I mean really… Who doesn’t love free? That would be me…
Not within the WordPress community at least. Yes, I love the fact that WordPress as a CMS is open-source. What I hate is the entitlement mentality that has grown up around this. I can’t tell you how many times I have read the phrase:
“The plugin author has a responsibility to the community…”
Hell No! The plugin author has one responsibility with their work – provide for their family. Your responsibility, as a user, is to understand (or hire someone that understands) how something works before selling the functionality to your client.
Adjusting the user mentality
If you have a project that hinges on a plugin being maintained there are a few ways that you can help ensure that it does get maintained.
- Contribute – This one is basic but the most overlooked. When I say contribute, I don’t mean a $5 PayPal payment because you feel you have to. I mean a $50 payment, a $100 payment. Something so the author understands that users value their work and they feel incentivized to continue working on it.
- Learn the Code – Try to learn how the plugin does what you need it to do. That way, when WordPress updates and your plugin requires an update you can assess the WordPress changes and adjust the plugin to be compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
- Choose Wisely – When selecting your plugin, try to use one by an author that has a history of maintaining their plugins. If the plugin has been on version 1.0 for 6 months you probably don’t want to rely on that plugin.
- Outsource When Necessary – There is a bad habit within the community of people trying to wear all the hats associated with managing and producing web projects. If you are a one man shop trying to do every part of projects yourself, there is a good chance your work sucks (I know, that was me!). If you rely 100% on plugins for basic functionality changes, don’t be afraid to hire a developer and budget it into the project.