EP309 – WordPress Plugins In the Modern Era

February 15, 2019

On this episode of WPwatercooler, Jason Tucker led a lively discussion centered around the evolution and state of WordPress plugins in the modern era. The conversation kicked off with introductions and some light-hearted banter among the participants. Colin, a one-man developer from Spain, shared his experience of submitting his first plugin to the WordPress repository, noting its surprisingly straightforward process. This led to a broader conversation about the challenges and resistances faced by users and developers in adopting new WordPress technologies like Gutenberg. Many clients, as mentioned, tend to prefer the “old ways” due to their familiarity, even as the digital landscape continually evolves. The panelists also touched upon the importance of keeping plugins updated and the potential risks of using outdated ones. Steve emphasized the necessity of clear communication, especially when introducing new systems to larger teams. The conversation also meandered to the topic of legacy systems and the importance of continual adaptation in the tech world. By the episode’s end, Jason wrapped up by reminding listeners about the various platforms where they can engage with WPwatercooler content and invited them to share the episode with their networks.

00:00 Introduction and Welcomes
01:07 Colin’s Experience with Plugin Submission
02:46 Jason’s Thoughts on Live Streaming
03:16 Discussion on Gaming and Twitch
04:17 Transition to Modern WordPress Plugins
06:57 Challenges with Older Technologies
08:04 Importance of Adapting to Change
10:12 Personal Stories and Broadways Tickets
11:31 Gutenberg Blocks Design Library Introduction
13:15 Legacy Systems and JavaScript Deep Dive
16:22 The Resistance to Change in Technology
18:17 Legacy Systems and Their Impact
20:42 Emphasizing Updates and the Dangers of Outdated Plugins
24:50 Educating Clients on Modern WordPress Practices
27:10 Humor in Development and Plugin Updates
28:51 Episode Wrap-Up and Subscription Information

