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Canonical Plugins (Say What?)

Posted December 8, 2009 by Jen Mylo. Filed under Development.

There have been a lot of references to “canonical plugins” over the past year, especially at WordCamps by Matt, but we haven’t really posted anything official about the idea, nor have we really made much progress beyond discussions about how awesome it would be to have canonical plugins and how good it would be for the community. But what are canonical plugins, you ask? Well, that’s one of the many things the core commit team has been talking about over the past few days, and everyone agrees that we need to prioritize this aspect of the project sooner rather than later. So, here’s a super high-level description of how we’re currently thinking about canonical plugins, which we’d like to use to initiate some focused community discussion on the topic.

Canonical plugins would be plugins that are community developed (multiple developers, not just one person) and address the most popular functionality requests with superlative execution. These plugins would be GPL and live in the WordPress.org repo, and would be developed in close connection with WordPress core. There would be a very strong relationship between core and these plugins that ensured that a) the plugin code would be secure and the best possible example of coding standards, and b) that new versions of WordPress would be tested against these plugins prior to release to ensure compatibility. There would be a screen within the Plugins section of the WordPress admin to feature these canonical plugins as a kind of Editor’s Choice or Verified guarantee. These plugins would be a true extension of core WordPress in terms of compatibility, security and support.

In order to have a system like this, each canonical plugin’s development community would probably need similar infrastructure to WordPress itself, including things like Trac, mailing lists, support forums, etc. These things will be worked out within the development community over the coming months, but in the meantime, we really need a better name for this. Many people have no idea what canon/canonical means (clearly, they are not Dr. Who fans!), and having to define the word distracts from discussing the core ideas behind the concept. So, we thought we’d do a community poll to see what people think we should call canonical plugins. We brainstormed a few dozen ideas yesterday and whittled it down to our top handful. Based on the definition of canonical plugins given above, which of these terms do you think best describes them? I’m including a short description of our thoughts on each.

Standard - Implies that these are the standard by which all other plugins should be judged, as well as the idea of them being the default plugins.
Core - Makes the close relationship to core WordPress development very clear, and has the implication of bundled plugins (even though we don’t need to actually bundle them now that the installer is right in the admin tool).
Premium – Identifies these officially-supported plugins as best-in-class and of the highest value, and could potentially disambiguate the word Premium as it is currently being used in the community (to refer to anything from commercial support to licensing terms to actual code quality).
Validated - Focuses on the fact that the code is reviewed for compatibility with core and for security.
Official – Makes it plain that these are the plugins officially endorsed by the core team as being the best at their functions.
Canonical – Maybe once people get used to it, canonical wouldn’t confuse so many people?

Cast your vote in the poll below to have your opinion considered during the decision-making process. And if you can think of a word that we haven’t listed here that you think is better, please submit it in the poll! The poll will remain open until 11:59pm UTC Thursday, December 10, 2009.

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  1. [...] Posted on dev blog re canonical plugins, and posted poll to weigh in on what to call them. http://wordpress.org/development/2009/12/canonical-plugins/ #wordpress [...]

    Pingback from Posted on dev blog re canonical plugins,… « WordPress Development Updates on December 8, 2009

  2. [...] WordPress has an excellent reputation in the blogosphere. The script is current, well-maintained, and feature-packed. Plugin development is somewhat haphazard, though still resulting in some of the best script development anywhere. The idea behind so-called canonical plugins, developers say, is to improve the quality and implementation of popular functions: Canonical plugins would be plugins that are community developed (multiple developers, not just one person) and address the most popular functionality requests with superlative execution. These plugins would be GPL and live in the WordPress.org repo, and would be developed in close connection with WordPress core. There would be a very strong relationship between core and these plugins that ensured that a) the plugin code would be secure and the best possible example of coding standards, and b) that new versions of WordPress would be tested against these plugins prior to release to ensure compatibility. — Canonical Plugins (Say What?) [...]

    Pingback from WordPress developers discuss "canonical plugins" | PluginsPress.com on December 8, 2009

  3. [...] Plugins Well, it's made the Twitter rounds: Jane Wells' blog post and poll regarding Canonical Plugins. First, the working definition of a canonical plugin: [...]

    Pingback from Canonical Plugins - WordPress Tavern Forum on December 8, 2009

  4. [...] idea. That  is not even the official name yet, and that’s why you need to vote at the end of the post on canonical plugins at wordpress.org [...]

    Pingback from WordPress: Canonical Plugins | WordPress Rooms on December 8, 2009

  5. [...] system kick-ass, you can leave a comment below and I’ll see that it hits the proper channels. Or, check out this coincidentally timed post in the WordPress development [...]

    Pingback from WordPress and the need for canonical plugins | John Hawkins Unrated on December 9, 2009

  6. [...] WordPress Core Commit Team ended their meeting after WordCamp Orlando and has announced on the development blog that there will be canonical plugins in the [...]

    Pingback from WordPress Announces Canonical Plugins. Some Thoughts On proposed Names. | Best Hosting Talk | Cheap Web Hosting Deals | Web Hosting Deals and Coupons on December 11, 2009

  7. [...] The introduction of canonical plugins. [...]

    Pingback from Towards one WordPress? | Tony Scott on December 13, 2009

  8. [...] should think about wether there actually is something to describe or not. WordPress.org announces a somewhat whishy-washy concept of some “you name it” – plugins that are acually, well, plugins and – tada – hosted in the plugin repro. Needles to [...]

    Pingback from artnorm // Does giving the thing a new name changes a thing? // simply perfect slim /// // / on December 13, 2009

  9. [...] Wells posted an entry on the WordPress Blog about canonical [...]

    Pingback from Canonical WordPress Plugins | Digitivity on December 14, 2009

  10. [...] into a comprehensive community developed plugin which can hopefully become one of the first “canonical” plugins that we have talked [...]

    Pingback from Giving your WordPress a check up « westi on wordpress on December 31, 2009

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