[All] Bring Back Plugins

Im trying to stay calm as my membership is about to renew ("calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean" ) . Where are all of your plugins, especially Membership Pro? Looking at the list of available plugins recently and it seems like you have removed over a dozen useful plugins. Please explain...

  • Chris
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    What’s left? Utilities that are a dime a dozen to find elsewhere. If these utilities were even the very best out there (but they are not sadly) they would still be way overpriced. I’ve had to spend weeks replacing functionality app plugins at my cost because my customers are going to expect me to replace the software I picked out for them. No biggie, while digging through replacements I realized there was better stuff out there anyway... including the utilities like Smush and Defender and SEO and Backups and analytics etc.

    Well it was an interesting decade anyway. I am moving on and wish what’s left of this community all the best!

  • Kris
    • Support

    Hi Mike D

    We retired most of plugins a few months ago.
    Please see our blog article here: https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wpmu-dev-legacy-plugins/

    You can find all our legacy plugins on our github still:
    https://premium.wpmudev.org/retiring-our-legacy-plugins/

    Above blog article doesn't mean that they will not work, as we are going to update them for security and compatibility with the WP core but they will not receive any new features.

    Kind Regards,
    Kris

    • Mike D
      • The Bug Hunter

      James Farmer Holy heck, I just read that post and all the comments. I don't know what to say, the wind has been knocked out of my sails. I love WPMUDEV but if you needed to make big changes, why not start with updating the name??

      I agree with many of the comments out there, it feels like a loss. I enjoyed being here for the big plugin library that came with all your great support. It's no surprise that some plugins were underused and could have used some trimming but the fact that they just sat there, in my arsenal of tools, ready to help whip up a site at any moment, with only one dev to talk to made things very comfortable for me. So comfortable, that I didn't even notice so many were removed until I needed one I thought I could rely on.

      I really don't like using the wordpress.org support forums, its just too unpredictable. And you guys are dreaming if you think it's just easier to support every plugin in the world. So that only leaves other companies with premium plugins and a potential move away from here. When Hosting came around, I was like "oh, that's cool but I have a really cheap host already". There are many benefits to this new service you are rolling out but honestly, hosting companies are a dime a dozen and many offer decent support.

      Im not really here for Defender and Hummingbird (which I both love). I was here for Defender, Hummingbird, MarketPress and MP2. I was here for Defender, Login Redirect, Domain Mapping and some other random plugin I might need. I was here for combining these plugins in various ways to build out different projects. Im still here because I love you guys, I want to work for you (I wrote a ridiculously long cover letter last week LOL) and I don't really know who else to talk to about wordpress. I hope that the support alone will keep me here although I have found that the support for 3rd-party plugins is not nearly as effective as it was for the in-house ones. It feels like a community because I would find bugs all the time, talk to support and eventually a fix would get published. I felt like I helped fix a problem for the community, the plugins evolved because of all of us.

      But The Hub? It's great for some things but as another member pointed out in the comments, it's not all that important aside from managing the updates/backups. I prefer to stay within the dashboard of my site as much as possible and the Hub feels like its trying to be like Jetpack service which I disliked so much that it made me move everything to WPMUDEV.

      James Farmer, don't go Jetpack! Be the awesome plugin guys, please. Don't make us go back out there! I think I'm rambling now but I'm sure you get the point. It's a shocker.

    • Chris
      • The Incredible Code Injector

      Kris you have not updated the plugins from the first round of culling you did a couple years ago, one plugin in particular I am still to find a suitable replacement for.

      Why should we “buy into” this claim that you will continue to upgrade this batch of culled plugins?

  • Tony G
    • Mr. LetsFixTheWorld

    Before the plugins were retired I started a DOTW about a new WPMU DEV SIG (Special Interest Group). There was a lot of interest. It's still a good idea and I think it should be done. Right after that initiative started to kick off (website, Github, Bitbucket, Slack, Twitter, oh my...) it started to look like the plugins were going to get a shake up. I pulled back a little, we got the big notice, my heart sank, and I put the SIG in the back seat until I could get my head together.

