Automattic Has Discontinued Active Development on Edit Flow Plugin

Edit Flow, the modular editorial plugin that enables collaboration inside the WordPress admin, is no longer being actively developed. After no updates for nine months, Mark Warbinek, a frustrated user, contacted Automattic to ask if they have abandoned the plugin or still plan to update it. A support representative from Automattic confirmed the company will no longer be updating Edit Flow:

At this time there is no active development of the Edit Flow Plugin.

That being the case – two things I can suggest are:

Submitting the issue to the Github repository for the plugin. This is used to track future development of the plugin and will be a canonical place for bugs or issues to be recorded.
https://github.com/Automattic/Edit-Flow

It is possible to ‘fork’ the plugin and make the changes needed – or use an alternative that has already been forked like PublishPress:
https://github.com/Automattic/Edit-Flow

Edit Flow is active on more than 10,000 WordPress sites and its sporadic development has caused users to question whether it was abandoned several times over the years. It is still listed among the WordPress.com VIP plugins, but will likely only be maintained for that platform going forward. A 10-month old PR was merged on its GitHub repository as recently as 19 days ago, after the contributor began to question whether the project was abandoned.

In 2016, Edit Flow went two years in between updates, leaving frustrated users in the dark. After that incident, a representative from Automattic said the company was working on an internal effort to improve the maintenance of their own plugins in order to avoid a situation like this happening again. The company currently has 88 plugins listed in the official directory.

PublishPress is the only alternative editorial plugin with comparable features, including an editorial calendar, notifications, editorial comments, custom statuses, and a content overview. It also offers seamless migration of Edit Flow data to PublishPress. A commercial version of the plugin includes additional features, such as a publishing checklist, reminders, permissions, a WooCommerce checklist, and more.

“I think I can speak for those users of this plugin that we are not happy with the horrible handling of this plugin, how Automattic has ignored and abandoned it, leaving users to suffer in the continuing fails this out-of-date plugin is causing,” Mark Warbinek said in response to to the reply from Automattic’s support team.

Unfortunately, this is always a risk when using free plugins from WordPress.org, especially ones without a direct business model supporting development. In many instances the plugin author’s first priority will be maintaining it for the paying customers. In this case that is WordPress.com VIP clients. Automattic has not posted an announcement on Edit Flow’s support forums, but an official communication would go a long way towards steering users in the right direction when they inevitably come looking for signs of life in the plugin.

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13 Comments


  1. Hello, as one of the co-founders of Nelio Software, I would like to comment that Edit Flow users might also consider installing our Nelio Content plugin.

    The free version includes a drag-and-drop editorial calendar, quality control, reference suggestions, publication analytics, and scheduling a limited number of social messages to promote your content on social networks.

    In addition, the commercial version also includes automatic social promotion on social networks, and other features to manage the entire editorial process.

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  2. Well, more frustrating is when you don’t have any answer of the developer…who works for Automattic.

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  3. Edit Flow died about 6 years ago — Automattic wouldn’t let Daniel Bachhuber maintain it after he left that company; if my memory’s correct, he wrote it when he was part of the WordPress.com VIP team, which is where I met him. :)

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    1. Very disturbing to hear this, especially since Daniel Bachhuber is still listed.

      Sad to see this level of neglect by Automattic on many plugins that have large numbers of users.

      Even worse that they will not even accept help from the community!

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  4. Edit Flow Plugin was a great for team collaboration. This plugin has always helped us in managing multi author WordPress website. Sad that automattic is discontinued the active development of this plugin. we have used this many of our client websites.

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  5. I head up VIP here at Automattic and appreciate posts like this that allow us to bring to light areas of confusion. I want to help clarify a few things! I’ll start by saying we are in no way dropping support for Edit Flow.

    We do see a difference between active feature development and maintenance updates to a plugin and this post tends to use these things interchangeably. It is correct that we are not currently pushing new features for Edit Flow. However, we are committed to maintaining this and other plugins so that those who depend on them are able to continue to do so.

    We face the same challenge that many in software face when it comes to supporting existing work while looking to the future and where to invest energy. I hope folks can understand the delicate balance here. We accept that we have fallen short at times when it comes to maintaining our existing work and appreciate the community holding us accountable.

    These are interesting times for us at VIP. We are seeing demand for WordPress in the enterprise market like never before. VIP is more committed than ever to product development for the unique needs of this space. We have recently brought on a new Head of Product and Engineering. With the addition of this role, there is a commitment to focused product development and that includes ensuring key plugins like Edit Flow are maintained. Presently, that maintenance includes security updates, critical bugs, ensuring compatibility with new versions of WordPress, and directly supporting VIP customer use. Going forward the VIP Product and Engineering teams are committed to allocating time to regularly review and address issues and provide regular updates to the plugins. As we stabilize on maintenance, new feature development will pick up in areas where we see unique opportunity.

    If you have specific issues with any of our plugins which are impacting your use, please do let us know in the forums or flag me personally. I’m ng at automattic.

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    1. It doesn’t seem like it’s even being given a level of attention at the most basic level of what could be considered “maintained”.

      This plugin was breaking functionality of other plugins on a client site.

      I forked the repo, fixed the issue, and submitted a PR on January 26 (https://github.com/Automattic/Edit-Flow/pull/499). After several months of periodic commenting and asking if anybody was even maintaining the repo, it finally got merged just last month (thanks, Viktor Szépe and Rebecca Hum!).

      This doesn’t seem to me like a commitment to maintaining the plugin.

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      1. @Nick Gernert – I like what you are saying, but it does not match with what we have seen as @james Leslie Miller has already said.

        We would like to see at least some active development though, not just very slow bug fixing.

        Have you considered allowing the community to help?

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  6. It’s simple, that plugin has to disappear/die because if conflicts with “Gutenberg Phase 3 (2020): collaboration, multi-user editing of Gutenberg, and workflows”.

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    1. I think that’s completely reasonable. I welcome a first-party solution. But I’d also appreciate just a basic maintenance-level of support for Edit Flow until that solution is actually implemented.

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