Sencha Closes Forums

Sencha

Talk today came from a user accessing Sencha Forums, immediately being redirect to StackOverflow’s Blog regarding the move of Sencha Forums to their platform. This blog post is dated 30 Oct 2019.

More than a few started talking how Sencha has closed down a valuable resource, a resource that was already placed into read-only mode. Why complain? Because the forum had a massive amount of information on the product. A place to find direct answers where the majority of questions were on point with answers that gave solutions. No matter how old the information is on the version there is something gained even in using the most recent version of Ext JS. 

I understood the logic they used deciding to go to StackOverflow. Understanding doesn’t mean I ever agreed with their logic. Those are two different things even though many don’t quite understand how I can understand logic I don’t agree with. 

So to amuse myself I went to StackOverflow and selected #extjs to see what questions where there. The top two having been asked 9 hours and yesterday. The one was regarding Ext JS 3.1 the other was Ext JS 4.2 and 5.x. Imagine support and help for a product whereby the community of users Sencha does have left are using versions 7.x or in some cases 6.x, only to find questions for 5.x and below. Sure there are #extjs6, #extjs6.2 and how many there #extjs—- tags questions are being asked under. Sencha’s plan was to have users monitor these tags to answer community questions. This sounds good on paper. Reality, I don’t have time nor patience to monitor all Ext JS tags on StackOverflow to answer questions even with an incentive of possibly getting an Amazon gift card. I’ve a full time job, research and learning in Sencha products to contend with, a family; but still find time to research this on StackOverflow for a gift card. Not happening.

Sencha Forum did have organization in versions, with a base of users of the forums that actually were using the product in commercial applications who were asking questions. Now it is many people trying to “learn” the product using StackOverflow. I personally don’t use StackOverflow much. Often a quick answer on something because it ranks high on the search engines. But reality is StackOverflow is becoming over used, too many questions are high in search engine ranking that have been close due to being either off topic or answered in a a different question. As good as StackOverflow has been for some, even they forgot to think when questions build and how people tend to ask a question, answers are now being buried in that mess, taking a lot of time to find useful answers. But within the community, be careful what you say or that reputation will take a massive hit and we all know how many employers ask us what our StackOverflow reputation is. Hit, I’ve not had one employer ask me about StackOverflow, not even in the technical side. 

Once again Sencha is forgetting to inform MVP’s of major decisions. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to say this about them. We find out from other users who are not MVP’s. As expected because as an MVP I don’t search answers as often as someone who doesn’t have my experience with the product. But imagine having the term Sencha MVP associated with your name in a forum and someone asks about the forum being down and not being able to give an answer to that person. It doesn’t make Sencha or myself look good.

Is Sencha trying to kill their product? Surely this question has gone through my head on more than one occasion. Today it managed to still be going through my head as I write todays post. 

Last update we had as MVP’s indicated Kirti was going to “revive” the MVP program. Today while talking to someone else about the forums they also told me today was Kirti’s last day with Sencha. Next question they asked me was who do I normally contact as an MVP. Unfortunately I had to respond I used to talk to quite a few, all are no longer there and I’ve not been given anyone to replace my contact once they were gone. 

Unfortunately I’m writing a rather negative post about Sencha. This post isn’t about the product. I greatly enjoy Ext JS, I resit moving to something like Angular hoping Sencha finds the solution to move the product forward. I’m still here, I’m still using it professionally, in personal projects and even as an MVP I still continue to push the product further. It is the business plan they are using, and frankly I don’t know what their business plan is other than purchase more companies and then sell to a bigger fish, purchase more companies, sell to a bigger fish; rinse and repeat. Clearly they aren’t thinking too highly of their users as we aren’t informed and everything tends to use their paid for support to get answers. Even for getting a clear understanding of their documentation. I won’t get started on their support model; it would be off topic and take most the night to finish. I have to work in the morning. 

A final note on their business plan… I belong to the Slack channel, Sencha Talk. A good resource and a bunch of great people. Unfortunately there are only around 540 members. You read that right, 540 members. Not a good number for a product we pay around $3000/year for five licenses that get us only 200 points of help. Of course they say you pay annually for support in marketing but don’t put the limit of the points you are purchasing. Once those points are gone, buy more points or don’t get any more help. Some support… 

Their business plan forgets how technology gets implemented. I have not worked for a single company that decided to give an initial outlay of $5000 for a new technology to develop there product without that product first being sold to them as the future by an existing employee. That employee recommended it because they saw the growth trend, the power of the framework and had opportunity to learn it on their own time. Then they recommend it to their employer, discussions and comparisons are made followed by a purchase decision. The purchase decision is guided by their programmers experience, likes and dislikes about the technologies considered. Their open source version, not the latest and not always updated on major version changes is also under the GPL 3. Their community edition will include constant reminders of your use limitation along with sales pitches to pay annually for a single license or a minimum of five licenses if you want perpetual.

No Sencha, closing your old forms was not a good idea. I believe the decision will erode your user base some more as with other decisions in the past few year have successfully done. That is too bad, because in many situations your product should be an industry leader, while it is your business plan and lack of communication that is actually killing it.

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Author: aallord

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