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Meteotemplate – your feedback

Meteotemplate – your feedback

Hi guys,

Again a very hard post to write, but I need your feedback.  I came to the conclusion that the best thing to do will be to simply discuss these things with you and hopefully come to a solution that will work for all of us.

Some of you might have some speculations over why I had to do this and it is quite likely that it was one of the reasons, because there were actual several factors.

Over time, Meteotemplate has been installed at least 800 times, of course not all these people are active users, my estimate is that active users are about 500, not all users are also on the user map, I see lot of accesses from local IPs.

Some of you have mentioned in the past that as the number of users increases I will no longer be able to deal with all the emails and support. This in fact is not really true. It is true that there is more people, but, over time there is also much less bugs, the graphical user interface makes it much less likely you will get the settings wrong and so all in all, the number of emails/support I have to do remained about the same, but the number of people who ask out of the total user base, is actually much lower.

Unfortunately, the ever increasing user base brought about some other issues, which I did not anticipate and which now need to be dealt with. The primary problem stems from the fact that more and more people see Meteotemplate just like any other free service, where stuff works, everything is available all the time. This unfortunately was/is reflected in several ways. First, I have to admit that I get more and more emails with single words like “token”, not even saying thanks or hi, then once I send it, they either ask for help in a similar way if they get stuck, or you never hear from them again. Now this is not something I couldn’t deal with, it is obvious you will get such emails and users (I want to emphasize that everything I say in this post does not apply to all!), but it is something that also tells me the way users see MT.

I get lots of emails from people suggesting new features/updates/reporting bugs – and again, this is something I honestly really welcome and it shows me that people are interested in my work and want it to continue.

Now we finally get to the major issues I currently experience. But before I continue, let me once again emphasize that this does not apply to all and what´s more, if you are reading this, it is very likely you are the one to whom this does not apply.

Meteotemplate is still a hobby for me, I really enjoy working on it, I enjoy talking/emailing with most of you and I can easily get over the few who probably did not even deserve getting a token. However, it is also true that on average I spend about 6-7h with it every single day. The truth is that recently I started having some health problems, which hopefully are not serious. These problems in no way limit me in the actual work on MT, but they do have an indirect effect. If I’m to be absolutely open – I have much higher expenses and I simply have to find a way to offset these costs. As most of you know, I do have an old laptop, no smartphone (though I have to admit I don’t even want one), but these are all things I pretty much got used to and some of you were actually so nice and wanted to offer some help in this respect, but I always kindly declined, this is not something essential for me and I’m ok. However as you can probably imagine, now I’m in a situation where I can no longer ignore it. I said I will never disclose who donated and who did not, and I will keep my promise, however, I have to mention one thing. If in this respect things were going the way they were for example a year ago, I would be totally fine. It is unfortunately the case that using the last 7 days as an example, the incomes from MT for me are exactly 0USD, despite several thousands of block/plugin downloads, several new users and dozens of template updates and tokens issued. Now it is so important that I will emphasize it again – if you are reading this, you are probably one of the more active and supportive users, what I have just said in no way applies to all. But as you can imagine, this in long-term is not possible for me to continue. This is not even covering the costs such as hosting, domain…. You all know I hate talking about donations, I changed the Blocks/plugins page and removed all the bold red text about donations etc etc. On the other hand, I am in a situation which might be different from other developers in that I’m still very young, with not much resources and so I simply cannot afford to do all this and support it myself. There are lots of services on the internet such as Gmail, Facebook etc etc – all free and with more and more users, this is how people see MT. In the past it was a much more personal relationship, unfortunately these companies obviously are not a charity and they make the money elsewhere. Unfortunately making Meteotemplate fully commercial is not an option and it would be something both me and you would actually suffer from (you paying for the licenses I would have to get, me spending hours with administrative work etc etc., this is not something I want to spend my time with). MT has no come to a point where it is expected there is something new every day and that when it is out, it is there, available all the time, and for most, absolutely for free.

You might say – yes Jachym, but this is your problem – and you would be absolutely right, it is my problem and I’m the one who has to deal with it. On the other hand, it is the case that since you have decided to use MT, it is possible that my problems will have some effect on you as well.

So what is next… well this is a very tough questions. I have several options/plans. They all have their pros and cons so I wanted to first post about this, then get some feedback from you about it and then decide.

