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How do you solve a problem like YouTube Embed?

My YouTube Embed WordPress plugin is nearly 11 years old now and was one of the first plugins I wrote (albeit not THE first), paving a way into WordPress development and, for the last 4 years, working in my dream job at Automattic.

But, right now, I have a problem with it.

First of all, it’s important to understand what the plugin is about.

What YouTube Embed does

In a nutshell, it allows you to easily embed YouTube videos, via a shortcode. However, it does a lot more.

  1. It supports all of the parameters that YouTube does – which is a lot, and using oEmbed, whilst quick and easy, doesn’t.
  2. You can create different profiles, with different set-up options. So, you may have one default set-up of videos but then a different one for certain other times.
  3. You can create your own playlists, outside of YouTube

I have also added lots of other features – adding download links, a shortcode to get and display a video title, etc.

What’s wrong with it?

The block editor (Gutenberg) has changed everything. Less and less people are using the classic editor now and, although shortcodes still work, it’s pretty poor in use. I’ve been meaning to bring the profile and playlist screens up-to-date too.

Now YouTube are trying to push everyone towards using their API, rather than the player. This would need a major refactoring of the code. Indeed, 2 months ago they announced the removal of a parameter from the player (which my plugin supports), with just a month’s notice. For comparison, the last time they did this, they deprecated it first (so it still worked), before pulling it after 2 years. A month’s notice, hidden away on a screen that people aren’t going to read, isn’t great. So, if you’re using the plugin right now and the search feature doesn’t work, that’s why.

What I’m saying here is that this plugin needs major work to remain relevant, not helped by YouTube pushing me towards their API, which is something I really can’t just avoid (unlike the block editor). And I simply don’t have the time to do this.

Riding off into the sunset

With a host of other plugins for me to manage and limited time, YouTube Embed simply doesn’t get the time it needs from me. But there are too many users out there for me to consider getting rid of it.

So, I’ve decided to start sun-setting it. Or putting it in a maintenance phase, if you like. What does this mean? I’m going to push out a final, big update, where I mop up as many outstanding code quality improvements (but no enhancements) as I can. After that, the only updates will be bug fixes and security updates.

To me, this is the best compromise that I can consider right now.

So, look out for a big new release, coming soon.

Talk to me!

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