I am normally hesitant to publicly release anything that is not an actual production version, so it is rare that I release beta versions of the plugin to the general public. It is rarer still that I release an alpha version. However, in the case of the WP-Members Subscription Module with PayPal Integration, there are a number of reasons why (1) I am releasing it and (2) I am labeling it as an alpha release.
Why I am releasing it
This has been an add-on module that I have had in development for quite some time. Unfortunately, between life, work, and maintaining a very popular plugin with all of its support needs, I just have not had the time to complete it. But there has been tremendous demand for such an add-on. If not the most commonly requested feature for the plugin, it is certainly in the top 3.
Isn’t releasing it as alpha rushing things?
The answer to that is, no. The core of the module is solid. In fact, I am running it to manage the subscriptions and payments on this site. And really, that’s the most important part of the module.
Where the module is lacking is in it’s admin interface and some of the possible future features. But one of the important lessons that I have learned as a plugin developer is that there will be a never-ending string of requests for additional features. And the best way to find out what those are is to get the thing out there so people can start using it.
So why release it as alpha?
My primary reasoning behind this is that I want to emphasize that this is not “plug-and-play” yet. While most of the module’s key functions in regards to integrating with WP-Members is done with the admin panel, the IPN listener requires some setup. Also, the IPN listener relies on curl, so you’ll need to know how to set that up. (And if the term IPN listener has you scratching your head, that’s another thing – you’ll need some working understanding of how PayPal’s Instant Payment Notification works.)
While none of those elements is too difficult or insurmountable, there just isn’t any documentation written yet, and while I will be providing documentation and support in the future, it’s not quite ready yet.
If none of that holds you back, then I say go for it! If you are willing to roll up your sleeves, you’ll be fine.
What does it do?
This add-on module for WP-Members will allow you to set a trial period and a subscription period. (NOTE: in the future, it will allow for a paid trial followed by a paid subscription, but at this time, the trial must be free. The subscription period can be free or paid.) Payment for subscriptions is handled through PayPal.
At present, the module allows for payment per single period. For example, if you have set the subscription period as monthly, payment is monthly. There is not at this time auto-renewal.
Now before you all start sending me emails that say it needs to offer this or that… Let me tell you, I already know. Refer to my points above – there’s a ways to go on this. It’s just an early release.
I will be adding multiple payment periods (with potential discounts, such as different rate for yearly vs. monthtly, etc.) Also, paid trial options will be added, as well as auto-generated renewal reminders.
Now that being said, I’m always open to ideas. A lot of the features in WP-Members were driven by request. So if you have a feature idea, I don’t want to stifle that. I just want you to know that yes I know there are features that are going to need to be added.
How can I get it?
This add-on module is available to members of rocketgeek.com. So if you’re a paid member, you already have access. Go here to get it.
If you’re not a paid member, register here and complete the payment process. (By the way, the subscription and payment process on this site is running the exact module that I have just described to you.) Or go here for more information.