Soliloquy v2 is Underway – Here’s What to Expect
Check it out – development on Soliloquy v2 is underway (along with another super awesome product). The low-down is below.
I started building Soliloquy back in October 2011 as a solution to a longstanding issue: I couldn’t find a slider plugin that was easy to use and was fast to load/performance aware. With those two goals in mind, I spent 6 months building and refining Soliloquy. In April of 2012, Soliloquy was launched into the world, and the rest, they say, is history.
Fast-forward to today.
I have learned and gathered a vast amount of information on how people use sliders, what people expectt when using them, and how to run the admin side of selling a plugin. Over two years ago, I had none of that knowledge – I was just venturing out and hoping that it would be successful. Although the first 4 or 5 months were less than stellar (I maybe made $4k, maybe) – things picked up very quickly from there. In the past year, Soliloquy has seen incredible growth and continues to grow.
So where is Soliloquy headed? Armed with the knowledge I wish I had two years ago, things are going to change dramatically for Soliloquy, but in a very good and subtle way.
Performance is Still First
Don’t worry – I’m still a performance nut. I hate clutter and cruft just as much as the next guy, so performance is still at the top of my list when building out the next major version of Soliloquy. Performance will not be sacrificed at all – in fact, it will improve dramatically on all fronts in the next version. Layered caching for every aspect of the plugin, from admin to display, will be implemented to ensure you are getting the best performance possible given your hosting environment and setup. If you take advantage of any sort of special PHP caching like APC or Memcached, you are going to be ecstatic with all of the performance improvements around queries for Soliloquy. Beyond this, I have improved further upon my unique dynamic asynchronous ajax preloading technique for loading images into the DOM (lookout Unveil, I’m coming after you next with a jQuery plugin to show you who’s boss). All in all, performance is going to rock even more with the next version.
Usability and Flexibility Get Vast Improvements
I’ve learned a ton about how people use the slider, expect the slider to work and how they want to be able to manipulate that data. The entire data structure for Soliloquy v2 will be changed in order to gain maximum flexibility, usability and portability. In its current state, Soliloquy uses WordPress attachments to handle slides which limits greatly the ability to be flexible with sliders, slides and slider data. In Soliloquy v2, all data will be moved to metadata, including slide associations, in order to give you the most flexibility from your sliders. Practically, this means using the same image for potentially hundreds of different sliders while having unique metadata for each slider instance. This means you can create dependent and independent/global sliders – sliders right inside of a post/page or global sliders that can be used anywhere at anytime. But hey, since data portability is easy with Soliloquy v2, if you want to use a slider created for a portfolio item 3 months ago in a widget on a completely unrelated page, you can do that too. You are no longer limited by an inferior data structure – Soliloquy v2 opens you up to endless possibilities for flexibility and portability.
Along with portability, import/export features are super easy now. In the current state, it is almost impossible to build a good import/export feature for Soliloquy because the data structure is so limiting. With v2, it will be available from the onset, both on independent and global scales. Easily move slider data from one space to another.
And one last sweet data feature – data defaults. There are now systems in place to add in reliable defaults for every setting imaginable, including the meta for individual sliders. This will greatly improve your workflow as you can simply set defaults once, and all new sliders will conform to any defaults you set. Easy, right?
Usability will also be improved dramatically in Soliloquy v2. Slides are automatically entered into a “pending” state when uploaded and will not be visible to the public until you actually update/publish the slider. Pending slides will still be visible via native previewing, though, so you can reliably test without upsetting your live environment.
Configuration UI is simplified in Soliloquy v2, and extending UI is easy with new API methods. Adding new slider themes is now a piece of cake (oh yeah, and you can default to specific themes, too!). The API around much of the slider system has now been simplified. There is even a new slider engine that allows you do to so much more than ever before. You can set custom slider titles and slug for internal use around the admin. You can deeplink slides. You can easily add custom CSS right inside the slider without having to touch a theme file.
Your Workflow – Simplified
That’s really the goal of Soliloquy v2 – to drastically simplify your workflow. It is made around making your life easier doing whatever you do – running an ecommerce site, doing occasional maintenance for a community organization, or building websites for a living. You can bet there will be nothing like Soliloquy v2 when it arrives, and if you don’t already own Soliloquy, you will definitely want it when it is released.
When Can I Get My Hands on Soliloquy v2?
Good question. I will be ready to take on some beta testers in January. Expect it to be launched sometime in February, complete with Addons and all other sorts of goodies to make your life that much easier.
Anything Else I Should Know?
Yes. There will be a pricing shift with Soliloquy v2 to reflect the updates (current customers – you don’t need to worry). Prices will increase once Soliloquy v2 is launched. Support for Soliloquy 1.x will continue for 30 days after the launch of v2, but after that, all support efforts will be focused on Soliloquy v2 (trust me, you will want to use v2 as soon as you can!).
For those of you thinking about purchasing Soliloquy today, now is the time to do it to lock in your current price before it increases. Once it increases, there’s no going back! 🙂
That’s about all I can think of – if you have any other questions, feel free to let me know. I’m excited to be on this journey with you – onward good fellows!