May 19th, 2012
Been hanging out with a few WordPress.org hackers — Scott, Nacin, and Otto — the last few days in a BBQ-fueled haze of hacking to make plugin directory better. There are over 19,000 plugins listed and they’re really the heart and soul of WordPress for many people, so they deserve a little tender loving care. Here’s a quick before and after snapshot you can zoom in on to see a visual overview of some of the changes:
Our first focus was around improving the discussion and support around plugins.
You’ll now notice that threads about a plugin are pulled directly into a “support” tab on the plugin page — each plugin has its own forum. We’ve made authors much more prominent and with bigger Gravatars and better placement, so you can get a sense of who made the plugin you’re using. And finally to show how active and well-supported a plugin is, you can see ”16 of 75 support threads in the last two weeks have been resolved.” Finally, if you’re logged in you get access to the new “favorites” feature that lets you mark the plugins you use the most so you can share them on your profile page and find them quickly later. We soft-launched favorites a few days ago and there have already been 2,000 saved!
If you’re a plugin author, we’ve started with a short threshold (2 weeks) for the resolved stats so it’s easy to catch up and stay on top of it. (It’ll eventually go to two months.) You also now have the ability to set stickies on your plugin forum to put FAQs or important information at the top, and of course any person you put as a committer on the plugin will have moderation access. People on the forum tag will see your custom header and links to the other resources attached to your plugin.
We’ve tightened up the styling a bit on the forums and plugin pages, though still some cleanups to do there. Some older improvements you might have missed, but are still useful for users and developers alike:
- “Plugin headers” or those cool graphics you see at the top of plugin pages have really taken off, there are over 1,600 active now.
- You can now subscribe to get an email whenever a commit is made to a plugin repository even if it isn’t yours. There is no better way to follow the development of your favorite plugins. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh changesets in the morning.
- Behind the scenes, we’ve dramatically ramped up proactive scanning of the entire repository to help authors fix security and other problems they might not even know about yet. The quality level of the repo has gone way, way up.
All of this will continue to evolve as we get feedback and see usage, but we’re happy to have been able to make some key improvements in just a few days while hanging out in Memphis. (This is why WordCamps usually have BBQ — it imparts magical coding powers.)