WordPress Plugin Repository – Active Versions Piechart

DCG Active Versions Nov 2010

Wow! There’s a great new feature available on the Plugin pages on wordpress.org – a lovely piechart showing which versions of a plugin are currently activated on WordPress installs.

As a plugin developer, I often wonder whether or not people actually upgrade when I put out a new release and, during development, I often agonise over decisions on whether I should scrap old features, or maintain an upgrade path. And the statistics don’t fill me with much joy. Why not, I hear you ask…

Simple. A complex plugin like the Dynamic Content Gallery requires a lot of work in maintainance, and each release is issued for a reason – bug fixes, security fixes, more optimal code, enhanced features, etc – and all of these require thought to ensure that each upgrade seamlessly builds on the previous version. Spending less time on worrying about upgrade paths and more time on making the plugin better, seems a great philosophy to me.

However, the statistics show some interesting facts:

  • Only 22.8% of activated installs are running the current version (3.3.2)
  • A whopping 47.4% are still running 3.2.3 (which is very old now….)
  • A not insignificant 7.5% are still running 2.2 – which was released in 2008!

The question is this: why are over three-quarters of the DCG installs worldwide still running out of date versions? Frankly, I’ve no idea. Could be laziness, could be installs on dormant sites, could be that upgrading caused the user a problem and therefore he decided to stick with the previous version…. Who knows?

Probably, for the latter, most of these people would have posted support questions on my forum. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, at least not in terms of numbers of forum posts vs numbers of downloads.

As for the other possibilities, as mentioned above, who knows…

My view is that, collectively, plugin developers will love this feature. It is informative, and gives a useful snapshot that can help in development decisions. In the case of the Dynamic Content Gallery, here are the decisions I have taken as a result of analysing this data:

  • Drop support for pre 3.0 versions.
  • Continue to ensure seamless upgrades for supported versions.
  • Better publicise the desirability of upgrading to the latest version.

And finally…

I would love to hear your views on this new feature, and also your thoughts as to why people don’t upgrade, so feel free to leave a comment!

Check out my follow post to see how the DCG active versions have been moving over time:

WordPress Plugin Repository – Active Versions Piechart – Update

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