Engineering

Introducing the WordPress Plugin Compare Project

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Here are a couple of scenarios.

One of my friends runs a gift shop. They have a website built with WordPress but just as a catalogue site. A few weeks ago they showed interest in launching an online store. Their conversation with me started at the obvious place — which plugin should I use?

Another friend runs a WordPress website for his co-working space. It’s just a brochure website. As business owners, they were interested in knowing if they can accept bookings online. Naturally, the conversation led to the question — which plugin should I use?

Off the top of my head, I suggested WooCommerce to both of them. But their research also brought up Easy Digital Downloads, Shopify and many other solutions, each with their own set of features, value-adds and gotchas.

So, I recommended, they should take each of these options and compare them side-by-side. Several plugins do a great job communicating what they bring to the table. However, when choosing a plugin, it’s wise to also reference the number of active installations, support track record, general user review, and ongoing maintenance & support provided by the plugin author. Each of these are indicators of how the overall experience of committing to a plugin will play out.

But toggling between browser tabs while comparing different parameters and features can quickly get overwhelming. And why wouldn’t it? There are 55K+ plugins available in the WordPress.org plugin repository.

So how does an average WordPress user choose the right plugin for their needs?

This is how the idea of our WordPress plugin compare project came into being. Information about all the plugins in the WP.org repository is already available from WordPress. Then why not present this information to the community in such a way that they can easily search for the plugin and compare it with other plugins?

Introducing a side project we’ve been working on, WordPress Plugin Compare (WPPC).

All plugin data on WPPC is refreshed twice a day, so when someone compares plugins they are making a decision using the most updated data. Comparisons can also be shared with a simple URL, so I can help out a friend by putting together a few options to choose from.

Currently, the comparison tool displays basic plugin data. However, we will be adding more features down the line which will make this tool even more useful.

WPPC Roadmap

  • Additional parameters in the comparison table (e.g. supported languages, performance data, code quality, etc.)
  • Single plugin page with all the data laid out in a presentable manner
  • “Other plugins by the same author” page
  • A dedicated page with filters where one can filter across all 55K+ plugins

Links: WordPress Plugin Comparison | WordPress plugin repository

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