Vaadin Pro Account was released as beta with limited functionality in February. Today, we are proud to release the full Pro Account service. Below I try to summarize what Pro Account really is, how it complements the free open source Vaadin, why you might want to subscribe and what it costs.
Two Kinds of Accounts
Some open source projects are just a developer or two committing their creation to a public repository for anyone to enjoy. In many cases this is a one-way communication. Or there might be a mailing list to "support" the users.
We want Vaadin community to be more than that. We encourage everyone using the framework to create an account to vaadin.com in order to be able to contribute back to the project. By identifying yourself, you become an active participant in the conversation instead of just silently listening.
Community accounts make it possible to give back by helping others in the forums, publishing add-ons in directory and writing on the wiki. All of this is important - wouldn't it be great if we all gave back to the project, making Vaadin better for all?
Most of us are professionals - we are getting paid for the software we write using Vaadin. This means that for the most of us, time is money. Even though we would love to give back to the community, we are not always allowed to - either because of being "too busy" or not being able to publish our add-ons as open source.
Vaadin Pro Account is an extension of a normal community account that adds a bunch of features for saving time (read: money) and at the same time fund the development of the free Vaadin framework. In a way it is just another way of contributing back to the community.
Freedom is one of the core values in Vaadin - both in the framework, in the community as well as in the company behind it. You have the freedom to choose whether you contribute back by helping others, publishing add-ons, subscribing to Pro Account. Or do not contribute at all. It is ok to just keep listening, but the community would welcome your contributions with open arms and would love to hear what you have to say.
More Than Support
The vision behind Pro Account is to build a collection of tools and services that removes any obstacles from your path when you develop your applications.
The foundation of the service is a support service directly from the Vaadin development team: you can ask us anything to help your project succeed. This goes far beyond the thinking of what is included in a support service: we would love to help in technical design, can help debugging on a shared screen or even write a widget or two for you. There is also a knowledge base containing answers and best practices for resolving common problems.
Pro Account is also a guarantee for the Vaadin Framework and official add-ons: if you find a bug that hinders you, just create a ticket (if one doesn't exist already) and mark it as a priority. Our team starts working on the issue ASAP. You do not even have to wait for the next maintenance, we'll make custom builds available for developers with Pro Account. The custom builds are not regular nightly builds - instead they go through the same rigorous tests as our maintenance releases so that you can use them in production.
If you need a new feature in Vaadin, Pro Account brings a new option to table to complement the good old do-it-yourself and contacting sales for sponsored development. Pro Account holders can also cast votes on what should be done next. We typically release new features in minor releases four times a year. When looking at backlog for all feature requests, top voted features get a priority.
And one more thing, Pro Account includes all of our commercial add-ons. No need for additional licenses to use Vaadin TestBench to regression testing, Vaadin JPAContainer, Vaadin Calendar, Vaadin Timeline or Vaadin TouchKit.
Pro Account is a per developer subscription: you can either subscribe just one or two of the developers from your team, but to fully enjoy the benefits, it is recommended to subscribe the whole team. The price is 60 - 99 USD / developer / month, depending on the team size.
To keep the monthly fee low and to be able to give best possible support service, support time costs per hour. Support time price is 150 - 250 USD / hour, depending on how many hours you purchase in advance.
All in all, the Pro Account is just a start. I hope that it helps your commercial development and you choose to contribute back to development of Vaadin by subscribing. In any case, we would love to hear your ideas on how to develop Pro Account further, and what kind of add-ons we should create in future.