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WordPress beautiful: Get a Cleaner Plugin Installer

Some days ago I found in my Twitter timeline a small tweet by David Decker, promoting his latest plugin: the Cleaner Plugin Installer. The idea grew in my mind to write a review about this plugin, because I found this idea most exceptional. I don’t like the plugin page in WordPress very much, but I would have never thought about a plugin to confront this – lets call it a “problem”. David did:

As of WordPress 4.0+, going to “Add Plugins” page and being welcomed by always the same old 6 featured plugin cards annoyed me big time! So I thought on how to change this default behavior. Due to WordPress’ genius Hooks & Filter functionality I could easily tweak this via my plugin.
David Decker

So today I scratch some time together to have a look into what the “Cleaner Plugin Installer” is all about. First I was a bit disappointed to be honest. I didn’t read too much about the plugin but just installed it and: Nothing happened – well, on my “Installed Plugins”-page (which is the page, I am a bit annoyed with). But Davids plugin is not about this page, it’s about the “Installer”-page itself, so, once you click “Add New” the magic starts to work.

Lets have a quick before/after screenshot, before we discuss the single features:
Plugin Installer Before and After

Instead of the six most popular plugins of WordPress or whatsoever, you get a huge search bar in order to search for your plugins. You can search by keyword, tag or author name. Above this search bar, you will find a tab navigation with the following possibilities:

  1. Search
  2. Topics
  3. Collections
  4. Newest
  5. Popular
  6. Favorites
  7. Search Results

Once, you hit the search button on the start page, you will be redirected to the “Search Results” page, where the found items are displayed. Via “Screen options”, like you now it them from your post editor, you can define, how many results will be shown per page.

Okay, I have to admit, the start page looks more beautiful. But what’s really compelling is behind the other tabs. If you go to “Topics”, you will find a list of tags, maintained by the plugin author himself. This is really nicely done. Ordered by “Topics” like “Content/Editor”, “Post Types/ Custom Taxonomies/ Custom Fields”, “Social/ Sharing”, “Developer” and others, you will find the tags, which fit to this topic. A very nice overview! And a click will redirect you to the search results again. For sure, this is one of the nicest ways to browse the WordPress repository so far!

The next tab “Collections” is totally awesome. Most of us are running again and again the same plugin installations for our clients. WordPress SEO by Yoast, ACF and so on… Cleaner Plugin Installer “cooperates” here with WPCore. After you’ve registered at WPCore, you can create your own collections. If you now install the WPCore Plugin, you can just “bulk”-install these collections. Unfortunately, right now, I can’t use this feature, since WPCore and my Theme Gubmo are using the same PHP Class “tgmpa_load_bulk_installer” and none of them is checking WPCore is not checking, whether this function might already exist:( Too bad, because this is a nice feature.

Anyway, lets proceed with the possibilities Cleaner Plugin Installer gives us. We can also have a look into the “Newest” and the “Most popular” plugins and we can check out our Favorite plugins (or the favorites of any other registered WordPress user) on WordPress. Deckerweb likes – well, if you know his blog, you don’t wonder – the “Genesis Toolbar Extras”-plugin, and of course websupporter likes his own WordPress Search Filter plugin. It would be interesting though to create a bulk installer for the favorites too, but this might just be a bit too much and roots in my disappointment about the WP Core plugin.

So, what to do now. Ah right, lets upload a plugin. Do you like the Media Uploader of WordPress. And you haven’t asked yourself yet, why you can’t drag and drop your plugins into your WordPress dashboard. Well – I did and the plugin author obviously also, because this is exactly what you can do now!

Upload a plugin

Is this nice or what? It is, and I just have one remark (this bulk uploader topic remains in my head): Unfortunately it doesn’t look like its possible to upload more than one plugin at a time. This would be a nice feature. I just create my “Standard plugins”-folder with all the Yoast, ACF and whatsoever plugins open it and drop all at once. But to drag and drop is already a very nice feature itself.

To sum it up: Although I don’t like the plugins page either, I would have never thought about writing a plugin to “Scratching My Own Itch”. Thanks to David Decker, I can now do so easily with a very nice small plugin, which you should try NOW. Changing the installer interface is changing the way you see plugins. They are even more beautiful now.

About the author

Seine erste Webseite hat David Remer 1998 in HTML verfasst. Wenig später war er fasziniert von DHTML und JavaScript. Nach jahrelanger Freelancerei arbeitete er zunächst für Inpsyde und ist heute Entwickler bei Automattic. Außerdem hat er das Buch "WordPress für Entwickler" verfasst.

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