As you might have read, the Joomla SEF extension sh404SEF was almost discontinued some weeks ago. The reason for this was that the developer, Yannick Gaultier, told the community in a blog post he was not able to continue the development of sh404SEF in his spare time.
After a lot of feedback from the Joomla community, he later announced that he'd found a solution for the continuation of the project through a Joomla company.
Late last night, Yannick published a new post, sharing the latest news about the project - and this is good news for all involved!
Anything Digital Steps Up
The company Anything Digital has stepped up and offered to continue the project, with Yannick as the main developer. He will thus be able to develop sh404SEF into what he really wants it to be. The component is deployed in thousands of websites, but still it's only released as a beta version. I guess, and hope, it will be released as a stable release in the near future.
The responsibility for sh404SEF will be shared between Yannick and Anything Digital. Yannick will continue to develop the software and Anything Digital will provide the support and documentation for it. they will also assist Yannick in the work neccessary to maintain and develop sh404SEF. The project has become too large for one man - and Yannick wants to keep the component fully compliant with the GPL.
Regular updates and monitoring of the support forums and documentation will be invaluable to the users of sh404SEF. I consider this one of the primary benefits of Anything Digital taking over the project.
sh404SEF has now turned into a commercial extensions. However, it is still GPL / Open Source. The price for subscription will be $35 per year. You can also buy the component as part of a package from Anything Digital with JCal Pro and Advanced Search for $65 / year. There's also a lifetime subscription option available, for $250. The last package will give you access to sh404SEF, JCal Pro, RSVP and Advanced Search for life.
There has been some negative comment on this decision by some people. In my opinion, they fail to understand the time involved in developing and maintaining an extension of this size and complexity. The alternative to a paid version of sh404SEF would be that the component would have disappeared completely. This would have left thousands of website owners with potential problems in the future and no updates from the developer. $35 is not a high prize for an extension. In my opinion, if you can't afford to pay $35 for one year your website is not important enough to need the added benefit of SEF urls and the other functionality of sh404SEF. There's no such thing as a free lunch ;)
New Version This Week
The best news with all of this is that all of the features on Yannicks wish list is finally making their way into the software. He has a lot of feature requests, improvements and new functions on his list. These will now be included one by one. Not suprisingly, Yannick is very excited about this, as am I and I believe thousands of sh404SEF users all over the globe.
As a sign of the new future for sh404SEF, a new version will be released this week, on September 10th.
I wish Yannick all the best and look forward to seeing the improved sh404SEF and implement it on my sites.