I work as a contractor for several companies, one of which has been using a couple of Ruby on Rails web applications. I worked with a small team of developers to write them: a payment site, and the actual product/service site. As time went by, I became the only developer doing the maintenance and building additions and since software applications take so long to be bug free, these two are far from it. After over a year and more than 1000 users, we are scrapping the Rails apps and replacing them with other options.
AMember will replace the payment app. After putting in several weeks of work to add a payment gateway to our Ruby on Rails payment site, aMember is an awesome solution. Now I will only need to check a box and fill in an options page for configuration for each additional gateway. When used with a $40 WordPress add-on, aMember manages user data, allows a single log in, and permits recurring payments. $197 may seem like a lot for a piece of software, but it will be saving me hundreds of hours and this company thousands of dollars. It’s definitely worth it to many companies to get a stable product with good support.
We will be using WordPress to replace the product site. We will be writing a lot of the plugins, but we will also be able to use a lot of existing ones. By doing so, we will not only be saving months of time, but also end up with a better product. These are some of the existing plugins on the list to get setup:
Pretty Link Pro. A $97 premium plugin designed to replace services like Tiny Url and Bud Url by shortening links. It’s characterized by many fabulous features. The keyword replacement, tweet badge, and social networking features are exhibited in this post. The free version is also packed with great features.
Contact Form 7. Used to simply create dynamic forms that will send the information in an email. HTML knowledge helps to create prettier forms.
Email Users. An admin emailer for sending out notifications and other spam to registered users.
Simple:Press Forum. We originally used phpBB for the forum. It’s a great application, but far to complicated for our needs. Simple:Press greatly simplifies the maintenance and setup, although I don’t like that the user display names are duplicated in the Simple:Press tables.
I’m currently working on several other plugins, at least one of which will be distributed on WordPress.org. It is a dynamic forms plugin for creating forms and managing the data submitted from them. The data can be added from the admin or submitted by users in an embedded form. This data can be displayed in the front-end as well as edited/deleted from the back-end. Hopefully I can come up with a simple way to create the pages to display the data. More on this coming soon.