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Matteo Coppa

Katamaze addon module Billing Extension Installation

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Hello,
I was trying to install and activate an Addon module by Katamaze called "Billing Extension", but after putting all the files in the root, it seems like I can't activate it. When I click the Activate button for that module, an error occurs "Oops! Something went wrong". I really tried everything to fix it but I can't. Anyone knows how to fix it? 

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Check your logs (both WHMCS activity log and server logs).

Can you find anything unusual about this?

If not: enable php error logging in your WHMCS, and retry (PHP errors will be logged)

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12 hours ago, Remitur said:

Check your logs (both WHMCS activity log and server logs).

Can you find anything unusual about this?

If not: enable php error logging in your WHMCS, and retry (PHP errors will be logged)

This is the error I was experiencing first. Then I went in the database tryna fix this table problem, ends up showing with every "bx_" table.

When I tried fixing every table, it showed another error saying

"PDOException: SQLSTATE[21S01]: Insert value list does not match column list: 1136 Column count doesn't match value count at row 3 in /home/hoosty/public_html/modules/addons/BillingExtension/core/BillingExtension_Admin/Installer.php:575"

And after that all the "bx_" tables came back; I'm stuck in a kinda loop.

I've already done everything is said in the guide for this addon module problems solution.

Screenshot (2).png

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On 12/29/2021 at 6:26 PM, Matteo Coppa said:

Hello,
I was trying to install and activate an Addon module by Katamaze called "Billing Extension", but after putting all the files in the root, it seems like I can't activate it. When I click the Activate button for that module, an error occurs "Oops! Something went wrong". I really tried everything to fix it but I can't. Anyone knows how to fix it? 

You should stay away from that module, the developer is not actively updating it anymore, and it have costs me a lot of troubles... Not worth the money anymore

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Just now, Bigol'tastynuggets said:

I presume he supports it though? He hasn't just walked away - he just doesn't plan to continue additional development was my understanding? 

 

Yeeeeah no he dosent do that either, he never replies on any tickets. He dont care anymore about his product..

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I understand his frustration to be quite frank, but I was under the impression he still supported them - it does appear quite clear on the support offered on the site: 

 

From the FAQ

Only customers who choose 360° Support gain one-on-one and fast-response support with a Service Level Agreement. Thanks for your understanding.

https://katamaze.com/solutions/360-support

 

I personally would add the support options to checkout as configurable options to ensure no confusion- but the information is quite clearly available- how long have you been waiting for a ticket response? 

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Just now, Bigol'tastynuggets said:

I understand his frustration to be quite frank, but I was under the impression he still supported them - it does appear quite clear on the support offered on the site: 

 

From the FAQ

Only customers who choose 360° Support gain one-on-one and fast-response support with a Service Level Agreement. Thanks for your understanding.

https://katamaze.com/solutions/360-support

 

I personally would add the support options to checkout as configurable options to ensure no confusion- but the information is quite clearly available- how long have you been waiting for a ticket response? 

Yeah because paying 400 euro per month for support is a feasible option (which is what he wants) the plugin should work from the start which it does not.......

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To be honest, I just would have read that and not bothered myself - but he's a nice enough lad it would seem on here! I'm sure if you gave a very detailed description of the issues (provided it's not covered in his kb/articles) he would probably guide you 

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I'm responding just to point out few things. As for the issue reported here, we're cointinuing here.

On 1/2/2022 at 11:56 PM, lulzkiller said:

he never replies on any tickets

This is true and not a secret.

On 1/2/2022 at 11:56 PM, lulzkiller said:

He dont care anymore about his product..

I don't care about WHMCS anymore (not my products) for reasons described in "Submit ticket" page on my website.

 

eol.png.e866b9cabdec3a5b604329a0b3c55a46.png

 

 

My job now is to make sure modules keep working with WHMCS. I no longer try to improve WHMCS features, workaround its numerous bugs or follow their poor decisions.

To borrow a phrase favoured by WHMCS, I have no plans to switch my life to purely focussing on bugs/defects and code optimization of a software owned and poorly maintained by another company. WHMCS staff don't care about fixing their software. Me neither. I did for 15 years but enough is enough.

 

On 1/3/2022 at 12:14 AM, lulzkiller said:

Yeah because paying 400 euro per month for support is a feasible option (which is what he wants) the plugin should work from the start which it does not.......

