I’m not a developer but I enjoy the fruits of WordPress developers’ labor every single day. When I install one of the many plugins on my clients’ sites to do everything from managing events, offering easy digital downloads to site visitors, hooking in mailing lists and social media, that represents a lot of hard work that’s been done by developers for the benefit of the entire WordPress community and for that I have a lot of gratitude.
There has likely been several millions of hours that people have contributed into developing the thirty-three thousand free plugins that are publicly available on the WordPress Plugin Repo for all to use. Premium plugins are offered with support at very affordable prices. People continue to put more time into supporting and developing free plugins, keeping them up to date and compatible with the ever-constant stream of WordPress releases.
Over the last few years, I’ve become a bit more wary of relying on a lot of free plugins on the WordPress on sites I manage since they often stop being supported and updated. It makes sense…people need to earn money to feed their families and oftentimes the effort put into supporting and maintaining a plugin that doesn’t make you any money isn’t sustainable.
There are some exceptions of course. I’ve been using plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast and Contact Form 7 for years and feel confident that those plugins will be maintained for years.
With that said, I’m sure any WordPress user has seen something like this when they are looking for that perfect plugin for their site.
Fortunately, we have some WordPress heroes in our community that are “adopting” plugins and restoring them to their proper glory and usefulness! I first heard of this trend by Matt Cromwell in the wonderful Advanced WordPress group on Facebook after he took on the task of adopting two plugins that had gone without updating for some time.
A Call to Action!
There are a lot of ways that we can promote a healthy ecosystem within WordPress:
Join Matt and others and adopt a plugin that you think you could contribute to. If you have a plugin on the repo that you can no longer support, give it up for adoption so someone can take it on.
Also, there are so many plugins that do the same thing. In an open-source community like WordPress, I’d love to see more collaborative efforts between developers that are working on similar plugins to bring a truly amazing product.
Non-Developers like me who use these plugins:
Support the authors that make these free plugins. Lots of these free plugins have pro versions and premium support that can be purchased for a reasonable amount. Give a donation to them via PayPal. Stop by their website and send them a thank-you. Offer your services to them free of charge. Promote their work if you like it and use it.
The WordPress.org team
I’m not the most knowledgeable person on how the WordPress.org team handles the plugin repo, but I’d like to see further separation of plugins that are likely to work and those that aren’t. The adoption page is a great idea. While I use WordPress on 95% of my projects and will continue to use WordPress and recommend it, I feel one of the major drawbacks is the life-span and unreliability of some plugins.
What else can we do to promote a healthy WordPress plugin ecosystem?
Sound off in the comments below! Also feel free to drop a link to a plugin you have personally adopted (free or premium)
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