This is a “thinking out loud” reflection on the threads:
It is a thought process I have been going through with regard to my ZP SEO plugin (though it applies more broadly), and I wonder if it strikes a chord with other CP plugin developers.
I’m not a FOSS idealist or advocate. I need to make a living from my work, and at the risk of blowing my own trumpet I know that an advanced version of my SEO plugin would be a capable piece of software, able to match or beat popular plugins like SEOPress and SEO Framework in terms of functionality and ease of use.
I know from years of experience that nobody donates to plugins. So there would have to be a commercial version or add-on with all that entails (EDD installation, payment gateway, payment processor, support ticket management, etc). That’s a big development and maintenance investment.
WordPress 5.8 codebase is a disaster, React is an abomination and I will not work with Gutenberg or Gutenwidgets or whatever they’re calling the latest changes. And understandably no WordPress user will install a plugin that refuses to guarantee compatibility beyond 5.7.
So, I’m left with the ClassicPress userbase, which is currently tiny though may (or may not) grow in future.
But it means income potential is minimal in the short and medium term.
Is it really worth developing and releasing a pro add-on with all the extra functionality (particularly schema / rich snippets, which is complex), and all the work entailed in taking payments and providing support, for maybe 10 sales in a year? The answer is regrettably but clearly no.
What would I gain from developing the advanced functionality anyway and adding it to the free version? Maybe a warm feeling and a few likes, and you can’t pay your bills with either.
The free plugins I’ve already published cover functionality that I needed for my own projects, and are all fairly small and simple. Releasing them for free was a simple way to increase awareness of my services. But ZP SEO Pro would be on a whole different level.
So where do these musings leave us? Well, now that WP 5.8 has been released, I think the chances of an advanced or Pro version of ZP SEO being released are slim to none. I’ll probably continue to maintain the basic free version, because as I said in one of the other threads, I do actually use it myself. But I can’t see a financially viable route from that to a Pro version in the forseeable future.