robheath at October 15th, 2015 14:12 — #1
Hey @davesnider @gpbmike @LtSquigs
I'm still an avid Webhook evangelist, but I feel like updates on the platform and its continued development has been non existent the past few months.
Just curious whats going on with Webhook. Are new features still in development?
I'd love to hear whats on the horizon for Webhook.
davesnider at October 15th, 2015 22:30 — #2
We've certainly slowed down our development. The biggest webhook related news of the last three months is that we built twitchcon.com for Amazon / Twitch on a private contract. Although they started with our hosted platform, being Amazon they wanted everything to run on AWS, so most of our development was ops related and didn't translate into new features for the platform.
Webhook is privately owned with no venture capital and will always run as long as it covers its costs (which it does, very scalably. We have new customers every day.). I use it myself personally for new projects and find it not perfect, but pretty darn feature complete for my needs (and I guess Amazon thought so!), certainly better than the competition for small to medium sized sites. It's amazingly stable, cheap and although we've had a few issues over the past year where the CMS suffered some downtime (never very long) the actual websites have always been available. That's pretty amazing.
The majority of the work on Webhook these days comes in the way of support and infrastructure management. We spend quite a bit of time pointing people to documentation and answering questions. While we enjoy doing it, at $9 a month it's very hard for us make a decent margin on. ("Why did my site break?", "Well, let me look at your code and check your logic"). Hard enough that at the moment, it can't be my full time job.
Very early on we released the source code for Webhook, and not only released it, but released it under an MIT license, meaning people could do whatever they wanted with it. The assumption was that we could piggyback on the community for feature additions or at least minor bug support. In reality that's just never really come about, and 100% of the work ended up on our small team.
That said, we are working currently on some smaller things. Right now Ian's messing with proper invoicing so that people get PDFs at the end of every month. Small thing I know, but it's probably our most common request. We plan on taking on a small project each month to hack on, improving the system as we can. I for one would very much like some better error logic on the live sites so you don't need to run the site locally to find build errors. But to be perfectly honest, if you're hankering for a new feature and want it done quickly... the code is there, send in a PR.
daniel at October 18th, 2015 05:54 — #3
The assumption was that we could piggyback on the community for feature additions or at least minor bug support. In reality that's just never really come about, and 100% of the work ended up on our small team.
It's a shame to see you guys can't get enough out of Webhook to devote a lot of time to, because I love the platform. My personal experience is that I have attempted to hack my way at Webhook but just didn't know where to start. I would love some tutorials on how to create your own widget for a trivial function. Or better documentation on how key components of Webhook work so it's more easily to extend them. I'm just a novice programmer so starting something new is a bit daunting without some examples. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Just my 2 cents...
bauhem at October 18th, 2015 11:20 — #4
Yes, we certainly need exemple and tutorials.
rdwatters at October 19th, 2015 10:24 — #5
My only question for @davesnider and the team is the pain points in terms of slower build times for larger sites. I'd like to hack away at it a bit and see if there is any way to make the site build faster, since I know that slow build times are a drawback for bigger sites. I still think webhook is the best SSG out there, and it's still insanely cheap.
robheath at October 19th, 2015 13:40 — #6
Thanks for responding in depth. All very interesting and good to hear from an update perspective. I was honestly just a little paranoid Webhook might be fizzling out cause it seemed like a lot of updates and news in beginning and then nothing for the past few months.
I wish there was something I could do to help. I wish you could kickstart some of the bigger features / updates. I'd surely be down to contribute.
For my clients I know I could get more $$$ out of them for the platform. $9 is such an incredibly value. Even for the cloud hosting alone, $9 is great.
$9 for my personal portfolio site feels just right to me, but for clients of mine who use Webhook for actual marketing and or commerce, $9 feels like a steal. If I told them the platform was $100 for hosting and the managed platform, most of them wouldn't blink. Of course that just means support would have to be stellar, but it always has been from the Webhook team.
I can't really contribute to the platform code base as I am front end dev / designer, but let me know if there is anything I can do to contribute.
erindotio at October 19th, 2015 17:24 — #7
I would just like to say that Webhook has been such a game changer for me. I've used quite a few different static site builders, built small apps/sites in ruby/rails, worked on massive PHP eCommerce platforms with 100+ employees, etc etc (mostly as a designer but touching a lot of front-end as well)... Nothing has allowed me, a one-man show, to build an entire site from start to finish with an easy-to-use CMS for my (usually not so tech savvy) clients. Not until Webhook.
I agree that for my personal site, $9/mo is a great deal, and even then I'd probably be happy paying $15-20/mo for my personal site. But definitely for my clients, even upwards of $50/mo would be totally reasonable.
I also feel like a lot of the static site / web dev community as a whole haven't even heard of Webhook, which is a shame as it really is in a class of it's own.
Maybe some grass roots marketing or hiring on a full-time developer and charging more monthly could help kick things into a higher gear?
I realize you guys have probably thought of all this, but I think it's important for you guys to know much the community appreciates all of your guys' hard work, and that there's a lot of potential for the platform to grow with the right incentives.
