Cobalt Apps 2018 Development Roadmap

The following is a kind of “moving target” development roadmap for Cobalt Apps in 2018, with the product ideas and updates being pretty concrete, but the order and timeframes left for organic execution. So let’s get to it and lay out the key goals for the Cobalt Apps freelance WordPress developer product lineup in 2018.

First, A Few Points About Some Primary Goals

When I first started out in the WordPress Theme and Plugin dev business I was primarily focused on a specific product. Yet over the years this has morphed into more of a specific area of WP software development, with the freelance WordPress developer as my target audience, and therefore my products lining up with their specific needs. But in the transition I’ve found that many of my products overlap in certain areas or share several features, making it a bit difficult at times to pick the right tool for the job or to know which tool does what. So one of the primary goals behind my 2018 development efforts is to more clearly distinguish my various products so that few features overlap and few tools negate the need for another.

On the later point just mentioned I’m referring to the fact that some of my tools essentially do much of what some of my other tools do, muddying the waters a bit in terms of which tools are needed and which maybe are not. And I’ll get into the specifics in a moment, but I just wanted to lay out the mindset behind this roadmap.

Now To The Details…

First let’s talk about general concepts. For example, if I have two tools that do similar things then I will likely either merge them in some way or create two tools that do different things, deciding which one gets part of the functionality and which the other. Or in the case of small features shared by many products, I may simply strip those out and place them all in a single “helper-tool” to keep them more compartmentalized and with less variations to keep up with. Finally, my goal here is not to merge all my products into one BIG tool, nor is it to create a bunch of extra “micro” Plugins with one or two features, but instead I simply aim to move more toward a logical set of dev tools that work well together, allowing the user to pick and choose the best combo for their specific needs, all while providing plenty of room for new tools as requested and inspired.

So What Does This Look Like?

Please note that the current tools will remain in development as well, but any significant change or addition that can’t safely make its way into an update will either become a new product or a new version of a current product.

In no particular order…

  • I plan on creating a Plugin version of Dynamik that will customize the child theme files directly instead of through Skins that later need to be exported. So this will allow you to activate Dynamik, customize the Child Theme using the Dynamik design tools, and then deactivate Dynamik, leaving the hard-coded, fully independent Child Theme intact. Note that what I’m NOT saying is that Dynamik will be able to customize pre-customized Genesis Child Themes (like the ones sold in the StudioPress store). What I AM saying is that this Dynamik Plugin will create its own custom child theme, edit it, and then allow you to deactivate Dynamik, leaving the design intact. And of course this re-build will naturally bring about many refinements and new features I’m sure.
  • I plan on creating a similar kind of Dynamik Plugin for our Freelancer Framework. It’s a solid, simple framework theme that I believe can benefit a much larger audience if made more accessible through the addition of such a Freelancer-specific Dynamik Plugin.
  • I plan on creating a single Extender Plugin that will essentially be all of the Extender Plugins merged into one, with new framework support being added over time.
  • I plan on creating a kind of “helper” dev Plugin that houses many of the non-database features found in our tools like the Front-End Sandbox Tools, the Hooks Map, etc… and splitting those out from our other tools. As mentioned above, I don’t plan on removing a bunch of features from our current tools, just making sure that our growing lineup has less functionality overlap.
  • I plan on continuing to develop and refine Instant IDE as I truly believe that will become a foundational tool for many budding WP freelance devs and I want to make it the best it can be!

Of course this does not account for any new products that come about either in 2018 or beyond, but should provide a basic vision of where I’m headed and what I’ll be working on this coming year. My goal is to provide an ever improving set of freelance WordPress developer tools for the growing WP dev community, offering something for every level of freelancer. But my specific endeavor for this coming year is to refine, consolidate, and merge what’s already on the table, clearing the way for greater improvements down the road and new tools that fit just right in the Cobalt Apps lineup.

I hope you have an amazing and successful year ahead and look forward to being a positive part of that equation! 🙂

Regards,

Eric Hamm

P.S.. Some of these additions will simply be new products, but those that clearly come as a re-build of a current product will at least in some way offer an upgrade path, either free or at least discounted. So, for example, there will be an upgrade path for current Dynamik users to this new Dynamik Plugin, but only for the Genesis version. The Freelancer version, since it supports a different theme, will be a completely separate product/purchase. But, let’s say the merged Extender Plugin, this would likely be a discounted upgrade from any one of the current Extender Plugins. Again, none of this is set in stone, but I wanted to try to address this as I’m sure it’s a common question to come up.

P.P.S.. Since I know this will be a common question I want to be clear about this: The goal of this roadmap is not to rock the boat with the current product lineup, but to simply refine the focus of what’s to come. So, for example, let’s say you’re happy with Dynamik Website Builder and are concerned that this new Dynamik Plugin poses a threat to the continued maintenance of DWB. Well let me be clear that there’s no need for concern. I will continue to maintain, update, bug fix, refine, Dynamik. I’m just also planning on building toward a more cohesive product lineup moving forward.