People are getting freakishly reserved in describing their plugins when they have development issues lately.  I suspect that it has something to do with keeping things secret for the plugin contest.  Folks have been asking me for help or hints for developing ther plugins.  This may seem weird if you don't usually come here for WordPress stuff (hey, a few people don't -- yeah, really!), but I'll give you a little background on why:

I was likely the first plugin developer to implement the custom admin panels from a plugin.  For instance, the original Spam Karma (among others) was derived from this code.  I've developed over 13 plugins that are in widespread use.  I have submitted code (for upgrading the database, among other things) to the WordPress core that has been accepted and rolled in.  I'm an active participant in the discussions on the WordPress developer and documentation mailing lists.  I've written a tutorial on creating a basic plugin that is well-traveled by newbie plugin coders.  A decent-sized chunk of the development documentation in Codex was written by me.  Google even thinks I'm a WordPress plugin (entry #5).  I enjoy helping people write new plugins for WordPress, and will gladly respond to any reasonable email request.  I don't ask for or require attribution of any kind for my help, but if you're so inclined, a link to here from your web site might be nice, and a mention in your plugin would be generously super-cool.  I do appreciate being appreciated.  As a matter of fact, I'm very overdue in offering links to Skippy's vhosts plugin, which is an amazingly simple way of using a single instance of WP for a multi-site blog, and Graeme's Geomap plugin, which plots your blog post locations onto a map when you use it with the Geo plugin.  If I have somehow influenced your plugin development, it would be nice to know - leave me a comment or email.  If you are sending me email asking for help on your new plugin, and you're worried about me taking your idea and running off with it for the contest, you should know that I don't currently intend to enter the contest.  I do actually have a plan for a plugin that I would write if I was going to enter the contest (and win ;) ), but I have neither the time nor prerequisite resources to implement it.  And trust me, you are not thinking of writing the thing that I have been thinking of writing.  It's insane and I'm not even sure it can be done.  Moreover, even if I do decide to enter the contest, it's not going to be with your idea.  I've got enough plugin ideas sitting around to burden a small mule with their hardcopies, besides the fact that I've got more scruples than that.  So don't worry, your secret is safe with me.  Although...  Have you considered asking any other WordPress users what they think of your plugin idea?  You might be surprised that the community has some fantastic ideas, particularly people who have no coding ability, that they would like to see your plugin do.  Improve your ideas by not making them so secret.  Beyond that, have you considered improving your plugin by teaming up with another developer?  There are plenty of people out there with mad programming skills that might be interested in collaborating with you.  Use more brainpower says I.  And you know, "so what" if someone runs off with your idea?  You're writing the plugin for the community, right?  Not for the greed.  Ok, maybe just a little greed.

Comments

I downloaded your Acropop plugin... and was dissapointed that there isn't any directions regarding how to use the plugin. could you write a word or two about what to do with it? Thank you.

Thanks for the link, Owen! Thanks also for the help with my plugin.

You're spot-on here with your thoughts, too. I'm extremely happy to help other plugin developers work through their development, and I've zero interest in "stealing" their work. I don't write plugins for the fame and fortune -- I write them to solve problems. If I can help someone else solve the problem, then all the better!

Further, I purposefully release all my plugins under the terms of the GNU GPL because I want others to be able to make my plugins better. I know I'm not the world's best coder, and I don't control the market on cool ideas. But if my plugins can serve as a foundation for someone else's Cool Idea, I think that's awesome. It's doubly awesome that I could then use their plugin as a starting point for even more improvements!

I've learned an awful lot about PHP (and MySQL, and programming in general) through my involvement with the WordPress community, and folks like you, Owen. Keep up the great work!

Hahaha thanks for your support Owen. I had no idea that there were this many people interested in the plugin competition! Are there really secret plugin conversations going on? :-)

You would be surprised how many people have asked for help with this-or-that plugin glitch who wouldn't reveal what exactly they were trying to do even after 2 or 3 emails. I can only assume that they had the intent to enter the contest. Although they didn't want anyone more proficient to take their ideas and publish first, they still needed help from one of those people if they ever intended to finish on their own. Crazy.

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