[wp-hackers] Plugin Settings Menu Location

Otto otto at ottodestruct.com
Sun May 18 20:52:19 GMT 2008

On Wed, May 14, 2008 at 2:16 PM, Austin Matzko <if.website at gmail.com> wrote:
> There's a difference between a "user" and an "admin."

No, there really is not in this case. The user should never be
configuring plugin settings in the first place. The blog's owner is
the one doing that sort of thing.

> The user just
> knows, for example, that she wants to manage X, so she's going to look
> under "Manage."

We're talking about initial or one-time configuration, not something
that you "Manage" every day.

> Someone asks why the new dashboard looks like it does, and he replies,
> "what we decided to do was to allow more room for plugins to expand
> all the different sides, to break it into menus organized by different
> action types. . . . and now there's room for . . . plugins to expand
> the menu."

Yes, yes, fine, and that makes perfect sense for plugins that do more
than something behind the scenes or which have more than one page of
configuration. 90% of the plugins out there that have a config page
only have one. They don't have a lot of interface, generally speaking.

The reason for plugins having the ability to add pages essentially
anywhere is that you can always come up with some particular plugin
that will need that ability.

But consider the majority of cases. Plugin with one configuration
page. Setting it up is probably something done one-time. Putting it
into the settings menu is confusing to that initial setup phase,
because you have to activate it and then go elsewhere to configure it.
Activating it and then instantly seeing the resulting page in the menu
is way easier, and it's the right thing to do.

> The main reason I disagree is that the other
> position looks at menu organization from the structure of the *code*
> rather than the structure of *usage.*  In other words, it says that we
> should put X plugin options under "Plugins" because X's code happens
> to be in a plugin.

No, that's not at all what I'm saying. I'm saying that usage is
all-important. That's exactly why putting your plugin's settings under
the plugins menu is the right way to do it. Because you're usually
never going to change those settings ever again. There's rarely any
need to do so.

Obviously specific cases vary, but having every plugin stick something
into "Settings" simply makes the menu confusing. Most plugins need
some sort of configuration, but damn few need to be reconfigured every
so often.

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