So first thing I want to make clear – I do not want anyone to start feeling sorry and post some comments in this respect. We all have problems in our life we have to deal with. In the meantime, I’m not saying every one of you should now start helping me, no. First of all, there are indeed users who did, second, if people don’t want to, that’s fine with me too, but as much as I want, I simply would have to find another part-time job, or something, which I’m sure I would not enjoy as much, but that’s just the way it is. I have been taking care of myself since I was 18, I have gone through selling in TESCOs while at uni and I would find a way again. If it is MT it would be great, if not, well than unfortunately not.

Let´s now go through the other options, which all assume MT will continue. One thing that is for sure is that I will not and cannot make the template and blocks/plugins fully commercial, i.e. have a fixed price for each. That is not possible due to licensing (I would have to buy licenses and you would then have to pay me a lot just so that I can pay for these, not to mention the time I would have to spend with filling in all the contracts etc.) and due to my personal goals and the way I want MT to be.

I also understand that some of the users are in a very difficult position and as much as they want, it is not possible for them to contribute in a financial way. This is also OK with me, this is in fact what it says on all download pages (blocks, plugins etc.) – feel free to download this script, test it and if you like it and can afford it, please consider making a donation. The problem now is that based on user feedback, over 96% of you enjoy MT. And if I only look at the facts, it is also the case that over 95% of you cannot afford anything.

The bottom line is, I need to make sure that I have some sort of a regular income from this – not to make profit, but simply to be able to get by, by myself. Time is something you cannot buy so if I spend this time with MT, I cannot spend it doing something else. Limiting the time spent with MT is problematic. I have many ideas, many people asking for help, many tokens to issue…. I personally have problems post-poning these things so I know that saying I will for example only work for one hour on MT every day would simply not work for me and be very stressful. I also don’t want my ideas to just keep on piling up over time.

Let´s now go through the possible options.

  1. Introduce something like “Meteotemplate Pro”. This would have to be something that would provide certain benefits, but in the meantime, would not mean paying for the actual scripts. It would have to be benefits more related to services provided by me. Some things I was thinking of are priority support, support over TeamViewer/Skype, possibility to get information about planned features in advance and possibility to actively comment on the prepared changes (in other words I would send list of possibilities for future template/block/plugin updates/new stuff and discuss with you what you want and how you want it to be, ideally in some closed group on FB, Google, or my blog), the possibility to get customized blocks/plugins with changes based on your request, some sort of Meteotemplate Pro badge for your template. Again, these are just my ideas, if there is something you can think of and most importantly something that you see would be something you would be willing to pay for, please mention it. The problem with this is that I would have to make sure at least some proportion of MT users actually use this option.
  2. Set some fixed minimum amount that I would post somewhere on my page and which would gradually during the month decrease as people help out and the goal would be to reach 0 by the end of each month, and if that was not happening in long-term, I would have to say I can no longer work on this. This also has its pros and cons. The pros are that it would again be up to anyone to decide how much they value this. The con is that it is a very risky strategy, and one thing I would not want to happen is that very few people would in the end offset the remainder, just so that the project continues. This is something I do not and will not accept. I do not want 2-3 people to save the rest.
  3. Do you have any ideas?

One other thing I would probably do is slightly limit the number of new tokens issued. Not having a fixed number, but rather making sure that I only send 2-3 at a time until those people have their websites functional and then continue.

If you guys have any other ideas, or want to add something to the ones I mentioned, I would really appreciate it. It is something open to discussion and I want to actually get your feedback (unfortunately it is the inevitable truth that the most helpful and active users are usually the ones who actually read this blog, that is one of the reasons I stopped the downloads, otherwise most people would not even notice there is a problem). The outcome of this decision has to be a situation, where no-one is forced to anything, but in the meantime a situation that is in long-term something I can support. I would love Meteotemplate to stay free, but that to me means no profit, but also no loss. Unfortunately the very essential basics that I need are not free and so I need to find a way. One other thing I want to mention is that if we assume 500 active users and say that half of them would be willing to help, it actually turns out we are talking about very small amounts per user. Which option would you prefer, how do you think this could work, what would you want to see, how much you think this is worth?

