ExtDN, also known as the Magento Extension Developer Network, is a peer group comprised of Magento extension builders. Members of the group are established, experienced Magento experts. We share the common goals of code quality, code compatibility, customer service standards, and fighting code theft and plagiarism.
How I Heard About ExtDN
In November 2018, I attended the Meet Magento NYC conference. On the agenda for MM18NYC was a session about best practices. At my full-time job, I spend alot of time and effort trying to make sure that all of my developers are aware of and follow best practices. This session appealed to me. The main speaker for the session was Jisse Rietsma. The talk he gave was very good and it aligned quite well with what I preach at work. It was interesting and also reaffirming. It also turned out the Jisse was one of the board members at ExtDN.
After the session was over and we went on break, I approached Jisse to chat about best practices and also to let him know I enjoyed the talk. As we chatted, he started telling me about ExtDN. At the time, it sounded vaguely familiar. I think I might have seen the name or the logo a couple of times in my online travels. A few weeks later, I submitted an application to join the group. A few weeks after that, I was accepted.
Why I Joined ExtDN
There are many reasons to join a group of experts, such as ExtDN. Extension builders that would normally compete with each other, instead, form a well-rounded sphere of knowledge and technical wisdom. As I had come to find out, those who would be my competitors, have instead become my allies.
I was accepted into ExtDN last December. Since then, it has become clear to me that all members support each other. We’re a friendly group that wants to see all of our members be successful. For years, as a Magento extension developer, I was on my own and without a support system. I never really had anyone to guide me or provide an alternative point of view.
As a Magento Certified Professional Developer PLUS, I have extensive knowledge and expertise of the Magento platform. That makes support a two-way street. I enjoy helping others find the best way to accomplish their goals. I also enjoy the privilege of having others to speak with about my goals. As a member of the Magento Extension Developer Network, I am part of a mutually beneficial relationship.
In my book, ethical standards are a top priority. As Magento developers, we all go through great effort trying to build the next great piece of functionality. Oftentimes, we spend weeks and months on end, writing code, writing unit tests, and building our modules. On the occasion that someone plagiarizes, or better-said steals, our code, it is a tremendous setback. All ExtDN members are required to adhere to the highest of ethical standards.
My Code Was Stolen
Honesty, trust, and ethical behavior are especially important to me. For several years, someone that I thought was a friend, was selling my code through his website in exchange for a commission. Over the years, I provided countless hours of free help to this person. I was happy to do it, I wanted to see him succeed.
I always had a feeling this “friend” was a bit of a snake. However, that was only my instinct talking. He never really said or did anything to validate that feeling. So, I moved it to the back of my mind. I never forgot what my instinct told me. I just didn’t let it interfere with the relationship.
When I finally decided to branch out on my own, friendy-mcfrienderson started to show his true colors. We always had an agreement, in writing, that my extensions remain 100% my property and if I were ever to go out on my own, he would release them back to me. Since he submitted my extensions under his name to the Magento Marketplace, I needed him to send them an agreement to release my extensions to me so that I could sell them with my own account. He released all but my two most popular. He had no right or reason to keep them.
The misdeeds get even worse. Aside from stealing right in front of my my face, he removed all of my other extensions from the Magento marketplace and his website. After some time had passed, he must’ve thought I wasn’t paying attention anymore. He re-listed ALL of my extensions on his website and continues to profit from them. In fact, it seems as though he never truly pulled the extensions off of his website. He had just made it so the extensions weren’t visible directly in the catalog. These actions validated my instincts.
This brand of pure and blatant thievery is what I don’t need in my life. With ExtDN, I can share code and ideas, without this worry. I have full confidence and trust in the other members of the group.
Coding standards are a big part of why I joined ExtDN. When I had met Jisse and he had first told me about ExtDN, we spoke a bit about code quality. He had explained to me that part of Extension Developer Network’s mission was to set the standard. As I am quite familiar with many of the extensions and developers out there, this appealed to me very much. One thing that is very commonplace in the Magento market is extensions that don’t follow any standard at all. This lack of quality code is usually indicative of an unskilled developer; the type that only cares about making quick money; the type that has no regard for the customer.
Many extensions out there which are written in such a way that will work right now, but only right now. They will break at first whiff of a platform upgrade. Throw-away code, if you will. When it comes to platform upgrades, these kinds of extensions force a merchant to make a choice: abandon the extension or pay for expensive development hours. That is not only unfair to the merchant but it also brings a dark cloud over Magento module builders as a whole. I personally believe that building a quality product and providing good support will ensure the success and reputation of a developer both now and in the future. This belief aligns with the mission of ExtDN.
Expertise was another major motivator to join ExtDN. I consider myself an expert on the Magento e-commerce platform. However, I never assume to know it all and I am not too proud to ask others for help. To be part of a group that consists of Magento Masters and some of the most successful module builders of all time is priceless. I find myself in a position to lend my expertise to others while learning from them at the same time.
There are many reasons why a seasoned Magento extension creator would join the Extension Developer Network. For me, the choice was simple: I want to be part of setting the standards of code quality.