Pressbits 004: Don’t hesitate to release plugins

8 Comments

In this episode of Pressbits I discuss the hesitance I sometimes see in folks to release their code as WordPress plugins. Listen, I dare you:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

If you would rather download it directly you can do that too, or subscribe to this show via RSS or on iTunes. If you would prefer a transcript, you can also read that just after the jump.

Mine your work for plugins that you can release

Sometimes I get the sense that someone is shying away from releasing any of their work as a plugin. They will say things like “this isn’t that complex” or “this isn’t worthwhile or unique”. But the thing is, we (the community) need more plugins that are small, simple, and compact.

Dig into your functions file, your functionality plugins, or even stray code that you have within your theme files. Be watchful for what could become a general public plugin. If not for your own sake — some aren’t interested in maintaining plugins on WordPress.org, which I get — then release them for me. I want to see your awesome ideas, the ways you have solved your own problems, and whether they might be useful for myself or others. Some of my favorite plugins are not big and powerful, but small and very specific.

One thing I’ve learned by being a part of the WordPress community (or is it communities?) is that code you keep to yourself can end up stale and weak. Sharing code, on the other hand, using WordPress.org or Github (my two favorites) means that others can add to and improve on your code. It also helps to bring you further into the community and makes others aware of you and your ideas.

Personally I try to turn as many of my site’s features into plugins as possible (internally). They instantly become easier to manage and seem generally more organized than as scattered functions in a file or two. Now I just need to take my own advice and release a slew of my own tiny, purpose-specific plugins.

Are you sitting on any code (read: solutions to problems) that you could take a few minutes to release as a plugin?

8 thoughts on “Pressbits 004: Don’t hesitate to release plugins

  1. Awesome!
    I definitely agree! I released my first plugin over 6 month ago and the feedback was so huge I couldn’t imagine that! After that, I now have already 14 (!) little plugins in the WP.org repository. I’ve learned more in this six month about coding, documenting and support than in 6 years before… My plugins are mostly lightweight plugins, doing one thing. It’s the best principle to start with!

    Just let me encourage you: release early, release often. This is an old Linux slogan but it’s true! Don’t be shy – release and learn. And improve.

    Releasing plugins is a great experience and I don’t want to miss that!

    Here you can check out my little profile: http://profiles.wordpress.org/users/daveshine/profile/public/

    Greetinx, Dave 🙂

  2. I agree, everyone should be sharing their code but at the same time, i’m not quite sure the WordPress plugin repo is the best way to do that, do we really need more plugins that where added then abandoned and now no longer work with wordpress?

    Personally, i’ve been getting sick and tired of 9/10 plugins in the wordpress plugin directory no longer working with the current version of WordPress.

    • None of us likes this issue, you’re talking about, Chris!
      IMHO, that’s not related to the place the plugin is hosted – you have plugins also on GitHub or marketplaces like CodeCanyon or WPPlugins.com that don’t work with the certain versions of WordPress!

      For testing new/unknown plugins I have some test installs, to avoid the “broken experience” in live installs… 🙂

      For beginners, the official repository is the best place to start IMHO. The update-functionality is important for both, developers and users alike.

      So, what would be the alternative, you’re suggesting, Chris?

      • I have test installs too 😀

        I just dont think we should be encouraging people to add code to the wordpress plugin directory when they have no intentions of supporting it. If you have no intentions of supporting it – distribute it via your blog, or on a wordpress forum like wpcandy’s forms…

        WordPress’ plugin directory is a distribution platform designed for giving plugins exposure, if all you really need is a hosting platform, i recommend megaupload rapidshare.com. 🙂

        • Oh, and when i’m deciding if a plugin i develop should go into the wordpress plugin directory or not, i always ask myself whether it will benefit from wordpress’ functionality, like auto-update or the exposure – if the answer is a no, then i upload it elsewhere.

          • You first complain about unsupported plugin but at the same recommending to not use the WP.org repository (that what your comments say to me)…

            Since WP.org requires GPL anyone can fork unsupported plugins if needed and give them a respin. Hosting on a file sharing service or on personal blog might not bring the same awareness and the chance these plugins are really un-noticed and un-supported is really high! I’ve found lots of “testing plugins” on blogs where no license info is stated, even lots on GitHub, and commenting/contacting the author leads to no results… So these experiences are no good either. If I find an unsupported plugin on WP.org I still can be secure it’s GPL and I could fork it if I need the functionality necessarily.

            Also, a lot of small, simple plugins with one little feature might still run without any issues and still are from 2010 or so. I have something of these – the authors only might need to update their readme files with the newer versions. That is still an issue with lots of plugin authors…

            IMHO, there’s nothing too bad about the official repository, still, a great place for starters, to make their first experiences. Also, the update system might lead the beginner authors to actually release updates because they know users will get noticed about.

            Furthermore, since I’ve released a few plugins on WP.org I get more exposure, more client requests etc. it also gives some awareness for the plugin author – lot more than on the personal blog – especially for international users, who are no native English speakers the repository can get to some “common platform”.

      • Sorry David, sounds like you read my comments wrong…

        Firstly, i wasn’t complaining – just stating my opinion on @ryanimel‘s quote “some aren’t interested in maintaining plugins”

        I just dont think people should be uploading it with the INTENTION of abandoning it.

        Just an opinion.

Comments are closed.