I’ve not been writing much these last few days as I have been preparing my site for the release of WordPress version 2.0.1 which happened yesterday. I have been getting some of my in-line code out into callable and reusable functions and, being fortunate enough to run a local test server, have been testing it with all the plugins that I use. I have been lucky as everything appears to work and I have now fully upgraded.
But leafing through the support forum it is obvious that not everyone is that fortunate. They have upgraded their main site – because it is recomended – only to find that some third-party plugin code crashes the whole thing and has to be turned off. This can often then cause it’s own problems because there may be unresolved function calls that will also stop the site working. I touched on this problem last June (Problems In The WordPress Camp) and sadly, nothing has changed. I have enormous respect for the design and development team of WordPress but open-source and free software still comes with obligations to the user base and this morning, as after each update, there are a lot of unhappy and confused non-technically minded users tearing out there hair and clogging the volunteer run support forums with exactly the same, old questions.
I am not suggesting that the WP team test their release candidate with every piece of third party extension available. That would be impossible. But having designed a system that allows for third party development there should be an official central repository of plugins and pressure on the developers to ensure their offerings work. WP users should be able to view a list – as they can with Firefox for example – of what has been upgraded and what has not. In this way – they can wait to apply the new version or change their site accordingly.
Which brings me to Firefox who also yesterday released version 184.108.40.206. With Firefox I can go and see what plugins are consistent with each new release. But I didn’t! For the first time that I recall, I opened Firefox yesterday and it offered me the update. I clicked on download. What it has always done in the past is download the files leaving me to install it. But with 220.127.116.11 it downloaded and then installed it for me. Nice touch but infuriating as it gave me no chance to check if my extensions were all going to work. And no – they don’t.
I am working now with at least three extensions that I somewhat rely on awaiting updates. So my request to the Mozilla team is – if you are going to force the install on me then fine, I can accept that, but check my extensions first and give me the opportunity to decline the update before you destroy my chosen way of working with your software.