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  1. Ted Clayton

    Otto is the WordPress guy who walks the talk.

    PHP is an “interpreter”, as opposed to a “compiler”, and that makes adding plugins to an existing PHP program (WordPress) attractive, easy, and cheap. Indeed, they can be viewed as “object oriented” extensions (anything OO is Good).

    It’s true there used to be problems with adding lots of plugins. WordPress also used to force everyone to use “admin” as the administrative login username. Dumb things happen … but Firefox also had a parallel hangup with larger plugin-counts.

    It’s not true anymore. You can go at least moderately hog-wild on plugins, and not end up a hog on ice.

    It is still an evolving situation. And in some cases & contexts, a devolving situation, too. Plugins reinforce the old wisdom that great freedom can be a big burden. Wide flexibility and a wealth of choices also lead to ‘issues’ … but of the kind we like to have.

    Those who are capable of looking at the HTML for their webpage can spot one of the gotchas with plugins: that some of them stuff code or data into your page. Sometimes whether they are doing anything or not. With just a few plugins, this behavior is relatively modest in cost, but with dozens of plugins doing this, you can end up with stupendous amounts of ‘crap’ in your page.

    Conflicts between plugins are now fairly rare. Used to be a big problem. But as we go to larger and then really-large numbers of plugins, the challenge of identifying that occasional conflict, when one does arise, becomes severe. You need to be prepared, with techniques & tools, to deal with what can no longer be fixed, just ‘by hand’ and ‘by eye’.

    Larger numbers of smaller and simpler plugins are an inherently better & smarter use of the general plugin-idea, than smaller numbers of bigger and more-sophisticated plugins.

    WordPress stands to sort of enter a second adolescence, as the potential of well-designed deployments of larger & larger numbers of plugins become practical, and the advantages become clearer. Firefox is hoping to join WP … in what is now looking like an actual ‘strategy’.

    There should be a niche or business-opportunity here, for experts familiar with WordPress and with a growing array of themes & plugins. The sheer amount of attention required to know what is possible, and the combination of theme & plugin pieces to make it happen the way the user would like, will exceed what many users will be able to devote.

    There should be an emerging product-category, consisting of nicely-chosen collections of others’ theme & plugin work, presented to various classes of users, as ‘just what they would have made themselves’, if they had the time to review & compare the hundreds and even thousand of choices involved, and make the right picks.

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  2. Hey Jeff, thanks for sharing this! And yes, his thoughts on plugins is what gave me the idea to do the interview. When I attended his session at WordCamp Seattle, someone asked him something very similar. And as I am part of the “quality over quantity” camp, I was glad to hear his thoughts.

    Cheers and thanks again!

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  3. @Bob Dunn – Thanks for publishing the interview. I’ll have my first opportunity to meet Otto myself next week at WCSF.

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