ZenDesk or Desk.com?

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Michael De Wildt  -  
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The answer is: Neither!

Woah! I know that is a pretty outrageous statement, but in my opinion, it’s true. I have tried them both. I started with Desk.com, went to ZenDesk and now I am back on Desk.com and, well, it is overkill for what I need to help me support the users of WordPress Backup to Dropbox.

Wait what? They are the best in the business!

Yes, they are, for medium to large teams. Companies that have an in house support team that can work together and get around the inefficiencies of the, very similar, interfaces. However, for one or two person teams, who find email a little too much to handle, the step to one of these platforms is a big undertaking that just isn’t worth it.

Both platforms and very opinionated in the way you should handle your support, and, I reckon, these opinions have been shaped by the larger companies that have used their products for many years. So, in order to cut down on all the bells and whistles that are included by default you need a PhD in help desk software!

In my experience, users do not want to sign up to a software platform to get an answer to their question when a simple email will suffice. If this is the case, why is it so hard to strip down each of these systems to an email only based interface for the user? And, I am taking good ‘ol fashioned, plain text emails!

Instead you get an auto response to say:  “Hey mate, thanks for your email! Sorry, but we can’t help you out until you jump through a few hoops and sign up! :-)”. After a fair bit of fiddling, with Desk.com I managed to turn this feature off.

This is the reason I left ZenDesk and went back to Desk.com, I could not for the life of me find out how to strip it down to just email support.

What about open source?

There has not been a modern open source ticket project in recent years. The best I can find is Apache Bloodhound (that is a fork of Trac) or BugZilla. Both of these are full blown project management suites  that is really for bugs and super large teams,  rather than just managing email and forum support of a plugin  with a very small team.

Like ZenDesk and Desk.com they are very opinionated and way too complicated, not to mention you have to set them up and maintain them youself. For a plugin or theme that is a side project yielding little revenue, it’s not even worth the bother!

So, what do plugin and theme developers do?

Firstly, if you looking for help with your support, get in contact with me and I can help you out.

If you’re not quite at the stage of outsourcing so you can focus on product development there is always a combination of Email and a tool like  Text Expander that can create an awesome, very cheap, support workflow for one person.

If you really need to go for a support tool I would try and find something simpler. Failing that,  go for either of the two, they are pretty much the same.

I hope toe trial a couple more support tools soon to see if Desk.com can be replaced. So watch this space for updates or rants on what I find.



Be a good WordPress citizen and merge

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Michael De Wildt  -  
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Today I was debugging a very obscure issue for a WordPress Backup to Dropbox user where, for some reason, the WP-Cron tasks my plugin needs where being removed.

After a fair bit of too and throw I managed to work out that the culprit was another plugin!

I am not going to name and shame but the developer was not a good WordPress citizen! They neglected to merge their cron tasks with what had already been defined by other plugins.

There is a lesson to be learnt here! Trust no other plugin!

Plugin developers please, when adding things like cron schedules. Be a good WordPress citizen and merge!

For example:

public function cron_schedules( $schedules ) {
    $new_schedules = array(
      'half_hour'   => array(
        'interval' => 1800,
        'display'  => 'Half hour',
      'two_minutes' => array(
        'interval' => 180,
        'display'  => 'Two minutes',
    return array_merge( $schedules, $new_schedules );

Ahh, WordPress… you keep me on my toes!

Introducing Extendy and WPB2D 1.6.1

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Michael De Wildt  -  
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What is Extendy?

I am excited to introduce a new and improved payment and installation gateway for WordPress Backup to Dropbox that I have named Extendy. It is pretty much the same system that I have been using for just over a year to cover the costs of developing WPB2D.

I have spent some time making it more robust and open for other developers to use if they get to a point where supporting their plugin is not viable any more. So if you know any developers in this situation send them my way!

What does this mean for WPB2D users?

Nothing really! WPB2D users will still get the same awesome open source plugin that you are used to!

However, If you purchased you extension over a year ago you will need to renew it in order to keep receiving updates to premium extensions. This was always the case from the start but it is only now that I have added a nice renew user experience. Fortunately, you can now purchase both extensions in a bundle with a single payment, saving you time and a little bit of money.

If you are a developer with a multi site plan I have migrated all your sites over to the platform so there should be no problems. However, you will need to create a new password for Extendy so you should receive a welcome email asking you to do so.

As always please contact me at support@wpb2d.com if you have any problems or feedback.

Whats changed in 1.6.1?

Other then a nice new user interface for premium extensions I have fixed the following bugs:

  • Fixed an issue where get_home_path returns ‘/’ that can cause the plugin the attempt to backup root. If ‘/’ is returned ABSPATH is used instead.
  • Improved security of DB dumps, Zip archives and the backup log. A better sha1 secret is now appended to them all and removed before upload to Dropbox.
  • Update cURL CA Certs to the latest version from Mozilla


Whats next?

Now that I have Extendy out I can focus on fixing some of the issues that have been causing a few users grief over the past couple of weeks. These include the “99% problem” and some issues around WP-Cron and low traffic sites.

Oh, and I hope to add restore plugin to the repo too! Phew… there is a lot to get done!

Thanks everyone for their support!