It’s that time of year again. The process of finding mentors, projects, and students is underway for the 2014 edition of the Google Summer of Code. One of the successful projects from last years event is the Post by Email plugin by Kat Hagan. The plugin was supposed to replace the feature in WordPress 3.7.
I reached out to WordPress core developer Andrew Nacin to find out if the feature will be removed from WordPress sometime soon and whether Kat’s plugin was a source of the delay. One thing is certain, the feature will be removed.
There were some nagging concerns that outright removing the feature from core could inconvenience users who still rely on it. That doesn’t detract from Kat’s work at all. Her plugin is fantastic and it’s definitely a huge improvement over what’s in core now. It was never designed to be pulled into core, but rather to provide us an opportunity to remove what’s in core now.
Removing post by email presents a number of challenges. This will be the first time a feature is removed from core and substituted by a plugin. The team is still working on a plan of action.
In order to make the transition graceful, should we, say, download, activate, and set up Kat’s plugin when updating to WordPress 3.9? Or we could remove it but if they had it configured, point them toward the plugin. Or, at the very least, we could keep it functional, hiding the UI for new and existing installs unless they already had it configured. So there’s a bit more UX decision-making that has to happen there, but it’s on the table.
While WordPress is accustomed to merging plugins into core, this is the opposite situation. If I don’t have the post by email functionality configured in WordPress, I hope that it’s detected and the code is removed without adding the plugin to my install. It’s easy enough to delete it but I’d rather not go through the process. It will be interesting to see how this is handled and if the results are satisfactory, it may pave the way for something similar to happen with the Link Manager that was hidden from view in WordPress 3.5
How do you propose this feature be removed with as little hassle to end users as possible?