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Episode Transcription

(00:00) oh my goodness hey what’s up everyone this is Jason Tucker and this is JP water-cooler episode number 309 309 styled phone number ever right answer this time let’s find out key cards just do the area code you’re in Klus 867-5309 [Music] Steve start us off run me OC WordPress meetup allegedly nice Colin how about you tell us about yourself we I’m just a
(01:07) one-man band turn out websites for the people awesome good good to have you on here and hanging out with us and y’all sir your first time here so welcome good to have you thank you we’ll be gentle tell us about yourself it took 390 episodes for that my name is say I make requests each WordPress preached WordPress at sea read media on all the things and I like to sing and today I’m feeling singie you like to say gizzard an empty room and you’re super excited to be in an empty room good to have you as always mr. Casper
(02:11) how about you Thank You mr. Tucker I’m Jim Casper aka action Jackson and I’m happy to hear today over there I know what’s up with that but we’ll figure it out I’m Jason Tucker you find me over at Jason Tucker on Twitter my websites Jason Tucker dot blog I do this show as well as WP blab we do that on Thursdays so feel free to go take a look at that and if you you know if you try to watch this stuff live and it doesn’t happen you’re maybe in a different time zone maybe maybe you’re
(02:46) in Spain and you’re trying to watch a de P blob late at night that happens here Pacific work out for you we actually record this stuff and stream this stuff live so if you if you want to recruit listen to the recording and definitely do that we also post this up on YouTube so you can watch it over there as well and I wanna say thank you for all the folks that are watching this stuff on a bunch of different places over on YouTube over on Facebook we’re also posting this stuff on Twitter and you know if if Steve wasn’t here right now
(03:16) he’d be gaming and he’d probably be you know streaming his stuff on Twitch we’re actually streaming on Twitch so tell me how things have been going in destiny so we didn’t we were we were discussing that we’re gonna talk a little bit about huh a little bit about what Gutenberg locks plugins is that was that what you’re talking about say is that was oh that was a subsection of the overall topic which would be what was it plugins in the modern era hmm or just really the next generation of plugins there you go
(04:17) I remember that I said because Colin was talking about his first submission to the plug-in repo and he wanted to talk about his experience which was positive yeah I think he’s a calling like the rapper how did that process go of submitting something to the wordpress plugin yeah surprisingly easy about step backwards and forwards I think it took about four iterations but there was plenty of help plenty of advice and it was a painless process I was coming read various blogs and comments I was expected to be
(05:17) [Music] comment if you work on the internet you should know you’re not supposed to believe all the things you read I mean before I came in here and there was a big bid on there about fake news I only believe Amazon comments those are the ones I believe the novel those are the best good you enjoyed it and it was nothing like what you expected yeah that’s right it was very easy and it took about what three days and four iterations to get them happy with it and it was up their life so yeah very easy suppose it helps
(06:16) when my cat is also called maker yeah probably the plugin reverse still is that is on SVN right so if your developer there’s there’s a little bit of some nuances there you have to understand what SVN we’re sket it’s similar but it’s not the same Internet there are you know there’s not just one way no I could get really deep from here I just want you to know that but I’m not going so my question to colleagues in the show notes the the link that you can go take a look at on how to go and actually submit to
(06:57) the directory yeah and their first their first link at the bottom is how to use this right so Colin did you come – did you come it works for me it’s not the most logical of things software I’ve found to use it really is not but there again I’m over 65 shall we say so learning new things doesn’t come as easily today is maybe 40 years ago we should just completely discount your opinion because experience means nothing now I think that the you know a sign of the good software is that it can be used
(08:04) by someone who hasn’t used it before of course with stuff like this a lot of it becomes legacy I was just one what my business partner was submitting a grant for a you know big a big organization and she had to trick her browser into using Internet Explorer in order to submit the grant ActiveX control or something already but you know what that’s the first thing I think of when something’s internet explorer specific like it only works on ie then it has to be an ActiveX control right like the cautionary tale of Lacan like
(08:58) forever is basically all of the proliferation of custom software that got made for ie that it’s like what like I don’t know how many years since it’s been like officially discontinued Microsoft actually sent out emails and stuff saying please stop using this version stop using Internet Explorer we’re not like this is the problem you guys stop it and notes but but they can’t so there’s all these you know you’re arts organizations and nonprofit and to have not only port the data from
(09:35) a system like that and and all of the systems that it’s connected to you know that’s tangley and they you know they can’t implement the new system cuz they’re still active like this type of transition is like of Gutenberg s proportions all done with ActiveX in ASP [Music] actually also just bought tickets on an ASP website for Broadway and had to actually could not put it through had to call they had to call me back and then they were apologizing for their website and telling me that it doesn’t work like
(10:12) what are the tickets for come to find out it’s the accent and say that’s they are to see a childhood friend who I was in high school play with who is in the musical the band’s visit which one 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical Grammy Wow I’m gonna go see her before the show’s over that’s awesome that’s why I was buying the ticket no not important but just that way no actually I like it it’s a good story yeah except for their website really sucks so people are like probably know
(10:49) buying tickets to Broadway because that website was a nightmare and I had to like literally work to do it who’s bad anyway so this has been going around the the Internet’s a little bit with when it comes to WordPress is that if you go to wordpress.org slash plugins slash design which is pretty much a like the best slug for a plug-in but slash design takes you to the guttenberg blocks design library which is like a fully tricked-out collection of blocks that are built out like such as one block but actually like a collection of blocks
(11:31) that make up a very nicely and cleanly looking design that you can just essentially drop into your under your site it’s basically – in a plugin and so with yeah and what’s funny is like you go and look to see who this developer is like this developer has no other plugins other than this one but it’s it’s top freakin notch like it looks good it’s like somebody was like you know what I really want to have my block editor and but I still need to I still want to do like specific type of design stuff but
