The NS Cloner V3 is Officially Released!

This latest version of the NS Cloner brings a flood of new innovations and improvements in both the WP multisite plugin itself as well as all of the supporting infrastructure around it. There are a LOT of changes going on here, and we’ve tried to make it a smooth and seamless process whether you are transitioning from V2 or starting out with the Cloner for the very first time in V3. The following details provide fairly in-depth coverage about what’s new in V3 as well as what to expect and why we’ve headed in certain directions.

The single, most important thing to understand about V3 is that it is a completely brand new WordPress plugin for Multisite. It has been re-built from scratch, using everything we’ve learned over the last year and a half of supporting and updating V2 (Free and Pro). The NS Cloner remains FREE, but there are 2 exciting and massive new developments going on with V3.

  1. V2 was actually split into 2 separate plugins and 2 separate sets of code: Free and Pro. We had to maintain and support both of them independently. When a support case resulted in a bug fix, we had to make that same fix twice. In order to drive a better plugin and provide more effective support, we have combined both sets of code into a single plugin for V3. And there was much rejoicing.
  2. You might be immediately wondering what that means for the Pro features. This is hands-down the most exciting part about V3: we have built a custom add-on architecture for the Cloner. The features formerly provided through the Pro version are now available both as individual NS Cloner V3 add-ons and as a Pro add-on Bundle. Several other popular plugins have effectively leveraged the add-on concept to provide additional functionality. A couple of our favorites are WordPress SEO by Yoast and Advanced Custom Fields by Elliot Condon. However, implementing an add-on framework for the Cloner was a particularly unique challenge because there are so many moving parts and so many dependencies in the cloning process. It was quite tricky to create a structure that would allow other plugins to extend the Cloner’s basic featureset while still ensuring that the cloning process was stable and consistent.

Introducing the new Site Cloning Pipeline

Our solution was to rework all the cloning code into a unified pipeline with well-defined stages that are saturated with hooks and filters. We’ll be providing documentation on the numerous hooks and filters that are now available for the extremely adventurous who might want to roll their own custom features or add-ons for the Cloner. In the meantime, this also means that we will finally be able to more quickly build and release the most commonly requested features as add-ons without having to continually make the Pro plugin code more and more complex and divergent from the Free plugin code. Here are some examples of the kinds of add-ons that we have planned:

  1. Front-end cloning for self-serve user / blog registration and template selection
  2. Option Templates to save and reuse cloning configurations and defaults
  3. Dynamic table include / exclude support for advanced scenarios
  4. Support for larger sites where the cloning needs to be broken into multiple batches

Checkout the full active set of potential add-ons that we’re considering, and please add your own suggestions and votes to our new Never Settle feedback forum.

Upgrade Questions and Benefits

You might be asking some of the following questions:

  1. Do I have to upgrade from V2 to V3?
  2. What are the upgrade options and how do I upgrade?
  3. What are the benefits of V3 over V2?
  4. Do I get a free upgrade to V3 if I recently purchased V2 Pro?

Read on and we will address all of these questions.

In addition to the new add-on framework, site cloning pipeline, and the extensive structure of hooks and filters, the Cloner V3 has a completely new add-on aware, dynamic user interface designed to make cloning simpler, easier, and more intuitive. We have made a huge investment into V3 that far exceeds V2 Pro sales since its release a year and a half ago, and it’s not possible for us to give away V3 even to those who have recently purchased V2 Pro. However, we are premium plugin buyers and users ourselves and we are saying thank-you to all our existing Pro customers with a significant discount coupon towards the Pro add-on Bundle. If you have previously purchased the NS Cloner Pro you should have received (or will shortly) our email announcement which includes your coupon code. If you do not receive it please contact support with your Pro order number and we’ll make sure you get a coupon code.

However, you certainly don’t have to use it right away. V2 will still work and be supported through the end of 2014. V3 will also run in parallel with V2 Pro so you can have both installed side-by-side and see if you want to grab the Pro add-ons for V3 at any point down the road. V3 now has a single plugin codebase, remains completely FREE, and brings all the improvements mentioned above PLUS:

All New Features of NS Cloner V3

  1. Our first stab at a support-not-required vision. Part of our Never Settle standards is to build things that don’t break while still making incredibly powerful functionality ridiculously easy to use.
  2. Preemptive detection of potential environment configuration issues that could impact cloning with warnings generated to the user including tips on how to optimize.
  3. A lot more contextual help in the interface.
  4. Much more robust WP Multisite version and uploads location detection. In V2 there are edge cases with legacy WMPU networks and custom uploads locations that can cause issues. Those should be eliminated in V3.
  5. Completely reworked UI/UX . It is hopefully even easier and faster to use than V2, and is configurable. Features / options that you don’t want to use can be collapsed so that only the settings that matter to you are front and center. We’ve also added a lot of visual feedback into the UI so that it’s far more clear exactly what the Cloner is going to do when the big scary button is clicked.
  6. There are multiple other fixes and improvements that have gone into V3, and we’re very excited to finally be releasing it.

In addition to those benefits, for current Pro users, when you upgrade to the V3 Pro bundle of add-ons you will get the following, which are more than worth the discounted upgrade pricing:

All New Features and Improvements to Pro Cloning:

  1. Automatic plugin updates through the WP admin dashboard just like WP.org plugins
  2. Simplified and much more flexible and easy-to-use interface for the other Cloning modes
  3. Search and replace mode is now much more user friendly and easy to use
  4. Unlimited Search and Replace rules are now supported
  5. Add Unlimited additional users to the new clone
  6. Selectively chose which post types to clone or not! Pages, Posts, Custom post types – all, some, or none!
  7. Clone Over Mode now allows you to copy a single site over multiple sites in one clone operation!
  8. Media file copy has more flexibility to copy files (or not) and auto-update the file URLs (or not).
  9. Search and Replace Mode now lets you update a single site, multiple site, or all sites with replacements!

How does Never Settle Licensing Work?

We’ve tried to make our licenses for the NS Cloner V3 even simpler to understand and follow. When you purchase an add-on for the Cloner V3 it will be licensed for a certain number of installations depending your purchase. You will notice that all of our basic licenses now include 2 installations. The intent behind this is so that you can have it installed in 1 production environment and 1 development environment. Support and updates are included with each license within the major version lifecycle of that product. Never Settle reserves the right to determine what a reasonable level of support is. In general, we always try to help others the way we’d want to be helped.

Over the coming weeks we are going to be standardizing all of our premium plugins around the following developer-friendly license structure:

  1. Basic – allows up to 2 total activations (1 for a production installation and 1 for a development installation)
  2. Advanced – allows up to 5 total activations (4 for production installations and 1 for a development or staging installation)
  3. Developer – allows unlimited activations
  4. Never Settle for Life – Unlimited activations, unlimited updates

More details about our product license terms.

Additional Resources

Checkout our post about our new support and documentation tools.