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WordPress Plugin Standards

There is a great post on Weblog Tools Collection by Frank, aka Weathervane, who talks about making sure WordPress plugin authors start to come up with a better system for designing and implementing their plugin code.

Naming Conventions

1. Do not append your WordPress plugins with “wp-“ or “wp_.” We know it’s for WordPress, it was in your description. Use an evocative name even if it’s only “joe’s-.“ It’s not just you. When ASP was popular, everything (it seemed) was called asp this and asp that (as in asp calendar, asp blog, asp faq, and on and on).
2. Tell us where we’ll find your plugin access. If your plugin options are in the Admin Area under Options, say so.
3. Don’t create an Admin. Area menu item. Your plugin access has a home in Options or Management or within the other existing Admin. Area menu items.
4. Do not add your plugin access in an unexpected Admin. Area menu item, such as a Plugins submenu item.

I think as we get closer and closer to WordPress 2.5 this March, something should be done to standardize how plugins work, and interact with their user base. The first step was taken with the creation of a plugin repository on WordPress.org and now the next step should be taken: strict enforcement.

There is some great advice to plugin authors in the post on Weblog Tools Collection, and I highly recommend everyone check it out.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

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Comments

  1. Stephen R says: 1/15/2008

    I don’t like the sound of “strict enforcement” of the things you are suggesting. It limits plugin auhtors too much. I have, for example, a plugin with an options page located under Presentation. Why is it there? Because it displays pull-quotes in the post content — it’s purely presentational, and Presentation is a logical location for it. I sometimes wish plugin designers would do this a bit more intelligently instead of blindly dumping everything under “options”. Spam Karma? That should be under “Comments”. Ditto “Bad Behavior”.

    As it is my Options tab has a sub-list that’s almost three lines deep! Ack!

    Reply

  2. David Peralty ) says: 1/15/2008

    I agree that plugin pages need to be managed better, but I don’t like the idea of scattering them everywhere. While it would be nice to have them under the “logical” choices, I like that there are only certain options listed under nearly all of the admin pages, and they don’t change, and I don’t have to search for plugin options… they are all under Options…

    There almost needs to be an options button in the plugins page to deal with options… to get them away from creating any extra menus in the WP admin system.

    Reply

  3. JamieO says: 1/16/2008

    Individual plugin options being accessible via the plugins page makes a lot of sense for plugins which don’t get touched / used during day-to-day blogging. For those that need regular interaction, convert the dashboard into something similar to the widget version sidebar. Each plugin can create it’s own admin widget and the blog user can decide if they want it on or not.

    Reply

  4. Weathervane says: 1/26/2008

    To paraphrase: you don’t publish with the post you want; you publish with the post you’ve got.

    I admit, there are are few tweaks I’d make to that post but the overall idea was to ask for wider professionalism in plugins because of the number of non-technical, new WordPress publishers whose blogs get broken by plugins.

    As for “Tell us where we’ll find your plugin access. If your plugin options are in the Admin Area under Options, say so,” it was more a plea for author’s to tell us, somewhere, where their plugin’s configuration has been added. And, yes, it’s a surprise to find plugins with an entry in Options and another in, say, Management or Plugins—not mentioned in the documentation.

    I would ask that you take into consideration that I am addressing plugins from the non-technical, new WordPress publisher’s point-of-view.

    Regards.

    Reply

  5. Derrick Love says: 1/29/2008

    I do not agree with number #1. Using the “wp-” in the file makes things easier for me when I have files all over the place.

    Reply

  6. sohbet says: 7/23/2008

    I don’t like the sound of “strict enforcement” of the things you are suggesting. It limits plugin auhtors too much

    Reply

  7. James | Tablet PC Android says: 7/6/2011

    I have to agree with sohbet, any sort of restriction on creative processes tends to have negative consequences…

    Reply