(12:07) I’m stuck having to use Gutenberg I’m gonna make both of these work together so I was like they kind of just stuffed in beaver builder esque things into a bunch of blocks really cool feel pretty good take a look at it I I thought it’s awesome I think this switch is is actually doing just that right it’s really drawing a line in the sand between essentially legacy systems and the new stuff right like we like Matt’s Matt Mullenweg said that like what two years ago or three years ago or 12 years
(12:38) ago however long ago let’s learn JavaScript deeply right whatever that was and you know now you’re seeing the fact that the people who already knew JavaScript or the people who had that was like their basis they’re being able to just take off running they’ve been waiting for the baton let’s go and then the people who are like kind of the legacy systems are like hmm gotta catch up and read you know rebuild a plug-in or reconfigure a system and and you know we’re at an interesting time for that yeah yeah most
(13:15) cutting-edge and then stuff that’s just like this one to trip this one’s a trip because it says that it’s it’s that it’s using all the basic Guttenberg blocks just the default Guttenberg blocks and then if you’re using any other custom blocks so for instance some like atomic blocks or advanced Gutenberg blocks or stackable or any of these ones that are out there that they just they just work like the styles work with it everything just kind of works together nice clean easy very I I was playing around with it
(13:50) I I thought it I thought was really cool and for for something like this and just pop up especially from somebody who I have no idea who this developer is WP design hub is their name and their web sites WP design hub calm and it’s just gorgeous looking style see and that’s the other thing that’s super interesting when you talk about the WordPress community right there’s is always such as bigger community than you realize there’s all these people using WordPress making things for WordPress like Colin I
(14:22) didn’t know Colin he’s over here building plugins in Spain you know like everyone’s taking this stuff and doing things with it and it’s pretty amazing it’s like it’s like what else is there globally where you have this type of global effort towards something like is there I I don’t know that there is something like that where everyone’s kind of just like working together and you know this person pops up this plug-in and and whatever and comes you know and I can’t think of anything else
(14:55) that works like that maybe WordPress can just change the world you guys we got more customers than I have how have you found and customers taking to Google because I’m submit I saw me the post everyone in the week that Jason mentioned earlier about that that plug-in Aaron I thought I’d have a little pushback about going to Gutenberg versus classic editor from my customers actually looking at that it looks like that plug-in may be the way to go and an education process for someone guess what what is your client
(15:39) reason for protesting or at least advocating to go back to the classic editor protesting against the switch what is that what do they say basically it’s the way I’ve always done it it’s the usual coming it’s just like a word processor and that’s the way I’m used to working and do you show them the classic block and say I’m also a bit guilty of saying that’s the way I have had to play around particularly I wanted to get SVG’s into my site and I found that using certainly a damn sight easier than
(16:22) trying to hack the rest of WordPress to get Smurfs VG’s to display on the page see I have I have a tiny bit of a problem with with the you know I prefer the old way of doing things in things because things are always changing it’s like okay so you like the old way of doing things and this is how I’ve approached people who said that to me is okay like your way of doing things so I assume that you don’t have email and you do all your correspondence to remember the actual US Postal Service or what
(16:58) have you I don’t know yeah exactly you you don’t like that things change but you know the people who learn to adapt are the ones who end up growing and that’s the the whole point of new things is to grow and to expand if there’s any yeah and I agree with all that but you but you know I have some clients a team of you know fifty or hundred people right and so then you’ve got a change management issue right so I understand the resistance to change because it was a training issue right so you know if you’re talking about small
(17:38) teams I absolutely agree with what you’re saying but but there are large teams out there that you know that have to consider the training time involved in upgrading I mean mentally they’re gonna have to change their system anyway they’re gonna have to update their training anyway so you know any seven oh I’m sorry we should absolutely consider the pain of what I said about ie we’re talking about the classic editor plugin and supporting that for not only that but the fact is is that some you
(18:17) sometimes these types of things are forced upon the users and then you get Steve’s favorite department the IT department having to manage that or rather kind of figure out like okay I’m going to make sure none of these computers can ever do this Windows Update for Internet Explorer and then you come to find out the internet explorer and the wet and you know the actual operating system are so tied together that things just stop working altogether because you’ve now blocked Internet Explorer from updating for your
(18:48) entire organization so I worry about that for people who if they are building like for example if you’re building a new site there’s no way that you should use any old like at all you wouldn’t I’m assuming I shouldn’t assume but I just myself a new corner there that never happens um basically say that you one should if one is building a new site use the new technology and not try to string a build something new with the old the old way but if you’re building something or or I guess if you’re building something new
(19:26) for an old client that’s also the opportunity to build something using the new technology but I think the danger is is if you built like like that you build something new for a client and continue to use the old technology and basically build in legacy systems that’s the dangerous feel like you can’t cuddle the people too much who want to stay on the old thing because once the support ends up dropping for the classic editor plugin however far out that is yeah you’re gonna run into this situation jason said
(20:05) where you know things just start to fall apart you you basically created a house occurrence for yourself so yes if you want if you have somebody who wants to stay on the classic editor wants the old way whatever that’s fine for right now however you need to come up with a plan with your your client at least you don’t have to but honestly yes absolutely yeah it’s it’s a case-by-case basis I think it’s anything it depends on the client depends on what they’ve got going on but yeah eventually everybody’s
(20:42) getting forced upgrade yes something like you know eventually your old iPads don’t host the software that you need anymore no I’m sorry my computer slacks gonna stop working with a really large team I think it I think it’s just best to sort of communicator and and figure out what the long-term plan is right Linda when is that switch can happen when how long does a training need to be leading up to the switch right there’s a lot more involved than just flipping the switch I’d say go for it I mean