Regardless, thank you @davesnider @gpbmike @LtSquigs, and thank you @robheath for creating this post as this was something I had been thinking about bringing up.
davesnider at October 20th, 2015 03:33 — #8
Thanks for the kind words all. We'll try to find some time for tutorials on the code base. I think you're all correct that webhook suffers more from lack of marketing than anything else.
I've built a lot of high profile projects over the years and webhook is my favorite. It's just a really versatile little tool. I'm glad others enjoy it as much as we do.
robheath at October 20th, 2015 12:17 — #9
When I first heard of webhook and what it could do, I saw a future a year or two from now where Webhook panels would be a regular thing are front end confs and all my co-workers would be using it to some degree. I think it's an amazing tool / platform for front end devs like myself. I tell every dev about it and they always seem blown away with what it can do.
ryanatomx at November 9th, 2015 18:23 — #10
And how about a renaming/rebranding?
simeon at November 9th, 2015 23:18 — #11
It's a shame Webhook never took off because amongst the popularity of SSG's no one else has offered a product that clients would actually want to use, like Webhook.
robheath at November 10th, 2015 01:35 — #12
Never took off? It has only been a little over a year now since WH has been open to the public. I didn't hear about most of the web dev tools until years after they were published. @Simeon spread the word! Help it get bigger quicker.
simeon at November 10th, 2015 17:16 — #13
I get that it's a 'young' product but if it hasn't generated great buzz now, it might not ever.
Which again is such a great shame because Webhook is so capable now, but 'buzz' gets around less-featured projects like Netlify CMS.
Something I've found strange about Webhook is the marketing. "Roll your own CMS" sounds like so much work, but "Static site generator with a CMS regular people would actually use" seems more compelling to me to on-sell to my customers. The idea that a CMS is customisable appeals to me as a developer, but that's lost on the average user.
For all the buzz around SSG's I haven't found one other than Webhook that as a web developer I'd recommend to the average person to use on their site. But it gets harder to recommend the longer it goes without active development
I'm also well aware it's 1000x easier for me to sit back and say "just do this", than it is to have changes made to the platform. But I do think Webhook's install base would grow with a few tweaks...
- A 'baseline' of expected Pages/Posts that boilerplate themes could be developed around
- An system level menu builder
- 'Conditional' fields to clean up the CMS when adding more complex data
- An overall clean up of the CMS-side page editor as it's really big and unorganised
Anyway my thoughts ... I really want the platform to succeed.
eduardo at November 11th, 2015 13:03 — #14
I kinda have to agree with Simeon and his tweak recommendations sounds great.
I do love WH and I am using it for a couple of projects and have also recommended it to a few people. I understand the devs reasons but at the same time I find it hard to want to get too invested in it when we can see the development has stalled.
tracy_tra at November 18th, 2015 02:56 — #15
I think a better way to say it would be "Your CMS. Your way." ...something along those lines - simple statement for something that's pretty easy, rather than some sort of 20 word sentence, to explain something that is so simple.
rdwatters at November 19th, 2015 11:30 — #16
Thirty Minutes. Your CMS. Your Way.
Okay, so the first bit is a stretch for large sites.
I know that @davesnider mentioned some large sites using the CMS in a previous blog post. Featuring big-name clients (eg, Amazon) on the homepage of webhook.com might help for non-technical clients who don't realize just how amazing this product is. And it is just that: amazing.
Just my ¢2.
robheath at November 19th, 2015 12:44 — #17
Webhook isn't for non technical clients. Its target is frontend devs. You can't develop a custom WH site without frontend dev knowledge.
rdwatters at November 19th, 2015 12:57 — #18
@robheath Right. But if you have a client and you're trying to pitch using Webhook as the CMS for their authors/editors/content owners (ie, non-technical clients), its nice to point them to a list of other heavy hitters using the CMS. Seewhattumsayin?
robheath at November 23rd, 2015 15:56 — #19
Ugh, you have a point. I hate it because it's a shallow truth about the client side of the industry, but I get what you're saying now.
As for me I don't work with clients whose approval I seek to use the tools I need to do the job. Thats why they come to me in the first place.
The Twitchcon site is pretty cool. Deff should be a showcase area outside the forums.
mshick at February 8th, 2016 14:39 — #20
I've been a Webhook evangelist as well, using it for a good amount of client work, and have found it to be the best all around CMS I've ever used just in terms of architecture and ease of use for development. It's a brilliant solution to this problem.
That said, I worry about sticking future clients with a platform that isn't evolving, and doesn't seem to have the "buzz" that would ideally bring in enough money for proper support and ongoing dev work. The open source angle is fantastic, but I think there are major hurdles to even get coding in a big, full-fledged application like this, vs. the more typical small node module. It seems like the core team is always going to have to lead development, even if others are able to contribute here and there.
My opinion, for what little it's worth, is a push for a major version, with an admin refresh, a new name (Webhook is un-googleable and confuses everybody I mention it to) and better marketing that can get a splash on HN and drum up some interest.
Further, I have clients who would spend way more than 9$/month, and in fact, have heard the complaint that it's "too cheap to be good," which I'm afraid I have to agree with given the state of support as the core devs are occupied by other projects. More pricing options, with better support and maybe more devoted processing power to speed up builds would be nice.
Huge thanks to the development team though, for at the very least showing how a SSG / CMS should be built.
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