A few days ago I created the Blogging for Benjamin plugin so I could easily mark the Blogging for Benjamin articles as part of a series. The plugin only lasted a few days before Mike Jolley wrote WP Post Series plugin. To put it gently Mike Jolley's plugin destroys my plugin, it blows it out of the water, it disintegrates it, it banishes it to another realm – you get the idea. And you know what? I'm really happy about it.
Developers if you see something that I made that can be made better then do it! One up me! Just look at the WP Post Series plugin to see how much more flexible and usable it is. I've already replaced my own plugin.
The most obvious improvement over my plugin is that his will work for any number of series. With this one plugin you can have Blogging for Benjamin this year and Blogging for Cleveland (oh yes a Thousand dollar bill does exist) next year. By making his use a post taxonomy which allows an admin to add any post to the taxonomy it becomes so much more flexible. My plugin is usable for about ~30 people – his plugin already has 28 downloads in just one day. I'm sure it will quickly grow into the thousands.
A Usable User Interface
Sometimes I'm hesitant to add settings screens for plugins because too many settings pages can easily confuse users. Adding one extra submenu which works just like the default WordPress taxonomies (Categories & Tags) adds virtually no extra complexity for the user. We should all strive to add as many UI elements as we can without adding clutter. This is an excellent example of that principle.
Perhaps the only downside I can see with his plugin is that it's less automatic. One of the cool things about my plugin is that it would automatically detect if the post was part of the Blogging for Benjamin competition and place the banner. And it did this without any settings or menus.
Myself as a developer I love WP Post Series because I'm very familiar with the WordPress backend. There are certain clients who might not be very IT savvy and I would certainly consider giving them a hands free option where they just post and my plugin adds the post to the relevant series.
In this case this isn't a flaw of the plugin but the tradeoff between flexibility and automation. Something that we need to think about on a client by client basis.
All in all this is a great little plugin. While I certainly wish I had this idea for the plugin so I could have created it myself I'm very happy that someone took what I had and made it better! Please continue to one up me it's only making my own site better. 🙂