(21:12) absolutely but developing developing that plan is the thing you need to do either yourself with your client present with your client totally is it’s more of a project management Testament is a development task they’re you know this so there is also a kind of business model built off of supporting legacy systems this is definitely something you see a lot right now in like older programmers for example who are like being brought back out of retirement as you worked on the y2k bug actually the programmer and he there’s
(21:53) the shipping you know program that this port uses and they’re literally trying to court him he’s like one of them no Jenna I don’t know how many people there are that know this software but they’re like please just please come here pal SQL programmers were coming out of the woodwork having to go and start rewriting stuff is like wow that’s is really cool and then they’re like oh we actually need somebody who writes assembly language can if you do any typos similar language and you just
(22:18) start writing stuff for us and yeah I mean I you know I just like many of you folks had to work through that y2k stuff and I lost a job because of y2k you know like the system that I was managing was not compatible and so because of that I lost my job like the news is like you weren’t kept on to keep the new system going so they were like you go with the old system because I was the old system in your brain no but I wasn’t hired I go yeah I didn’t build the dang thing I mean I was alone managing it but they’re
(22:55) like hey you know sorry for preserving those or keeping them in their old customers come back to you about 500 last week now offering reach your artists and will
(24:09) put them onto CD or memory sticks and all sorts so as you say there is still life in some old technology danger transferred today from 5-9 reach I mean even the plugin repository which is you know has all this new stuff in it it also has stuff from freakin like five years ago that isn’t being taken out isn’t compatible has warnings on it or sometimes is compatible but in terms of stewardship community stewardship I would say that that’s something that we should I’m not I haven’t done any action
(24:50) towards this so I’m you know armchair quarterbacking here but you know that’s something that is can be detrimental to people going in there and looking through this like old and broken stuff it hasn’t been updated and you know if they think that it’s good or you know if they were to try to use it like that reflects badly on the system so the fact that we have stuff in the repo that’s not compatible with the new stuff that’s also not updated to be current at all like that that’s a bit of a problem and so I do a
(25:23) lot of code reviews for for clients so good when we inherit a project the first thing I do is a code review one of the pieces that one of the major focuses of the code review is what technology using what plugins are you using the third person melody when I look at plugins part of my code review again okay which plugins are outdated you think which plugins are showing is outdated but there’s another factor that doesn’t show in your WordPress dashboard that I concentrate on is is which plugins have not been updated in over a year right so
(25:54) a plug-in it hasn’t been updated in your three years but is on the most current version doesn’t give you any warning your WordPress dashboard did I show you anything because WordPress still considers it it is the latest version of that plug-in right but I think they need a new flag or some sort of Education says I’m it login attempts well you know plug-in limit login and tips no joke was and has not been updated for seven frickin years and but and you know something that a simple plugin that might be okay dated but a more complex
(26:31) plug-in if it hasn’t been updated in several years that could be very problematic I mean you could be you could be literally putting holes in your site like unintentionally exposing your site to being hacked essentially I cannot okay I think that I think the WordPress core needs something more in the plugins screen that shows you this plugin is not compatible with this it hasn’t been tested with this version of WordPress it shows you what I mean it shows it says yes if you click and you get to the pop-up it shows you that but
(27:10) it doesn’t show you in the overview screen it only shows you the plugins that are out of date right you’re saying we need more communication because that data is available it’s not there it’s just not surfaced yes but I think as soon as you turn that on everybody’s gonna freaking up because that screens just gonna look like a mess there’s somebody that’s got you know 50 plugins installed on their site that screens gonna look like a nightmare oh my god just like when somebody asked how many
(27:44) how many plugins can I have installed on my website it’s like how many plugins what depends how many lines of code are in that plug-in how crazy is the plug-in itself what kind of things are they doing you can’t answer that question nor can you say like if this plug-in is 20 years old and it predates WordPress itself yet this thing still it works just fine because all it’s doing is changing one color of one thing on the page that has not changed anything else there’s no functionality that’s been
(28:12) added or anything it’s just like a big fun the whole thing it’s pink afire I mean that’s exactly it right so we need we need more information and you know we need to educate our clients and you know what’s gonna keep unrolling and they’re still gonna be old plug-ins a new plugin Mr strange strangely enough there is a plugin me and the repo that is seven years old that is called plugin last updated Pete offered range made it I think I still owe him a bottle of whiskey for making it however it adds to the plug-in page
(28:51) the last date the plugin was updated that plug-in should just be renamed as isn’t it ironic don’t you think [Laughter] it’s them I still run it on my sites and it still actually runs just fine can you just go in there and like freaking update like a space or like I’m period please like don’t do it plug-in less updated is this plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest three major releases of WordPress this is just it’s developer humor is what that is and impasses the PHP 72 and 7.3
(29:35) compatibility checkers well folks it’s 11:30 I wanna say thank you very much for all you folks for hanging out with us and that you’re able to be able to come on the show and hang out if you want to come on the show I send out emails every week and go over to our website at a park or comi and click on the links there to subscribe and to figure out how you can actually subscribe to the mailing list that I send out if you go to WR core comm slash subscribe that’s where the actual subscription pages is so you can figure
(30:05) out where to subscribe to the stuff and get involved in all of that if you like this content it’s something that you’re that you’re that you were interested in and you think your friends might be interested in there’s a share button somewhere on the page that you’re on right now hit the share button talk to y’all later you have a good one bye bye [Music]

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One response to “EP309 – WordPress Plugins In the Modern Era”

  1. streaming live now, like we do every fri!











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