WordPress takes into account historical development changes

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WordPress developer and Autommatic CEO Matt Mullenweg has suggested that WordPress stop adding new features and instead move to a plugin-first policy.

This new approach to the future of WordPress already brings new features intended to be completely removed in the next version of WordPress.

The Canonical plugin is said to provide a way to keep WordPress improving on a faster schedule.

However, some major WordPress contributors have expressed the opinion that it may hurt the user experience for publishers.

regular plugin

First discussed in 2009, regular plugins are a way to develop new functionality in the form of plugins.

The goal of this approach is to keep the core of WordPress fast and lean, while facilitating the development of experimental features in the form of plugins.

The original 2009 proposal explained:

“Regular plugins are community-developed plugins (not just one, but multiple developers) that address the most popular feature requests with the highest execution.

…there is a very strong relationship between the core and these plugins, a) ensuring that the plugin code is safe and a best example of coding standards, and b) ensuring that these plugins are tested before new versions of WordPress are released. Guaranteed to be tested against ins. This is to ensure compatibility. ”

This approach to features and options is also called plugin-first, to emphasize how features appear first in the form of plugins.

These plugins are developed by the WordPress core development team and are therefore standard called.

Integrating regular plugins into the WordPress core itself will be considered once the plugin technology proves popular and essential for the majority of users.

The advantage of this new approach to WordPress is that it avoids adding new features that the majority of users may not need.

Plugin-first may seem in line with the WordPress philosophy called decisions, not options, to avoid burdening users with layers of technical options.

By offloading different functionality to plugins, users don’t have to struggle to enable or disable functionality they want, don’t need, or don’t understand.

The WordPress design philosophy states:

“Our duty as developers is to make smart design decisions and avoid burdening end users with technical choices.”

The future of Canonical plugins?

Matt Mullenweg published a post titled “Canonical Plugins Revisited”, arguing that this is how WordPress should be developed going forward.

he wrote:

“We’re reaching a point where the core needs to be more editorial and say ‘no’ to features being added ad-hoc. My hope is that more Make teams will use this as an opportunity by influencing the future of WordPress. A plugin-first approach results in shorter development and release cycles (instead of 3 times a year), less review overhead, and allows plugins to be migrated to core if they are very successful. ”

The first casualty of this new approach is the cancellation of the integration of WebP image conversion into WordPress 6.1, the next version of WordPress currently scheduled for November 2022.

Plugin-first is controversial

The move to a plugin-first development process was the subject of discussion in the comments section.

Some developers, such as core contributor Jon Brown, have expressed reservations about the proposal to switch to developing with standard plugins.

they commented:

“There remains the problem of too many complex plugins instead of simple optional features.

Plugins are _not_ user-friendly options to core settings. The user first had to discover that there was a plugin, then negotiate yet another settings screen and updates and maintenance for that plugin. ”

Commenters used examples of commenting functionality currently provided by multiple bloated plugins as a less-than-ideal user experience.

They pointed out that having one canonical plugin to solve the problem is preferable to the current state where the desired options are only found in bloated third-party plugins.

However, they also said having configuration options within the core without the need for plugins could provide a better user experience.

They continued:

“Right now I think the Canonical plugin is in a better situation than the 6+ bloated plugins out there, but we could have added one checkbox to the core settings page to do this. This further improves the UX and detection issues inherent in plugins.”

Ultimately, commenters expressed the idea that the concept of canonical plugins seemed like a way to shut down discussions about features to consider, preventing conversation from happening.

The “canonical plugin” looks like a weaponized tool to derail the debate in the same way “decision not option” has been around for years. ”

That last statement is a reference to the frustration some of the key contributors felt at not being able to add feature options due to their “decision not option” philosophy.

Some people argue against the plugin-first approach.

“Canonical plugins sound great, but they add to the maintenance burden for maintainers.

In my opinion it shouldn’t.

It’s much better to include some basic functionality in the core itself rather than further saying it’s a good place for plugins. ”

Someone else pointed out the flaws of plugin-first in that it may not be easy to gather user feedback. In that case, if the user’s needs are unknown, there may not be a good way to improve the plugin in a way that meets the user’s needs.

they wrote:

“How can we better collect user feedback?

Unless the site owner is knowledgeable enough to report issues on GitHub or Trac (honestly nobody reports plugin issues on Trac), these recommended/official There really is no way to collect user feedback to improve the plugin. “

regular plugin

WordPress development is evolving to make improvements faster. Comments from key contributors indicate that there are many open questions about how well this system works for users.

An early indicator is what happens with canceled WebP features that were previously slated to be integrated into core, and are now plugins.

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Studio Romantic


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