Actually it is more expensive.

The cheapest plan was Pro (199€ / month) but it has been retired to allow me to focus on customers with Business and Enterprise plans that cost not less than 5 times that price with the service being restricted to Italian providers.

Understand that Billing Extension is immensely complex and complexity leads to lot of questions, requests and customizations especially when you face the many problems and shortcomings of WHMCS. Focusing on a small group of companies that can speak my language is mutually profitable and manageable. I didn't plan it but it is what it is.

I tried for a decade to follow the steps of Modulesgarden where many devs are capable of handling hundreds of customers but this doesn't work with this module. Try finding developers who are experts in such a very specific position. One that masters WHMCS and understands advanced concepts of billing and electronic invoicing for multiple countries and legislations. I never found one. The amount of time I need to invest to get a developer fluent with such topics is unsustainable given customers' demands.

As a reference, on average I need to spend 2 hours on Skype/Zoom with the customer just for showing features and configure part of the settings. Following this, add a couple of hours for fine tuning and the inevitable advanced requests. Not counting when they ask me to teach them how to do stuff in WHMCS & BX. Lastly most of the times when they realize my knowledge of WHMCS and hosting in general, I am "condemned" to be their main and only contact person for all requests.

I know it is awful for customers with no support plan but I can't do the impossible. I can't keep up with incoming requests neither grow talents at a sustainable speed. For sure not for a module that costs just 149€ / year in such a framework - WHMCS - that is getting worse from years, that has lost connection with customer base and that I don't think has a future. As if it wasn't enough, it drained my passion for coding.

For this reason there's plenty of documentation available in two languages. To people expecting replies, I can only suggest to stop renewing the module if they can't live with my silence. I am truly sorry but life is one and I can't be victim of this platform. WHMCS is now my secondary job I do for a very limited number of customers. My main job is still coding but on a different market and for a company that deserves my time.

Peace 👍

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Well if the information is there when submitting a ticket (which I did not know when posting) then the whole thing was silly to complain about! 

It's not good that kian feels this way but to be honest I totally understand! Best of luck in your future endeavours Kian, it's good you're still keeping them up to date etc though! I've spoken to a few people who just gave the SC versions and washed their hands of whmcs and left it at "Find someone to fix what you need" 

Also, your github stuff looks exciting - is there anywhere I can join a mailing list for that? Or is it a case of keep checking? @Kian

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Yada yada yada a lot of talk, but no fuc**** solutions no offence. 

First of all - When I bought your module, there was absolutely no messages about "we dont offer support" - How I know? Because I bought it at the time you send automated replies with "upgrade your ticket for a fee"  
Second - Your website, is NOT working properly in Safari. it is NOT possible to change the language, to English. How do I know? I fought several battles, trying to read and understand your website,  when I created my support tickets. So basically whatever message you are trying to get ahead via your website. Put it where the sun dont shine, because its only visible in italien, and clearly I cannot read that..

Try and understand my problem then. I bought your plugin, I did not ask for simple support, or installation help. I actually used your plugin for like 8 months, before having any problems. And what was my problems??? Clearly bugs in your code. Missing information. Reports giving errors "whoops cannot open this page" Impossible to change company information a "special" function in your plugin. Client pages showing wrong information, transactions page not working properly And even, when I disabled your module, after all these problems. This ontop of all, broke my whole fucking site... So I have spent ALOT of money trying to fix all these problems I got after I paid you 150 euro. So try and see it from your customers point of view. I got a product that worked for some things. And others it broke my site really badly, and when I tried removing your plugin, * got x10 times worse 


So yes, I definitely know that WHMCS is totally expensive to work with. Again, how I know ? Well I spent shitloads of money restoring my site after "billing extension" was installed.  And I know that billing extension is a super complicated module, that fixed a lot of WHMCS's mistakes. But again, no it does not because its not working properly. So all your talk about, "read the manual" Bla bla bla, how many times do you think I have read your manual, trying to sort out my problems........ Yeah, who pays me this money for my wasted time????? Who pays me for the wasted time I spent trying to actually get some help from you, with what clearly is bugs, and not "operator faults" ..... Exactly


So this is really really simple. You sold me a product, that does not work properly. I tried several times, to reach you via your site, to no avail. I tried posting here in whmcs.community, to no avail the public posts are here still, did you in any way provide any updates or solutions for my last post? Nope..... Who is to blame for these public posts ? Definitely not me, of course I would never recommend anyone your module after all the problems I've had....

