Saga of WP Super Edit

This is an experiment. It is a WordPress Draft post that has been edited since August 2006. Yea, 2 years set as a draft document. This draft post went through about a dozen WordPress versions and upgrades, but was never published. It’s naive, it’s meandering, it’s about a WordPress plugin called WP Super Edit that I wrote and how it matured. I did this draft post originally to test WP Super Edit during development. It’s silly, but I really don’t want to look at this draft every day. So enjoy the Saga of WP Super Edit!

Aug 4, 2006: The Saga Begins

I wanted to release this software because it solved a problem for me, but I also wanted to see what happens. I figured I would try to keep track.

Sunday Aug 6, 2006

In the early morning around 4ish. I called it quits and figured I would throw it out there when I got up. Around noon I woke up and posted the plugin to the WordPress support forums.

I got one reply saying nice job within an hour. :)

About 6pm I posted bugs for both the WordPress Team and Moxicode for problems found while developing WP Super Edit.

My host ran it’s logs after 11:00 pm so I thought I would check. I hit the site over the weekend, so I can’t really dig out an visits… except one. This one had a referrer by clicking my name from his plugins.php file… sweet!

Monday Aug, 7 2006

Oh just shoot me. I knew I tested the thing on a hacked up version of WordPress. SO I had to go back to the drawing board for issues for WordPress 2.0.4. It wasn’t pretty but I got it work. Wrote some warnings for the TinyMCE options that are unsupported or unstable.

I updated the web pags and responded to the posts and e-mails.

Tuesday Aug 8, 2006

This morning I thought I would check the site stats.

I’ve got Webalizer on this host… i prefer awstats, and this is just hits and visits. No tracking or anything. Some of these are probably me crusing my own site and dusting up for visitors.

The article at /2006/08/06/wp-super-edit/ – 81 hits / 62 Visits

The plugin page /superedit/ – 114 hits / 11 Visitors

The zip file got 18 downloads in two days so far.

Friday Aug 11, 2006

I got sick starting Tuesday afternoon, so Wednesday was complete bust. I just stewed at home basically.

By Thursday I checked around and found that both Moxiecode and Ryan at WordPress had started to checkin changes for the two bugs that I found, so this package would be getting smaller for sure.

I made some changes, and everything seems to be working. I probably won’t bump the release yet.

The article at /2006/08/06/wp-super-edit/ – 104 hits / 79 Visits

The plugin page /superedit/ – 154 hits / 39 Vistors

The zip file – 26 hits

HA! new bug though with the WordPress SVN. Autosave is very cool, but my cursor keeps jumping to the top every time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

WordPress has updated TinyMCE in the trunk, and that seems have borked WP Super Edit. So I get to poke around for that issue. Yay.

I moved to a new host, so I want to review the stats for this plugin. I’m just doing raw hits here. I’m not a big fan of Webalizer and I know there is better, but this is just for fun. I’m not going to get the full month for November since I moved hosting on Nov. 20, but this will be an interesting look.

/superedit/ – plugin page

/2006/08/06/wp-super-edit/ – original post

/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/ – plugin download

October 2006 to March 2007

I really couldn’t keep tabs to well through this period. I moved to Dreamhost, put WP Super Edit into a Google Code Subversion repository, and fixed some bugs.

I pretty much gave up. With WordPress 2.1 out I thought I could start work on this again, but hey… I got married, got Caidy to a doctor, moved into a house, did some freelance… Very busy and WP Super Edit had become a terrible frustration.

I couldn’t fix the problems folks were asking about. At this point I knew I would probably have to give up and start over. Instead of fretting about it, I jumped into helping out with WPG2 and playing with the Sandbox Theme.

June 2, 2007

Weblog Tools Collection starts up the WordPress Plugin Competition. Hmmm… I read the rules and thought I qualified (more on that later). So I checked out nasty revision #9 of WP Super Edit and started chopping away. It was not pretty.

I started out revising what I had. Moving bits around to make it dynamic. Learning more about this TinyMCE editor thing and how the WordPress team beat it to make it behave. Slowly it started to actually work.

June 21, 2007

“Read the fine print!”

So I was getting close and decided to check out this Plugin Competition. I was interested and it gave me a reason to do WP Super Edit besides this experiment. And behold, I doth read thy rules and they say “nay!”…

“You cannot submit plugins that have been released already (before June 1st)”

Oh no. What does released mean? I didn’t want WP Super Edit released when I started trying it out. My first idea was bad very bad. That’s why I never promoted it or posted information outside the WordPress Suport Forum.

So I got a little bummed. I saw some entries were skirting the June 2nd date, and I thought I might as well ask. So I fired off a note to Mark Ghosh at Weblog Tools Collection and asked what he thought.

His first was reply was to the point… Rules are Rules. Mark says “it[‘s] really not eligible unless you create a new function/use for the original code.”

I know Mark is probably a busy guy, but he might have enough time to check things out, so I give him access to the test blog, and tell him about the work I’ve done. I mentioned the Google Code Subversion Repository and by the end of day I get:

“Hmmmm….announce it on the plugin blog. But please make sure you mention that the plugin was literally recoded and is a whole lot different than the original intent. If there are a lot of negative vibes from my readers, I will have to nix it again. ”

Fair is Fair.

Hell this will be fun even if they throw me out.

July 11, 2006

Okay, I’ve hammered on this thing during lunch… before work… after work… In every – other – spare moment… ( Note: Most of Jess’s Spare Moments are property of his wife and employers )

But it works pretty good everywhere I tested. Cool jQuey ( gave up on around June 10th, 2006 .)

I packaged it up and posted it:

Got a WordPress Extend Page:

I got some nice e-mail. Got $6.00 in donations ( if you don’t count the Paypal fees ) Bug reports and requests over the next week.

Downloaded around 1,130 times between July 11th and July 21st. Compare that with the very selective testing done last year… woosh.

July 21, 2007

So I hammered at it some more. Moved to WP Super Edit 1.1. I got this very small audience that I should pay attention to, so I fix some things. I test it with other plugins. I do stupid settings and delete files. I do these things to make WP Super Edit work like I want it to work, and I think I may be close.

I posted WP Super Edit and noted it here:

And of course here:

November 19, 2008: Fast Forward

Geez! I’ve got this draft post that has been sitting here for over 2 years! WP Super Edit went through a painful upgrade to WordPress 2.6 and was completely rewritten.

So how about a tally:

I moved everything to the Funroe Factory site just to have another site to play with, and keep the development stuff organized.

Moral of the Story

WordPress plugin development is fun and has it’s rewards. I only do this part time, so my goals were not fame or riches, and it shows! If you expect huge social or economic returns for WordPress plugin development, follow the examples of the successful ones solving big problems or having awesome ideas.

For me, WP Super Edit gave me a tool for my users and clients. If you want count that sort of monetary gain well I won’t mention the details, but my salary and freelance billing has worked out marginally well.

The real advantage has been improving my skills. Doing a complicated WordPress plugin really keeps you on your toes. Not only do you deal with the changes to a complex web application like WordPress, but making your code public attracts people interested in your development goals. That leads to better code and good ideas. I got a good refresher on my PHP, SQL, HTML, javascript, and CSS skills. I got to look at and work with new code like jQuery.

Okay… Hit the damn publish button already…

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