Learning about WP to Twitter

April 27, 2016

Topics: Blogging, WordPress.

Given that I first wrote my plug-in WP to Twitter almost 8 years ago, and it’s been in continuous development since then, you might expect that I know all about it. But that would only be half the truth.

What I know about WP to Twitter is the code base. I know how it works, I know why I made various decisions, and I know what I really want to change in future development.

But I know very little about the user base and what they might need from the plug-in. That’s the primary reason that I recently integrated the Freemius opt-in product into WP to Twitter. It’s only been a week since that release, but I’ve already learned some really interesting information that I’ll hopefully be able to put into immediate use.

Things I’ve learned

The first thing I learned is about internationalization. While the most common language group using this plug-in is English (not surprising), the second most common appears to be Japanese – by a significant margin. I wasn’t expecting that, and it’s very interesting. It’ll definitely be relevant in focusing my efforts on reaching out to translators to improve the internationalization of WP to Twitter.

The second thing I’ve learned, after only a very short time with the data, is about the most common reasons the plug-in is uninstalled. Obviously, it’s an important goal for me to deliver a plug-in that does what people expect it to and is easy to use. On the whole, I think I’m succeeding at that: it’s not a huge percentage of users uninstalling the plug-in. However, the most common reason is a run-away with “Didn’t understand how it works.” This makes it clear to me that making the usage of the plug-in clearer is a good goal to tackle.

Supporting the past?

I also learned some interesting statistical information that is less actionable. I learned that there’s at least one person using WP to Twitter on WordPress 3.5, which is well out of the versions of WordPress I’m still officially supporting or testing on. But it’s nice to know that it apparently still works!

In terms of PHP versions I need to support – well, there are considerably more people still using version 5.2 than there are on version 7. There’s strong evidence that moving forward from version 5.2 isn’t something I can realistically do right now. It’s not an enormous percentage, but it’s enough people that I’d feel pretty irresponsible making that kind of change today.

Altogether, gathering statistics has been tremendously valuable in terms of understanding the long-term future of the plug-in. I should have done it years ago. (Which will be a future post: “mistakes I’ve made with WordPress plug-ins”.)

Have something to contribute?




« Read my Comment Policy

8 Comments to “Learning about WP to Twitter”

  1. I’ve created a support request. I’m using WP-to-Twitter 3.2.10 but I’ve had the problem for several dot-releases now. Consistently occurs on this site which is hosted by GoDaddy. I’ve already increased the site’s resource plan on GoDaddy to try to workaround the issue, but the memory I have (1GB) is not sufficient when using the plugin. The site uses the Mist theme.

  2. Hi, Glenn! This is not something that I’m generally aware of – I’ve known about it happening on rare occasions, but I have not had any opportunity to reproduce it or witness it actually happening, so I haven’t been able to chase it down. If you can submit a support request, I’d love to follow up on this!

  3. Hi Joe – I’ve enjoyed using your plugin, I use it on 4 WP sites I maintain. Unfortunately, on ontariocurlingcouncil.com/blog having WP to Twitter enabled when I publish a post spikes the memory consumption so high my site is non-operational. Disabling it for new posts avoids the problem.

    Is this a known issue?

    –Glenn

  4. Hi Joe – I’ve enjoyed using your plugin, I use it on 4 WP sites I maintain. Unfortunately, on ontariocurlingcouncil.com/blog having WP to Twitter enabled when I publish a post spikes the memory consumption so high my site is non-operational. Disabling it for new posts avoids the problem.

    Is this a known issue?

    –Glenn

  5. Different version of wordpress is there but everything is not applicable to share in twitter page..But i too prefer to go on with PHP versions…..

  6. Totally agree that security is a huge risk and there’s the risk of living in the past continuous–if one is comfortable with it.

  7. The biggest concern about sites still running obsolete versions of PHP is security – no matter what you may have done with your own application, if there are well-known and documented major security issues with PHP (and there are such vulnerabilities in versions of PHP 5.2 and below). That’s the biggest concern to me about supporting 5.2 and below. There’s no extra work in continuing to support older technology – it just means that I can’t use newer features, which isn’t a big deal.

  8. You make an important reference and point about support for PHP versions. My Web host, GoDaddy, lists 5.3 as its base version supposedly with options to self upgrade by customers to 5.4, which many developers are setting as their base.

    Imagine the trap when you discover that the host claims you’re on a server that cannot be upgraded because of its age and your account is based on a package no longer available so you need to pay more for one of their newer hosting packages. That or do without the latest bells and whistles in the new/upgraded apps.

    On the other hand, I have an app developed in 2003/04 with PHP4 that works flawlessly, except when you get warnings that this is deprecated in PHP or that mysql commands are now superceded by mysqli or PDO.

    Some security enhancements are absolutely necessary but I don’t see the tangible benefits of some changes that seem to only make applications bigger in size but not usefulness.