Canonical Plugins Revisited

The pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party directory is great, but many plugins are controlled by a single dev or company, and often end up going a direction of a premium or pro version, sometimes even removing functionality that used to be in a plugin and pushing it into the pro version. This can also create an incentive to put something into a SaaS service that is easily done in a more distributed fashion locally to the site. Even accepting donations can create some weird incentives for how to divide those among a number of contributors.

WordPress itself thrives because it’s a collaborative effort of many people with many varied interests, but coming together to create something that is explicitly open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL., free, and available to all. We need to evolve the plugin directory to make it easier to accept code and documentation contributions. (We’re pretty good with translationtranslation The process (or result) of changing text, words, and display formatting to support another language. Also see localization, internationalization. contributions already.) Also I think we should build on the successful history of canonical plugins like MP6, GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc., and REST APIREST API The REST API is an acronym for the RESTful Application Program Interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST and DELETE data. It is how the front end of an application (think “phone app” or “website”) can communicate with the data store (think “database” or “file system”) to have more community-developed plugins, called canonical because they will be the official first-choice recommendation by coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. and for an area, that share in the ethos and approach of WordPress itself but to a more niche area that might not be right for core.

We are reaching a point where core needs to be more editorial and say “no” to features coming in as ad hoc as they sometimes do, and my hope is that more Make teams use this as an opportunity to influence the future of WordPress through a plugin-first approach that gives them the luxury of faster development and release cycles (instead of three times per year), less review overhead, and and path to come into core if the plugin becomes a runaway success. I am very conscious that when people are aiming to have something in core, a “no” or “not now” can be frustrating and sometimes create artificial pressure to put something in before it’s ready, as I believe happened with the REST API in WP 4.4.

Canonical plugin ideas for each make team:

Design: More adminadmin (and super admin) themes.
Mobile: (not sure)
AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). ( An alternative APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways.-based admin designed for accessibility and simplicity.
Polyglots: Inline translation submissions for core and plugins and themes.
Support: Related threads or documentation pages dynamically loaded from for the “help” dropdowns on every page.
Documentation: Experiment with adding more inline documentation to wp-admin interfaces. Gather opt-in stats on what is actually read and used, which links to .org get clicked on.
Themes: Better previews of theme customizations, activation workflows that allow customization of colors / images / typography.
Plugins: Inline rating and feedback for plugins, crash and compatibility data reporting back.
Community: Experiment with the dashboard widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. that promotes events to call to action for organizing when there’s not a local meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on will help you find options in your area., and better incorporates online events including workshops and cohort classes.
MetaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress.: Login with .org login account. Dashboard with all of your linked WPs on Monitor versions, install plugins with one-click, etc.
Training: Courses or training in every help dropdown.
Test: Opt-in JSJS JavaScript, a web scripting language typically executed in the browser. Often used for advanced user interfaces and behaviors. or PHPPHP The web scripting language in which WordPress is primarily architected. WordPress requires PHP 5.6.20 or higher error catching that reports back to a tracking server.
TV: Integration with help dropdowns, inline tutorial videos.
Marketing: Widgets and blocks for people to link back to, like super-charged “powered by”, and promote their liked or favorite plugins and themes.
CLICLI Command Line Interface. Terminal (Bash) in Mac, Command Prompt in Windows, or WP-CLI for WordPress.: N/A.
Hosting: Experiment with standard hooksHooks In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same., icons, and menu items for hosts to link or embed things like email, domains, contacting support.
Tide: Show the data more places in wp-admin.
Openverse: Should actually just come into core more, but perhaps plugin would be a good place to experiment with submitting something to openverse and CC licensing any media upload. Community and collaborative tagging of uploads and openverse items.
Photos: Similar to openverse, make it possible to submit uploads and search directory.
Core performance: WebP conversions for new uploads and batch processing to convert old images. Show before-after space usage and page performance. (Previous post on WebP in 6.1 that inspired this.)

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, and I’m sure the teams themselves could come up with much better ideas and options, but I hope it sparks discussion at contributor dayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. and beyond on how we can utilize plugins better to increase the speed of evolution for WordPress, keep core light, fast, and opinionated, and do so while saying “yes” to more ideas and experimentation.