    The purpose of the SIG is/was for this community to improve upon the WPMU DEV assets for all of us to benefit. The goal is/was for us to make small changes to the code base, and submit them to the company so that we could get priority publication of desired functionality without bothering DEV staff too much in the process. We had buy-in from James Farmer and staff, and from the community.

    Now let me back up a moment. Free and Open Source Software. The SIG is intended to support the core spirit of FOSS, where everyone is free, at liberty, to use the free, no cost, software. The source code for this software is open for everyone to see, evaluate, and change. Successful FOSS lives on for years, like Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, JavaScript, WordPress, and all of the other tools we use daily. We don't even think about it - we know it will always be there for us. We also know that most FOSS has a common lifetime of about two years before the one/primary author gets tired of it and moves on to something else. It always disturbs me when the first reaction to under-supported FOSS like this is to abandon it and to seek alternatives. We all know the pain of time and expense that we incur when we need to shift to new software to support critical site functionality. But people assume this is how the process works. They complain about it. They accept it. But that is NOT how it should work. The code is there for us to keep alive.

    "But I'm not a coder, I don't know what to do, I need to run my business...." See the DOTW for the SIG where all of these points are addressed.

    The better way to approach this is to treat the retired plugins no differently. Treat them like they are actively maintained. Post bug reports and requests to the plugin repositories exactly as you would post them here. Give others an opportunity to respond, to help you to get what you need so that you don't feel a need to completely replace these valuable assets.

    Where will the development come from? The concept of the SIG is to address the special interests of this audience. My goal with the SIG has been to attract other developers to the software we use, to give them a reason to help us with this software. We cannot do this if people abandon the software!

    And now comes the hard part that people seldom want to address. Paying for what they use. What costs more, fixing your software or replacing it? How do you know? You haven't asked anyone what it might cost to make changes to the software you use. But you sure know that there will be a high cost of moving to new software ... and you might need to keep doing that given how frequently FOSS turns over in this industry. So you should investigate what it might cost to pay someone to make changes to what you have, and compare that to your estimate for what it will cost to replace it. This is basic business accounting.

    But it's supposed to be FREE!?! It's an unfortunate coincidence that the English word for free=liberty is the same as the word free=no-cost. We pay for our free software with our time - we all know this. The benefit of FOSS is that we don't always need to pay cash for code changes. Offer something that you have access to - pizza, coffee, a subscription to some service, premium access to your site or someone else's. Think outside of the box. Barter. Negotiate. Offer public thanks to developers who help you. Share some of your knowledge with them. This is your own currency which sometimes money can't buy.

    We don't need to use a simple pay-for-service model. We can use a bounty system, to raise commitments from many people to fund specific changes. We can use services like Patreon or GoFundMe or (there's some funny irony here) we can use the retired Fundraising plugin to raise funds to support development of retired plugins. Yes, this is free with Dev and their supported plugins. Tough. We lost that with the retired ones. We need to get over it and use a different model. Again, this is basic business. We can complain, but in the end we must adapt.

    What I'm saying is that we can collaborate to keep this software alive, and to save you from feeling the need to migrate every time your favorite software gets retired. We can consider this one of the benefits of WPMU DEV membership, that we have this huge common special interest around which we can rally. DEV will help with some of this. They will not enhance the retired software, but they can help us to understand some details that we might need to enhance it ourselves.

    And as we do this we will attract the attention of others in the industry who might join us. This is the grandest vision of the SIG which I would hope to realize. Not only would this help us greatly with these plugins, but it will help us with all plugins. It will help developers. It will help WP in general. And it will help WPMU DEV who will ultimately get credit for all of this, and ironically some additional revenue.

    That's the direction I'd like to go. I've just been crying in my own soup about this for some number of months. I hope to get this rebooted soon. And I hope folks will stay with WPMU DEV and the SIG to help make it all happen.

    Sigh - once again, I shoulda blogged this...

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