!http://www.jivesoftware.com/skin/images/spark-skin-sshot.gif!The Spark Skinning Service has been a hot topic here at Jive for the past couple of weeks. The service is not yet ready to serve up customized builds of Spark 2.5 (it will be ready late May) and it turns out that one small change to the service will make it much easier to keep the Skinning Service up to date with the latest Spark release. What’s the change? Removing the ability to change the color of Spark. So in the interest of staying in sync with Spark releases, we’ll be removing this functionality.
We have also decided to stop selling Spark Skinning as a stand-alone service. Instead, it will only be available as part of Openfire Enterprise Edition. Current customers of Spark Skinning will not be affected. If you have a subscription to the service already it will continue to work until the current subscription runs out, and there is an upgrade path to Openfire Enterprise to keep the functionality after that time.
Spark Skinning is being phased out as a stand-alone service for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, the changes to Openfire Enterprise pricing substantially lower the barrier for small deployments while maintaining value-based prices for larger deployments. The second reason is that the amount of administration required to keep two sets of Spark Skinning accounts functioning smoothly became too onerous. Simplifying to a single account type will help considerably.
As always, let me know if you have any thoughts about Spark Skinning or these changes.