So again, it is really simple. Unless you get $$$$$$$$$ you aint fixing *, you aint helping *. You are not doing anything to help those that actually bought your module. You are doing exactly what WHMCS is doing,  pointing towards the big money, and giving a * about those small people that keeps using your product (Which finally after long time and lots of money, I am not using your product anymore, even though if it actually had working properly I would have renewed my license, because I need some of the functions your module provides.)

So, say what you want to say. This is the truth about how my business was with your company. And as you might have guessed, im not super happy.....................

 

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19 hours ago, lulzkiller said:

You are doing exactly what WHMCS is doing,  pointing towards the big money, and giving a * about those small people that keeps using your product

I feel the urge to reply on this matter because what you are saying is wrong on many levels. I'm fine with people leaving bad reviews and not renewing me but I refuse to be compared to what WHMCS is doing.

First thing first, at the moment I have direct access to 78 systems where BX is installed and working plus hundreds more that I know are working fine.

That being said, unlike WHMCS I'm not saying that the module is problem-free. The vast majority of these problems would be easy to solve if only I had time for the usual stuff: get FTP/backend credentials, connect, see the error, fix the problem. But I can't keep up with such a big number of providers and their requests. I don't even have time for presales questions that would easily bring me money just answering to a couple of questions.

In other words, I am not avoiding difficult tickets focussing on ones that bring money. This puts me miles away from what WHMCS is doing. For them it's money > anything else, even reputation. For me it's pure and simple lack of time.

I am democratically ignoring every incoming request including ones from coming from huge providers, ones that end up buying dedicated support and that spend weeks trying to get my attention. As I said earlier, I even dropped customers who purchased Pro plan (199€/month each) simply because Business and Enterprise plans were already too much demanding and I don't want to do overselling with the time I don't have.

Before covid pandemic I burned 45.000€ of my personal money (I have more sources of income) in the attempt to fuel my business with more resources to meet customers' expectation so please, don't put me on the same level of WHMCS. Unlike them, I invested more than I was earning. I'm working in the hosting business since 2007 and let me tell you that the last 3 years before pandemic got me no profit. I paid expenses and made my developer rich 😁

I'll tell you more.

We stopped selling BX multiple times in the attempt to buy us time to hire a new developer and finishing writing documentation. This is something you don't see from WHMCS. They often give you final releases without documentation.

We planned to increase BX price multiple times to halve the number of active customers (less tickets) increasing inflow of money. We wanted to reach 399€/year in 3 years but we immediately discarded the idea when the first price increase occurred in 2020 (from 95€ to 149€/year). We received so much complaints in response that we decided to stop. Customers valued cheaper price more than the idea of having better support so unlike WHMCS, we listened to customers and end up building dedicated (paid) support.

I'm making modules since 2008 and I spent probably 2 years merging them into bigger and more complete modules keeping the same price. For example BX was born as a combination of 3 modules I was selling 95€/year each. As you can imagine, I lost money from this decision but I did it because I didn't like what my competitors were doing. They were selling tens or tiny modules aiming to maximize profits at the expense of ease of use and maintainability.

As if it wasn't enough, I am seriously considering to release all my modules as free and open source on Github. Time will tell.

That being said, next time you think I don't move a finger unless I get money, please remember what I just told you. I'm open to criticismI about my decisions and my abilities as a developer, human being etc. but don't compare me to WHMCS greediness. We are on two different planets.

BX surely wasn't the module for you and we failed to meet your expectations. I agree with you. I am not here making excuses. Parts of my plans for WHMCS have failed. The best I can do is focusing on a small number of customers hoping the rest can use BX without the need to contact me. Unhappy customers can freely open PayPal disputes. I never reply so that they can get their money back by default. From time to time I even allow them to use the module for free for one year so that they have time to find alternatives.

Let me conclude by saying that there must be a reason why there are less than 4 software-companies left in WHMCS. Most of them don't even have employees. With very few exceptions, we all fail to meet expectations. Guess why... 🤔

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On 1/7/2022 at 9:35 PM, lulzkiller said:

You are doing exactly what WHMCS is doing,  pointing towards the big money, and giving a * about those small people that keeps using your product

Please take at look here: https://github.com/Katamaze/WHMCS-Action-Hook-Factory

You can find dozens of hooks for free. Few of them are trivial, few others are pure gold.

It should be possible to assemble them in half a dozen of  add-on commercial modules, and the global value is thousands of bucks.

All of them have been developed by @Kian for free, and their source code is available for free.

So, I understand that you feel frustrated, but I absolutely cannot share your point of view.

 

 

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Just now, Remitur said:

Please take at look here: https://github.com/Katamaze/WHMCS-Action-Hook-Factory

You can find dozens of hooks for free. Few of them are trivial, few others are pure gold.

It should be possible to assemble them in half a dozen of  add-on commercial modules, and the global value is thousands of bucks.

All of them have been developed by @Kian for free, and their source code is available for free.

So, I understand that you feel frustrated, but I absolutely cannot share your point of view.

 

 

I know all the work Kian has done - I am strictly talking about his way of running his company regarding the module that I bought. Just because you give anything for free, does not mean it substitute the errors I got in the paid module. Saying that he's doing exactly the same as WHMCS, was perhaps a bit of far stretch WHMCS is worse. But it still does not change that I in any way cannot follow how he's chooses to run his business regarding support on a paid module.

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On 1/8/2022 at 6:40 PM, Kian said:

I feel the urge to reply on this matter because what you are saying is wrong on many levels. I'm fine with people leaving bad reviews and not renewing me but I refuse to be compared to what WHMCS is doing.

First thing first, at the moment I have direct access to 78 systems where BX is installed and working plus hundreds more that I know are working fine.

That being said, unlike WHMCS I'm not saying that the module is problem-free. The vast majority of these problems would be easy to solve if only I had time for the usual stuff: get FTP/backend credentials, connect, see the error, fix the problem. But I can't keep up with such a big number of providers and their requests. I don't even have time for presales questions that would easily bring me money just answering to a couple of questions.

In other words, I am not avoiding difficult tickets focussing on ones that bring money. This puts me miles away from what WHMCS is doing. For them it's money > anything else, even reputation. For me it's pure and simple lack of time.

I am democratically ignoring every incoming request including ones from coming from huge providers, ones that end up buying dedicated support and that spend weeks trying to get my attention. As I said earlier, I even dropped customers who purchased Pro plan (199€/month each) simply because Business and Enterprise plans were already too much demanding and I don't want to do overselling with the time I don't have.

Before covid pandemic I burned 45.000€ of my personal money (I have more sources of income) in the attempt to fuel my business with more resources to meet customers' expectation so please, don't put me on the same level of WHMCS. Unlike them, I invested more than I was earning. I'm working in the hosting business since 2007 and let me tell you that the last 3 years before pandemic got me no profit. I paid expenses and made my developer rich 😁

I'll tell you more.

We stopped selling BX multiple times in the attempt to buy us time to hire a new developer and finishing writing documentation. This is something you don't see from WHMCS. They often give you final releases without documentation.

We planned to increase BX price multiple times to halve the number of active customers (less tickets) increasing inflow of money. We wanted to reach 399€/year in 3 years but we immediately discarded the idea when the first price increase occurred in 2020 (from 95€ to 149€/year). We received so much complaints in response that we decided to stop. Customers valued cheaper price more than the idea of having better support so unlike WHMCS, we listened to customers and end up building dedicated (paid) support.

I'm making modules since 2008 and I spent probably 2 years merging them into bigger and more complete modules keeping the same price. For example BX was born as a combination of 3 modules I was selling 95€/year each. As you can imagine, I lost money from this decision but I did it because I didn't like what my competitors were doing. They were selling tens or tiny modules aiming to maximize profits at the expense of ease of use and maintainability.

As if it wasn't enough, I am seriously considering to release all my modules as free and open source on Github. Time will tell.

That being said, next time you think I don't move a finger unless I get money, please remember what I just told you. I'm open to criticismI about my decisions and my abilities as a developer, human being etc. but don't compare me to WHMCS greediness. We are on two different planets.

BX surely wasn't the module for you and we failed to meet your expectations. I agree with you. I am not here making excuses. Parts of my plans for WHMCS have failed. The best I can do is focusing on a small number of customers hoping the rest can use BX without the need to contact me. Unhappy customers can freely open PayPal disputes. I never reply so that they can get their money back by default. From time to time I even allow them to use the module for free for one year so that they have time to find alternatives.

