Add-on features of weblog software, as WordPress, start as “tiny-little-extra’s”. But with more blogging and visitors behind you, they always turn into essential parts of your blog. More annoying, the two seem not able to upgrade without each other. You will upgrade your “tiny-little-extra’s” or otherwise the platform will look ugly, will loose features or might even go down! Even bloggers who follow the software side of their platform closely start losing upgrades when they have 25 plugins or more.
All those little “user-generated” plugins simply seem hard to manage. How can you keep all the individual plugins updated?
It seems more and more in need and it is possible. For example with browsers, Mozilla Firefox updates the user generated add-ons with its update manager. The updating goes within a blink of an eye and no effort. So what’s there for WordPress users?
For a while I myself was quite content with the WP-Plugins API, Update Manager, but they quit that service! I don’t know why.
WordPress Automattic however, did start investigating for a solution by supporting a student developing a plugin to solve it. As you can see, it is still not finished.
The good news is that since 22 June there is a working alternative available! The WP Plugins database. You download this WordPress plugin, activate it and surf to the tracker-tab in your Administration section [screenshot]. There you will find an instant overview of all your plugins and their status compared to your installed version. True, not all plugins are in the database yet, but many are. However, you can quickly add them yourself or comment changes.
For the moment, a nice plugin to have I reckon. Enjoy.
Update (April 2008):
The latest version of WordPress solves these issues now fully.