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Defunct Plugins and a Debug Bar Add-On

Busy day today for a Saturday.  I guess that is to be expected when it rains and is 50-degrees all day.   Makes for a good “stay  in and be productive” day.   So what did I work on today?

Well, I started out working on Store Locator Plus.    But I had issues.   A bad tech-karma day where stuff just decide to break all day.  My DNS kept going out.  I had to reboot my computer.  Twice.  And the updates to Store Locator Plus were giving me problems.    Then my website started lagging.   Damn computer gremlins.   They seem to travel in flocks and land on a different house or business every few days.

Debug My Plugin

That is a new plugin I’ve written for WordPress.   I’ll publish it if my system stays online long enough for me to get it out to the Internet.  I wrote that because I had a few things mis-behaving in Store Locator Plus and was tired of patching in var_dump or print_r all over the place, then going back to rip it out.   Since I learned about Debug Bar the other week I figured I’d use that.

Except there are either no simple plug-and-play plugins out there to add your own debugging, I’m too stupid to know how to use them, or I’m just plain lazy.   Probably a combination of all 3.   I decided it would be faster to write my own add-on to Debug Bar to do what I wanted than keep searching through trial-and-error and digging through poorly documented and commented Debug Bar ad-ons.

One thing was obvious.  Developers HATE documentation.  Most developers I’ve met and certainly from what I’ve seen in the innards of some of the dozen Debug Bar add-ons I’ve downloaded, the trend follows a lot of plugin developers.    The readme files that tell you about the product are sparse at best.    Inline code docs?  Yeah, not really.

So my new add-on pack with a LITTLE documentation is going to be submitted tonight in hopes that some other plugin devs may find it a useful way to throw their debugging messages out into Debug Bar and keeping their code minimalistic when it comes to handling debugging UI elements.

Until I get the plugin approved, it will live in the product directory here:

More Defunct Plugins

While I was trying to figure out why my site was so slow I decided to nix the bloated plugin I was using to track Alexa and other site health stats.   I went looking for something a bit lighter but still functional.   Sadly I once again ran into a bunch of defunct, unsupported plugins.  I’m asking the authors why they stopped development so I can learn more about the market.  Here is what I found… or didn’t find… as the case may be:

So what did I land on?   I’m playing with “List Rank Dashboard Widget”.   Recently updated and has the metrics I want, though it could use some more features.  Maybe I’ll help him out with that if he’s interested.

Store Locator Plus Updates

I’ve been coding more Store Locator Plus updates.  Mostly lightening the code and adding new debugging hooks while I try to get some things out for paid customer support requests.  Finding out when other plugins are breaking things has been a chore. Hoepfully adding Debug Bar plus Debug My Plugin to broken customer sites will help expedite the process when I need to see what is going on, and possibly save the customer a support fee if they can “look inside” by adding a couple of admin-only plugins to their site.

Not that my computer if patched up and my Internet appears back to normal I can get back to coding.