A plea to WordPress plugin developers: Think before you release an update!

Inspired by this week’s rant from our technical director Andy, I will write about why WordPress plugin developers should think before they release yet another update.

In choosing a WordPress plugin, it’s important to check the quality. Things to look at include the rating, the types of issue raised in the support forum, how well the plugin developer responds to requests in the support forum – and also, that the plugin is actively updated on a regular basis. If a plugin hasn’t been updated for several years then that’s a bad sign.

WordPress plugin developers are aware of this. But some of them take it to extremes.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve received a notification telling me to update a WordPress plugin. And when I check what the update actually includes, it’s something miniscule like a tidy-up to the code or a change to the readme file.

You could argue that it doesn’t matter, and WordPress website owners should want each plugin to be as good as possible.

But the benefit of such minor improvements is outweighed by the other implications of having to apply the update. All plugin updates have a knock-on effect and cost to the website owner – testing, compatibility with other plugins, etc. In the race to be seen to be supporting their plugins, plugin deveopers often seem to forget these things.

WordPress plugin developers, take note!

Here is my plea to WordPress plugins developers:

When you modify a plugin, please think about whether the change actually justifies releasing an update.

Updates should only be released a few times a year at most – or if a really significant change has been made that needs to be applied urgently (remember the Timthumb vulnerability, everyone). Anything less urgent can wait until the next planned update.

Thank you

Theme developers aren’t off the hook either!

This plea is directed at WordPress plugin developers as that’s what we’ve been discussing in the Barn2 Media office today. However, the same applies to WordPress theme developers – we’ve seen just as many pointless updates to themes that have wasted our time.