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.
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
Custom Admin Bar
Custom Admin Text
Admin Panel Tips
Rebranded Meta Widget
Admin Footer Text
Admin Help Content
Remove Permalinks Menu
Clean Up the Dashboard
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.