Well… I was absolutely opened up with you guys and I am 100% sure we will find a solution that will work for all of us. Please do not post any regretful comments about myself, I also appreciate all the offers for a second-hand laptop etc. – it is extremely nice of you guys, but I’m fine in this respect. I have what I need and want and if things get back to the state where they were a year ago, it would be fine again. I would also please ask you to discuss this here and not move the discussion to some other forum. Feel free to agree/disagree and most importantly, feel free to suggest things.

 

 

56 thoughts on “Meteotemplate – your feedback

  1. Hi, Jachym.

    You have all my support to publish a PRO version. It’s what I told you a long time ago. Apart from the huge amount of time you spend on MT, you need more powerful equipment (computer, werb server, smartphone) to keep Meteotemplate running, and this entails a mandatory expenditure.

    (Translated with Google translator)

  2. I’m speaking primarily to you Americans here–and to myself…

    There is absolutely NO REASON most/all/any of you (and me) can’t donate $25.00-$50.00 a few time a year. There just isn’t. That is coffee money, isn’t it?
    I go to Dunkin’ Donuts most work days and spend $2.65 on a large coffee. That’s $53.00 USD if I go five days a week for a month. So lets stop all this nonsense talk about donating a dollar or two a month and start *showing* Jachym that we do indeed appreciate the great work he’s done on MT. If you can’t afford that level of support how is it that you even have a computer and a website? C’mon!

    –Kurt

  3. Subscription users would have their own persistent token to download updates and blocks.

    Everyone else would have access to request a basic token that gives meteotemplate + a base set of blocks.

    The remaining nicer or more advanced blocks would be available to subscribers only to download. Think of it like a Plex Pass. Newer blocks would be subscriber exclusive and maybe trickle down to be free.

  4. Jachym,

    I am all for paying $20 to $30 a year for the template you should get something out of it and all the hard work you have done. I just wonder if there is a way to make some type of time code that would make the template stop working after 30 days or so then add a key after purchase to make it work. Maybe more complicated than it needs to be. I am good with what ever you decide I am here to support the effort.

    Cheers.

    • Hi Greg,
      even if I wanted to do that (which I dont) web apps are always open-source, you always see all the code, so deleting stuff/modifying stuff, eg. deleting some sort of protection, is very easy to do.

  5. Hi Jachym,

    The option I like is to get a premium access to support… Then if someone want to download the Meteotemplate, he can still do it free but if he need assistance, then he need go PREMIUM user to get access to your support and a also to a private forum where all the PREMIUM user will be there to exchange information and also discuss with you on the new feature/block/plugin.

    About the token, the idea will be to give them to premium user first and then when everything go well, then release it for regular user.

    Also, the PREMIUM user will be able to test BETA version of meteotemplate.

    • LOL, thanks for your feedback Sylvain, Im only not sure about this:

      ” give them to premium user first and then when everything go well, then release it for regular user”

      Should it not be the other way around? Let the regular users be the guinea pigs? 😀

  6. One thing about the personal weather web site community that I have never seen in any other discipline is calling these types of projects “templates” and not web applications. Very few people would call WordPress a template, and in that regard MT and weather34 have evolved to almost that same level both in terms of complexity and also ease of use in my opinion.

    As I believe that I have pointed out in the past, there are three big ways to monetize open-source projects:

    1) Offer paid hosting, which is actually a win-win since you have better control over the platform and don’t have to go chasing down version conflicts across a gazillion strange hosting companies. This might actually increase the MT installation count, since I’m sure that there are a significant number of potential users who are scared of the thought of setting up web hosting but *do* know how to punch their credit card number into a web form. 🙂 Since the software is still free for downloading, this should be fine with most data source licenses because each subscriber is paying for a service (hosting/support) and not the software itself.

    2) Offer paid support. RedHat (NASDAQ stock ticker symbol RHAT) is generating revenue by supporting Linus Torvalds’ Linux platform, while still giving their code contributions back to the community. Since the software is still free, data source licensing should likewise not be an issue.

    3) Charge for updates, and we know how everyone has criticized Boris for changing MeteoBridge to this model mid-stream.

