New WordPress 2.7 Feature – Plugin Installation

(This post is geared more towards PHP authors and fans of WordPress, so if you’re not into that sort of thing, why not go look at some pictures of cats instead?)

So, I upgraded to the latest 2.7-bleeding edge version of WordPress on my blog today, and discovered a new feature that I had missed in my earlier readings. There was a new menu item on the Plugins menu:

New Menu Item
New Menu Item - Install Plugins!

Yes, it appears that WordPress now has plugin installation built into it. Similar to the Plugin Upgrade feature introduced in 2.5, 2.7 will be able to download and install plugins directly from WordPress.org’s plugin directory.

Naturally, I had to try this out, so read on if you want to see what it looks like…

The new Plugin Install screen
The new Plugin Install screen

The new plugin install screen has several ways to find plugins, including all the normal plugin lists from the WordPress Plugin Directory. It also has a pretty good search as well as a fairly large tag cloud at the bottom, if you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for.

Tip for plugin developers: Now might be a good time to look closer at those readme.txt files you’ve been making for the plugin directory, and be sure that you’ve got everything nice and neat. Especially think about tags and keywords… People have to find your plugin somehow.

Choosing a plugin
Choosing a plugin

Choosing the plugin is just a matter of finding it and then clicking the Install link. When you do, you get to see more info about it first, before installing it.

Plugin Information
Plugin Information

Note the “Install Now” button in the top right corner. Also note that only the description shows up, note of the other normal tabs. I don’t know if this is going to change or not, but nevertheless, plugin authors should consider that their descriptions will be getting more visibility this way.

Install process
Install process

Installation is much the same as upgrading, except it’s now in a thickbox. Yes, upgrading now happens in a nice thickbox too, using this same interface. The description screen is also smart enough to detect when you already have a plugin install and have the latest version of it, and tell you “Latest Update Installed” instead of “Install Now” and such.

Activating the plugin
Activating the plugin

After activating, it all goes back to normal. The resulting plugin gets its own subdirectory in the plugins directory, and all is well.

Important note for plugin authors: This sort of thing was already critical for upgrading, but now installing makes it even more so. Your main plugin’s PHP file and readme.txt file must be in the root of the SVN! You cannot package it up yourself as a ZIP file or anything like that. If it can’t find the plugin’s PHP file after downloading it, then your plugin won’t show up, it won’t be activated, and it generally won’t work for anybody.

0 thoughts on “New WordPress 2.7 Feature – Plugin Installation”

  1. Hi, Otto! How are you?I’m here to publicly thank you for all the support you give on the WordPress forum. You help a lot with your tricks and tips.Thanks to your help I solved many problems while developing my brand new WordPress project, called ZapShows (http://www.zapshows.com)I’ve written an open letter so you can be sure I’m really grateful for your help. You can read it at the WP Forum: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/194623Feel free to spread the word and to tell me your thoughts about the project.Take care and keep up the good work.Best regards,Mateus Moraeshttp://www.zapshows.com

  2. Otto,

    Thanks for reporting on this and for writing your PHP Code Execution plugin.

    I thought that it would be just the thing for my install, as I need to execute some PHP code in the sidebar widgets for my blogroll (I’m using blogrolling.com) but I think it isn’t going to work properly in my site. I using WordPress MU with domain mapping and multi-site manager.

    I successfully installed the plugin, activated it, went to the design>>widgets area, added a widget, droppred in the code, but when I saved it, all the PHP code got stripped out.

    I’ll happily buy you a beer, if you can tell me how to fix this.

    Cheers,
    Carl

    1. The PHP code widget expects the user using it to have the “unfiltered_html” capability. If they don’t have that, then it will run the input through kses, filtering any code that kses doesn’t like. This is for security purposes.

      So, make sure the users using it have that capability, and that you trust them. It’s probably not a good widget to use if you have untrusted users blogging on your MU site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *