What Plugins Demonstrate Great WP Plugin Development?

I’m going to be tackling my first plugin soon and I’m looking for plugins which you feel are of very high quality, under the hood. Stuff I can use as an example while I design the framework for my plugin.

Any ideas? Please include what makes it a great plugin.

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I can’t give you links to the plugin repo, but here are some great people who share good code (in pretty different styles) on Github. Just take a look at the repos or their gists:

  • Frank Bültge
  • Thomas Scholz
  • Mike Schinkel
  • Franz Josef Kaiser (me 😉

There are a lot of plugins that demonstrate Great WordPress Plugin Development. Some of them demonstrate great development as in the well commented code, Coding style as per the WP Standards and using the WP API with neat tricks that are neither documented and neither you will see them used in any other plugin.

As a WordPress developer my personal top 3 favorites are:

  1. Log Deprecated Notices
  2. Core Control
  3. Monkeyman Rewrite Analyzer

That said, not only plugins give you the idea of how you can write a great WordPress Plugin but if you follow, read and listen to the advices of the Great WordPress Developers and read their code you will learn many cool things. Almost everyone here on WPSE or on other WP forums are awesome WordPress developer but few of my personal favorites are:

  1. Andrew Nacin – Blog
  2. Mark Jaquith – Blog
  3. Dion Hulse – Blog
  4. Otto – Blog
  5. Scribu – Blog

Also if you go through the answers of the most reputed volunteers here you will find a lot of, yes a lot of good stuff, ideas and WordPress coding techniques.

You might want to take a look at:

  • Objective Best Practices for Plugin Development?
  • framework for plugin/theme options panel?

Not a specific plugin but many useful tips and guides.

It may look like a self-promotion, but I consider my usernoise plugin to have a high quality code. Here are most important principles behind the code:

  • Modularity. Almost every aspect of the plugin can be disabled / replaced by another implementation pretty easily and without affecting other code.
  • Object-oriented code, with “One WordPress feature – one class” design. Not sure it is the best way, but it works better than anything I have seen.
  • Request handling logic should be separated from storage logic separated from HTML generation (where possible, and taking in account WP design).
  • Short functions with sensible purpose.

the recent book WordPress plugin development contains lots of best practice examples. I suggest grabbing a copy.

I think one of my recent ones is a good start to get a simple plugin up and running http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-cron-control/

I’ll offer one of mine which may give you a good place to start.


I believe that it showcase best practices in extending WordPress in a responsible manner. It does what it needs to do while not blocking other extensions from hooking into the same places.

Questions such as this are really hard to answer. There are really no requirements on what a plugin needs to do. They can do as little or as much as needed for their specific intended purpose.

The topic of “best practices” definitely should be accounted for when developing plugins, but it is really impossible to find a single plugin which would demonstrate best practices hooking into all parts of WordPress.