    I think that both MT and weather34 have evolved beyond the point where a single programmer can both maintain them and provide user support. Perhaps it is time for both you and Brian to shift yourselves into the role of project managers like Linux Torvalds, and set up some sort of code repository where others can provide enhancements and fixes? Yeah, I know that the only way to do something right is to do it yourself, and you think that it will cause more grief in the long run supporting someone else’s spaghetti code (case in point the MT Steel thingies block/plugin). As I say all the time in my office, delegation is the key to salvation.

    In response to the immediate question, I have no problem paying $20/year for software support (that I really don’t need) just to support the project.

    As always, thank you for providing us with this awesome application…..

    • Hi Arthur,
      thanks for your feedback. With regards to Brian – you probably don´t know about this, but Brian called it a day two days ago, his template is and as he said 100% will not be available anymore and will not be developed…

      1) this is an option, but I would need to have my own server, with much different specs to be able to maintain the load and have some knowledge of servers. I dont have that and it would also hugely increase the costs for me. This is something I thought about previously, but most users also like the fact the data is theirs. That is I think one of the main reasons they use MT instead of WU, WeatherCloud etc. where the data is yours, but not really under your control)

      2) the Pro option would partially do this

      3) licensing problems

      Anyway, thanks for your input

      • Yeah I know the raw deal that Brian found in Australia. I had coincidentally pulled a download from his site just hours before he threw in the towel. I sense that there’s another issue bugging him, as he announced a month or so ago that he was removing all languages but English in September — citing the problems of keeping the layout clean with varying word/label lengths. Anyway, I only lost an hour of install time when he pulled the plug, and can’t fathom what people who were actively using it must be going through.

        1) As a counter-point, let me remind you how much you knew about web coding when you started MT. 🙂 Believe me, setting up and managing web servers (one small part of what I do for a pay check) is much easier than writing PHP. I’ve been running a small web server on the Amazon AWS free tier for a few months now for fun, and there are plenty of tutorials out there to set up a basic Linux server on AWS. It’s not like you personally have never seen Linux before, since you’re using it at home every day.

        FWIW, my Piwigo image hosting web server on AWS (after the Photobucket debacle/extortion) cost me $0.07 USD in July. The credit card processing fee probably exceeded the billed amount!

        • Yes, but as I said, the problem here is that people want to have control. If I do this, it will become just another “data provider”, not “my website”. Thats why I myself didnt want to use WU.

  7. Hi Jachym
    I understand a paid PRO version would not be possible because of license issues, even if I would like that solution.
    What if you introduced a ranking (only known by you, of course) of all users according to their donations? Instead of immediately receiving the requested the doownload token, those at the bottom of the list would have to wait a certain time. The same with your almost immediate email support!

  8. I like the Pro idea. We need to come up with a way to fund MT development. I am very willing to make a set contribution to keep you funded, annually or monthly. I think annually would probably cost you less in fees. Perhaps you can setup a pole to see who might be willing to contribute $25 per year, or whatever amount you feel might work, so you would be able to setup a money and time budget for MT. Pro members together on a private Facebook group seems like a good idea, and might even help with some support issues. Pro users would also have priority support over free users.

    I would proudly display a Pro symbol. You could make it optional on the setup page or those Pro users who don’t want to display it.

  9. Jachym, First let me say that in addition to all of your other talents, you are an excellent writer. But let’s get to the point of today’s challenge. So here are some thoughts to consider. I started using Weather Display and Weather Display Live for at least the pastw 15 years. Brian developed a very comprehensive weather station software that was ahead of it’s time and kept it alive all these years by keeping it current with advancing technology. There was a British chap who has since past on that developed a complementary web hosting program (WDL) based on the capabilities of WD and made it I think one of the first that displayed live weather data. These two were a great partnership. These software programs are still very active today, and WD is still the most versatile and preferred software for personal weather station owners. Today, I believe that MeteoTemplate has the ability to achieve this level of stature in the wether arena. It is presently the most advanced weather hosting program available. This provides a great foundation for building a long term product life. But, it is a high tech software that will continue to advance and continue to require more and more support.

    In my career in telecommunication sales, int the 60’s we only had maybe three serious competitor. Staying ahead of them was much like a chess game of devisiong ways of check-mating them from our customer base. When I retired in 2014 (ok so I am old…really old!) we had hundreds of competitor for various parts of our product line. To keep ahead, we developed a value added strategy. Basically by providing something tangible to our custumers that really did not have a lot of cost to our company and preserved bottom line. Meteotemplate has an inherent value add capability that can be utilized. So, here are my two suggestiions….

