droopress #011 - App stores

When I hear the word "App store", I think of Apple's App store for iOs devices and now, recently, the Mac App store for Mac OS X. Both stores allow users like me to browse, download and install applications. Depending on the application, they are available either free, or at a cost. Thirty percent of revenues from the store go instantly to Apple, and the other 70% go to the seller of the application.

When I look at WordPress, Drupal and Joomla!, I usually do not think in terms of 'applications' to enhance the possibilities of the systems. In WordPress, I think of plugins. In Joomla!, I think of extensions, and in Drupal, of modules.

  • WordPress: WordPress Plugins, in existance since the end of 2009, aims to be the app store for WordPress. WordPress plugin sellers can upload, sell and support their plugins. It was created by the company Incsub. Along with WP Plugins, they provide other services, including one of the largest platforms for educational blogs with nearly 700.000 blogs! As in Apple's stores, the seller of the application receives 70% of the price. All plugins uploaded to WP Plugins must be GPL as per the WordPress license. I think it is important to mention that I am talking about sellers and buyers, not about developers and users. A seller is not always the developer, and a buyer not always the user! For the moment, WP Plugins offers 76 plugins from 1 US$ up to 159 US$. I didn't find any figures about downloads and revenues, however, on their blog you'll find a few stories from plug in developers.
  • Joomla!: The Joomla! ecosphere talked about selling extensions two years ago. Nowadays, the Joomla! extensions directory (JED) offers nearly one third of the 7.000 extensions under a commercial license. The JED is not an app store, and people are directed to the seller's websites of their commercial extensions. They have a clear definitions for Free and Commercial extensions. Read 289 comments on that topic in the Joomla! Forum.
  • Drupal: So one could think, ok - skip topic - but last week, there was a big discussion in the Drupal community about a tweet from Robert Douglass and his session on DrupalDevDays in Brussels (Sell your code: Announcing the DroopyAppStore -This session is a *thought exercise* aimed at challenging your beliefs and celebrating the character of the Drupal community). You can read hundreds of tweets using the hashtag #drupalappstore which mentions dozens of blog posts, often with interesting comments (e.g. mortendk, Boris Mann, Rich Beyrent, Tim Millwood, chx) about the topic. If Robert, or his employer Acquia, has a commercial project in mind - congrats - it was a very, very good crowdsourcing research and marketing!

Who benefits from an App store?

  1. The user. The user. Again, the user. It's all about the user!
    I know for sure from hundreds of trainings and emails from my readers, that Joomla!, Drupal and WordPress users would love to have a browsable directory built into their cms, where they can download, update, test, rent, buy and delete additional features, for free, or at a cost. The best would be a sandbox option to try out the new "toys". WordPress offers a nice feature. It is possible to browse, and install all WordPress plugins through the administrator interface, currently free.
  2. The provider. The provider. Again, the provider (of the store)!
    Can you remember who got rich during the gold rush? The people who sold the miners and other gold rush followers the tools and supplies they needed.
    So, Apple in general, and the providers of every individual app store will benefit the most.

But how to pay developers miners?

Did you know that Drupal 4 eliminated the webmaster, Drupal 5 the designer and Drupal 6 + CCK + VIEWS the developer! Not all of them, but 95% of them. What's wrong with that? Maybe Drupal 9 will eliminate the web agencies, and Drupal 12 the consultants. To get an impression what's possible, have a look at IBM's Watson project.
Think of webmasters, designers, developers, web agencies and consultants as miners. When the projects will need them for the next gold rush, they will come for free. And when it is urgent, it's possible to hire them, e.g. to release D7, J16 and WP3.1.

Last December, I wrote about crowdsourcing. Keep in mind, that we are now living in a world where companies crowdsource their products, their code and they try it with everything else they need. The easiest way to motivate people is about becoming a star. Ever heard of the phrase, 'attention economy'?

... the attention economy is a star system, where Elvis has an advantage. The relationship between stars and fans is central. Even without cyberspace, celebrities in show business, politics, and every other discipline accumulate huge amounts of notice.
The currency of the New Economy won't be money, but attention -- A radical theory of value. Dec. 1997

Developers can earn "a good job", "a bounty", "fame", "a cool party" and, most importantly, a "certificate as a rock star". Usually, they are happy with that.

Problem solved. Ask Steve.


A few stars will earn a lot, but what happens to the 99% who are not stars?

I don't know! I am thinking about that too. It would be a nice topic for a blog post.

By the way, this article is a free version of my thoughts. You will not receive an invoice for that service. If you like my thoughts, use the flattr button below for a reward . I am living, like all of us, in this 'attention economy', trying to get the best out of it :-) (more about flattr)