I was reminded this week why I became such a fan of open source. We were working with a WordPress plugin and doing some Web maintenance whereby we had to add this plugin to the site, test it and then set it up. The core functions of the new plugin seemed to be working fine. However upon review of the rest of the site we noticed that another plugins function had started to error. We disabled the new plugin and the older plugin started to work again. It was clear that the new plugin was causing this issue.

We immediately jumped on the forums and started looking for other users that might have experienced the same thing and possibly provided a solution. Luck was not with us as we couldn’t find anyone else posting about the exact issue with these two plugins. However we did find posts regarding a simular situation involving a much different plugin and upon review of the new plugin code we found a very similar configuration.

With this information I contacted the developer of the trouble plugin, explained the problem and what our research had come up with. It was only a few hours before they wrote back to say that they confirmed the problem and that our diagnosis seemed correct. Within 24 hours they had sent me updated code to test and confirm that their fix was working, within 48 hours they released the update to their entire user base.

It’s this ability to open the hood on something, compare it to the notes of such a large community, the willingness and promptness of the original developer to take the critique and provide an almost immediate update that impresses me the most.

photo by Cameron / cc