It’s been around 6 months since I asked users of my Link Library WordPress plugin to answer a quick survey to learn more about their usage of the plugin. Having been around for more than 10 years, the plugin has evolved in a number of directions over time and all I typically hear about is when people are experiencing some type of issue.
One of the main drivers for this survey was to know if I can move Link Library to use WordPress custom post type instead of relying on the aging built-in WordPress Link Manager. Doing so will help bring a number of new features that many users are requesting such as paged lists of items in the back edit, quick editing and the ability to use other post management tools like Duplicate Post.
The first question of the survey was quite simple, asking how long people had been using Link Library:
As you can see, around 600 people took the time to respond and I want to thank all of them. I also want to thank users who have made donations to support this plugin’s development. It takes a lot of my time to develop and support this free plugin and all donations provide encouragement to take on projects like this new major update that I will discuss more below. If Link Library is useful to your site and work, please consider contributing:
With 10% of users using Link Library with other link management plugins, I was not so sure at first if I still wanted to move the plugin to use Custom Post Type, thus potentially breaking people’s web sites. I had to come up with another solution to keep all users happy. Thinking about this problem for a while, I recently came up with a solution that would move the plugin forward, while retaining compatibility with other plugin management tools: keep the data in sync.
When you upgrade to Link Library 6.0 later in the year, all of your existing links will automatically get copied to the new structure. While all data will be copied, the new items will also retain a pointer to the original items in the links table. Similarly, I will add pointers to the new items back in the links table, under a new field. From that point on, any change made in the new Link Library manager will be reflected in the legacy link section, and vice-versa. This will also include the creation of new links.
In terms of content editing, the additional fields that were available under the traditional Link Manager editor will move to the Link Library editor and that additional data will only be stored in the new Custom Post Type system. I don’t think that this will cause any issues as other plugins are not likely to be using any of this additional data. If you were using that additional data in your own code, you will be able to retrieve it from the post meta data very easily.
A section that I am not planning on carrying over is the XFN Link Relationship dialog. While the survey indicated that 15% of users store information in this dialog, Link Library does not do anything with this information so I feel that it is unnecessary. You will still be able to store this information in the legacy Link Manager if you really want to, but Link Library will not offer any fields for this data.
Going into this new version, I would like to see if some of your are interested in beta testing the new version, Link Library 6.0. This will help me validate and test the new code base before deploying to all 20000+ users. You can subscribe to the beta mailing list using the form below.