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Notify Users About Changes In Plugins In Plugin Dashboard

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June 18th, 2009
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WordPress Tips

WordPress plugins are updated quite frequently and that is not a hassle anymore due to WordPress having a inbuilt mechanism to allow users to update their plugins from the plugins dashboard.

However a problem arises when the plugins readme files are not updated to add in information about the latest available updates.

As a plugin developer myself I would really want to show the users some information about the changes available in the new version, so that they have the information, before they actually updated the plugin, but how do you do it?

As part of our send us tips on twitter, I came across something that will help plugin developers show some information about the updates in the plugin, as to what has changed in the newer version, by adding few lines of code to their plugins.

Definitely useful and helps in giving users more information on the updates. For more information on how you can add notices to plugin upgrades visit Expanding Plugins Panel.

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  1. John says:

    SEO Ultimate is the first plugin I know of that actually does this.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/seo-ultimate/

    It also customizes the message based on the version you’re using.

    To test it out, just install the plugin, then use the plugin editor to decrement the version number to a previous version (0.1, 0.1.1, or 0.2).

  2. Otto (215 comments.) says:

    Interesting idea, but the problem I have with it is that it basically connects back to the plugin author’s site directly. I’d prefer if it went through wp.org somehow instead.

  3. Ryan A. Smith (7 comments.) says:

    I’m not much concerned with changes in plugins. However, before I install a plugin, I’ll be happier if I can see a demo of the plugin. Not many plugins offer demo.

  4. Neceros (2 comments.) says:

    Thanks for the tip.

    I’ve never really had many problems with catching updated plugins, though. WordPress tells you when they are available to upgrade, and it’s a one click fix.

    Perhaps I don’t understand the topic completely?

  5. ChrisM (13 comments.) says:

    @Neceros – Yes, I believe you have misunderstood. The problem being framed here is that authors do not often let users know what has CHANGED since the previous version of the plugin. So, we do not know WHY / IF we should upgrade. If v1.2 of a plugin works on your site, and then the author releases v1.3, perhaps the changes mean the plugin would no longer be a good match for your site.
    As an example, the subscribe to comments plugin eventually complied with opt-out being the automatic choice for people leaving comments. Some bloggers prefer to keep it that a commenter has to decide NOT to receive new comments.
    In this example, if the changes between versions is presented clearly, a blogger can decide whether they want to upgrade or not.

  6. Dipnoid (1 comments.) says:

    I haven’t really thought about that aspect of it – letting users know what was actually updated, but it seems like a good idea.


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