Support for

Sponsor custom development on w3p or w3shop

Alistair Wilson
by Alistair Wilson 3 years ago
 

Looking for a feature we don't have?

We're often asked for w3p Flyerlink or our websites to be adapted or modified to meet the needs of an individual partner.

Where possible, we make these adaptions free of charge in our normal software development cycle. Please start a new topic on w3pin or raise via your support network to make a suggestion. We read every suggestion, but we aren't able to respond to all. If your suggestion is achievable and economically viable, we turn it into a development specification and assign it a ticket number. When we're next working on the part of Flyerlink your suggestion relates to, we try to roll your changes in. We aren't able to give you timescales or feedback, but one day, like magic, your suggestion might be live.


This is the most cost-effective way of making adaptions. However we understand that sometimes, this approach doesn't always suit. We also know that sometimes you are disappointed if we reject your suggestion because it doesn't fit in with our plans. We know this makes you feel hurt and angry and you sometimes don't mind telling people about it.

As a partner you're effectively 'time-sharing' a development team with hundreds of other international stakeholders. Making our systems work across many countries, languages, currencies, conventions and tax rules is not easy. Making sure everyone gets what they want all the time isn't possible. There is another way...

Become a Development Sponsor

If you would like w3p, Flyerlink or w3shop to be adapted to suit your needs, you may choose to become a Development Sponsor. As a sponsor, you get your development prioritised... by paying for it yourself. You could choose to do this on your own, or with a group of like-minded colleagues.

Perhaps you'd like to integrate with another system, or maybe export data in a particular way. You might want a new report written to analyse data and present it in a familiar format. Or you may want to add a new module to manage something in a different way. It could be that you have a great idea for how an existing feature works and you want to extend its use or make it easier. You might even have an idea for a business model and want to leverage our platform and template technology to enter a new market.

How does it work?

First step... if you have an idea or requirement, please email us a full and specific written description of your adaption.

Give us as much detail as you can. Add mockups or screengrabs to help us visualise. If we consider your idea to be reasonable and commercially and financially justifiable, we will tell you and ask you if you would like us to carry out an Initial Evaluation.

The Initial Evaluation

This costs £500 (or equivalent). On receipt of payment, we will prepare a short Systems Analysis Report ("SAR").

This sets out what systems analysis will be needed to identify how your adaption will be implemented. It will include an estimate of the time required to develop the programming specification and an estimate of the programming itself.

When you get this report, you may decide that your adaption is not justifiable, in which case, there are no further costs. If you decide to proceed, the next step is Systems Analysis.

Systems Analysis

We require payment of the estimated fees for Systems Analysis as set out in the Initial Evaluation. These typically would be £500 to £2,000.

On receipt, you will be appointed a dedicated Systems Analyst. They will work with you to turn your idea into a programming specification. A more detailed estimate of likely costs will be prepared.

Programming Specification

Once this is prepared, you will sign-off the specification and pay the estimated development fees. See below for some estimates.

Your adaption will then obtain a priority position in the development queue and will be assigned to one or more developers, according to the scale and skills required.

Development & testing

We will create a development branch for your adaption and give you access to our Redmine project management system.

You will receive daily/hourly updates of progress and be able to test or provide feedback during the testing cycle.

You will be required to test the adaption yourself before it is prepared for go live. If your feedback makes changes to the specification, we will require payment to proceed.

Deployment

Once you have verified your adaption is working as per the development specification, we will merge it to 'trunk'.

This process is necessary to ensure that any changes made to the main system since your adaption began are not lost.

After this is completed, you will be given a 'go live' slot which may require you to be available out-of-office-hours.

Sounds complicated, is it?

Yes. Even a trivial change has implications which could result in unscheduled downtime or data loss, so we must act appropriately and manage each deployment like 'air traffic controllers'.

Will you consider any change whatsoever?

No. When we're evaluating new development, we always consider whether the change will make our systems faster and easier and more stable. If it only achieves 2 out of 3, then we're unlikely to proceed. Your adaption would need to make the system easier to use, or it would automate steps or stages or make it more resilient.

What will it cost?

This varies enormously. A simple change, rolled into a bigger development, may take half an hour or less.

The same change on its own could take up to a full developer-day for specification, development, testing and deployment. To give some ideas of scale:

  • adding a new field to a report could cost: £1000 to £2,000;
  • building a new Supplieready profile: £1,500 to £3,000;
  • building a new report: £2k to £4k;
  • adding a new payment gateway: £15k to £30k;
  • adding a new language or currency: £10k to £20k;
  • integrating an API like Fotolia photo library: £10k to £20k;
  • integrating a new carrier: £20k to £30k;
  • building a new theme for w3shop: £30k to £60k;
  • building a new web2print site £50k to £200k.

That sounds expensive?

Yes it is. Development is expensive. We have invested £millions in our platform. Even changes which look 'easy' or 'minor' can run to tens of thousands in development time.

It's my idea so it's mine to keep?

No. We don't make custom development for one person. You have no right whatsoever to modify, adapt, reverse engineer or decompile our systems yourself. All intellectual property rights (including copyright and patent rights) arising out of any adaption shall be owned by Grafenia plc and we will have a free and unfettered right to use and however deal in the adaption and to grant sub-licences of the same. Other partners in this country and others will have access to your development, in the same way as they do now. Your adaption may already be planned. In which case, you're paying for it to queue-jump. In some cases, we may already have done the systems analysis or programming spec. You wouldn't be charged twice.

Can I still submit suggestions?

Sure. Feel free to suggest improvements. We'll always try to accommodate them where we can. If you get cross because your suggestion is not being implemented fast enough, don't 'bump' your post or feel sad - consider becoming a Development sponsor.

 
 
 
 

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