The Dangers of Mautic 3
Or what Mautic 3 could mean for the rest of us…
Mautic 3 is going to be wonderful, I have no doubt about it. The core team and the developers both from Mautic Inc and the community are simply awesome, the new paradigm proposed for Mautic 3 is wonderful and the technical possibilities are on par with the latest developments from Google. The conversation about how we are supposed to build Mautic 3 is happening right now in the #core channel of Mautic’s Slack. If you haven’t paid a visit yet, this is a great moment to do so.
But there is a hidden danger lurking behind the creation of Mautic 3 and how it’s being designed at Mautic Inc, the current vision could have it’s dangers… to the community.
You see, Mautic has always been and is still mainly developed by the Mautic company, Mautic Inc. their developers account for over 70% of all the code made to date. Yet despite of that, and despite all the help they get from the community, Mautic still has plenty of bugs, some of its parts don’t yet have full documentation but instead some simplistic explanation of the features and other parts simply don’t work well when you increase the load or change the environment.
And this is for the core functionalities, If we move into plugin territory, it gets much, much worse, to the point where there barely is any official documentation at all and the best source for useful information is usually 3rd party websites. I’m not talking about rare plugins no one uses, I’m talking about SalesForce, SugarCRM, Twilio, Email service providers such as Amazon SES, Sendgrid, Integration with Facebook, Twitter and so on…
I mean C’mon, this is supposed to be a top-notch Marketing Automation APP of the 21st Century and we can barely interact with social media, this is the era of big data, but Mautic’s reporting capabilities are, well, they aren’t…
Now, what’s being proposed by Mautic Inc through the founder of Mautic, David Hurley, is to develop Mautic 3 in less than 9 months. This otherwise laudable objective would mean immediate and uttermost freeze of the current version, Mautic 2.x, the main reason being there’s no human way of building Mautic 3 in 9 months or less without committing the entire workforce of developers, both from Mautic Inc and the community to such a titanic endeavor.
So the question is, are you, as a Mautic user of the current Mautic 2.x version, willing to sacrifice the maintenance and improvement of the current mautic code base for 9 months? Are you willing to continue suffering from barely tested code that works until it doesn’t? Are you OK with 9 more months of scarce documentation and having to ask on slack how every single thing works in Mautic? Cause yes, the new paradigm is wonderful, the newly proposed stacks are cutting edge, but the developers we have, have little experience working with these, if any.
You see it’s a very easy decision for Mautic Inc, I get it, I understand their point of view, they don’t have to deal with the bugs as much as we do, the lack of documentation is none of their problems; for them Mautic 3 is clearly the only way forward that makes sense, but for the rest of us, having a trustable, strong, stable and well documented version of Mautic that just works is much more important than having a better and improved “headless and API first” version of exactly the same thing we have right now. The newly proposed paradigm deals with the underlying infrastructure but leaves the problems we all face every day untouched, for the time being.
This means 9 months to end exactly in the same place we are now, cause Mautic 3 will not come without bugs of its own and a loud lack of documentation, but it gets worst…
What if… What if Mautic doesn’t take just 9 months, but it takes 12, 16 or even 18 (which is my forecast), what if after that, it takes 6,9 or 12 months more to smash all the new bugs (or more, like it did with the previous versions), what if once the new core of Mautic 3 is developed and the bugs are all smashed the development of new plugins takes 3,6 or 9 extra months…
It took over 3 years to get to the point where we are now, tell me, what makes Mautic 3 an easier to achieve venture than what Mautic 2 has been?
We have to look at the big picture and consider which are the real benefits that Mautic 3, as it’s being defined right now, brings to the table for the community. Cause right now there aren’t many really. Do you really need a faster and headless API system? Do you need a more modern framework with ORM? Probably not, but even if you do… Is 2 years of no improvements a price you are willing to pay for it? Yes, Mautic 3 is indeed a wonderful dream, but do we really need to have it “right now”?
Mautic 3, as it’s being currently proposed, will freeze maintenance and any possible improvements to the current version and leave all of us just as (fucked up as) we are right now, with plenty of bugs, no documentation and no new features for AT LEAST 2 years, mark my words! 2 years.
UNLESS! Unless we can plan for improvements that allow the parallel growth of both, the current Mautic codebase AND (not or) the new Mautic 3 codebase. No, there’s no need to burn one’s bridges, there’s no need for abandoning Mautic 2.x. Or is it? Think! In fact, there is no reason why we couldn’t improve the existing codebase where viable and replace the parts that make no sense keeping, hence steadily improving Mautic 2.x while moving towards the better frameworks of the future, towards Mautic 3.
Mautic is not just code!, Mautic is code, support, documentation and most of all, community; and I’m deeply afraid that if we focus too much on the code part the rest will suffer greatly.
Yes, we can! We can Improve Mautic 2 until it becomes so good we can finally call it Mautic 3! Not just in the code aspect, but as a whole. Cause yes, we need to update the underlying framework, we really don’t want Mautic to become obsolete. But just not that fast, just not at any cost, the cost of all we have already achieved for Mautic 2.x, and definitely not at the cost of the community.
I believe that if we put in place the necessary structure, this can be achieved, we can achieve Mautic 3 by constantly and integrally improving Mautic 2.
Please Mautic Inc, don’t burn bridges but build new ones instead.
UPDATE: If you agree incrementally building up Mautic 3 from the current version is a good idea, John Linhart’s article My Mautic 3 Wishlist will give you a more technical view of how this could be achieved. I subscribe to most of his views and ideas and that’s why I recommend you to read his insightful technical view of how to solve this problem.