Before I leave

My membership is up in a few days, and thought I'll probably come back again in a few months, I wanted to leave some general feedback.

Combine plugins to speed up development

Part of the appeal of WPMU is that there's a plugin for everything.. Which is great pre-sales wise, but after you join I feel like more than a few people have been let down because a particular plugin isn't robust enough or updates take a while. I tried to get a basic answer on hacking a plugin myself (basically where to change the post type - not even asking someone to do it for me) and it took months for a response. It was a fairly simple question, and I'm forgiving of it because I realize the developers are working with 10s of plugins, but I think that's part of the problem.

Good developers are hard to find. I know, because not so good ones are the reason I learned anything about code in the first place. And I really do think there are good developers working on things here, but one person can only do so much. If there were core plugins, I feel like not only would the plugins be superior to others out there, but the developers could really drill down on new features and bug fixes without getting stretched.

My suggestions for plugins is that they should become BuddyPress style plugins, where they are the main plugin, and additional functionality comes via sub-plugins or add-ons designed to hook into the main plugin.

MarketPress
Please consider focusing product based plugins as add-ons to the core MP plugin. MP already has multiple payment gateways, limiting and a lot of other things that wouldn't have to be reinvented for other plugins. As sub plugins, Events would be a good one to add on to MP, group buying, limited time offers would be my other suggestions.

Admin Communication suite
Login Message
Custom Admin Bar
Easy Blogging
Automessage
Custom Admin Text
Admin Panel Tips
Rebranded Meta Widget
Admin Footer Text
Login Image
Admin Help Content
Remove Permalinks Menu
Clean Up the Dashboard
Admin Ads
Admin Message

Those are 14 plugins that effect the same area. Wouldn't it be easier to maintain one plugin that has options for all these things, rather than 14 separate plugins? As a user, it would be much easier too.

I know there's work on an ad server product, it would be nice to have that integrated/combined with Pop-Up and some of the other ad plugins.

A Stats suite could combine Reports, Multisite analytics, etc.

Some plugins make sense on their own, but a lot of the plugins could be combined. And as a user, it would be so much easier to not have 20 different individual settings menus when you could really take care of things with 2 or 3. Think about it this way: what if each feature in Wordpress were a different plugin? One plugin for categories, another plugin for tags, another plugin for feeds... after a while it gets to be too much. Why do you think they combined MU with the standard single blogs? Development could progress on both faster by building off of similarities rather than building in parallel, but on two separate projects. If they were still separate, I'm sure there would have been custom taxonomies on one platform but not the other, and all kinds of things that would have to be rebuilt.

I see that happening here. Things are getting so fragmented that it becomes increasingly difficult to provide the best experience on every plugin. New people get frustrated that they aren't getting something they expected, developers can't respond right away because they've got lots of other projects to look after, everyone knows a little bit about every plugin but few people have mastered any of them, developers can't respond to each thread for aforementioned reasons, people who expected a "it just works" solution give up when it doesn't and don't have the patience to stick around for a few months for it to improve.

I think that you all try really hard, when you get something right it's really well done, and you all seem like nice enough people so I want to see the site succeed (so that you can sustain keeping access to all of these great plugins at a relatively affordable price). I hope you don't take offense at this, because it's definitely not how I intend it. But I think you're going to have continuous uphill battles on your hand with disappointed customers if something is not worked out to allow developers to really hone in on just a few plugins and make them best in class, rather than lots of patchwork plugins where some are great and some are just okay, and the ones that are just okay take months to move along.

  • Arun Basil Lal

    Hello ymousley,

    Thanks so much for the awesome feedback. Am gonna pass this to everyone that should know this, because you seem to have a very valid point there.

    Today morning I was fondling with some plugins and I saw "Login Redirect" and "Logout Redirect". I downloaded them and both of them are just 4kb in size. I was wondering why wasn't they made as just one plugin? Your points are in total sync with that.

    Regarding the delay in getting your solution, I am quite new here, but as part of WPMU, I would like to apologize for the same. While developers do handle the threads often, its actually the support staff that is responsible for answering them. And we had a real shortage of good support people, and you can see that "I am trying out as support". So it all adds to faster resolutions of problems from here after.

    Thanks for all the well wishes, by the time you return and I really hope you return, we hope to give you a much bigger experience in here!

    Thanks for being a member :slight_smile:

    Arun Basil Lal

  • ymousley

    @Arun, I didn't include those in the list, but yes, those two could absolutely be combined and probably included in a larger Admin appearance/communication plugin. Most people who'd want to change login images or messages would probably want to be able to decide on login/logout pages at the same time.

    I'd really like to see MarketPress take the core path though. There's currently no wordpress e-commerce plugin that offers all the things that Magento does, and I don't expect that one ever would completely, but if there were an add-on for MarketPress to allow for group sales, flash sales (listings are no longer available after a certain time), enhanced couponing (restricting discounts to certain product categories, price levels) it could come pretty darn close. And it would completely blow other e-commerce plugins away.

    Even with the admin area plugins, if they were combined into one it would be a lot more powerful than other login plugins.

  • fitoussi

    Interesting points. But there are few main reason I wouldn't want to see that happens. The smaller the plugin the better performance for the site and the better control for the user. I do not want to install a whole suit of plugins just because I want the "custom admin bar". And I also do not want to have the "market press" installed in a customer's website just because he want to sell tickets online. It makes the site and the plugins too " heavy" and sometimes complex to use.. Some features in my site I create by my self even if there is plugin for that. That is If the plugin has more features that I will not use then those that I will. I think you want to keep the plugins small as you can, to the point ( do one thing) but integrat with other plugins. And i think That this is what WPMUDEV do the best. There are many plugins and it's great. Not everybody need to use all of them and so they do not need to master all of them.
    Just a though

  • ymousley

    @fitoussi I know the tradeoff in some cases would be simplicity, but sometimes simplicity complicates things. I guarantee you that if you have 14 small plugins, you'd probably save time and server resources by combining those into 1. For one, if there are any duplicate calls, you're not making them over and over.

    I add a lot of things to my site via functions as well, normally because I want to customize one thing in depth or make a small change that doesn't require a full plugin so I understand that perspective.

    But that's why I'd argue for a core plugin with hooks. If you don't need event functionality in Marketpress, or group offers, then don't activate those add-ons. Especially with events, the fact that you're installing Google Maps to get that functionality, setting up payment gateways, etc. doesn't put it too far past what you have to do to set up a product in Marketpress now, but since it's newer you don't get all of the options or functionality - no way to limit number of tickets, no way to offer different options like group pricing, no coupons, not integrated with affiliate, etc. There's still some duplication though, so even if Events is a smaller plugin right now, if you decide at any point to add Marketpress that makes it more complex because you have 2 payment gateways to set up, multiple products (event tickets are basically digital products) without a central management system, twice the database entries, twice the code, etc.

    Same thing with an admin customization. If you don't want to use one of the features, don't check a box and leave it alone, but being able to manage all of that from one place would be much easier than installing 10-14 different things. Individually, they may be 4 or 5kb, but combined into one plugin they'd probably be 6kb rather than 10 or 20 once you start duplicating functionality.

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