Byline plugin: lessons learned thus far

In the nine months and 1,000 downloads since I released Byline, I have learned a few things. Mostly I’ve learned that the more I learn about WordPress, the more there is to learn about WordPress.

Theme and plugin writers have created a massive ecosystem of tools for WordPress. This offers the power of flexibility but creates challenges across the map. Just a simple thing like displaying an author’s name is handled a hundred different ways across different WordPress themes. This creates a problem for Byline, because I rely on there being only one or two ways to display this. With my current knowledge and skillset, I do not see a strategy for adapting my approach to meet the needs of the wider WP community, unfortunately.

One of the problems with the user community of WordPress is that, while I know I have had 1,000 downloads, I do not know who most of my users are unless they have contacted me. Because of the issue I already described, I know a lot about what kinds of problems exist, but I’m also unaware of who is using it effectively without problems. That information would be good as well.

For some of the themes that my plugin has not worked with, I have been able to troubleshoot and offer custom code to get full functionality. But at this level of customization, you might as well be using Co-Authors Plus, which requires all users to modify the theme and offers a more complete author management tool.



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