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WHMCS 7.9: Interview with our Director of Development

By Lia / November 14th, 2019

Our Development Team has been hard at work developing WHMCS 7.9 for the past few months and this week, I managed to grab a few minutes to sit down with David Neimeyer, our Director of Development at WHMCS, to discuss what's in store for WHMCS 7.9 and what we can expect. So time for some real talk!

Q: Hi David, we're excited to hear what's coming up in WHMCS 7.9, what can you tell us?
Usage Billing, a new PayPal module with Smart Buttons, a VPN product within MarketConnect, SEPA and ACH support for Stripe, ACH & USA region support for GoCardLess

Q: Wow, there's a lot there. Which feature do you think is the most exciting?
Hmm, I think that many people will be excited, and very pleased, with the new PayPal. That said, I think for a number of folks the Usage Billing feature set offers new, untapped potential for not only what they sell today, but in the very near future.

Q: The PayPal Smart Buttons sounds interesting. Can you tell us more about that?
Our latest work with PayPal really steps up the checkout user experience. PayPal's Smart Buttons integration allows the shopper to quickly pay via credit card or PayPal account, all packed into a slick modal (and pre-registration for new clients)

Q: Usage-based billing seems to be becoming a big buzz word in hosting right now. What can you tell us about how this will work?
Customers want to monetize on how much a client uses their available resources. In short, the initial feature set delivers snapshot billing, which is one type of usage-based billing. Modules can now provide data metrics to the core. The invoicing process, in turn, takes the latest values and adds line items accordingly when the coming month's invoice is generated. There are one or two nuances for certain metrics, but that's it in a nutshell.

Q: We've seen a few direct debit/ACH/SEPA payment gateways being added recently. Why are you focusing on these so much?
Receiving these kinds of payments from clients has the potential for lower fees not all potential client have, or want to use, credit cards for services. For us, the focus is less about the trends and more about providing options for your business strategy, and these integrations are simply a few realizations towards those ends.

Q: VPN is something we haven't really seen before in WHMCS. What's the thinking behind launching this product and how will it work?
A VPN provides a trusted, secure connection for your digital traffic; without it, you're placing your public digital traffic at risk for hijacking. The SiteLock VPN service offers an affordable, multi-platform solution that is easy for clients to self-manage and deploy to their personal devices.

Q: Are there any other smaller things that we can look forward to?
We've made notable refinements in how the core provides interactions with gateway modules that represent bank style payments (think check modules and direct debit, as well as the new SEPA and ACH stuff). There's also cool new expandable list items for the admin services, addons, domains and cancellation lists

Q: Were there any challenges that the dev team faced in building these new features?
Of course. Most aren't particularly discussion-worthy. One thing that's simple, but kinda odd, is how to do snapshot billing for something like bandwidth usage. Most systems track this on a per calendar month basis. The client's service that is consuming that bandwidth isn't necessarily going to be billing right at the calendar month start/end. In fact, the service could, in practice, be invoiced manually for any number of reasons by the admin. Furthermore, invoices are generated for the period of future service. While the issue of bandwidth usage is the same as the existing one with bandwidth overage charges, as developers we're concerned that it will be the first time that some users will see the issue. We've tried to design something that abstracts this seemingly common but non-intuitive situation of subscription billing with post-usage billed items for data that is measured by a remote system on a date period other than that which is being invoiced (phew that's a mouthful).

Q: When can we expect the beta to be available?
We expect the first beta to arrive within the next week.

Q: And is there a date for the GA release?
We typically have a 4-week pre-production, so general availability is expected by the 3rd week of December.

Q: Do you have anything else you would like to share with our customers?
Explore the new features! Grab a copy of the beta when it hits. Let us know your experience: the forums are a great place to dialogue with the community and staff. That feedback helps us understand customer needs & desires; it informs our design choices & prioritization for refinements. Thanks in advance!

About David Neimeyer:
David leads the development team and is responsible for the release and maintenance of WHMCS software.
As part of the executive team, David provides strategic and technical advice on everything from business development, to internal and external operations, to software technologies and architecture.

He is passionate about delivering value to our customers by continuously designing and developing solutions that simplify and scale their business.

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