    1. The modular structure and multi-language capability of Meteotemplate can provide a value added option and still allows for the voluntary support of most of your users. There are likely many potential Meteo users who do not have the experience with software and website integration who would like to have a Meteo website but could not achieve it on their own. I ams sure some would pay for a ready to publish template. I would assemble 3 basic configurations of Metro that are hosting ready. The first would be the basics, temperature, hunidity, barometer pressure, history and the basic features in the startup menu. The second would include the same basic features plus the addition of metar, sun/moon, solar and uv and maybe add another global feature. The third option would include more global items added to the top menu. These options would best determinedby you. Each option would have a life time license with three levels of pricing. Later on, you provide very controlled options for block and/or plug-in additions that would continue to bring in moderate revenue over time. It would require adding specific instructions for these customer in Meteotemplate WIKI.

    2. If packages became popular, support is going to be more demanding. Much more than you could handle. My thoughts on the subject are these. Forums are a great resource, particullarly if you have a lot of time to sort for your item of interest. Chances are that the users of ready to publish software would struggle to get needed answers. There may be a good solution for this. I have noticed that some forums, in addition to read or post have an option to submit a question. These forums usually have volunteer members who follow the questions and provide writen specific personal responses,usually by email. There are probably users of WX Forum that are as enthusiastic about Meteo as yourself that would want to participate in voluneering such support. This has it’s own reward as over time as their user names and personal icons become very symbolic as being part of the Meteo development team. Some believe it or not develop fans.

    Anyway Jachyn I hope this is something you might want to considerl

    Pat

    • Hi Pat,
      thank you very much for the compliments and thank for all your feedback and interesting background info.
      As I mentioned before, making the actual scripts free is sort of a must given my goals and even legal issues. Also what you suggested would require basically starting from scratch. I would have to rewrite most of the scripts entirely and spend months. If this was to work, I would have to do that at the beginning, not now when I have 800 users with fully working template, and all scripts working differently.
      With regards to hosting – I don´t have a server myself and use external hosting, so unfortunately I cannot provide hosting possibilities.
      With regards to installing the entire thing – I do that… several times a week…

  10. Here is one idea. Just an idea and something that I wanted to do for a very long time. Probably the last “truly missing thing” which could in fact be used for this easily.

    What I could do is simply leave the situation that is now – let anyone send a donation depending on what they think the actual scripts are worth.

    Then have the Pro feature, which would be sort of separate from the scripts, and would include the priority support, customized blocks (if you ask for one), possibility to discuss new things in advance, possibility to place ads on your site and last but not least, I would try implementing a mechanism where each pro user would get a special token, which you would enter somewhere in your template, paired with your URL, which would allow auto block/plugin updates directly from my site. Now, I would first have to test if this would work technically at all, but if yes, then I could also easily control who could use this feature, it would be paired with info I would have about who is and who is not a Pro user.

    • “let anyone send a donation depending on what they think the actual scripts are worth”

      The value of MT is much more than I can give !!!!!

  11. Hi Jachym
    Sorry to hear about your problems. especially health wise, though frankly not surprised if your putting in 6-7hrs a day on MT, this no longer becomes a hobby, You definitely need a steady revenue stream and possibly the basic/Pro approach is the best way to go, and I think the basic should be just that, very basic with no support or maybe a time restricted download of the full version so people can evaluated the features of the full Pro version. an initial purchase fee of say $15 and an annual fee for maintenance/upgrades and support to be decided, would probably reduce your client base but at least it would be genuine interested followers, anyway I’m happy to go with what ever is decided as long a the project continues, but I do seriously think you need to cut back on the time spent on MT.

    • Hi Stewart,
      just one to emphasize one thing again with regards to the health issues. I think you understand this is not something I want to discuss in detail, however, it is the other way around. MT is in this respect helping me to concetnrate on things I enjoy and I do it mostly because some other hobbies might be a problem to do at this point.

  12. Hi Jachym,

    Add me to the list that likes the “PRO” option. I also thought that maybe we should all have some type individual download account but the more I think about that option the more problems I can think of.

