Summarizing the year 2019

The year 2019 is coming to an end, and I’d like to summarize what happened in the past months and give an overview of the Wolfram Language Plugin (WLP) usage statistics. When I talked to users of the WLP, I realized that there has been quite some confusion about the licensing of the Wolfram Language Plugin. Let’s recap quickly why the situation was so confusion to many people. In the first months of 2019, Jetbrains published the first version of the Jetbrains Marketplace which allows 3rd-party developers like myself to license their plugins to users with paid and free subscriptions. Bringing the WLP to the Marketplace was a necessary step, and I have written in detail why the MLP as an open-source community project failed in this post.

However, when the Marketplace went online, many features were still work-in-progress, and the framework that manages licenses was only available on Ultimate products (IDEA Ultimate, PyCharm Professional, etc). Therefore, right from the beginning, all users of Ultimate IDEs needed to have a valid license for the WLP to use it.

For all the free Jetbrains Community products, license management was still under development which meant I could either turn the support for Community products off entirely or leave everything freely accessible for the time being. I chose the latter option and users of Jetbrains Community products could get the Wolfram Language Plugin and all updates in an “extended trial period” as long as Jetbrains needed to bring license-checks to these IDEs.

Shortly before the 24th of December, Jetbrains made a Christmas gift to all its 3rd-party plugin developers by finally implementing support for Marketplace licensing on Community products. That means that starting now, everyone who wants to use the Wolfram Language Plugin will need to get a license. I have given all details about which paid and free license-options exist in the documentation.

Although there was no requirement to have a license until now, some users still chose to support the plugin development directly by subscribing to one of the licensing options. Basically right after the Marketplace went online, the WLP had a steady stream of people interested in getting a license for it. Here is a plot which shows the accumulated number of licenses from when the Marketplace was available:

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As you can see, there was a bit of a dry spell during September and a big bump during November. I guess the increase of licenses in November can be attributed to Stephen Wolfram mentioning the plugin during his keynote talk at the Wolfram Technology Conference earlier in October.

What I was also interested in is where the plugin users that have a license come from. Therefore, I created a location map that shows where the licensees are located and colorized countries depending on the number of licenses:

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As you can see, most of them are from the US which was to be expected with Wolfram Research having their headquarters there. Very surprising to me and absolutely awesome is that there are Wolfram Language Plugin users in Isreal. Overall, there are currently 51 users with an official paid or free license, and it might be interesting to see how this relates to the downloads of the Wolfram Language Plugin.

Below you find the exact statistics for unique downloads of the plugin version 2019.3 which came out on 2nd of December 2019. Here, unique means that downloading the plugin several times is only counted once.

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As expected there is a big bump right after publishing the version when all existing users update their WLP. After that, it usually slowly decreases to a constant number of downloads from new people that want to test the WLP. The accumulated download statistics for WLP 2019.3 looks like this:

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Overall, we have about 750 downloads for version 2019.3 in 28 days with a median of 27 downloads per day. For such a niche product that targets mostly Mathematica package developers, I guess this is not too bad.

So what’s the plan for 2020? We have some issues that require attention and while most of them are non-critical, there are interesting points for improving the MLP. The documentation on the website, however, is still in a rudimentary state, and I will make it my New Year’s resolution to improve it. See you all in the next decade, and I hope every one of you has a nice New Year’s Eve.