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Plugin Authors: Organize Bug Reports and Feature Requests Using the WordPress Plugin Repository

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January 18th, 2008
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HOW-TO, WordPress FAQs, WordPress Plugins

One of the downsides of having a popular plugin is the amount of support requests, bug reports, and feature suggestions that come in. Well, it’s not that bad, but sometimes it’s difficult to organize what features should be added, what bugs must be tackled first, and what can just be ignored.

If you’re one of the few and the proud over at WP Extend Plugins, you have a nice tool at your disposal to keep track of all your plugin related needs. The tool, you ask? It’s the trac ticketing system over at the WordPress Plugin Repository.

WordPress Plugin Repository
WordPress Plugin Repository

WordPress Plugin Repository – Trac

Each plugin hosted on WP Extend allows the plugin author to post and assign tickets to their plugin. In fact, any member of the WP Support Forums can post a ticket against any plugin hosted in the official repository.

Logging into the WP Plugins Repository

Login Button
Login Button

The first step to start assigning tickets (besides creating a user account) is to head over to the repository and log in.

Username/Password Dialog
Username/Password Dialog

After you are logged in you can view the “New Ticket” button.

New Ticket
New Ticket Button

Creating the New Ticket

After clicking on the “New Ticket” button, you are presented with a form for creating a new ticket. Creating the ticket is as simple as filling out a few form fields.

  • Short summary: Basically a title for the bug or feature request.
  • Type: Is it a defect (bug), enhancement (feature request), or task?
  • Full description: Detailed description of the issue with code examples if applicable.
  • Priority: How seriously you think the developer should take the request.
  • Severity: How much damage (or potential damage) the issue causes
  • Component: This is where you select which plugin you’re creating the ticket for.

Creating a New Ticket
Screenshot of the “Create New Ticket” Screen

Once you’re all set creating the new ticket, you can either preview it or hit the “Submit Ticket” button. Once the ticket is finally submitted, you’ll get a nice summary screen with your new ticket (shown below).

A Submitted Ticket
Screenshot of “Submitted Ticket” Screen

After the ticket is submitted, it’s up to the plugin author to accept and assign the ticket.

Viewing Open Tickets

It’s simple to view your open tickets once one has been created against your plugin. If you are logged in, click on the “View Tickets” button.

View Tickets Button
View Tickets Button

Once on the “View Tickets” page, you will want to browse to “My Tickets”.

view-tickets-page.gif
“View Tickets” Page

From there you will be able to see all of your plugin’s open tickets based on priority. You can then click on a ticket, assign it, mark it as resolved, add comments, or a number of other options.

All Tickets
Open Tickets – Priority Based

Conclusion

The WordPress Plugin Repository is a great asset for plugin authors who receive a lot of bug reports and/or feature requests. The ticketing system allows for one place to store all bug reports and feature requests in a nice priority-based system.

This article touched on just one of many features available to plugin authors (and regular WordPress users) over at the repository. For plugin authors, becoming familiar with the repository is recommended.

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18
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Comments

  1. Jan (15 comments.) says:

    I have three plugins hosted on wordpress.org. But tickets can only be submitted for one of them. The other two are not in the list of components at http://dev.wp-plugins.org/newticket. Where can I get help for this kind of problem?

  2. Mark (5 comments.) says:

    Try submitting your problem via http://wordpress.org/report-bugs/

  3. Dodgypress (3 comments.) says:

    Great Concept

  4. Ronald Huereca (39 comments.) says:

    Jan,
    I could only find one plugin on WP Extend for you. Which plugins do you author?

  5. Andrew (31 comments.) says:

    Excellent Ronald, I didn’t even know that was there. Thanks.

  6. Jan (15 comments.) says:

    @Ronald (01/18/2008 @ 11:46 am)

    I am author of these plugins: wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ …

    * /pandora-feeds-for-wordpress/
    * /wptags-4-metakeywords/
    * /comment-url-control/

  7. Ronald Huereca (39 comments.) says:

    @Jan,
    It would appear there are many plugins not listed. I’ll look into it.

  8. Aaron (33 comments.) says:

    I use the dev to keep track of what changes I make to my plugins between versions to make it easier to write the changelog, but I never considered using it for bug reports.

    It would make it so much easier because I have a tendency to get bug reports and feature requests in emails, comments on the extend page, in forums, on the main plugin page, on its readme page. It gets so chaotic that stuff slips through all the time.

  9. Jeffro2pt0 (164 comments.) says:

    Excellent post Ronald. I’ve looked into writing a post about this sort of thing but I’m glad you beat me too it. Hopefully, this brings to light the advantages of using the features that the repository provides and causes more plugin authors to use the service.

  10. Jan (15 comments.) says:

    @Ronald: All plugins are now available! Thank you very much for your efforts :-)

    • Marcel (10 comments.) says:

      it seems that TRAC needs updating again. None of my plugins are listed.
      lazyest-gallery
      lazyest-stylesheet
      lazyest-stack

  11. Kirk M (67 comments.) says:

    Hey Ron,

    I’ve been looking more ways to be involved with the WordPress community and I didn’t think of this. Many thanks!

    As Aaron stated, having bugs being reported through several different mediums can be obviously frustrating so if folks can get used to reporting legitimate bugs using this avenue, perhaps we wouldn’t drive as many plugin authors into various mental health centers as often. :P

    Of course the phrase “legitimate bugs” is always a factor isn’t it?

  12. SEOMonitor (1 comments.) says:

    I have been developing a plugin and I can say with confidence that if you test your plugin before release you won’t have so many darn bugs!

  13. Ronald Huereca (39 comments.) says:

    @Kirk,
    That’s good news. Yes, most bugs tend to be feature requests in disguise.

    SEOMonitor,
    While true, not all bugs can be caught. There are so many server configurations, WordPress versions, theme releases, and conflicting plugins that it’s impossible to get it all right straight out of the gate.

  14. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    subversion SUCKS though. unless you have your own server, you can’t run subversion anyway, and even if you do, it difficult to setup.

  15. Ronald Huereca (39 comments.) says:

    bubazoo,

    There are numerous tools to help with svn’s headaches. For Mac there is svnX and for Windows there is TortoiseSVN. I’ve also written a tutorial on how to list our plugin.

  16. LobsterMan (2 comments.) says:

    I didn’t know the 2 sites were related.
    I tired submitting my plugin to wordpress extend, but i didn’t have time to figure out the whole svn thing.
    But I think I should try again, I have to many support requests in comments to even follow

  17. Olivier (2 comments.) says:

    I have developped a plugin to help plugin developpers providing support. This is wats :
    http://www.lautre-monde.fr/wats-going-on/

    Hope this helps!



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