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Things to Consider Before Releasing Something

Releasing something to the community? Good for you, and good for the community! Seriously.

However, there are some things that people who release themes, scripts, code snippets, and whatnot really need to learn. I’m not whining here, it’s great that you’re taking the time to share with everybody, but you’ll see that it’s a lot more appreciated if you do it properly, and you won’t get so many stupid questions.

The Release Checklist

Please make sure that you’ve got these points covered, before tooting the horn and releasing your work of brilliance:

  • Zipped up and ready to go? Not until you’ve uploaded it to your server/host, and then downloaded it and tested it. Too many scripts and themes have lost something in the upload, or maybe it never ended up in the zip in the first place.
  • Always include a readme with instructions! Go through the install phase, and tell me how to use your project, and what I can do with it.
  • Please make sure that links to your site, licenses, and things like that are available in the package.
  • Are you offering support on your project? How? When? Where? If you know you won’t let me know, I won’t begrudge you, but if you tell me that you’ll fix things at a day’s notice, and it’s been three months since the release, then I won’t be happy.
  • Whether you offer support or not, where should I go to find more help? This is probably a forum, a blog post, or something similar.
  • Where will new versions be released? In blog posts on your blog (then I might want to subscribe to it), or on a dedicated page? The latter is preferred since it can get pretty messy otherwise, especially if I found your nifty little offering via a search engine.
  • How do I upgrade? I need to know this, even if it’s just to overwrite the old version of your script.

Again, I’m not whining here, I think it’s great that there are people offering their hard work for free. Open source rocks, it really does.

However, the less I, as a user, will need to bother you, as a developer or designer, the better for both of us, right? Right. So take a moment to think about the things above, and we’ll be fine.

Carry on with your brilliance!


  1. By robojiannis posted on December 17, 2007 at 11:41 am
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    I’m the visual type. I like screenshots. A picture equals a thousand words!

  2. By drmike posted on December 17, 2007 at 2:25 pm
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    README’s don’t help though when folks don’t read them. *sigh*

    I think you may want to consider in the “offering support” line up there is limited the options of support. Point folks to one place and one place only so that folks won’t get confused or you’ll miss support requests.

  3. By Dan Schulz posted on December 17, 2007 at 10:57 pm
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    TDH, I have to agree with everything you said here, but I’m also going to add something as well. Give the project to a few people you trust (not just trust as in “I know they won’t run off with it and claim all my work as their own”, but also “I know this person will give an honest, unbiased review, tell me what I need to fix, what can be improved, what can be taken out, and so on…”) and let them abuse it as best they can to find any bugs or other problems you may not have thought of before you release it to the wild.

  4. By TDH posted on December 18, 2007 at 12:33 pm
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    Great input, I agree guys.

  5. By Ehab posted on December 26, 2007 at 12:36 pm
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    Support, support, support – good and bad. For me, making a product is easier, when it comes to compare with providing support for that product.

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