Getting users to update their platforms can be a pain, but WordPress developers (news, site) always seems up to the challenge. Aware that it's not always laziness that contributes to an audience's disinterest, a beta version of a new feature has been rolled out to test the compatibility of plugins against various versions of WordPress. This way, you can be sure catching up won't mean leaving behind your favorite little blog bloaters.
Plugin Compatibility Beta
Developed by Michael Adams, the beta Plugin Compatibility feature is on its way to becoming the answer to what is reportedly the number one reason WordPress people are hesitant to upgrade: They don't want to lose their precious plugins!
Now, from within the directory, a user can select a WordPress version and a plugin version from the provided drop-down menus. If there has been feedback about the combination in question, a graph will show what percentage of responses marked the combination as compatible vs. how many marked it as incompatible:
WordPress Plugin Compatibility Screenshot
Contribute to the Cause
Obviously it's a great idea, but WordPress needs your help to make it work. If you feel like being a good samaritan, WordPress urges you to log in and help them gather up info. The process is just as simple as checking the compatibility of a plugin and a WordPress version, all you have to do is click the "Works" or "Broken" buttons:
WordPress Plugin Compatibility Voting
WordPress developer Mark Jaquith provides some helpful advice:
Right now we’re just in information gathering mode. So get out there and vote! Don’t just vote on broken plugins… cast a “Works” vote for every plugin that works on the version of WordPress you are using. This can help improve the signal-to-noise ratio in our data and prevent a few mistaken “Broken” votes from weighing too heavily.
It's going to take a vast amount of high quality data to get this baby off the ground, but the value in the tool is pretty apparent. Future plans involve allowing users to vote on version and plugin compatibility directly on their plugin admin screen. For now, a majority of the focus is given to developers, as the data is now included in WordPress' API.