WooCommerce Review: A new e-commerce plugin to watch

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I have used a range of platforms during my last five years in the e-commerce industry. From initial setup and product selection to writing product specs and content for the web, I’ve nearly done it all. And in my time I’ve always been a big believer in using e-commerce platforms for e-commerce and blogging platforms for blogging.

Of course WordPress is an incredibly powerful platform in its own right, with even more on the way with WordPress 3.3 on the horizon. E-commerce is still a growing field within the WordPress community, though, and the question remains: is WordPress really a smart way to manage online shops?

WooThemes think it is, and earlier this week officially released WooCommerce, their free e-commerce plugin for WordPress. WooCommerce is a fork of Jigoshop, which has caused a bit of controversy in the community.

Irrespective of that issue, right now let’s just focus on what WooCommerce has to offer.

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WooCommerce launches as a free plugin, new e-commerce monthly fee on the way

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WooThemes has launched WooCommerce, a free e-commerce plugin along with a handful of paid themes and extensions. WooCommerce has been the joint effort of Mike Jolley and Jay Koster of the newly launched WooLabs, which started up after WooThemes announced they would be forking Jigoshop into WooCommerce a month ago.

WooCommerce itself can be used on its own, though WooThemes has created themes specifically for use with their e-commerce plugin. The launch introduces Wootique, a free theme designed especially for user with the WooCommerce plugin, as well five other paid e-commerce themes. Nine new e-commerce extensions are also available for purchase, ranging from $15 for Sale Flash Pro integration to $50 for PayPal Pro gateway integration.

The launch of WooCommerce has brought with news of further membership options at WooThemes. Of the themes and extensions released today, three of the themes and all of the e-commerce extensions must be purchased on their own, with a WooThemes membership or without one. According to the announcement WooThemes has plans to offer an additional monthly fee to gain access to their full catalog of commerce products, which seemed to bother some of their members in comments on that post.

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WPCandy Podcast 24: I am Crazy Draft Man edition

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I’m happy to be publishing episode 24 of the WPCandy Podcast. Brian Krogsgard joined me for the recording, as usual. We discuss the latest WordPress news and our thoughts on what’s been going on. Oh, and apologies for the poor audio quality on my end; my dog ate my mic’s recording and it’s the best I could do.

Jump straight into the podcast audio here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Link-wise, this week we covered:

Brian’s pick this week the WPAlchemy metabox class. My pick was Drafts Dropdown, a plugin I’ve started using recently.

Subscribe to the show on iTunes, or directly to the RSS feed. As always you can send any emails you would like to have included on the show to [email protected]. Download links are after the jump.

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Jigoshop team and WordPress community members share thoughts on forking

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Last week WooThemes announced the hiring of Mike Jolley and Jay Koster, as well as the forking of Jigoshop e-commerce plugin into the soon-to-be-released WooCommerce. Jolley and Foster previously worked for Jigowatt, a WordPress and Magento development shop, spending the last year working on the core of Jigoshop.

The news brought a number of different reactions from the community, in comments here and on WooThemes’ own announcement post. To clarify their own stance on the situation and clear up confusion the Jigoshop team posted about the future of Jigoshop and their thoughts on what is happening.

The short of it: business as usual for Jigoshop, and they are confident in the team they have.

The long of it gets more complicated. It seems that Jigowatt views the forking of Jigowatt as “needless” and “sad”, and that the forking decision only came after an unsuccessful bid for purchasing their project that “grossly undervalued” their work.

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WooThemes forks Jigoshop into WooCommerce, launches WooLabs

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Adii Pienaar announced earlier this afternoon that WooThemes has hired Mike Jolley and Jay Koster, and will be forking the Jigoshop e-commerce plugin (which we’ve covered) to become WooCommerce, their long awaited e-commerce offering.

WooThemes worked in collaboration with Jolley and Koster in the past to release FaultPress and SupportPress, two themes designed for tracking bugs and support tickets. Jolley and Koster will now head up a new division within WooThemes called WooLabs, where new services and products will be dreamed up. As Pienaar described:

Jay & Mike will head up this team and they will be contributing some of their agility in rolling out things on a more regular basis, whilst the rest of the WooTeam continues to design, develop & support new themes. They will also continue their development of some new application / niche themes and the next theme (only Pipeline for now) is already in the works.

Miniraffe will be one of the first WooLabs projects, as WooThemes has acquired it and will use it to release plugins in the future. Miniraffe was teased not long ago by Pienaar, and we previewed it before it launched.

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WooThemes is planning a video, made by their users, to celebrate 100 public themes

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Smile for the camera and say Woo. Or at least say something nice, preferably. WooThemes is looking to collect videos submitted by their customers for a special video to commemorate their 100th public theme. Each submitted video should be around eight seconds long, and should feature you saying hello, waving, and possibly even including something specific to where you live.

More details are included in their announcement video just after the jump. It’s chock full of subliminal programming messaging, so be on the look out for that too.

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