What’s New #
Version 1.1.0 is the first major update WordPoints has received since its initial release. I wish I could say that it came with lots of new features, but this update ended up focusing mainly on the core APIs in the plugin’s code. That isn’t bad news though. The introduction of an improved modules API and other developer oriented features means that WordPoints’ core code now provides a stronger and better foundation for the development of new features.
This release wasn’t entirely devoid of visible improvements, however. The styles on the plugin’s administration screens were updated to go with the new WordPress administration styles. The module management page is also better, with bulk activate/deactivate/delete features, which will come in handy when we start releasing some modules (hopefully soon). And the points hooks can be added to a points type by clicking and choosing, as an alternative to dragging and dropping, just like WordPress widgets can in 3.8.
What was learned #
Originally, this release planned to focus on making WordPoints fully multisite compatible, and it was scheduled to release sometime in November. Unfortunately, neither of those things happened. The reason the release was late is that I had other development work that I had to do in the middle of working on the plugin. Although I can’t say that won’t happen again, I can say that going over the deadline won’t be a habit. In the future, I plan to make new versions more focused, and I will also be better able to judge the time an update is likely to take.
Down until about two weeks ago, I was still hoping to add full multisite support to this release. But I realized that it really wasn’t a good idea. I would have either had to push back the release date further, or ship the plugin without the proper care and testing it deserved. I will be adding multisite support. It will be the focus of the next release, and it will be done right.
That doesn’t mean that WordPoints won’t run on multisite installs. But it is untested and unpolished. Try it at your own risk.
The reason that I had to drop that from this release is that while beginning development on the update, I realized that the module API was not robust enough. Since I believe in backward compatibility for this plugin, I wanted to make any big changes to that API as soon as possible. That is why I decided that the module API should be tackled first in development, and unfortunately that pushed other features into later releases. The good news is that the new module API is almost 100% backward compatible with the previous implementation, and should provide the framework for many new features.
What’s in the future #
Several things actually. The module API I’ve been talking about has some real potential. It offers the ability to extend WordPoints in the same way that plugins extend WordPress. You can now install a module by uploading a zip file to your site, right through the administration panels, the same way that you can do with plugins. But what if you could go to a module repository for WordPoints extensions, just like you can search through all sorts of cool stuff on the WordPress plugin repository? That is something that could actually be a possibility in the very near future, thanks to the improvements in WordPoints 1.1.0.
Also, I’m planning to move development to Github. If you’re not a developer, that probably doesn’t mean anything to you, so let me translate: I’m planning to start carrying on the development of this plugin in a way that everybody can see each new feature or bugfix get added, and that will make it easier for other developers to contribute to the plugin. In short, it should make the development cycle faster and easier.
I’d also like to really get some developer documentation up during the next development cycle. With an improved API for extending WordPoints, it would be a shame not to have docs up on how to extend it.
That’s all for now. Please download the latest version and give it a spin. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how I can make it better.