Hello everyone still using WPAdverts in 2021!
Last year we did not have a “plans for 2020” post, the other work got in the way, and until I had some time to publish a blog post with our plans it was already June.
Publishing plans for the current year in June does not make much sense so I decided not to do it at all. I personally know that some of you were disappointed by this decision, so this year publishing the “plans” post at the beginning of January was the first thing I wanted to focus on … so here it is :).
One downside of not having plans or goals for the coming year is that it is hard to tell what worked and what didn’t during last year.
Sure, i do know what we did for the last 365 days, but did we complete the tasks planned 12 months earlier? or did we change direction during the year? or was a feature planned in January 2020 completed or just forgotten? and so on.
It is really hard to tell.
I guess, my first lesson from 2020 is to always have a written plan for the coming year.
Ok, so what did we do in 2020?
There weren’t any new extension releases except for the Memberships extension which was actually available in beta version already in 2019.
Similarly Maps and Locations add-on was updated to version 1.4 and WooCommerce Integration received version 1.6. Both updates were major releases and I can say the improvements really make using them easier.
Redesigning and rebuilding the WPAdverts.com also took a good chunk of the last year. Yes, I know this is not the redesign you were hoping for but I assure you it is coming (more on that below).
I suppose you can see here a pattern by now. We were focusing on improving and extending what we already have, instead of adding new extensions.
This is a plan for this year as well. Improve and Extend the plugins we already have.
Plans for 2021
This update will allow configuring some advanced settings in the “advert” Custom Post Type. That is you will no longer need a snippet or an additional plugin to change the “advert” or “advert-taxonomy” prefix in Ads and categories URLs, it will allow you to enable or disable comments on Ad details pages and more.
The main goal for 2021 is to have the WPAdverts core redesigned. The current design we have is from 2015 and unfortunately, it shows. What looked good 6 years ago is average looking at best in 2021.
This goal is 3-fold actually:
- Redesign the WPAdverts templates – I already did my research, new theme will be using a modern CSS framework, which will speed up the work, make sure the design will look good across all major browsers, and make it easy for third-party developers to customize it. I do not want to get into details here, there will be soon another blog post in which I will explain what I am planning exactly.
- Allow visual customization – we will use the WP Customizer screen to customize the WPAdverts colors, buttons and etc., this means (for the most part) no more making changes with CSS code snippets.
- Integration with Gutenberg and Elementor – Using shortcodes is quite simple and effective, but it is an old way to do things. What I want for our users is the ability to go to wp-admin / Pages panel, insert a block and configure how it should look and work without reading on the shortcode params. Gutenberg is an obvious choice since it’s built-into WP, while Elementor is a very popular plugin often used by our users or developers creating sites for our users.
These are 3 points only but the operation will require quite a lot of work (plus making sure the old design can be used without any problems), so if it all goes well I hope we can have the new designs released in the third quarter.
The major update for Custom Fields extension is half-done i am hoping to finish and release it in January. The main goal for this update is to make using Data Sources (static and taxonomies) much more easier. This means no more code snippets, just configure the data source using user interface.
One of the most asked support questions is “how to create different fields for each category?”. We have a code snippet for that, but since a lot of users ask about this, I feel that it is time to make this functionality a part of the Custom Fields extension, so, yes, it will be added in the update as well.
I am also planning to introduce at least one new field type (specifically Date).
That one is simple. Update the reCAPTCHA integration to use the reCAPTCHA v3 version and completely retire version #1 which is no longer even supported by Google.
Integrations with 3rd party plugins
While we do not plan to release new extensions right now we do want to develop a couple of integrations with third-party plugins.
One idea is an integration with a plugin that allows changing avatars in the frontend. I do understand that you might prefer to have such functionality built into the Authors extension (and at some point we will probably do that), but developing an integration will take around 2 – 3 hours while developing a full plugin will take at least a week.
This will allow us to quickly add new features to WPAdverts without spending much time on the development, the only downside is that in case of an issue you might need to reach out to the third-party developer for support.
Improving the documentation
Ideally, using WPAdverts should be so simple that you wouldn’t need the docs at all but that is not always possible.
Last year, we had the website redesigned and the redesign included a change in the documentation interface, it allows us to have multiple docs for each extension. I want to take advantage of it now and cut the docs into more pieces so it is easier to scan and search for information.
Not everyone likes to read docs and not everything can be explained in the text, so we are also starting a WPAdverts YoutTube channel where we will post mainly screencasts explaining ho to easily complete what seems to be a complex task.
One of the problems our users have is configuring the search by custom fields, so the 3 three movies available on the channel explain how to configure few common search types.
More videos coming soon, first on the list are videos explaining how to configure MAL and Google Analytics Integration keys since for some reason Google made it really hard to do.
Over To You
If we add providing support and regular updates to the goals above then I estimate that completing these plans will take us around 9 to 10 months, so there is some time for small delays and some additional features.
If you have something you would like to have developed that you feel will hugely improve the way you work with WPAdverts feel free to post in the comments.
P.S. Graham, i know you are waiting for the feature that will allow users to sell their items online, but that is a very complicated feature and i am afraid this might be too big to squeeze into the 2 months window.