Minimalistic vs. Full-Featured Plugins -- Preference?

(Alex MacArthur) #1

When choosing a new plugin to pull into your WordPress site, do you prefer those that have every feature imaginable? Or, do you prefer thinly-sliced plugins that keep scope small?

I can see advantages to both:

A full-featured plugin gives you the functionality you want, but also may introduce a lot of bloat and risk for potential bugs.

A thin-sliced plugin arguably keeps bug risk lower, but also may require the use of several plugins to cover the features you want/need.

What’s your preference?

(Jeffrey Carandang) #2

You can actually have both :slight_smile: That will totally depends on the plugin of your choosing. I’ve create Widget Options for WordPress with those user preferences in mind. I’ve added lots of features that may overwhelm the users. In this case I’ve created an option in which users can turn on/off any plugin features.

Let me know your thoughts :slight_smile:

Jeffrey Carandang


Turn-off/on function is just another extra feature (code) to already full-featured plugin. So practically with this, it’s even more bloated and “risky” than without it.


I have a tendency to use full-features plugins, if they’ve matured. I also like meta-plugins, when a plugin can manage add-ons as well (Gravity Forms or WP Migrate DB Pro, for instance).

Maturity is hard to figure out, of course, but some very large plugins are mature and have very little bugs introduced from updates.

If a plugin is too thin, I might just add it to a functions.php, rather then run another plugin that can be manipulated from outside (author updates and such), because I will likely forget what it does, and that can be a security issue. :slight_smile:

(Alex MacArthur) #5

Agreed, feature toggling is a feature itself.

(Alex MacArthur) #6

Great plugin; I can see the feature toggling be helpful for those interested in only interacting with the plugin from the admin and not tremendously concerned with keeping plugin weight to a minimum. However, isn’t feature toggling itself a feature?

(Jeffrey Carandang) #7

@petercralen @alexmacarthur Yes! Toggling options is also a feature you are correct! But this doesn’t mean bloated or risky, it does gives user control on which feature they want to enable to make the plugin load time as light weight as possible. But again, this depends on the plugin.

@alexmacarthur back to your original question :wink: My solution is to give the user the power to choose between the two options with this ‘Toggling Feature’, in this way you are targeting both user preference :slight_smile:

I really hope my insights are very helpful.


(Alex MacArthur) #8

Thx for the feedback, all! I tend to lean toward the thinly sliced plugins, personally. I don’t mind having several plugins active, so long as they’re carefully vetted and have a limited scope. Reduces risk of issues because less, more intentional code is at work. That said, I’m not closed to a feature-heavy plugin if I’m confident in the code quality and it’s been ‘proven’ throughout the community.