    Do I hear MeteoTemplate Platinum Edition? 🙂

    Jay

  13. I would have absolutely no problem paying $20-$25 USD per year. Your product is remarkable and the support is excellent. A Pro version in that price range would be a no-brainer.

  14. Hi Jachym,

    I am a bit worried that you seem to be under a lot of pressure.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I very much appreciate and admire what you have done with MT. I only wish that my weather station was fully operational so that I could finally upgrade to the latest version and explore more of the exciting new features that you have been developing.

    I would be very happy to pay a monthly or annual donation to help you toward the costs you have in running the hosting etc. Would offers of mirroring your files on another site possibly help you? Does your ISP charge you based on download traffic, would offloading some of that traffic help you?

    Where I am a bit more concerned is your admission to us that you spend 6 to 7 hours a day on MT. That is frankly quite alarming to me. I don’t in any way doubt your passion for your template, and you have clearly demonstrated time and time again your willingness to support users, even users like me that ask the same old stupid questions over and over. But this seems too a bit too much, there surely has to be a balance and some “Jachym” time in your life too? I worry that it is very easy for MT users like me to put too many demands on you.

    I respect how proactive you are in fixing bugs, even cosmetic little things, and how creative you are in developing new blocks and plugins, even whole new versions, however I would totally understand if the pace of this had to slow down a bit.

    I would rather see a slow, steady, sustainable future than for it all to become too much for you to manage.

    Kind regards,

    Steve

    • Hi Steve,
      I currently have unlimited bandwidth and webspace plan, so thats not a problem.
      With regards to the time – it is also partly due to my health problems that MT is an ideal thing for me to do in my free time, something I can do at home anytime I want to.

  15. I think something along the lines of a Pro Version with extra support, custom blocks etc. Then a standard version with only minimum blocks like Current block and similar.

    On the present comments on the blocks and plugins page about the downloads stopped indefinitely. You should maybe add to those comments — Read the blog post about “your feedback”

  16. I think a fee to get a download token for new versions of the template might work. Maybe a bigger fee then, but not so often.
    I believe most of us would be happy to pay for this, not trying to get it for free from someone else…..

    • Hi,
      yes, but thats how it was until now. The statement “feel free to test, if you like…. etc.” is on every single download page of every block, plugin, update, main file. And that simply does not work. I would never expect 100% donation rate. Not even 50%, Im not naive. But over the last weeks it got to practically 0% and as much as I try, this cannot continue like this. The two curves (donations/users) go in opposite directions in long term.

  17. Cher Jachym,

    Dans un premier temps je fus particulièrement surpris par votre annonce. Mais récemment j’ai encore parlé avec mon épouse et lui disait que je n”imaginais pas que Meteotemplate puisse continuer à exister de façon totalement bénévole. Comme j’en ai déjà discuté précédemment avec vous je pense que demander une contribution “annuelle” à chaque personne utilisant la version “Pro” est le minimum.

    Si quelqu’un a déjà mis les mains dans du code php se rend vite compte du travail gigantesque que vous avez fourni. Et comme dit le proverbe “Tout travail mérite salaire” alors OUI votre produit vaut vraiment la peine d’être payant, du moins dans sa version “Pro” complète comme déjà suggéré ci-dessus.

    L’idée d’un formum ouvert avec des rubriques précises me semble également une bonne idée et permettrait à chacun d’échanger les expériences et de trouver directement certaines solutions.

    Alors Vive Meteotemplate en espérant que vous aurez encore les moyens de son développement. Un tout grand MERCI.

  18. Hi Jachym,

    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    I have not experienced similar difficulties, but i understand you in some way. I also have hobby which is, little by little, financial and time consuming, and still enjoy in every bit of it.
    As you said, Meteotemplate should stay free to use to anyone – it is your hobby, and you enjoy doing it, and that no money can afford.
    On the other side, users are often unaware of backstage of any project or hobby. You share with us only the results of hard work, enthusiasm, you are giving us piece of yourself, expecting nothing in return. Personally, i like suggestions about fixed amount – it is ok to make users aware of costs and let them decide whether will they financially support it or not. But, statistically speaking, you should see if there is a stable number of users who are willing to donate, and if that number is satisfactory – there will always be those who cannot do that, or don’t want to. If there is just few people willing to save the rest, and they are doing it voluntarily, then why not accept it, somebody has to start so that others can be encouraged.
    Have you thought on spreading your hobby to more than one person, maybe to form a small team – locally or online, and to split work between (and costs if possible), of course all on voluntarily base. This is serious project by now, and with lot amount of work behind, it would be a pity to disband it.
    Keep up the good work, and dont give up your hobby.

