Are we making things too complicated?

image: Gigi C.

I’ve been working with WordPress for quite a while now and have seen it grow from a basic blogging platform to a very capable content management system (CMS).

While this maturing of the platform has been great, and in most cases has made life easier for not only my clients but also myself, there have been instances where the maturation of the platform has lead to increasing levels of complication to the WordPress platform itself.

What do I mean by complication?  Have a look at your WordPress blog.  How many plugins do you have installed?  Recently, I’ve been working with a client trying to address why their WordPress site was very slow.  As I started researching I realized that they had over sixty active plugins installed, all of them requiring some type of configuration – not to mention patching.  The majority of these plugins have created their own option pages or dedicated configuration pages, some with dozens (and dozens) of options to be configured.

Just recently one of the most popular WordPress plugins with over 1 million active installs disclosed that there was a relatively nasty security issue that had been identified and needed to be fixed.  I talked to my clients, many of whom were using this plugin, about getting the plugin patched right away.  During those conversations I casually asked each of them about how many of the growing list of plugin features they were actually using.  What I found out was that almost across the board they were using only a very limited number of options and in some cases were not even aware of the other features.

 Instead of building plugins that include every possible option, why not build solution specific plugins that are easier to maintain and quite possibly limit WordPress sites to fewer security issues.