When Plugins UnPlug – An Open Source Nightmare.

I have been working on some upgrades. My own sites are basically going to get a face lift. In the last week I reset up my Sandbox – basically a place I can install and test programs without messing up my websites.

In doing that, I went to update my plugins. I go down the list, update each one, find out which ones can’t be updated and hope they don’t mess up the system.

There was one plugin I really liked. Only problem was it hasn’t been worked on since 2006. When WordPress made the move to 2.7, that ultimately made the plugin fail – I couldn’t even get into it from the admin side anymore.

Open Source plugins are great, but when they stop getting developed, you could be left out hanging. When Blubrry decided to put out the PowerPress player, it was to counter another Plugin in the PodPress player. Podpress was great, but there were certain glitches that could really affect things like visibility in iTunes.

Before Blogs, I ran a few Web Forums. I only have 1 left and it’s not going to go away any time soon. It runs on SMF – or Simple Machines Forum. It’s a nice program that had a lot more feature than PHPBB or YABB did at the time.

Now I am seeing the adverse effect of time. Plugins for this software are more ‘Hard coded’ – basically the code gets put right into the pages – not in a plugin folder that could dissapear tomorrow. When the site goes through upgrades, those plugins get affected and all of a sudden you cannot uninstall them. You have to manually rip them out.

In the case of my forum; I will most likely reinstall it. But with only half of the plugins. The other half havent been updated and their websites are gone. In result, the readers won’t be able to do the same cool things they did a couple years ago.

Customizing the software is a neat thing to do. Sometimes it can come back to bite ya. If you are really savvy, you can make the updates yourself. For others who are not everyday coders, we have to suffer through what is out there and possibly fight with the plugin to get it to work.

So for me it’s back to the website.I plan the first launch by the end of the month, so I have a lot of work to do.