    Robert

    • Hi Robert,
      working in team wont work, there are people who help me or helped me in the past, but it is even much easier if just one person is responsible. I also have some rather negative experience with a few people (NOT ALL!) and I would find it difficult to provide all the FTP details etc. for people to seriously work on this. It always comes in sort of a wave, someome gets really excited, but over time, they lose interest and either continue as a regular user, or abandon the template completely.

  19. The best way to do a 2 tier service is to usually include code differences between the free and paid options (like Plex does) . This would require work on your part to set up the infrastructure to do this. Access to premium only features or earlier access to the latest code could be looked at. I also like the option where you get the base product but only a limited number of plugins for free.
    You could do a no (or limited) support/paid support offering (and keep the product entirely free) if support is the main difficulty for you. If it is not then this may not make sense. I can’t think of any products that I use that just has this model.
    The simplest for you would be that everyone MUST pay an annual charge, but keep the amount low (e.g. 2 to 5 euro) with the option to pay more if the users thinks it is worth it
    P.S. A proper forum (or dedicated forum section) would be very helpful in my opinion and would almost certainly reduce support work for you.

    • Hi,
      I see what you mean, but it is sort of too late now. All code was publicly/is publicly available for free, people have it and likewise, there is no way I can limit the number of blocks/plugins people download now.

  20. Should it be possible to bundle the template with Meteobridge or Weather Display (or any other weather pogram that supports the API) and that those licences protect the working of the template?
    You put a lot of work in the API, so they are willing to help (i guess).

    For me a Pro version would work.

  21. Hi…
    For me the best way is to have a standard and pro… Premium licences and perhaps for the standard one s limited data base
    We support you Jachym

  22. Hi Jachym,
    For me the best solution would be the pro or premium version with an annual or monthly fee to access the new blocks and plugins. The amount will have to be determined according to the amount you need and the number of users willing to finance the project, so that you do not have to use your money for development and support.

    This may mean for some like me to be satisfied with a few basic blocks but for you it will certainly be much more comfortable and less stressful.

  23. For me the best solution would be the pro or premium version with an annual or monthly fee to access the new blocks and plugins. The amount will have to be determined according to the amount you need and the number of users willing to finance the project, so that you do not have to use your money for development and support.

    This may mean for some like me to be satisfied with a few basic blocks but for you it will certainly be much more comfortable and less stressful.

  24. I’m also thinking a Pro and Standard version might be the way to go, and not as different code bases but more “Pro Support” and “Standard Support”!
    With Pro guaranteed response in say less than 48 hrs, standard longer?

    What ever you decide works best is OK with me, any option I can think of just add to your administration time and take away from the fun stuff!

    I’ll continue to be provide financial support at least quarterly!

    I agree with Simon that setting up a user group might take some of the load off you, the weewx group on Google Groups comes to mind as an example!

    • Hi,
      yes this is exactly the issue. How much would be necessary… well in fact not much, but that would only be so if a significant proportion of users were willing to do so. If 5-10 people say Pro is ok with them and we say eg. 1USD/month, i.e. 12/year, then Im afraid it wont work. If on the other hand more people said they are ok with it, it would of course be absolutely fine.

  25. Hi Jachym,
    Thanks once again for being so open and honest. I am one of your loyal supporters both financially and otherwise, and would have no problem supporting a Pro version but not sure I would want a badge broadcasting that.
    Have you thought about setting up your own user forum on Meteotemplate? That way users could look for answers there and support one another, and of course you would be able to contribute too, or refer people there if they email you with questions already answered in the forum. This might take the pressure off you to some extent.
    In any even I want MT to continue and will support you in any way I can, financially or otherwise. The non profit solution mentioned above might be worth considering too. I hope you find a solution.
    Best wishes,
    Simon

    • Hi Simon,
      yes I am very much aware of that and I appreciate all your help and support. Unfortunately, just as I mentioned, the people most likely reading this post are not going to be a good representative sample of MT users. That was one of the reasons for me to also disable the downloads, otherwise majority would not even notice there is something in the Blog.
      As I mentioned however, dealing with emails is not a major issue. I have more users, but that does not mean more emails. The number I get is within what I can handle, it is just that it takes some time.

