Monday 26th May, 2014

Support and forums updates

Over the past six years the DataTables forums have been a cornerstone of this web-site, and more generally the DataTables project as a whole. At the time of writing this post there are almost 21'000 public threads in the forum and 56'000 comments! That is around 10 threads and 28 comments a day, every day since March 2009 when the forums first opened.

The wealth and depth of knowledge contained in the forums is amazing and I wish to thank everyone who has contributed to them for your thoughts and insights, particularly those of you how have taken the time to answer questions by your follow developers. Not only is the information in the forums helpful for those asking questions and anyone who then finds a question and answer in the future, but also to me as the developer of DataTables as it helps me to shape the future direction of DataTables, focusing on the biggest pain points.

The forums, are fundamental to DataTables success and are very much here to say. However, they take a huge amount of work to maintain and answer as many questions as possible leaving virtually no time to allow development of DataTables and its extensions, so today I am announcing a change in how the forums operate.

What is the change

When you register for forum access, you will now initially only be able to post in the Free Community Support category. This category is provided for the developers using DataTables (including you!) to pose questions to one another and receive answers from other members of the community. Posts in this category will generally not be answered by myself.

To enable full access to the DataTables forums, I'm introducing a new set of supporter packages. A single purchase will enable full access to the forums. Equally, purchase of a maintenance contract, quick support or Editor license will also enable full forum access. This will also be applied retrospectively if you have previously made a purchase.

Becoming a DataTables supporter not only allows you full access to the forums, but it also helps to ensure the project's future and continued development. Developing and maintaining DataTables is my full time job (I am in the fortunate position that it is also my passion!) so contributions to the project are very warmly received. To show my thanks, supporters will be invited to have your name, link and logo (depending on the package purchased) on the supporters page.

If you, or your company, are interested in sponsoring the DataTables project on an ongoing basis, please consider purchasing one of the maintenance contracts. That way we all benefit!

Why the change

Usage of the forum has accelerated over the years and a typical day now sees around 40 new threads and 80 comments. While I would love to be able to answer every single question individually, the amount of time to answer each question can range for five minutes to several hours. Unfortunately that means two things; firstly not every question can be answered, and secondly that it leaves me no time to develop DataTables further, particularly when e-mail and private message support is also considered.

I have a huge number of ideas for future development of DataTables and extensions around it, and I do not wish to see the project stagnate due to my spending all of my time answering free support questions. As such, I have decided to make the changes described above.

I realise that this will disappoint some of you (anyone hoping for free support!), but I believe that it is the best approach for the longer sustainability of the forums. Having said that, this is not fixed in stone and I might run experiments in future to try and optimise this strategy.

Thank you

In summary, please support DataTables by posting answers to questions from your fellow developers in the new Free Community Support forum or purchase a supporter package to help support the project.

Onwards with the development...!