The development story of WooCommerce Assistant

author image Slava Abakumov

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In 2016 (and earlier) Gregory Karpinsky and I were working on the same project and we have started seeing certain areas of site management, that can be optimized. Or better to say – automated. Some things were just eating admin’s time, others would improve the end-user experience. That’s how the idea of Bemailr was born (the name itself was proposed by Gregory). We wanted to automate things by using emails – see it as a Mailchimp or Drip Automation workflows, but built into WordPress, using native hooks and not offloading your data to 3rd party services.

There were several reasons why it took so long to release WooCommerce Assistant:

  • we both had and still have full-time jobs that we can’t neglect or put aside
  • because of that – we worked on weekends or late nights spending time in discussions, code writing, prioritizing things and the like, you know the drill
  • we changed the idea of the plugin during its development – and that required additional changes to be implemented

The minimal working skeleton of the first beta was ready in 4 or 5 months, but after additional discussions, we decided to rewrite certain things to make them work better. And that happened one more time later, again.

When you rewrite half of the huge plugin several times – you actually start losing the initial idea. And in case of Bemailr that was a good thing, surprisingly. Why was it good? We re-evaluated our goals and decided to switch from single-plugin-to-please-them-all to each-plugin-for-certain-area. So we split one huge thing into more manageable pieces.

And this is how the Bemailr Framework was born.

We moved certain code into own repositories, own composer packages, reused some of the ideas behind CMB2 library (which loads only the latest version of itself among all plugins that requires CMB2) and now we were ready to start working on individual plugins, focused on certain areas.

Gregory’s experience in WooCommerce and his extension WooCommerce Multi-Currency allowed us to quickly prototype a WooCommerce Automation plugin (yeah, that was its initial name).

By that time we desperately wanted to release at least something, and half a year ago we pushed harder to finish the plugin and submit it for review using Gregory’s developer account on WooCommerce.com. At the beginning of March, we finally did that.

Who knew that the review process would take 4.5 months before final approval and gaining an ability to publish the extension on the marketplace!

But during this period we were suggested to rename the plugin to WooCommce Assistant (and I think the new name is better – gives more possibilities), we got a valuable UX review, zero requests to change anything in code after a technical review – and now here we are, selling and already getting our new customers!


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