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Ranting on WordPress Plugin Development

Justin Shattuck, who is currently working on some plug-ins for WordPress, has released a rant on how many plug-ins are just too complex.

I’ve noticed, recently, plugins are not as simple as I, personally would like to see. Plugins seem to have crazy amounts of options and configuration settings. Multiple tags and some are even extremely difficult to integrate. Even for those of us who are savvy with application development, specifically: PHP, MySQL, Ruby, XHTML and CSS; it can be a pain.

I for one agree with him. I also think that any plug-in that makes me edit files, other than inserting a tag or simple statement in a page is too much work, has not been developed properly, and, really, as such is just a hack job, and not a full plug-in. So while simplicity is key, that doesn’t mean under develop. What it means is making sure that the users of the plug-in can install, implement, and use the tool quickly and easily. I also find that the documentation that goes with plug-ins is horrible. I would love to see plug-in makers taking it upon themselves to spend a bit more time in that respect as well, especially if you are going to have more than just the option of turning the plug-in on or off.
Justin then goes on to ask for people’s thoughts on what directions he should take with an upcoming plug-in, wanting to know how option crazy we want things to be.
Makes me wonder if there should be some sort of limitation on the amount of option menus or sub-options and whatnot that WordPress allows plug-ins. As much as I love to see WordPress extended beyond its original intention, I still think simplicity is key for 99% of the bloggers out there.