Plugins to Organize Plugins

Plugins to Organize Plugins

My pick is Plugin Notes for notes and Easy Updates Manager for controlling the update process, but I later concluded that plugin grouping is necessary and Plugin Groups is the best one for that purpose.

Describing and writing notes on plugins

  • Plugin Notes | mjangda/plugin-notes is a plugin that I really need and use frequently. Although it has its 1K users, it seems to me that the author does not update it. Fortunately, the plugin still works. The ability to enter and format notes in HTML or Markdown format is very important to me. One of my favorite plugins.

  • Plugin Notes Plus is the first replacement for the previous plugin. It is not perfectly made, but at least it is regularly updated as it has 6K users. I always modify it so that the plugin notes are displayed beneath the plugin description and not in a separate column, and for that there’s the hook plugin-notes-plus_note_placement.

  • Plugin Memorandum is an outdated version of a plugin that attempted to do the same thing as the previous two. Of course, it hasn’t been maintained for a long time and the code is outdated and poor.

Plugin Classification and Organization

  • Plugin Groups is not the most beautiful plugin out there, but it is regularly maintained and it works. It allows you to group your plugins in Admin area, in a very flexible way. It is also available on Github as DavidCramer/plugin-groups. I consider it essential now.

  • Plugin Organizer is a plugin that allows you to modify the order of plugin loading, disable plugins per post type and add plugin grouping. To achieve all those features, it includes an extra must-use module. However, I’m never using it due to its complicated and confusing user interface and its negative impact on the performance of the admin area.

  • Plugin Manager was a plugin that was well-designed and used to serve the purpose of grouping plugins, locking and hiding them, and had a nice user-friendly interface. However, it has not been updated in a long time and now causes WordPress to crash. Despite this, it was a great plugin that I enjoyed using. The plugin is also available on Github as sujin2f/Plugin-Manager.

Hiding Plugins

  • Hide Plugins works perfectly. You can’t hide mu-plugins, but that’s also impossible in other plugins. I am using this one, but only for not-really-scary plugins ;) For scary plugins, use Admin Menu Editor.

  • Admin Menu Editor also has this option, and as I don’t want multiple plugins for the same task, I’m using this one.

  • Plugin Manager also had this option, when it worked.

Control Plugin Updates

Plugin Update and Auto-update feature has come a long way in WordPress core, but there is still room for improvement. What particularly bothers me is how often the admin area becomes slow due to the numerous remote API calls for checking for new plugin versions. I need to have more control and prevent such a high amount of outgoing HTTP requests.

  • Easy Updates Manager je detailed configuration system for updating WP and it’s plugins. Very well written, and therefore my winner, ali sad potpuno nepotreban pošto je skoro iste stvari uveo WordPress u core.

  • Block Plugin Update
    Very straightforward and easy plugin for blocking updates of specific plugins. Does what it is supposed to do.

  • Lock Your Updates Plugins/Themes Manager
    If you really need update locking, this can be a plugin for you. Don’t forget that there are much better plugins for that. As for notes - it’s really only very basic.

Later added & still not reviewed:

Disable and hide updates

It might sound weird, but this is really important after the site is delivered to the client. They usually get confused by a lot of notifications about new plugins, so it’s better to not show anything so they think everything is perfect.

  • Disable All WordPress Updates (20K users) completely disables the theme, plugin, and core update checking system, and prevents any notifications from appearing. As it dramatically reduces the number of remote API requests, it also speeds up the overall performance of the admin area. In order to update anything, you will need to temporarily deactivate this plugin. While some people may find that feature useful, I personally don’t like the fact that it displays a small red indicator in the Admin Bar.

  • Disable Updates by Johan van der Wijk (10K users) does the exact same thing as the previous plugin, “Disable All WordPress Updates”, in the very similar way. One advantage of this plugin is that it completely removes the “Updates” menu item from the Admin menu and there’s no indication that the plugin is active.

  • Hide Updates (5K users) is a plugin that does not disable update checks, but it simply does not notify users about new updates, except for the users that you designate. And that’s, by default, the first registered user or the one who installed the site. Besides that user, no one else will see update notificaions. Because the API calls still run, this plugin does not speed up the admin area, but it makes it less distracting. Using specific hook, it also allows to select users that will get notifications.

There are other similar plugins available, but they are less popular and may not be as necessary.

Technical notes regarding update checks

I need to remind myself that “Disable update notification” is not the same as “Disable update check (HTTP request)”. The related hooks that are associated with these two different operations are:

  • site_transient_update_plugins for “disable update notification”
  • pre_http_request is ideal but also http_request_args which is on a higher level, both for “disable update check”

Very common problem for admin speed is that the system is dialing out to other servers, that are sometimes very slow. A custom solution is to intercept pre_http_request and filter by URL if you want to block something specific.

On some projects I had incredibly slow update servers for the paid plugin “Vendidero” and the only solution was to block all API calls that went to their servers. And that speeded up the Admin, drastically.

Read more about this here and here.

Tiny but extremely useful plugins

Miscellaneous Plugins

Some plugins I’ve tried but didn’t find useful.

  • Wb Sticky Notes is a plugin whose functionality did not align with my initial expectations. Most of these “sticky” plugins display sticky notes in the Dashboard, but this one displays it everywhere as if the whole Admin is one big Desktop. This could be useful only if you want to leave an important message for later for yourself or to others aka just like a classic Post-It note.

  • Grouper is a simple plugin that groups the links of the same author in the Admin menu. It doesn’t serve any other purpose and is not useful for me.

date 15. Dec 2016 | modified 27. Jan 2023
filename: Plugins » Organize & Control Plugins