I posted this on the wowinterface forums just now, and figured some of you folks over here would like to read it, too. It's long - sorry about that. :p I think I have all of the information right in there, though.
edit: this was in response to a comment about users no longer being welcome here, and how it's a developer community now.
Well, wowace started as a developer community for addon authors and Ace devs to have a place to discuss the framework. It was forums and an svn repo only (maybe the wiki?). Then they added the files page so that the authors/devs and their alpha/beta testers could have an easier way of downloading the few files on the svn.
Word got out to other authors that the ace forums were a good place to get help with their code, and if they wanted to use the framework, they could put their files on the svn, too. So, more addons were on the files page, and more authors were using the forums. Release versions of the addons were supposed to be pushed to release sites (like here or Curse) - wowace was just a developer location, and what was on the files page were alpha/beta versions of mods.
Then word got out that there were a few really cool addons on that files page for download. Users started using the files page to download mods. When they had problems with them (which they did, because they weren't release versions), they went to the wowace forums to ask for support. The developer forums now had to support mods, too. More people found wowace, more addons were added to the svn, more users came looking for new mods. But it was still fairly well understood that these were alpha/beta quality addons, and the users expected bugs, and they helped beta test, debug, put in new features, etc.
To aid people with beta-testing these *non-release* versions of their addons/libraries, WAU was created to help them update to the latest versions easier. Everything snowballed from there. Suddenly, users were in love with the one-click updater, with absolutely no regard for the quality of addons on the other side or the cost of the bandwidth to funnel their new obsession with updates to them. Users begged authors to put mods on wowace just so that it could be updated at the click of a button, and more authors flocked there because of the *developer* support community and how people could commit to others' projects for bug fixes, translations, etc.
WoWAce could no longer survive on the funds it had. Kaelten was forced often to pay bandwidth costs out of his own pocket. WoWInterface hosted Ace for over two years, with not a single ad on the site. Eventually Kaelten took Ace off WoWInterface's servers. When Kaelten asked for donations hardly anyone donated, so he stopped asking. When ads were put in WAU to help fund some users' crack habit of updating, there was a revolt. By that time, Kaelten had taken up a position with Curse, who also helped him out by paying for the cost to keep wowace up and running.
The snowball kept building. As of the close of the wowace svn last week, there were over 1600 addons on the svn. That is not including severely old mods that weren't even shown on the files page/WAU any longer, nor anything in the branches repo which some people downloaded manually with svn clients. The wowace forums had over 10,000 accounts. You don't even want to imagine the monthly costs for providing all of that - especially on patch days. If I remember correctly, wowace topped a *Terabyte* in one day for 2.4. That is 1024GB. To put that in perspective, my photobucket account (hosting my sig below) allows me 25GB in one *month*.
For a long time, it had been noted that change was needed for wowace. I saw it, too. You can go back and search the forums, and you will see threads from a year or two ago with people talking about what was needed to help keep wowace alive. Finally, something happened. Now, wowace will never be in need of funds to keep its doors open. Now, Kaelten can be paid to keep the doors open to the website that he loves. Now, not everyone agrees with the change. But everyone agrees that something had to be done. If you think things were perfect before, then you just had no clue, tbh.
As for getting rid of users from wowace, remember that there are two different levels of users. There are users that understand the notion of alpha/beta versions and what it means to beta test and give feedback. These are called "power users." There are also users that just liked some of the mods that wowace provided them, and they just wanted to download the mod and play the game. These are just regular users. Like my husband and I, I belong to the first group, he to the second. He would much rather be able to have stable releases (which will be pushed to Curse now, from wowace) and have no errors when he logs into the game for a raid. I love trying new things, even if they're broken or only half implemented. I give feedback, bug reports, dig into the code...
In all honesty, that second group of users never belonged on wowace in the first place. It was never ever meant as a release site, and wasn't built that way. WAU made users and authors lazy - authors stopped "releasing" their addons to release sites because it was too easy to just leave it on WAU, and users didn't want to look anywhere else because it was too easy to click one button to update. Now, it's as simple as setting a version in the toc file to a certain format to get a mod pushed from wowace to Curse, so authors can still be lazy. Regular users can make sure they get only release versions of those addons from Curse. Power users can still check out bleeding-edge versions of their favorite mods for testing from the wowace site.
I won't lie to you - I, personally, preferred WAU to the Curse Client, and I prefer wowi to Curse (no, I'm not being biased - I'm smod here *because* I like wowi :p ). Some authors will pick up and leave wowace so that their mods do not end up on the Curse site. Like I said, not everyone agree with the change that was made. But I hope I have provided insight into why it was done, and how long it had it coming, and why wowace is, and will always be, a developer community.
Also all the available options to developers between WowAce and CurseForge are almost exactly the same. The only major difference is the community. But even though its allowed for now, using WowAce instead of CurseForge if you don't plan to really be part of the community really isn't very respectful to the community.
Hey Seerah, Nice post, although I got a few amendments and corrections :)
Wowace started with just a forum and a few static pages. No one remembers those days though ;)
The repo had a little less than 1750 projects on it.
And there where more than 30k user acounts on it.
During 2.4 we broke 880 mbits/second for extend periods of time. Thats about 110MB/s or 386.7GB an hour.
I just want to stress to everyone that this isn't a death by any means, this is a stage of growth, and sometimes when you grow you shed some of what you where. And like all stages of growth, its not without a dose of pain.
Not all authors are dragons, some are sloths, pandas or those little puppy dog that are highly irritated and bark a lot but don't really contribute much.
The puppy dogs seem to have inflated egos. Maybe they think they are dragons?
I'm happy to hear from users of any kind, as long as you are polite and not entitlement-crazed.
I'm also happy to hear from devs of any kind, who are polite and not entitlement-crazed and don't do the irritated puppy barking at unsuspecting users ;)
Who ever wrote down who is not welcome here and when will this silliness of barking go away? Dwagons are nice creatures... some of them ;)
For me, just per chance I always used curse for release and wowace for alpha/beta/gamma and hadron collisions. I can't say why, it's just so happened. So in a sense the transitions may end up making my life a tad easier.
As for the rest, I guess it's going to be the same. People make the community and some of us like to be exclusive about some schtuff (bark, bark), while some others like to be inclusive (barking at barkers)... but that's people not forums or net traffic.
Overall I've always been very grateful for Kaelten and the whole array of others that help enable the community (I'd also mention Nev who's been going out of his way to transition Recount related project in graceful ways), so that we can bark at each other on top of it. Kudos and thanks for the hard work.