Subscribe All The Things Now On WooCommerce.com

TL;DR

Almost 4 years after its inception, Subscribe All The Things (SATT) comes of age: The project is now available on WooCommerce.com, under a new name: All Products For WooCommerce Subscriptions (APFS).

The Story

It’s 2015 and Subscriptions v2.0 is almost ready for release, when, one day, an unusual feature request for Product Bundles arrives in my mailbox: A store owner looking for a way to offer subscription boxes is asking if a “Subscription Bundle” product type could be included in a future release.

This feature request struck a chord with me. I had an idea about what it would take to do this right, but there was no way I could pull this off alone. I decided to run it by Brent at Prospress, to see what he thought. As it turned out, Prospress had already logged a fair amount of similar requests. The challenge in them was rooted in the same thing — a strong coupling between:

  • the ability to purchase a product on subscription, and
  • its product type.

It didn’t take us long to agree that the problem we were looking at was well worth taking a shot at. Soon after deciding to look into it, we had a solution, and Subscribe All The Things v1 was born.

For a long time, SATT was only a side-project, labelled as “experimental/beta” as we evaluated the possibility of rolling SATT into a future Subscriptions release. During this time, we actively discouraged store owners and developers from becoming dependent on it: We couldn’t officially support a project with such an unclear future.

As the project matured, it became evident to us that:

  • There is technically no feasible, backwards compatible way to make SATT’s core concepts the new standard for WooCommerce Subscriptions.
  • Subscription-type products are here to stay. Both approaches are needed and always will be.
  • Including both approaches in WC Subscriptions is something we evaluated, but eventually rejected as potentially confusing for new users: “Should I create a Simple Subscription, or add a subscription plan to a Simple product?” Fundamental user decisions like this shouldn’t be hard to make, or to explain.

As new features were added to SATT, its user base kept growing. However, our involvement with it did not follow the same pattern. One the one hand, we knew the project wasn’t going to be rolled into Subscriptions. On the other hand, SATT had unwillingly become a valuable part of the Subscriptions ecosystem. Eventually, we realized that, to help store owners and developers succeed with it, Subscriptions and WooCommerce, we needed to stop treating it as a side-project, and figure out a way to:

  • Maintain and support it on a daily basis.
  • Prioritize new features fairly and effectively.
  • Allocate resources to its development in a data-driven manner.
  • Increase its visibility in the WooCommerce ecosystem.

To make all this possible, we decided that the best way forward for SATT was to:

  1. Assign all development, maintenance and support duties to SomewhereWarm.
  2. Commercialize it.

Today

Today, I am happy to let you all know that SATT has a new home: WooCommerce.com. In this transition, the project got a a new name: All Products For WooCommerce Subscriptions (APFS).

The core functionality and codebase of APFS is identical to that of SATT. APFS simply continues where SATT left off. To make this as clear as possible, APFS launched at version 2.2 — up a notch from the latest minor version of SATT, 2.1.

The new release includes:

  • Cart subscription plan discounts, a feature we had already planned to include in SATT 2.2.
  • A re-designed admin UI.
  • A new on-boarding flow.

What’s Next?

If you are currently using SATT on a production site, please be aware that:

  1. The latest version of SATT is 2.1.5. It has been tested to work with WooCommerce v3.0-3.5 and WooCommerce Subscriptions v2.1-2.5.
  2. To get the latest features and bug fixes, please upgrade to All Products For WooCommerce Subscriptions.

If you decide to upgrade SATT to APFS:

  • De-activate and Delete SATT. It’s okay to delete the plugin — all data will remain intact.
  • Upload, Install and Activate APFS.

The release of All Products For Subscriptions on WooCommerce.com breathes new life into SATT, as it finally brings the project out of its “side-project” limbo:

  • WooCommerce store owners who currently use SATT can count on a constant stream of new features, updates and fixes in the future.
  • WooCommerce developers and store builders can safely use it in their projects, knowing that the functionality is here to stay.

As you may have noticed, the SATT repository has been transferred to the SomewhereWarm organization on GitHub, and has been archived to indicate that SATT is no longer maintained.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big Thank You to all SATT contributors who helped move the project forward. If you have contributed code, issues, or ideas to SATT, please follow APFS at its new home and help us make it better. To get access to the APFS repository, please send a request to us at gh [at] somewherewarm.gr.

Got questions, or thoughts you’d like to share? Go ahead!

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