Over the course of time, I imagine that most of the needs and wants of end users change. For example, after performing a fresh install of WordPress, you realize that you need a way to conduct polls, have the poll data reflected in the post, etc. Then, a year later, you find out that polls are no longer a necessary item to have on the site so you decide to remove the plugin. However, you notice that after you deactivate the plugin, the data disappears along with it. This is precisely what happens with the WP-Polls plugin. Once the plugin has been deactivated (not removed) instead of the polling data shown within the post, it’s replaced with the poll ID shortcode which is used to display the poll.
This one example has me wondering how many users out there are experiencing something similar with a WordPress plugin? In the example I described above, I could take screenshots of the polls that contain the poll data and substitute that for the poll ID but that’s too much of a hassle. I could also not care about the loss of polling data but that would end up making a handful of posts which have a great discussion surrounding the results irrelevant.
Over the course of 2 years, I’ve managed to have 32 activated plugins on my website, each with a particular role. Some add features, others work in the background to make things easier. Yet, I use a few plugins that either alter the way my content is displayed or enables additional content that if those plugins were removed, the content would be removed as well.
I’m all for plugins being able to have an uninstall feature that removes them entirely from WordPress, including the database but in this instance, I want to keep the content associated with the plugin while removing everything else. Any suggestions on how to do this? Better yet, what would a plugin author have to do to make sure that the content generated by the plugin is stored in WordPress and not somewhere else? It seems to me that the last-ditch option and the one that may be most convenient is to not do anything at all. Pretend the polling plugin is not there and hope it continues to work into the future as I continually upgrade WordPress. This leads me to my next question.
How many of you have come to rely on a particular plugin for your website. A plugin that you considered to be a crucial part of the way your site functions only to see that plugin disappear, stop working, or development ceased. What did you end up doing? I realize there are a ton of WordPress plugins in the repository but some plugins are harder to replace than others. Let me know in the comments.