise would be. We will also be able to compensate you for your time when you provide any fixes for a support customer.
If you find yourself arguing with your team or management to use a plug-in, or you are using a plug-in and it breaks when upgrading, now you have a stronger case as you can answer “who’s going to support it?” answer: “the FOS team will”. You can find out more here.