rtCamp launches WordPress plugin comparison project – WP Tavern
If you’ve been navigating the WordPress plugin ecosystem for years, you might instinctively know how to review and compare the detail pages of two or more plugins to select the right solution for your needs. This task can be a big hurdle for newcomers to the platform. The prospect of narrowing down the right plugin from a directory of over 59,000 can be intimidating.
The team behind rtCampa 125-person agency and a WordPress VIP Gold partner agency, launched a new tool called WordPress Plugin Comparison Project (WPPC) to help users extend WordPress with the right plugins for their needs. WPPC allows users to search for plugins to compare and customize each selection displayed on the chart:
The graph displays the age of the plugin, the date of its last update, the author, the current version, the required WP version, the required PHP version and tested until the WP version. It also displays important stats for Ratings, Total Downloads, Active Installs, Support Requests, and Support Score. Plugin data is refreshed twice a day, so it is always up to date.
Several large categories of plugins where multiple plugins are competing against each other are good candidates for comparison using the WPPC tool, including e-commerce, SEO, analytics, social sharing, performance, libraries of blocks, forms, and security, to name a few. Plug in some of the top competitors and it’s easier to see at a glance how they stack up in terms of popularity, upkeep, and support.
Comparisons can also be linked. For example, the comparison of block collector plugins above and the comparison of forms plugins below is available on the WPPC website. The comparison URL includes each of the four plugin slugs and the tool displays the graph on demand. This makes it easy to text or email someone who needs help selecting a plugin for a project.
rtCamp plans to expand the capabilities of the WPPC tool to include the following:
- Additional parameters in the comparison table (e.g. supported languages, performance data, code quality, etc.)
- Single plugin page with all data presented in a presentable manner
- Page “Other plugins from the same author”
- A dedicated page with filters where one can filter on all 55K+ plugins
After testing the tool, I found the search to be a bit buggy. Searching for plugins by name or slug sometimes doesn’t work properly. All in all very easy to use and amazing how it automatically pulls all the plugins details into the comparison table. Additional columns might be useful in some categories where there are more than four decent plugin options.
One feature that would be useful is the ability to filter the search to only show plugins that offer blocks or support the block editor. It could also work as one of the comparison table parameters. One of the most frustrating things about searching the WordPress plugin directory is sorting through to see which results support blocks. While you can browse block enabled pluginsthere is no easy way to search for block-enabled plugins only.
rtCamp aims to raise the bar for free plugins hosted on WordPress.org with the WPPC tool. If it becomes more popular, plugin authors may feel more pressure to compete in their listings by providing more active maintenance and support. It also quickly identifies which plugins have been around the longest. Since WordPress.org is the primary distribution channel for many plugin companies, a tool like this can quickly highlight any glaring shortcomings in a product if its creators aren’t consistent with updates and the support. These are important considerations when selecting a mission-critical tool, like forms or e-commerce, from a suite of enterprise or nonprofit plugins.