I have been trying to get some work done on the Image Gallery plugin, and was browsing through the WordPress Codex reading through the Plugin Developer docs, and I found a few interesting things I must say.

On the pages for creating Administration pages and menu items, there are strong recommendations on not creating new top level menu items/pages, which seems rather silly to me on the account of the reason provided.

WordPress users like that their admin consoles are clean of clutter

This is requesting developers to refrain from creating top level menu items, but I don’t really see the point of justifying it on the basis of keeping the admin clear of clutter. Some plugins add multiple pages all over the admin under the various top level menus which means one has to navigate from one section to another, and if the user has deployed quite a few plugins, they will be listed as options under top level menu items anyway, which again is clutter in one manner of speaking.

Wouldn’t it be rather cleaner to add all plugin admin pages under one top level menu item for that plugin, which also facilitates easier navigation in terms of adminstering plugin options etc for that specific plugin?

True not every plugin should do this, but if you are going to have more than 2 pages under the admin with relation to the plugin and its functionality, it would be best to have these as pages under a top level menu for that plugin. Again the downside might be that there might be too many top level menu items if the user has too many plugins, which just means the entire concept is flawed rather than a recommendation to refrain from using/creating top level menu items.

Now what might perhaps be a really good idea would be to provide a drop down select on the right side of the top level menu bar, which would automatically show Plugin top level links. This is beneficial in a lot of ways actually if you think about it.

The issue of WordPress admin getting cluttered would be solved immediately, and plugin authors won’t have to face with such restraints which practically have no solid grounds to be followed anyway in my view. And it shouldn’t even need that much modification to the core WordPress code.

Perhaps instead of the add_menu_page function being used, it could be modified to something like add_plugin_link which would only list the Plugin page in the drop down select, and other than that plugin authors would be doing no extra work really.

Click on the Plugin you want to work with in the select drop down, a JS page load can take you to the main Plugin administration page, and your normal add_submenu_page page links will be displayed in the submenu bar as usual .. and bingo everyone is happy .. 🙂

I really wonder how hard that would be to implement, or more specifically to integrate as part of the WordPress core … I should look into it and try testing it out with a dummy WordPress install sometime soon .. 😉

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