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Community survey results for 2017

The polls are in! Here's how you and the rest of the SilverStripe community responded to our 2017 survey.

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At the end of 2017, we ran our third annual SilverStripe community survey (check the 2016 and 2015 results). It’s a great way for us here in New Zealand to stay on the pulse of community needs, in addition to other channels like our meetups in various locations, GitHub issue trackers, social media and the Slack channel. This survey can also help you make informed decisions in your own context, since we’re publishing the (anonymised) results.

Who you are

Overall, over a hundred of you have responded, with the vast majority in a technical role. An interesting shift in roles has happened since last year: The number of people classifying themselves into a “frontend” role has doubled (from 16% to 29%). While most of you are employed full-time, a third are self employed or freelance (38%).

Geographically speaking, most of you are on either side of the Tasman Sea: 35% in New Zealand and 13% in Australia. Australian respondents have significantly increased since our last survey, which validates our efforts in this region. We’ve had responses from 24 countries (incl. Iran, Honduras and Sudan), fantastic to see such a diversity. US and Canada amount to 7% total, with UK at 13%.

We’ve added some questions this year to determine relative sizes of projects implemented with SilverStripe, and the size of teams working on them. 17% of you work alone, 50% work in a small team (1-3 people). Only a quarter of respondents say that their average projects take more than three months, with every tenth response turning around projects in less than two weeks.

How you rate our Community Tools

GitHub is regarded as the most useful community tool overall (3.7 in a weighted average of 1 to 5). The docs.silverstripe.org and api.silverstripe.org websites follow closely, seen as “very useful” by two thirds of the community, continuing a trend from last years. Chat has become much more useful since we switched from IRC to Slack (from 2.7 to 3.5 in a weighted average of 1 to 5). We’ve no longer asked about the usefulness of the forums since these were switched off late last year. A handful of respondents indicated a preference for more persistence to community-based knowledge than Slack can provide.

Your Feedback

Overall, you’ve given us a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 65, which is up from 52 in 2016. Anything over 50 is widely regarded as an excellent customer satisfaction score in our industry, so we’re quite stoked! Note: This isn’t a randomised survey, so results will always be skewed towards people who bother responding in the first place.

In terms of improvements, the most mentioned phrases were Modules, Documentation, Support, Performance, Ecommerce, Content Blocks. Despite the relatively high usefulness rating of our documentation, improving it (both for newcomers and advanced users) was your number one concern. A handful of responses mentioned a bigger community size as a driver for a higher rating.

Next Steps

Feedback is only valuable if it can influence our priorities and decision making. While we can’t satisfy every respondent, there’s a few common threads that we’re planning to focus on:

  • Forums: We agree that persistent knowledge is important for our community, and want to ensure you have the right tools for that. We’ve got a lot of our bases covered between Slack, GitHub, blogs, docs.silverstripe.org and StackOverflow. There’s still some gaps where knowledge doesn’t have a good home, so we’re putting the challenge back to you: Do you want to create a community-maintained forum?
  • Improve documentation: We’ve put a lot of energy into our upgrading guide and tools for SilverStripe 4, and made docs updates part of our Definition of Done for every pull request merge. Each of the 18 lessons was reviewed and partially rewritten for SilverStripe 4. We’ve also improved Google search results by making better use of the canonical tag and redirections. Documentation work is never done, of course. Did we mention that all docs are open source on GitHub and ready for contributions? ;)
  • Content Blocks: We’re spending months of team effort on content blocks at the moment, which will benefit the wider community in creating a common foundation for this emerging way to manage website content.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to tell us how we’re doing. Feel free to dig through the (anonymised) detailed results. We’re looking forward to working with all of you in 2018!

Do you want to stay updated with changes in the community and stay in the loop? Join the SilverStripe community slack channels! 

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About the author
Ingo Schommer

Ingo joined SilverStripe with its 2.0 release, and has since become an integral member of the development team. He's from Germany, but admits that New Zealand beer is often quite tasty as well.

At SilverStripe, Ingo enjoys coming up with robust solutions for real business needs. He builds modern web applications, making sure they work well in browsers and mobile devices, not just on paper. As a core developer on SilverStripe's open source framework, he facilitates community involvement, and helps architect and implement core functionality. Ingo authored the first book about SilverStripe, and is still keen on keeping the documentation fresh.

Ingo graduated as Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Media Production and has several years experience as a freelance PHP and Flash developer.

Away from the keyboard, Ingo is an avid gardener, debugging water flow and performance optimizing root growth instead of PHP.

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Comments

  • Hi Jason,

    Firstly, thanks for using SilverStripe for so many years!

    Hopefully you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve just released a new forum to support the community:
    https://www.silverstripe.org/blog/open-source-our-new-forum-preview-getting-the-community-on-the-same-page/

    It’s worth addressing why we choose not to build this in SilverStripe ourselves, which is technically feasible.

    As you will be aware, SilverStripe is an open source product so we do rely on community contribution for knowledge sharing and product improvements. SilverStripe Ltd (the commercial company) also funds teams whose core job is to work on the open source product. While we are growing, we are still smaller than the Wordpress community and other CMS projects. This means we make careful and considered decisions about what we do, because we can not do everything.

    We’ve committed to improving the recently released SilverStripe 4 for the community from both from a technical and user perspective. This means owning the product development of our new content API, moving the UI to React, rebuilding the files & images UI, and releasing new supported modules closely tied to the core CMS like content blocks. In the last year we’ve grown our product design team, dedicated to user research and UI design for our products, and much of this work has made its way into SilverStripe 4. Our roadmap is continued to focus on improving the core experience, so that means we must make decisions around what we consider non-core product features, and in this case we determined that while having a forum was beneficial to the community, it was not essential that we built this ourselves.

    Of course, an ideal world, we’d love to support all community tools by building them as showcases of SilverStripe product capabilities. But in practice that directly impacts the other product work we do: responding to bug reports, fixing bugs, helping on Slack, building new features, releasing modules, and more.

    For features that are not in our core roadmap we encourage the community to pool their efforts together to push forward those features. In terms of e-commerce, this is being driven by a community group who is backing the SilverShop (http://silvershop.io/) module, they have discussion streams on Slack to discuss this, and a release compatible with SilverStripe 4 is in development.

    We’ve seen a great uptake from the community for other tools like Slack and Stackoverflow so we’re confident that a community led forum that offers better functionality is a better approach than building this ourselves. As a plus, we’ve chosen another open source software project (Discourse) whose sole focus is forum software.

    We believe a key part of SilverStripe succeeding and taking on larger player like Wordpress is making good decisions about what we build and what we leverage from other projects, our use of Facebook’s GraphQL API and ReactJS are examples of this approach also.

    Thanks,
    Sam

    Posted by Sam Minnée, 02/03/2018 5:28pm (9 months ago)

  • The forums were a failure of commitment from SilverStripe staff in participation, technology and security. Not having a forum that is active, usable and secure is a big red flag for a web tech company - if they can't handle a forum - what else can't they do right... ecommerce, what is the web without ecommerce. They still return the most relevant problem/solution search results from Google, they are always the top result.

    Content management and custom system development is great. But work on your short comings, I've been using SilverStripe since 2010. You've made no ground on forum or ecommerce solutions. The backend of the system is a UI antique, when people used SS 2.0 customers would comment (often) on how user friendly it was. I've never heard a compliment about the SS 3.0 backend user interface.

    SilverStripe, what else can't they do... kind of not a good slogan to have, right. Tired of having to juggle WordPress and SilverStripe, help us shoot WordPress in the face already!!!

    Posted by Jason, 07/02/2018 4:57am (9 months ago)

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