As an accessibility consultant and passionate standards advocate, I’m generally in the position of appreciating the concerns of the minority. As a WordPress plug-in developer, I have a much harder time with it. In fact, as a WordPress plug-in developer, I find the vocal minority very, very frustrating.
So I’m just going to whinge a little bit. You can stop reading now if you’re going to be a dick about it.
I recently released a new version (version 2.3.x) of my plug-in WP to Twitter, which does exactly what it says — posts status updates from WordPress to Twitter. This release included a couple of heavily demanded features, including support for custom post types and for tweeting updates on comments.
I’ll admit that there were a couple minor bugs in that release — as a result, I’ve released two updates since then, cleaning up those errors.
Some people, in reading this post, will quibble with the statement that they were minor bugs — and I’m sure that those who were affected by them don’t think so. That’s perfectly fair.
What really bugs me, however, is that if I look at the only real metrics I have for estimating the success of a new feature release, then I’d have to judge that this was a complete and utter failure. Since that release, I’ve had dozens of support requests because of bugs, a handful of small donations adding up to at most $45 (if I include all contributions which weren’t attributable to a specific project), and on the WP to Twitter page at WordPress.org, the “works” gauge has been hovering between split towards broken. And the only working vote was mine.
However, I know that this isn’t really accurate. The reason that I know this is because about a year and a half ago, give or take a few months, I did release a version of the same plug-in that was *really* broken. That was a definite screw-up. At the time, WP to Twitter was a much less popular plug-in, so the impact was dampened, but in the first few hours after release I had several dozen e-mails and support requests informing me of the problem.
In this case, there’ve been 20,000 plus downloads of the updated version with a handful of people (about 10-12) complaining of problems. In my estimation, this is a very small number of issues given the apparent numbers of users.
But I don’t really know that, because I don’t hear very much from those who have a good experience.
This is actually pretty intentional. WP to Twitter is supposed to work quietly in the background — it’s not supposed to be an “in-your-face” plug-in. So when it works, people don’t notice it. However, from my seat today, it seems somewhat demoralizing. It makes me very seriously wonder why I continue to work on WP to Twitter. (For the record, I get a lot more positive feedback on My Calendar, which does help.)
Nonetheless, I have no intention to discontinue support for WP to Twitter. Maybe it’s just an ego trip, but it’s certainly helped me build a thick skin…