[wp-hackers] Plugin options page

John Blackbourn johnbillion+wp at gmail.com
Wed Jun 13 18:15:56 GMT 2007

Scenario: You have several plugins activated and this new plugin
options page now lists options for a several plugins. There's this
fantastically confusing accordion thing on there. You open up one
section and change an option, then open up a different section, make
some changes, and hit "Save"... what gets saved? All the changes
you've made to each plugin? Or just the currently open section? How is
the user to know? Hmm... maybe the options get automatically saved
when you open a new section? Who knows?

How is this page going to look and function when Javascript is disabled?

I think such an options page could quickly get unweildy and prove to
be much more confusing than multiple options pages. Linking to your
plugin's particular option on the page with an anchor isn't great

Sabin's and Stephen's suggestion for a standardised link to each
plugin's options page in the plugin screen is excellent.

On 6/13/07, Stephen Rider <wp-hackers at striderweb.com> wrote:
> Sabin already covered a lot of things, but here's my 2 cents....
> On Jun 13, 2007, at 9:03 AM, Jennifer Hodgdon wrote:
> > Alex Günsche wrote:
> >> There are many plugins that need to add options to the admin
> >> panel. For
> >> many plugins, this is only some few options.
> >> I wonder if WordPress could introduce an additional Options page,
> >> where
> >> plugins with few options can just hook in, add their one or two
> >> options
> >> in a fieldset and have their separate "Save" button (and maybe a
> >> global
> >> "Save" for the page). I know that there is ./wp-admin/options.php,
> >> but
> >> this is not very userfriendly.
> >> Alternatively, the existing Options pages could get new hooks, so the
> >> plugins could simply add their options there.
> Trying to decide if I prefer the idea of adding options to the main
> options page or making a separate page.  Maybe a clearly identified
> "Third party" options section on the main page would be best?  (with
> accordion close so it doesn't get unwieldy)
> > a) I personally don't think it is much less work to have your
> > plugin create its own options page, vs. adding to an existing
> > options page.
> It's always nice to have options (no pun intended).  Plus, this is as
> much a question of making things nice for the end user as for the
> programmers.
> > b) I think it is easier for the plugin user to find the plugin
> > options if they are on a separate page dedicated to that plugin and
> > named with the plugin name, rather than trying to guess which
> > regular options page the plugin author might have chosen to put
> > them on.
> A good point.  As Sabin mentioned, an options link from the plugin
> page might be best.
> Actually, from a user-interface standpoint, that might be the best
> way to go... what about an options page (or mini-popup) that is
> _only_ linked from the plugins page?  This would be a _very_ good
> idea for plugins with simple set-and-forget options that you only
> have to change when first activating a plugin.
> > A separate generic "Plugin Options" page would be OK, but since
> > most existing plugins already have their own options pages, it
> > might be empty most of the time.
> So hide it if it's empty.  It only appears if there's a plugin that
> uses it.
> > c) Having two separate Save/Submit buttons on the same page seems
> > like it would be confusing.
> Agreed.  I like Sabin's idea -- the options page only shows the
> header for each plugin.  When you click on it, that plugin's options
> section opens up, and has a submit button.  You can only have one
> section open at a time.
> Each section should have a "name" link tag so that you can link to a
> particular plugin's section with options.php#pluginname.  A
> JavaScript perhaps can auto-open the section if it's accessed through
> such a link.
> Related to all of this, there are a number of plugin authors
> (including myself) who put a link to the plugin's Options page within
> the description on the Plugins page.  Maybe we should standardize
> such a link to encourage those links.  They're _extremely_ handy when
> activating plugins so that you don't have to hunt around for the new
> Options screen.
> Stephen Rider_______________________________________________
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