Plugins, Plugin? (plugin management)

I think General is going to be the best place for any discussion even though plugin related.
I have used several plugin services and plugin plugins (plugin management plugins) but never found any that really helped with plugin management in practice. I am almost of the opinion that a tool to easily create a (personal) library of the plugins you prefer to manage plugins across multiple sites is a lot easier to imagine than implement for a variety of reasons.

Of course I have ongoing projects with the goal of providing me with the plugin management tools I believe I need, but it seems to keep bringing me back to the same spot at some point, which is if even my own needs never seem to be similar enough from one site to the next for a tool that quickly replicates / installs plugins to be as terribly handy, other than for a short list of plugins I always use, what would a finished project look like?

Still the idea of having that database of all the plugins I use on all my sites (plus marking which work in CP now) seems like it would have value, but I have to question how much in most cases, using my own reflection on the project from a baseline of how useful the utilities made by others end up being to me.

I have the following operational in a beta state as a project I play with, but my question is really how do you manage plugins, or is it true that in most cases the plugins that are used to provide functionality on one site would be too specific for that information to help decide what plugins would be best for another site anyway?

I usually have a baseline of trusted plugins that I tested and work well together that I install on all my sites.

I tried using the favourites option in WP repo, but many of these are CP plugins.
So no way.

I know I can have a package of a already set CP + plugins and install it via CLI but I am not confident in doing so (usually I host on shared hosting and not every one offers CLI)…

A plugin to store a list of my preferred plugins and decide to install them is an idea I thinkered about and ended up doing nothing for lack of programming knowledge.

One thing to note, I am a weird item. And often I do have strange ideas. This is one of them (automating the process of installing/configuring a baseline site to work with). For me it all started with WP com were even free sites start with a set of features already on. They do that with multisite, but going the I’ll just host everything on multisite might not be the solution I need.

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If you use your own theme(s), TGM can be helpful with respect to that short list of plugins you always install, or even for theme functionality specific plugins you may use on multiple sites. It is pretty easy to integrate into your theme and has good examples. The downside is if you offer your theme to others in some way, it is possible TGM could be viewed as a negative, perhaps offering plugins those users don’t use and don’t want to be bothered about (though you can use a settings situation to disable any plugin suggestions by default).

Dealing with that short list can be done in a variety of ways and is considerably more straightforward than my thinking about what plugin management would look like - which is more along the lines of a library of which plugins were used to achieve certain functionality, something that can be a bit more obscure and at least in my case has usually required going back to the site where that functionality is in use and looking to see how it was done.

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Are you referring to something like There are many other services like that.

On the other hand, WP-CLI is a great tool for quickly installing/managing WP/CP sites.

I use MainWP, which is great for keeping things up to date and some other management functions, but again, not a great tool for the idea of plugin management based on what the plugin does for a site, something that has been at the root of my own plugin management project, or should I say lack of being able to lock in on how I make that the focus when is not so straightforward.

As a quick example, my theme uses a certain plugin to achieve a function I wanted in a specific case, might be I even altered some code in my theme to make it work better when that plugin is used. Of course on another site this function is not needed so neither is the plugin. Simple enough as a one off thing, but now time goes by and this has been done to create a good number of those one off needs across multiple sites, so the goal of my project was to try and make that aspect of plugin management (which plugin did I use when I want to activate that functionality again) easier, but it has not been so simple to implement in that way.

Not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but plugin dependencies are in the works in WP.

No, I have already created a plugin that builds a json export file with all the plugin information for a site and the code to import and display it in the format I posted above - so the project is already very similar to utilities like WPCore Plugin Manager and others. The code to check for, auto install and deal with plugins is also pretty straightforward, so none of that is where I am going with this.

The issue is that I am at a standstill on the project with regard to how I compile that information in a way that has not already been done, one that actually allows me to browse the library of plugins and pick out the one I have used before to achieve specific functionality without the need to hunt through my sites until I find where I did it before.

Maybe that is a narrow goal and I am an outlier with respect to the amount of time I have spent searching for how I have done something in the past so I can incorporate it into a new project.

I guess that is why my generic question was how do you manage plugins, hoping to hear something that causes a light to go on or otherwise gives me better direction on where I take my project, or not.

Marking the plugins as compatible with CP (having come from a site running CP at least) had me back working on the project, and that feature may have some merit. Of course since I do not use a FSE or block, I have been able to get every plugin I needed to work in CP, even v1.6.

Instead if listing plugins you can list sites with their plugin collection?

That is the default behavior now once imported into the plugin manager site, to list all plugins for a site (shown above using one plugin to demonstrate the current output format).
Once stored though, that info can be searched and displayed in various ways.

I guess one line of thought I had was to attach an optional note to the plugin information, allowing the user to add that more obscure information when needed - then that could be searched for also.

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