Let me conclude by saying that there must be a reason why there are less than 4 software-companies left in WHMCS. Most of them don't even have employees. With very few exceptions, we all fail to meet expectations. Guess why... 🤔

Saying that you do exactly as WHMCS, was perhaps a bit of far stretch. Whmcs is a shi*show without borders.  But I still really feel let down on the support part. Not a little, like huge let down. I really did get crazy problems with billing plugin, and I really did spend a lot of money fixing those errors again.

If I did develop this module, and I gave up. I would have pulled it from the market, or open sourced it so people could fix the bugs themself. But again, its your business and you choose how to run it. I just dont agree with how its done.

But if you really are done with it. Then hand it over to me, I have plenty of developers on standby that could maintain it, then we can make a deal where you get a % of each sales that goes through. Or straight up just sell the source and the resale rights to me. Your ideas in this plugin and what worked was nice, and I still need the 2 functions that your module provided me until it broke totally.

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Throwing a tantrum and backtracking when it's pointed out you're throwing a tantrum isn't a good look! 

As we can all now see, that it notifies you upon ticket submission about all this and the whole post was a bit of an 'attention seek and hope everyone sides with you' post - maybe an apology to kian would be a better approach! Even if it's via private message! 

 

Don't be a Karen. It's not nice! 

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1 hour ago, Bigol'tastynuggets said:

Throwing a tantrum and backtracking when it's pointed out you're throwing a tantrum isn't a good look! 

As we can all now see, that it notifies you upon ticket submission about all this and the whole post was a bit of an 'attention seek and hope everyone sides with you' post - maybe an apology to kian would be a better approach! Even if it's via private message! 

 

Don't be a Karen. It's not nice! 

I am not backtracking, the only thing I said is that okay maybe I exaggerated on that he's doing the same business style as WHMCS. The rest is still valid from my point of view. And just because people are not responding here in the thread does not mean, they dont agree. If you check the marketplace for the billing plugin, you would see quite a bit of people with a negative review.

And if you check my previously posts, you will see that if companies give me a service that's what I expect, I make quite positive posts about it public as well. 

So, @Kian i am sorry I compared you to WHMCS, but I still feel you could have handled some things differently. 

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Knowing the circumstances and pretending you don't for Internet points is pretty pointless though- I mean there's information all over the site! 

🤷🏻‍♂️ Anyway enjoy your evening! 

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21 hours ago, lulzkiller said:

I in any way cannot follow how he's chooses to run his business regarding support on a paid module

I am more than glad to discuss this since it gives me the opportunity to prove that what moves me. Surely I'm not the best business man and developer of the world but I have a lot of direct experience since I'm playing with WHMCS since 2007. Let's go.

21 hours ago, lulzkiller said:

I have plenty of developers on standby that could maintain it

If I had a euro for every time I heard that, I would own a Ferrari.

There are probably 50k providers using WHMCS. Can you imagine how many developers and CEOs are out there? Ones that use this software on a daily basis sharing the same needs and requirements. There are many opportunities and potential customers to fulfill the growth of multiple companies. There's room for everyone. This market is rich and can provide for everyone.

That being said, apart from the usual Modulesgarden and few more companies, I can't see anyone showing up with a module that solves something relevant and that is maintained for more than a couple of weeks. Why is it like this? Short answer: easier said than done & the devil is in the details.

WHMCS gives people the perception to be a developer-friendly environment. One sees action hooks, API and concludes that making modules and adjustments is not a big deal till you begin coding for real and relize that this is far from being true.

When I started in 2007 there were tens of developers actievely releasing modules. They all disappeared. Today there are less than 5 companies left and probably only 1 or 2 are capable of assisting you decently while they maintain their softwares in this WHMCS that keeps growing bugs, bloats and stupid ideas.

It is also worth to underline that many of these companies are focusing on meeting small and trouble-free needs like creating templates, micro-management scripts, integrating some kind of services with API and payment gateways. With very few exceptions, nothing can match the complexity of Modulesgarden works. In essence we are talking about a market with almost no competition so two questions arise.

First. Why in such a rich market with almost no competition and many needs that are waiting to be satisfied no one is investing money into module development?

Second. If this market is rich and creating modules is easy, why Modulesgarden and others are expanding or moving to other markets?

