Luca Fracassi has done some interesting analysis on the WordPress plugin repository, specifically around the frequency of new plugin additions and updates over a period of years. Some of the takeaways:
- There are 40,000+ plugins today (Nov 2015) in the repository
- 2015 is set to be another record year in terms of number of plugins (assuming the pace of additions continues at this level)
- Around 22,000 plugins have been updated over the last 24 months, which represents around55% of the repository. While this is true, we need to note that this number takes into account plugins that were create in 2015, which, by definition, have been updated in the last 12 months. It also takes into account plugins that where created in 2014, but were never updated afterwards (around 52%!).
The plugin repo is ridiculously active, but there are also a lot of plugins that are submit-it-and-forget-it. I don't think there's a problem with that, as I appreciate anyone that's willing to share their code. But Luca's article does help identify that it's important for the repo to maintain usability, especially as the years go on, and a smaller and smaller percentage of overall plugins are actively maintained.
If you also consider the role Github plays in WordPress plugin land, these numbers would likely be even more staggering.
Be sure to check out the full article and some of the graphs — it's fun.