Ever since the release of OpenX Ad Server v2.8 in April 2009, developers have been able to make third party plugins to enhance the functionality of the software. The concept is simple, but we are not seeing a flow of plugins yet. We intend to break through that standstill by publishing free plugins that demonstrate the concept, and by developing plugins for paying customers. We also want to provide a platform for developers to promote their plugins (both free and commercial) by opening this website to them. In short, we want to kick start the OpenX Source plugin ecosystem.

It seems simple enough

The idea is simple: a developer can create a small piece of software called a plugin, that can be installed inside an existing installation of OpenX Source. Doing so adds new features to the core software, without the need to make any changes to the original program or software. Plugins can even have their own tables to store and retrieve data in the OpenX database. And when the core system is upgraded to a new version, the plugin will move along with it.

It just isn’t happening

An elegant concept, which has been very successful in other open source projects, like WordPress and SugarCRM, to name just two. So why haven’t we seen a constant flow of OpenX Source plugins yet?

There is some documentation about developing plugins for OpenX Source, but that’s mostly a list of ideas for plugins, and some links to very early prototypes. These are mostly about making it easier to integrate ads served by OpenX Source into other applications like blogging software. A plugin to support in-video and video overlay advertising has been announced several times but hasn’t been released yet.

It may be part of the problem that the developers at OpenX Source haven’t been promoting the plugin concept as much as they could have, except for a blog post announcing the plugin framework in May 2009, and another one in April 2009. Developers are not always aware that they can use it, and users are not always aware that they can extend their system by having a plugin developed. And it does take a little money, time and energy to develop a plugin, which can be hard if there is no outlook for a return on that investment.

Kick starting the plugin ecosystem

The team at AdServerPlugins.com wants to promote the development of new plugins for OpenX Source , by releasing plugins that demonstrate the capabilities of the OpenX Source plugin framework. We will develop free plugins, but we are also available for projects by paying customers to develop bespoke plugins. But we also want to offer the platform of our website www.adserverplugins.com to others, enabling them to promote and distribute their plugins.

In short, we would like to break through the chicken-and-egg situation of customers waiting for developers and developers waiting for customers. We would like to see the emergence of an ecosystem of providers and users of OpenX Source plugins.

Let us know what you think

We would love to hear what you think about this plan. Please contact us or post your comments below. Feel free to tell us about your ideas for plugins (either as a developer or a user).