For me the answer is that creating modules for WHMCS is not like creating plugins for WordPress where tens of thousands of devs are welcome. In WHMCS no one gives a flying duck of your work. They never valued nor considered the job of third-party developers that are helping them to sell their product. This shouldn't surprise us as they don't even care about their own customers. Also don't forget that as a developer you are required to pruchase WHMCS in order to start coding.

As for me, I started building this monster (Billing Extension) in 2014 exactly because I had the idea that coding in WHMCS was relatively easy and profitable. I was wrong as hell. Unfortunately I couldn't predict years or bad twists by WHMCS. To make matters worse, unlike most of my competitors, I focused on the dark side of WHMCS aiming to fix its issues and add missing features.

If I could go back in time, I would stay away from billing. Profit-wise, creating a template or couple of payment gateways would have been the best decision but I don't regret it since I learned many things and met many people. So today I have a module so complex that would take a company of the size of Modulesgarden to support customers and maintain its code.

I tried to scale-up. I hired developers, added more funds, merged modules rebuilding them from scratch with the same framework (1 year of work), wrote 500+ pages of docs in two languages, tried to increase prices (...) but it was still not enough. All while WHMCS from day to night release once another a version that breaks the mega-complex script that took you one month of work and that still needs to work in the old way only for people running older versions of WHMCS 🥵

After 3 consecutive years of Ok-ish results and nightmares due to WHMCS releases, I was still dealing with the same problem. I needed more funds to hire more developers but customers didn't want to support us with price increases because (I quote) «We don't need support», «Your module can't cost us more than WHMCS, Plesk or cPanel licenses», «I only use one feature». Fair enough, got it. Ironically few years later WHMCS increased prices up to $1.299.95/mo and put an end to life-time licenses 🤔

In retrospect, I should have raised prices anticipating the trend started by WHMCS, Plesk, cPanel and competitors. You can't grow customers and face increased complexity and challenges driven by poor management of WHMCS keeping the same cheap price. You end up investing tons of man-hours debugging the impossible and money doesn't grow on trees.

In conclusion for me it was time to let it go. Funding such an unsustainable business just because you happen to have other sources of income doesn't make it better. You are just prolonging an agony. And for what?

Cons: More nightmares, working on 25 December, at night, 12-hours per day (even 16 during emergencies 😑), being permanently unable to keep up with the so-called "stable" releases of WHMCS, receiving five new tickets every time you close one, being "stalked" and "hated" by customers, negative reviews, dealing with all the crazy stuff involving billing and e-invoicing and that unexpected change that forces you to update your module so that it works with: five, six, twentyone, ThemeMetro, Swiftmodders, bootstrap 3, 4, my uncle, my grandmother... give me a break.

Pros: some profit that doesn't repay you for the toxicity you have been subjected to. In all honesty it is not worth the effort. I prefer to invest in a grid bot to buy low and sell high on a random crypto. It feels better even when I lose 1k in less than a minute.

This reminds me the 2007-2012 period when I was running a quite successful game hosting provider. Everything was going fine. Good vibes, revenues, high dedication, passion for what I was doing till people started playing with ddos attacks to fulfill their egos and live the "hacker-life". At that time anti-ddos protection was very costly. I was spending 28 times the money spent by attackers to ddos me. When you spend 80% the money just to cover firewall and bandwidth costs with servers still lagging, you know it is time to sell your toy and move on. Many years later on a different market and for different reasons the story repeated with WHMCS.

Ask me anything but when it comes to gameservers and WHMCS my wallet is closed and my time is better spent on a bycycle in the attempt to win a race on Zwift even if it hurts and leaves you panting like a lizard on a hot rock.

Atm I' happily working on a different market that is way more complex than WHMCS but it is still more rewarding. There's a bigger pool of talents and teaching stuff is easier. Not to mention we can plan incomes, expenses and predict changes well ahead simply because there's no entity like WHMCS that feels the urge to pump out sloppy updates driven by nothing that resembles user feedback not couting shady collabs.

