Network or NotNetwork Activation...

Just re-installing some plugins - and it occurs to me - that some of the plugins are to be "NetworkActivated" while others aren't... but in some instructions - there is no indication as to which method of activation is required.

Upon looking further - and reading through the forums - I've discovered that; while this question does get asked from time to time - there really has been no clear effort to properly determine which plugins are meant for which sort of activation.

A great example would be the "Blog Directory". This is a "network activated" plugin. But that doesn't really make any sense. The purpose of the plugin (we assume) is to present a single page on the core landing site - or on the main network menu - which provides a directory of the network blogs.
Depending if you are thinking like a network admin, or a site admin - this could be a painful riddle to unravel. Does this need to be network activated? Or does it simply activate on the core site - and snoop through the network.

Then there's the other side of the coin. the WPMUdev UPDATE Plugin. Is this a network activation? or is this just for the network admin to see on the core site? If I "network activate" it - do the individual site admins get notifications to update their plugins?

Perhaps I'm over thinking - but this has bitten me in the rear on MANY occasions. With the lack of consistency in the way installation documents are sometimes written - it leaves far too much room for over-thinking. So all we (noobs) are left with - is coming up with a clear way of understanding the difference between a network activation, and a site activation.

I've probably read 20 explanations of what the difference is - but in each of those explanations there seems to be some key information missing. Like the fact that a network activated plugin might only be visible to the network admin - while others provide additional functionality that individual sites can change separately.

Ultimate Facebook is one such plugin that seriously messes with my mind. But I'm happy to post that in a different thread, because it's an entirely different conversation.

Any thoughts from those in the know?

  • aecnu
    • WP Unicorn

    Greetings BigCat,

    Just re-installing some plugins - and it occurs to me - that some of the plugins are to be "NetworkActivated" while others aren't... but in some instructions - there is no indication as to which method of activation is required.

    This is due to the fact that it then becomes the network admins choice of method and usually can be assigned as a premium plugin or theme as in the case when using Pro Sites plugin.

    A great example would be the "Blog Directory". This is a "network activated" plugin. But that doesn't really make any sense. The purpose of the plugin (we assume) is to present a single page on the core landing site - or on the main network menu - which provides a directory of the network blogs.
    Depending if you are thinking like a network admin, or a site admin - this could be a painful riddle to unravel. Does this need to be network activated?

    Yes this is network activated if you want this function or it cannot aggregate the data from the sub blogs to render on the main site as desired - or there is no use for the plugin at all.

    Or does it simply activate on the core site - and snoop through the network.

    Well in a way this is true but a little more complicated then that and it needs a way to integrate with the sub sites of the network and being network activated is how this is done from the end user perspective.

    Then there's the other side of the coin. the WPMUdev UPDATE Plugin. Is this a network activation?

    Yes and the instructions do in fact indicate network activation.

    or is this just for the network admin to see on the core site?

    Yes just the network admin see the updates and there messages, but the plugin still has to have a way to access the other blogs to be able to update them as well and therefore network activation.

    If I "network activate" it - do the individual site admins get notifications to update their plugins?

    No they do not get notifications.

    Any thoughts from those in the know?

    There is no absolute answer for this. One must consider what the individual plugin does to make a decision on to network activate or not in most cases. For example if one wants to have a certain plugin forced across the entire network the rule would be to network activate the plugin, for example the upgrades plugin - when upgrading the entire network needs to be upgraded.

    Now lets take Pop Up! plugin, does the network admin want to force the entire network to configure pop ups (or else a blank box will pop on there pages if this is not configured) or will that remain a site admin function. I would say a site by site admin decision on whether or not to have a pop up and what it's contents will be. Therefore not network activated.

    I hope this clarifies things a bit more on network activation vs site by site activations.

    Cheers, Joe

  • BigCat
    • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    I think that you only re-enforced my point.
    Since I didn't write the code - I do not know what it needs access to. Since I don't know what it needs access to - I can only relate the function of the script to what I "want" it to do. But until I've downloaded it - installed it - set it up, and eventually found a way to use it - I have no idea how to figure out if it fits my goals.

    Perhaps I should simplify my approach - and rephrase the question...

    Would it be possible to designate whether a plugin is a "network activated", "site activated" or "Either" in the plugin descriptions?

    The trial and error time wasted figuring that out - is really effecting my productivity as I develop my project(s).

  • BigCat
    • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    ye know...
    If what you mean to say is: It DOES tell you the difference, and IT DOES let you know exactly which one (or which ones) you should/or shouldn't use - then why don't you just say... "It does say that already."

    Is it really necessary to come across with a challenge? Seriously? If you spoke to me that way in person I would take my money elsewhere.

    The bottom line is this... If I have to go searching for that information then perhaps it's not as easy to find as you'd think it should be. I thought my question was simple. Perhaps my explanation of why I was asking the question should be argued with among your staff, not with me.

    In any case - I found my own answer elsewhere.

    OH, and in answer to your rather arrogant challenge?
    IN the INSTRUCTIONS of basically every single plugin you have - it does not indicate if "either activation" is acceptable or what the difference might be if I chose either. So while I COULD point you in any direction I like - perhaps I'll just let you choose whichever one you'll enjoy arguing with on your own.

    Cheers!

  • BigCat
    • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    Just in case anyone actually cares about this issue - here's a suggestion; MU plugins could include (in their description) a standardized set of paragraphs that look like this:

    Network Activated: "it will behave this way on the core site"
    "it will behave this way on the network sites"

    Non-Network Activated: "it will behave this way on the core site"
    "it will behave this way on the network sites"

    The thing is; because there is a choice - there must also be a difference. But without telling someone what that difference might be, it's impossible for them to be sure which is the correct choice. All I'm asking - is for the plugin description to allow me to understand what that difference is (or might be) before I am required to make the choice.

    • umediaone
      • New Recruit

      Sorry to reignite this thread but this would help tremendously!!!! I am having the most difficult time understanding when to do one or the other because of the lack of detail as exemplified above. Man, can we get this standardization in place?

Thank NAME, for their help.

Let NAME know exactly why they deserved these points.

Gift a custom amount of points.