The official plugin directory is arguably the best place to host a plugin if you’re looking for the widest distribution, but it’s also one of the most inhospitable for developers. A current meta team initiative is focused on improving search, including prioritizing translated plugins for international users, and streamlining plugin submission, among other improvements. This major overhaul is slated to be finished at the end of June 2016.
In the meantime, WordPress.org plugin author Mickey Kay has created a plugin that he intends to be the go-to resource for plugin and theme authors looking for a better management experience. The WP Dev Dashboard plugin offers statistics for all of your WordPress.org plugins and themes in one convenient dashboard, along with a list of unresolved support requests.
In a post titled “A model for the new WordPress plugin directory,” Kay identifies some of the common pain points that developers experience with the existing directory: “dependency on SVN instead of Git, inconsistent search results, inclusion of obsolete information, obfuscation of more important statistics, etc.”
Kay built WP Dev Dashboard to assist those who are trying to manage numerous extensions on WordPress.org, a process that currently requires drilling down into each plugin/theme to view data and support requests.
“If I had to sum up the main problem I’m trying to solve, it’d be something like this: As a developer, and now maintainer of 16 plugins, it’s become all too easy for me to lose track of support requests, outdated core WP compatibility, and last updated dates,” Kay said.
“The current directory requires developers to manually click through to each plugin via their “dashboard” to check these stats. Plus, there are no options for notifications and/or other helpful automated features that would make my life much simpler.”
When he first released the plugin, he planned to launch a free, hosted service that could automatically send out regular notifications for things like unresolved tickets and daily/weekly/monthly download counts. The hosted service would provide a centralized command center for managing WordPress.org-hosted extensions.
“I haven’t built anything yet as there’s so much talk about building out a better solution natively within WordPress.org,” Kay said. “My strong preference would be for the new plugin directory efforts to incorporate ideas like these to create a better, more seamless experience for both end users and developers.”
One of the items on the roadmap for the second milestone is the creation of a “Plugin Author Admin.” Kay hopes that his implementation could serve as an inspiration for what WordPress.org could provide for developers with the existing Plugin API.
“The base functionality is already there as part of WordPress core, and all of the data is readily available via the existing Plugin API,” Kay said. “I think plugin authors stand to gain a ton from an updated admin/dashboard experience, and with 40,000+ plugins and counting, that’s a lot of happy points.”