In my opinion these are only ways to perform well as third-part developer of WHMCS:

  1. Making small scripts that are not subjected to WHMCS decisions
  2. Work for providers with deep pockets
  3. Find a way to gather tens of software developers, designers and specialistys in various fields
  4. Embracing open source hoping providers sponsor your project and that other devs come to help. If I had to choose I'd go for open source but considering risks and the fact that WHMCS doesn't care about you, why should I spend my reputation for them? Why should I keep supporting them in chains? At this point I would create my own system

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1 hour ago, Kian said:

I am more than glad to discuss this since it gives me the opportunity to prove that what moves me. Surely I'm not the best business man and developer of the world but I have a lot of direct experience since I'm playing with WHMCS since 2007. Let's go.

 

Just so we are on the same page - I never in any way stated that I think you are a bad developer. On the contrary that I do now that you definitely are not. If that somehow could be extracted from my posts, that is not intentionally and not what I was trying to say, English is not my first language - I only have/had one problem with how I perceive the way you run your business.

 

1 hour ago, Kian said:

If I had a euro for every time I heard that, I would own a Ferrari.

 

I actually do have a team of 10 Pakistani developers full time that work for me, some stolen from the US military, so they know what they are doing. But they are not that used to WHMCS, but they could be in a month or two, if I dedicated my money towards it, which I haven't had the need for so far except when shi* started hitting my fan so they could save me. 
 

1 hour ago, Kian said:

I am more than glad to discuss this since it gives me the opportunity to prove that what moves me. Surely I'm not the best business man and developer of the world but I have a lot of direct experience since I'm playing with WHMCS since 2007. Let's go.

If I had a euro for every time I heard that, I would own a Ferrari.

There are probably 50k providers using WHMCS. Can you imagine how many developers and CEOs are out there? Ones that use this software on a daily basis sharing the same needs and requirements. There are many opportunities and potential customers to fulfill the growth of multiple companies. There's room for everyone. This market is rich and can provide for everyone.

That being said, apart from the usual Modulesgarden and few more companies, I can't see anyone showing up with a module that solves something relevant and that is maintained for more than a couple of weeks. Why is it like this? Short answer: easier said than done & the devil is in the details.

WHMCS gives people the perception to be a developer-friendly environment. One sees action hooks, API and concludes that making modules and adjustments is not a big deal till you begin coding for real and relize that this is far from being true.

When I started in 2007 there were tens of developers actievely releasing modules. They all disappeared. Today there are less than 5 companies left and probably only 1 or 2 are capable of assisting you decently while they maintain their softwares in this WHMCS that keeps growing bugs, bloats and stupid ideas.

It is also worth to underline that many of these companies are focusing on meeting small and trouble-free needs like creating templates, micro-management scripts, integrating some kind of services with API and payment gateways. With very few exceptions, nothing can match the complexity of Modulesgarden works. In essence we are talking about a market with almost no competition so two questions arise.

First. Why in such a rich market with almost no competition and many needs that are waiting to be satisfied no one is investing money into module development?

Second. If this market is rich and creating modules is easy, why Modulesgarden and others are expanding or moving to other markets?

For me the answer is that creating modules for WHMCS is not like creating plugins for WordPress where tens of thousands of devs are welcome. In WHMCS no one gives a flying duck of your work. They never valued nor considered the job of third-party developers that are helping them to sell their product. This shouldn't surprise us as they don't even care about their own customers. Also don't forget that as a developer you are required to pruchase WHMCS in order to start coding.

As for me, I started building this monster (Billing Extension) in 2014 exactly because I had the idea that coding in WHMCS was relatively easy and profitable. I was wrong as hell. Unfortunately I couldn't predict years or bad twists by WHMCS. To make matters worse, unlike most of my competitors, I focused on the dark side of WHMCS aiming to fix its issues and add missing features.

If I could go back in time, I would stay away from billing. Profit-wise, creating a template or couple of payment gateways would have been the best decision but I don't regret it since I learned many things and met many people. So today I have a module so complex that would take a company of the size of Modulesgarden to support customers and maintain its code.

