Plugin Compatibility Reporter

Plugin Compatibility Reporter is a WordPress plugin that enables you report if the plugins that you’re using are working properly. It integrates with the compatibility reporting features of the official WordPress.org plugin directory, and lets you mark plugins as “working” or “broken” from within your WordPress dashboard.

It also tracks how long each plugin has been active on your site and automatically reports plugins that have been active for a while (1 week by default) as compatible – unless, of course, you’ve already marked them as broken. This way you won’t need to waste time on reporting that some plugins work fine.

See also: Why use this plugin?

Screenshots

Plugin settings page

You can use these “works” and “broken” links to report if a plugin is working properly with your WP version

Download

Requires WordPress 3.4 or later.

Installation

  1. Go to Plugins -> Add New -> Upload and upload the plugin archive to your site.
  2. Activate the plugin via the “Plugins” page.
  3. Go to Plugins -> Compatibility Reporter and enter your WordPress.org credentials in the appropriate fields. If you don’t have a WordPress.org account yet, you can get one here.
  4. (Optional) Change how long a plugin needs to be active before it gets marked as working. The default is 1 week.
  5. The plugin will now download your existing compatibility votes. This happens in the background and can take up to 10 minutes.
  6. You should see “Works” and “Broken” links on your “Plugins” page. Click them to report your plugins as compatible or incompatible with your WordPress version. Your current vote (if any) will be displayed in bold.

Why Use It?

The main goal of this plugin is to make the compatibility reports that WordPress.org displays for each plugin more useful. Right now, most plugins only have a handful of votes – not enough to reliably determine if they’re compatible with this or that WordPress version.

Exhibit A

Even plugins that have been downloaded millions of times usually have only a couple dozen of compatibility reports for the current version, at best. Why is that, and how does this plugin help the situation?

1. Reporting plugin compatibility is inconvenient.

To be able to vote, you first have to sign up for a WordPress.org account. That’s easy enough and you only need to do it once. Then, when you actually want to report a plugin as working or broken, you need to:

  1. Go to WordPress.org.
  2. Remember your username and password.
  3. Find the plugin you want to vote on. There might be a “Visit plugin homepage” link on the “Plugins” page, but that usually leads to the author’s site, not the WordPress.org listing.
  4. Find your plugin version in the drop-down list.
  5. Find your WordPress version in the second list.
  6. Click “Works” or “Broken”.

Multiply this by the number of plugins you have installed and the number of plugin and WordPress updates, and you’ll see why most people don’t bother with it. This plugin simplifies the process down to clicking a “Works” or “Broken” link on your “Plugins” page. You only have to enter your WordPress.org account details once: when setting up the plugin.

2.There’s little incentive to mark plugins as working.

Of those users who do send compatibility reports, many do it only when a plugin doesn’t work. Even if you deliberately try to avoid this and always report compatible plugins as working, it can get tiresome quickly since new plugin versions are released all the time.

One side-effect of this is that compatibility figures tend to be unfairly biased towards “broken”. For example, take Jetpack which currently has 29 “works” and 8 “broken” votes. I seriously doubt that a plugin that was made by the same folk who run WordPress.com is broken on 8/37 = 22% of sites.

Plugin Compatibility Reporter solves this by automatically marking plugins that have been active for a long time as working. This is based on the assumption that the user wouldn’t leave a plugin active if it was incompatible with their site. Of course, you can always change your vote to “broken” if it turns out that the plugin had a subtle bug that you didn’t notice at first.  This plugin will not overwrite your existing reports.

Benefits

  • Users get a better idea of how well any given plugin works with the latest version of WordPress.
  • Developers get a more accurate impression of what fraction of users are having problems with their plugin.
  • Less time is wasted on reporting plugins that work properly.
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7 Responses to “Plugin Compatibility Reporter”

  1. Frank says:

    Nice idea for better counter on the wp.org repo; but I miss a important feature. I Use WP very often in Multisite mode and the most plugins active for the network. Maybe you can enhanced your plugin for the mu mode?

  2. Jānis Elsts says:

    I haven’t tested it, but I think the plugin might actually work fine in Multisite mode. It already stores plugin data network-wide, and the permissions are set up in such a way that only the super admin would be able to use the plugin.

  3. Frank says:

    But the plugins, there are only active for the network have not add the strings on the plugin screen. Also I have no add submenu for the settings of your plugin, user, password for wp org on the network screen. It is not usefull, that I add my user in all sites inside the network. Thanks!

  4. Jānis Elsts says:

    Oops, you’re right. I’ll keep that in mind.

  5. Frank says:

    Welcome and maybe I see this feature in the next version.

  6. Shawn says:

    It would also be nice if we could ‘favorite’ the plugin directly from within the new text in the plugin list. This feature would help us setup and manage other sites that will use the same plugins under WP 3.5+

  7. Joe says:

    Janis,

    I really like the ‘mark as compatible’ feature. This is pretty much only way to get some decent amount of feedback. People are just too lazy to mark plugins as working, but they are very quick when it comes to ‘plugin is broken’.

    Good idea!

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