My recent experience of submitting a WordPress plugin to the directory

black flat screen computer monitor

It’s been around 3 years since I last submitted a plugin to the WordPress directory. A lot has changed since then and having just had a new one approved, I thought I’d compare the process.

First of all, let’s talk about that previous plugin, back in 2020. It wasn’t particularly complex, but then neither was my recent one.

I submitted the code on 9th November. On the 11th November they rejected it due to a failure to use unique prefixes on the function names. I corrected it, sent it back and, same day, it was approved.

Let’s compare this to my recent submission.

I sent it on the 16th July. On the 1st October they rejected it because of the name, because of the user of a trademark name (and, to be fair to me, although this is covered in the guidelines, there is one company that is an exception and has different requirements – I’d fallen foul of this). It took a lot of changes to rename it entirely but I did, tested and sent back the same day.

On the 5th of October it was rejected after an initial review. I corrected them and returned the same day.

The above review included this warning…

Please note that due to the significant backlog the Plugin Review team is facing, we have only done a basic review of your plugin. Once the issues we shared above are fixed, we will do a more in-depth review that might surface other issues.

Thankfully they didn’t and on 8th October it was fully approved.

My concerns

I’m well aware that there was a long backlog and I understand why this was the case. At the time I submitted my plugin it was 2 months long, so it was odd that I ended up waiting nearly 3 months.

However, the long wait times highlighted a couple of issues to me

  1. You cannot submit any further plugins whilst you have one in the queue. Which is fine when it’s a matter of days or weeks, but when it’s months? It would seem sensible to me to allow a maximum wait between submissions, so if the queue is long, it would allow you to submit 1 or 2 more, without spamming the queue (which is the concern)
  2. My plugin was about the newly (at the time) released Threads social network. For all I knew, I was in a queue of dozens of other plugins trying to do the same thing – if this was the case, I may have withdrawn from the submission. It would be nice to be able to see the queue, but the Plugin review team are wary of this information being used advantageously

I raised both of these with the review team but were rejected for the reasons I mention.

The initial rejection could have been avoided if the guidelines were clearer – if there are specific companies that are special cases, why is this not documented? Equally, for the second rejection, I couldn’t find a single one of the issues raised in the guidelines. Equally, they’re not warned about by PHPCS or their own Plugin Check plugin. All of this makes me wonder how I was supposed to avoid this.

And, yes, I’ll be talking about the above to the review team – if we can get documentation changes to improve this, that will be really helpful.

One thing that’s come out of this, though, is that, long wait time aside, I’m now keen to avoid submitting new plugins. Where I can, I’ll re-use what I already have. Already, I’ve reversed a decision to close one plugin and create a new one – I’ll now continue with the original rather than try and get through all of the above.

However, in the coming weeks I do have a new plugin to submit and the queue stands at nearly 3.5 months long 😔

Talk to me!

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