I tried to scale-up. I hired developers, added more funds, merged modules rebuilding them from scratch with the same framework (1 year of work), wrote 500+ pages of docs in two languages, tried to increase prices (...) but it was still not enough. All while WHMCS from day to night release once another a version that breaks the mega-complex script that took you one month of work and that still needs to work in the old way only for people running older versions of WHMCS 🥵

After 3 consecutive years of Ok-ish results and nightmares due to WHMCS releases, I was still dealing with the same problem. I needed more funds to hire more developers but customers didn't want to support us with price increases because (I quote) «We don't need support», «Your module can't cost us more than WHMCS, Plesk or cPanel licenses», «I only use one feature». Fair enough, got it. Ironically few years later WHMCS increased prices up to $1.299.95/mo and put an end to life-time licenses 🤔

In retrospect, I should have raised prices anticipating the trend started by WHMCS, Plesk, cPanel and competitors. You can't grow customers and face increased complexity and challenges driven by poor management of WHMCS keeping the same cheap price. You end up investing tons of man-hours debugging the impossible and money doesn't grow on trees.

In conclusion for me it was time to let it go. Funding such an unsustainable business just because you happen to have other sources of income doesn't make it better. You are just prolonging an agony. And for what?

Cons: More nightmares, working on 25 December, at night, 12-hours per day (even 16 during emergencies 😑), being permanently unable to keep up with the so-called "stable" releases of WHMCS, receiving five new tickets every time you close one, being "stalked" and "hated" by customers, negative reviews, dealing with all the crazy stuff involving billing and e-invoicing and that unexpected change that forces you to update your module so that it works with: five, six, twentyone, ThemeMetro, Swiftmodders, bootstrap 3, 4, my uncle, my grandmother... give me a break.

Pros: some profit that doesn't repay you for the toxicity you have been subjected to. In all honesty it is not worth the effort. I prefer to invest in a grid bot to buy low and sell high on a random crypto. It feels better even when I lose 1k in less than a minute.

This reminds me the 2007-2012 period when I was running a quite successful game hosting provider. Everything was going fine. Good vibes, revenues, high dedication, passion for what I was doing till people started playing with ddos attacks to fulfill their egos and live the "hacker-life". At that time anti-ddos protection was very costly. I was spending 28 times the money spent by attackers to ddos me. When you spend 80% the money just to cover firewall and bandwidth costs with servers still lagging, you know it is time to sell your toy and move on. Many years later on a different market and for different reasons the story repeated with WHMCS.

Ask me anything but when it comes to gameservers and WHMCS my wallet is closed and my time is better spent on a bycycle in the attempt to win a race on Zwift even if it hurts and leaves you panting like a lizard on a hot rock.

Atm I' happily working on a different market that is way more complex than WHMCS but it is still more rewarding. There's a bigger pool of talents and teaching stuff is easier. Not to mention we can plan incomes, expenses and predict changes well ahead simply because there's no entity like WHMCS that feels the urge to pump out sloppy updates driven by nothing that resembles user feedback not couting shady collabs.

In my opinion these are only ways to perform well as third-part developer of WHMCS:

  1. Making small scripts that are not subjected to WHMCS decisions
  2. Work for providers with deep pockets
  3. Find a way to gather tens of software developers, designers and specialistys in various fields
  4. Embracing open source hoping providers sponsor your project and that other devs come to help. If I had to choose I'd go for open source but considering risks and the fact that WHMCS doesn't care about you, why should I spend my reputation for them? Why should I keep supporting them in chains? At this point I would create my own system


I completely understand what it is you are saying, and I do agree with most of it, and I should have used another wording for my posts. But I also do run a hosting company, where I am hosting 85% of a whole country. That is everything from government, military, police, banking, down to the smallest guy having a simple WP site - I cannot in any way be down which I was. I cannot make mistakes where my invoice numbers suddenly screws up, I cannot make mistakes where company name suddenly dont show up in invoices correctly. I take my job very very very serious and simple mistakes can costs me a fortune in lost revenue ( I can prove everything in PM, but im not interested in showing the world who I am )

which all of these things unfortunately happened to me. And who else than the developer could I have tried to go to to get help. The module is encoded. My biggest frustration was the waiting time, where i was being left alone with my problems, and had to figure them out by myself when I expected that there would be some sort of support for what I bought, we both live in EU, we do have some expectations to what we buy. All while literally all of my clients was on the phone asking what was going on,  and all this really stressed me out big time, because I felt kidnapped between that the module is encoded, I cannot fix anything by myself, and the complete silence from your end, and in all my years of business, I have never ignored any support requests, 98% of our tickets have a reply within 3 minutes. I hope it sheds a bit of light on how I perceived the things, and please do not think, that I in any way think you are a bad developer at all, and I do not hate you, I still recommended your CMS plugin in another posts yesterday.

 

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