Remember when you had to install WordPress plugins by uploading them manually via FTP? I do. Heck, I remember when there weren’t plugins, and you had to copy and paste PHP code! We’ve come a long way, but I realized the other day that there is one more way that we could improve ease of installation.
Say you’re a plugin author, and you have this great plugin. How do you get people to install it? Well, you could link to its page in the plugin directory, where they’d be prompted to download a zip file. Or you could offer the zip file yourself. But why are we offering plugins the same way we were in 2004? We have a built-in plugin installer. Let’s use that! So how would you do that? I guess you’d just tell people “Hey, go to your wp-admin and search for ‘My Awesome Plugin.'” That introduces a lot of chances for failure. They might even end up with the wrong plugin!
I made a better way, and will be working on integrating this into WordPress.org this summer.
To see it in action, click here. All you have to do is type in the URL of your WordPress blog.
The tool auto-detects the WordPress installation by looking at the X-Pingback header. You’ll be presented with the plugin installation form for your blog. Click “Install Now” and the plugin will be installed. Much easier, and you know they’re getting the correct plugin.
Plugin authors can go here for more info. I’ll make sure these URLs forward to WordPress.org once we get it set up there, so you can start using this now.
Update: It has a bookmarklet now. If you click that bookmarklet from a WordPress Plugin Directory page, it’ll prompt you to install the plugin you were viewing.
Here’s a screencast showing it in action!