It’s hard to get the excitement of this announcement across in print. If you really want to feel the excitement and celebrate with us, you should check out the special episode of the Delicious Brain Waves podcast…
Delicious Brains Has Acquired Advanced Custom Fields! 🎉
That’s right! Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) has become part of the Delicious Brains offering of developer-focused WordPress plugins. We’re sure you will be as excited as we are about this news.
10 Years of Advanced Custom Fields
This journey has been a long time in the making. While the actual acquisition process happened more recently, our relationship with Elliot Condon, the creator of ACF, goes back to 2019. Elliot appeared as the very first guest on the Pressing Matters podcast, co-hosted by Delicious Brains product manager Iain Poulson and WordPress developer Jack McConnell. With their shared experience as solo plugin developers, Iain and Elliot struck up a friendship after the podcast and kept in touch with each other.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of ACF, with the first commit to the WordPress plugin repository having occurred on March 28, 2011. As a husband and new father, Elliot realized that while it had been an incredible 10-year journey, his personality and solo-work style is not well suited to take ACF into the next ten years. It needs a dedicated team, who are experts at handling things like development, support, marketing, and community building, who understand that ACF is a powerful tool in any WordPress developer’s tool belt and can give it the attention it needs to keep being successful.
Enter Delicious Brains
And so, in 2020, he started asking his network, including Iain, for advice as to who they thought would be a good fit for this mammoth task. Iain shared this news with me, and to be honest, the thought of the possibility of acquiring ACF was a no-brainer.
We’re huge fans of ACF. It’s a plugin that we’ve admired for a very long time, and regularly recommend it to our developer community in our blog posts. To be honest, we’re probably not the only ones. Chat to any professional WordPress developer today, and you’ll be surprised if they haven’t heard of ACF. ACF and our flagship product, WP Migrate DB Pro, are often mentioned together in blog posts or Twitter discussions of essential plugins for the modern WordPress developer.
A shoutout to one of the best WordPress plugins for any developer: @wp_acf (get the PRO, you’ll love the extras)! Also – since we’re showing appreciation – thanks to @dliciousbrains for their awesome blog that helped convince me. pic.twitter.com/OhDrwmOsWj
— Kevin (@charlotteslawIT) May 27, 2019
Have I mentioned recently how much I love @ajaxloadmore?
— Gordon Seirup (@CopperGordon) October 8, 2019
— Melissa Jean Clark (@melissajclark_) May 12, 2021
Top two, each for their own specific set of reasons:
1. @wp_acf makes creating editable content areas throughout a theme/plugin effortless and SO easy for clients to use 💯
— Robert DeVore (@deviorobert) May 26, 2021
We’ve already been getting lots of enthusiasm about this announcement on Twitter too…
Couldn’t think of a better team to take on its development.https://t.co/bmqeHfrNuI
— Shawn Hooper (@ShawnHooper) June 2, 2021
Can’t imagine a better new team for maintaining such a great plugin in the future. 🤩
— flowdee ツ (@flowdee) June 2, 2021
If there’s one product in the WordPress space that has been critical to building our business, it’s @wp_acf. Congratulations @elliotcondon on the acquisition by @dliciousbrains 🥂 A great choice. Enjoy your new-found family, skateboarding, and woodworking time – and thank you!
— Nick Wilmot (@nickwilmot) June 2, 2021
— Hannah Smith (@hanopcan) June 2, 2021
— Maciek Palmowski 🌴 (@palmiak_fp) June 2, 2021
— Melissa Jean Clark (@melissajclark_) June 2, 2021
Normally, the sale of a beloved and outright ESSENTIAL plugin like ACF would scare the s*** out of me, but not in this case. I know @bradt and the folks at @dliciousbrains are some of the best in the biz. 1/2https://t.co/26pzI3DdkF
— Tracy #FullyVaxxed (@taupecat) June 2, 2021
Not only is ACF a great product, but it has a great user experience. Elliot’s attention to detail is evident when you use the plugin. You can see he puts as much time into the user experience as he does to improve the underlying plugin functionality. With its great API and the host of core features that developers love, ACF is an excellent developer-focused plugin for WordPress, just like our own products. I could easily see our team building something like ACF if Elliot had not already done so.
The Acquisition Process
And so, a few months ago, Elliot and I started talking about a possible acquisition. Talking to Elliot, I soon realized his passion for the product and its users and how exciting it would be for him if the right team took over ACF.
Fortunately for us, Elliot could see that we were the right team to pass on the torch to. He was pleased that we also specialize in large user-base plugins with a strong developer focus, and we had a tried and tested approach to planning and delivering products that our customers love.
As to the nitty-gritty details, this was the first time we had embarked on a significant acquisition, so much of it was uncharted territory. Fortunately, I had some experience of the process, having sold a web hosting company in 2011. The biggest challenge for me this time, being on the other side of the deal, was financing and navigating the finer details of that process.
The Future of ACF
If you are an ACF user, and you are reading this worrying about what drastic changes are on the horizon, I’d like to take this opportunity to share our short-term goals.
First and foremost, we have no burning desire to make any drastic changes to ACF or ACF Pro. Elliot has built a solid product, and it does what it does really well. So our first task will be to make sure we get our bearings by interacting with the users and customers of ACF. At the same time, we’ll be going over Elliot’s roadmap for the future of ACF, making sure we fully understand his vision for the product.
Two of our greatest strengths that we’ll bring to ACF are design (UI/UX) and developer education. We’ll be focusing our initial efforts in those areas. I have a few UI/UX improvements in mind that would make a huge difference to users. We also see a significant opportunity to produce developer-focused content focused on effectively using ACF in your WordPress projects.
Developer experience is something that we haven’t really had to worry about much with our other products. WP Migrate DB Pro, WP Offload Media, and WP Offload SES have plenty of filters for developers, but they’re not nearly as extensible as ACF. I’m looking forward to the challenge of applying our design skills in this area, designing APIs for ACF developers in a backward-compatible way. I’m confident we’ll be able to continue to please developers as Elliot has and improve some of ACF’s APIs as well.
Lastly, and most importantly, we have no plans to adjust the pricing of ACF Pro anytime soon. If we ever decide to update pricing in the future, we won’t force existing customers onto the new pricing.
Existing ACF Pro customers should see no changes at all; you won’t even need to change your payment details. Everything will be business as usual.
Prior to February 2020, the ACF Pro licenses included lifetime software updates. We are committed to honoring lifetime licenses forever. Lifetime license holders will get all ACF Pro software updates forever. They won’t be required to pay for version 6.0 or any other major or minor releases in the future. They signed up for updates for life, so we’ll continue to deliver on that promise forever.
20% Off Advanced Custom Fields
If you’re new to ACF, now’s the time to buy! We’re offering a 20% discount in celebration of ACF’s 10th anniversary and joining the Delicious Brains family of products. Visit advancedcustomfields.com to take advantage of this deal before it disappears!
Although Elliot will be sticking around to help with the transition, I want to take this opportunity to thank him for the incredible job building and supporting ACF over the years. WordPress wouldn’t be where it is today without ACF. I’m humbled that Elliot has decided to pass the torch to us. The Delicious Brains team and I are pumped about what we can bring to ACF and WordPress in the coming years.
Elliot has published an announcement post of his own on the ACF blog if you’re interested in reading more.
What do you think of this news? Are you as excited about this as we are? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.