Lots of Faulty Plugins
Faulty Plugin Updates Plague WordPress
Lately there are a surprisingly large number of plugins with faults. I am not talking about new plugins – although there are some of those too – it’s the reliable and generally bug-free ones that have suddenly got bugs in their latest updates.
So what is going on. Are the code changes introduced in WordPress 3.4 the reason. Whatever the reason, suddenly it seems, respected plugin contributors are stumbling.
Mostly the Bugs are Minor
Most plugin bugs seem small, minor issues. They may not even affect every installation. There are however significant increases in the number of bug reports posted on the plugin support forums. One plugin had a small handful of reports since nine months ago, now there’s a page full in the last 2 months – all since WP3.4 it seems.
One of my favourites, Ultimate TinyMCE has given trouble on 2 sites I’ve tested it on, identical problems too – the second most recent update lost the advanced link button. The most recent – last week – update fixed the link button, but lost the signoff shortcode – replacing the signoff with the number “1” on every page it’s used on. Both these updates had to be replaced with earlier versions. Strange.
More Plugins Fail After Updates
A plugin used on one of my own sites and on a client’s site – a simple lightweight image slider – stopped working after updating. This plugin has a widget, and a shortcode to embed the slider in articles. The widget still works, but the shortcode doesn’t. In this case the contributor changed the shortcode in the last update. But when the new shortcode is placed in content, the slider doesn’t appear – just the shortcode text.
In this instance it looks to me like the change isn’t carried through to the database – deleting and re-installing the plugin hasn’t fixed the bug. Most likely the database will need editing and the tables used by the plugin dropped. I haven’t had the time to try this yet. The use of the shortcode embedded slider on my site was limited to a single page describing the plugin.
Contact Form 7 has so many problems since the last update it’s also on the list of “old plugin versions” I’m using. It simply didn’t work at all after updating! If it wasn’t the only contact form available that actually works with a modal pop-up add-on, I’d change to another.
Even Jetpack Gave some Problems
JetPack, developed by Automattic – the good people who bring you WordPress.com – also had bugs when the WP3.4 version was released. I was one of the lucky ones – this update worked fine on all my own WordPress sites, and those administered for clients. Here the reason is nearly all the problems were with JetPack comments – which I’m not using anywhere.
One site still needing an update to WP3.4 is a customer’s website. The theme is not compatible with WordPress 3.4, and I’m waiting for my client to get the updated version from the developer – who never bothered to tell his tens of thousands of paying customers the existing version wouldn’t work properly with WP3.4 – and that is one of the most expensive themes available for WordPress as well… But that’s a subject for another article.
Sufficient Bad Updates to Turn-off Notifications
I finally got tired of being reminded there are updates available for several of these plugins that have been backdated to earlier version that I installed a plugin to hide notifications for the ones given problems. While plugins like Ultimate T-MCE will get updated and fixed quickly, others like the image slider and Contact Form 7 have not been fixed since the faulty versions were released over two months ago.