  26. Hello Jachym,

    I’ve often admired your work. It has now become the most important web application for me, and it is amazing how you incorporate new techniques, queries, and so on.
    For this my very great respect. MT is for me the best weather web app.
    My opinion is that a Pro version is the best solution for you. My suggestion would be, in the standard version, for example, I would release 10 blocks and 10 plugins,
    In the Pro version are all blocks and plugins unlocked.
    In addition, a Pro version would include premium support.
    For your program I would be willing to pay something once or monthly. The standard version would of course be free.

    Thanks again for your great work.

    Alex.

    • I think this is a very good suggestion I would pay 12 EU a year for a Pro version (1 euro a mont paid on yearly basis so 12 EU a year) You can consider this as support donation so you don’t conflict with licenses like hoghcharts etc.

      I think you have to setup a kind of administration for giving out an api or something for a domain.

      Keep it up !
      Ron

    • Hi guys,
      thanks for all your inputs. Just a few problems with making the actual code paid:
      1. licenses – this is a problem, i could only do it with very few blocks – either there are libraries used that require a license (graphs etc.) or the actual data is only for non-commercial use (external sources)
      2. protection – one of the major problems all web developers have is that you cannot protect the code. it is not like a desktop software where you compile it and no-one can see the original code. Like this everyone sees the code, it is very easy to copy, re-send to someone else, remove any potential protective mechanisms
      3. in terms of administration it would be relatively complicated to keep track as to what is free, what is not etc.

  27. Hi. I don’t understand your situation because this has never happened to me, but I respect how you are questioning yourself about your project.

    I am against all forms of discrimination between paid and free users, and I would find it quite risible to have a “PRO” or “PREMIUM” badge on my website. I would rather pay not to have such a badge ^^

    Have you considered founding a non-profit association? It might be a solution to receive funds without making MT commercial.

    Might want to look at https://www.patreon.com/ also.

    Anyway, I will continue to financially support your project on a year-to-year basis, as long as I use your template.

    Best, as always,

    • You may also want to use Paypal.me instead of the common Donate button from PayPal, as there are no fees added for non professional / non commercial transferts. Small gain, but still… Paypal can be quite expensive for donations.

        • Good then. Very sad to read that most of the people here are for a paid Pro version of MT. Once again, money is to be the discriminating factor for an excellent quality service. (I know almost nothing of app dev., but being a teacher, I’m used to working long hours for almost no /financial/ retribution). Introducing a paid service will change the whole philosophy of your project.

          Since there seems to be so many people already ready to pay here, setting up a clear call for donation could solve the problem. I have built up a medium community of loyal users of my weather website, and am able to raise more than 400 euros / year in donation. I don’t see how you couldn’t make much more with a proper train of thought for your project.

          But it’s clear you can’t receive funds if you “hate talking about donations” and “remov all the bold red text about donations etc etc”… I understand you don’t want to receive material support for personal reasons, but asking for a financial counterpart when you offer an exclusive and high-quality service is nothing less than justified.

          Best,

          • “Since there seems to be so many people already ready to pay here, setting up a clear call for donation could solve the problem”

            I completely agree with you !!!!!

          • Hi,
            to be quite honest… Im not sure what more I could do. The donation call is on every single download page, it is there quite obvious, in the mean time, not too agressive, which also is something people dont like. I think the way it is there now, is probably an ideal compromise.
            In fact, with 250 users it worked and if I now raised 3 times as much with 750, I would be absolutely happy. In my opinion, what happened is that it now does not seem so amateur and people often dont even know it is being developed by one person, in their free time, with limited resources.
            It is like when you register for Gmail. You dont send email to Google, you just take it as “normal”. There are lots of services free on the internet, which make money elsewhere, so people dont see it as strange that MT is free. They dont know all the details, and that might be the reason, why it is now where it is.
            I think making the donation request even more stand out, would be on the edge of making it overly aggressive.

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