Charging for an IntelliJ plugin

Hello, I am considering starting development of a plugin for IntelliJ IDEA. Is there any possibility of being able to sell this plugin? Is support for paid plugins in any IntelliJ plugin repo?
~gilbert

4 comments

Hi Gilbert,

This is something I've been considering recently, as far as I know there are currently no paid plugins and no support for them in IntelliJ. However, I'm not sure how much support you would actually need. You'd need a website where you charged your customers (you could provide a link within your plugin easily) which would create a license file you would use to unlock features in the plugin. If your plugin detected an invalid or absent license at startup it could disable itself. IntelliJ Ultimate clearly contains license functionality but I'm not sure what they use for license management.

It's also fairly unclear how a business model for this would work. There was a company providing paid plugins for a while (Sixth and Red River Software) which went under, but I don't know any details. It's also true that the IntelliJ platform is not what it was back then and there might be more acceptance of paying now. Your plugin would have to be commercial quality, for sure, which is a lot of work.

Cheers,
Colin

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Hi Colin.
Agreed, moving from free to paid plugin brings on a significant responsibility; one cannot fall back on the "I did this in my free time so, if you get support consider yourself lucky" discalimer. Regarding quality, releasing as a free plugin for the initial version(s) will help to iron out the wrinkles, and guage market acceptance; allowing you to refine to the most viable end-result.
Provided there is no hard-rule from JetBrains, preventing paid plugin's...
A lot of work - yeah, certainly to produce something worthwhile. What I have in mind is fairly significant, and would have to be charged if I'm to pay the bills.
Thanks for the advice; lack of an existing shopping framework makes the job slightly harder, but not insurmountable.
Watch this space :)
~gilbert

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There is no rule preventing paid plugins, but there is also no support for licensing or selling plugins either; you'll have to handle this on your own.

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