Support » Requests and Feedback » A single place in the admin dashboard for plugin confiuration

  • There’s absolutely no logical where plugin authors choose to hide their configuration options. Bols one slap a link directly on the admin bar, other under Settings, Tools, Appearance, while for some access it only from its listing on the installed Plugin page itself. It’s irksome trying to hunt these down so why can’t there be a single place for plugin option & configuration – er maybe off the main plugin menu item itself.!!?

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  • When WordPress first introduced the theme customizer, I hated it, mainly because it took up a lot of screen space. (After all, not all of us are rich WordPress developers who get paid to play with code all day and can afford those big monitors.) But I learned to live with it, and eventually I actually like it because everything is in one place!

    I agree with you. I often have to search for plugin options after installing a new plugin.

    Like themes, we need one place to get to our plugin options. The theme customizer is fairly easy to integrate into existing themes (I’ve done it for my roll-my-own themes), so I imagine something similar could be done with plugins. I’m not sure how much work would need to be done with WordPress core, but I would argue that this is much needed. If we can’t see this in 5.6 or 5.7, maybe we can see it in 6.0.

    This is a great idea.

    Moderator Jan Dembowski

    (@jdembowski)

    Brute Squad and Volunteer Moderator

    There’s absolutely no logical where plugin authors choose to hide their configuration options.

    Sometimes there is. Some options you want to be accessible via a filter only, which is “If you don’t know what you are doing then don’t mess with this.”

    It’s irksome trying to hunt these down so why can’t there be a single place for plugin option & configuration – er maybe off the main plugin menu item itself.!!?

    It’s a style/choice thing. While I do wish there was consistency as to where that menu option is on the dashboard, it’s up to the developer and WordPress shouldn’t force authors to make a choice as to where.

    If you’ve a complaint about a specific plugin then the place for that complaint or suggestion is that plugin’s sub-forum.

    This is a good matter to think about.
    There may not be an immediate solution, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

    There are some important statements being made ;

    1) locations;
    the admin bar, other under Settings, Tools, Appearance, while for some access it only from its listing on the installed Plugin page itself.

    2) adverse effect
    a) irksome trying
    b) to hunt

    3) location not indicated to user during installation
    a) often have to search for plugin options after installing a new plugin.

    4) Level of User Capability
    a) Some options you want to be accessible via a filter only, which is “If you don’t know what you are doing then don’t mess with this.”

    5) Advantage of having a ‘convention’
    a) It’s a style/choice thing. While I do wish there was consistency as to where that menu option is on the dashboard,

    6) Choice
    a) it’s up to the developer and WordPress shouldn’t force authors to make a choice as to where.

    As initial work-arounds,
    a) it is possible to install a plugin that allows the customization of the dashboard menu system (but probably does not include the menu in the list of plugins).
    b) You can use your browser to save bookmarks to the settings, and then save them in a bookmarks folder (in your browser) called “WordPress Settings”.
    So for the WordPress users, those options are available right now.

    Thing is, computers and software are (supposedly) very good for making these adjustments (as is already exampled in the work-arounds above), so are probably capable of being designed to allow this flexibility.

    To examine the elasticity (give and take) of this part (i.e. plugin settings) of the system;
    a) it might be useful to have all plugins, put all their settings, in all locations, so a user does not need to guess, and can find them close at hand.
    b) a request from a user for an improvement in convention, is understood, and the choice made by the plugin author is respected.
    c) the user, makes use of the plugin that the author has designed, and (presumably) the plugin author designs a plugin that they want the users to enjoy using.
    d) the experience from plugin to plugin, within the wordpress platform is allowed to vary according to authors wishes, and may possibly approximate what some user want in many cases.
    e) the functionality, degree of control of a plugin, and its technical features, place requirements for skill of the user, in order to maintain proper function of the plugin, and reliable performance of the plugin, and in combination with the system.

    One can image more considerations, but the above is an example of a few considerations which contribute towards the balance of ‘what is designed for use’ and ‘how it actually used’.
    One method of creating a solution, is to make one solution, and everybody then follows that state of working.
    Another is to allow flexibility.
    The present system is flexible, and that is (very) good.
    This is because there is more than one way to work, and more than one way to have problems, but there is usually at least one way (even under failure) to get the work done.
    Single solutions are alright while they work well, but when they fail, everybody and everything is effected.
    So flexibility is good.
    As notable from above, the choice is made by the author as to where the settings are placed, and there are hopes that these are placed in locations that imply a level of expertise required to make adjustments to the settings (and it might be helpful to have some clear form of identifying which are considered to be the more expert and more simple places to locate the settings).

    The suggestion that has been made, is to have these settings in one place.
    This is the type of solution that has one uniform state for everybody.

    It is good for those that want that.
    With a slight re-arrangement of outlook, this can be considered as “an option” for the layout (one option).
    Another option for the layout, might be “separate zones for settings based on expertise (e.g. Advanced,Proficient,Beginner)”, or some other forms of layout that might be designed to cope with balancing the objectives.

    So this matter can be considered to be an ability to “select the layout” of some portion of the dashboard.
    This is a bit like themes for websites, but for the dashboard.

    Plugin authors could have their ‘recommended’ locations, and it might be possible for the users to have their ‘preferred locations’ for the settings, and those choices could be made separately for settings of each level of expertise.

    There is no time constraint on when this needs to be done by.
    At least one user has suggested this, as others may have done at earlier times.
    This may not be considered an important matter to any of the designers, and the WordPress system that the plugins are used within.
    This is a feature request that at least a minority of users may appreciate, when ever it may be permitted.

    a Note on assessing the value to a user, as an estimate for the user-ship population ;
    The value of this suggestion can be easily estimated, by summing up the time spent trying to find the settings (scrolling, clicking, etc) and valuing that.
    “irk” is more difficult to quantify, but instead analyze what it is that is causing the irk and quantify that (e.g. non-intuitive, ‘hidden or as good as to the user’, settings for plugin in more than one place, overlap of settings for one plugin in more than one place but not obvious which settings are particular to only one of those places, not like most of the other plugins a user has).
    Benefits may be estimated, e.g. time saved, keenness to embark on previously protracted tasks, better regulation of exposure to risk of faulty operation, maintain desirable freedom for both authors and users, workflow processes are streamlined.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  MKSnMKS. Reason: improved to format
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