[wp-hackers] fixes for old versions

Otto otto at ottodestruct.com
Fri Jan 8 14:13:25 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jan 8, 2010 at 4:08 AM, Steve Taylor <steve at sltaylor.co.uk> wrote:
> Past that, the concern is the unknown quantity of plugin
> compatibility.

Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to that one. WordPress generally
tries to maintain backwards compatibility, but sometimes things are
going to get broken for the sake of moving forward.

I think the real solution is to be choosy with your plugins. This is
easier said than done, but sticking with well supported plugins
(generally those written by authors who are well-known in the
WordPress community, but that's not a fixed pre-requisite) is going to
give you the best shot in the long run.

Plugins that survive upgrades tend to be:
- Very simple. A plugin that only does one thing is much less likely
to get broken, unless WP refactors the specific bit of code that it
hooks into.
- Well written. Good coders think ahead. Look at Subscribe to
Comments. That plugin hasn't changed since early 2007, and still works
- Highly supported. Often I'll see upgrades for good plugins before
the WP upgrade even comes out. People who develop good plugins try to
keep up compatibility with the changes even in the alpha versions.
- Not changing the way WP works on a fundamental level. A plugin that
completely alters how some piece of WP works is going to have trouble
when that piece changes. If it works with the existing system and adds
onto it in some fashion, then it's probably going to keep working
despite minor changes to that system.

And unfortunately, sometimes you can't tell these things by looking at
the plugin's home page. I find it to be quite the opposite in fact,
plugins with large scale pages tend to be complex beasts that do a lot
of things, and these often don't survive upgrades well. Simple plugins
that just do one thing don't need lots of documentation, and they tend
to last forever.

So what I try to do is to stick to simple plugins to add specific
individual pieces of functionality. Even if I need a lot of
functionality, it's better to have 50 plugins that all work than one
major do-everything plugin which breaks every time I upgrade. And if
one of these "minor" plugins does break, then it's much less of a big
deal for some small functionality to be missing from a site

That's just my opinion, of course.


More information about the wp-hackers mailing list