92 Responses

  1. Pippin

    I don’t think you could have said this any better. When I first installed it when Jetpack was brand new, I loved it, but over time it has grown farther and farther away from kind of things I expect Automattic.

    Like you, I was shocked when I first saw that the new comments module not only removed all normal comment-related hooks, but also redirected to jetpack.wordpress.com. When I saw that, I almost threw that module away immediately. I still use it, but only because I decided a lot of people might like the option to have the social login.

    I can understand why WPAppStore is not in the repo, but as far as I can tell, there is zero reason WooDojo shouldn’t be allowed, not when Jetpack is.

    1. Matt

      How Jetpack Comments works, including the comment iframe and redirecting through jetpack.wordpress.com, is a requirement of its design goals and constraints:

      * We wanted people to be able to authenticate with the most popular third-party services, especially Facebook and Twittter, but more down the line.
      * We didn’t want them to have to register as developers with them, or ones we add down the line, to have support third-party services. (If you think connecting/registering to one service is bad, imagine 3-5!)
      * If you logged in one place we wanted you to be logged in on every site on the internet that uses Jetpack Comments, to remove friction from the commenting experience.
      * We wanted it to be secure.
      * We wanted to provide the best commenting user experience, driven largely by tests we’ve done with hundreds of thousands of users (literally) on WP.com.

      If someone likes Jetpack Comments it it’s because of one of those bullet points.

      In order not to have people have to register every single one of their domains as a new application with every third-party service (two today, more down the line), we needed everything to go through a single top-level domain. The one that makes the most sense was WordPress.com, because we had already registered it and it already had millions of users logged in already, including from many VIP sites. This way the apps we’ve registered can “work” on your domain, and though it’s through an iframe, that’s completely invisible to most users, they just see a nice-looking comment form on your site.

      We have to do this through an iframe rather than writing information directly to your site because otherwise your domain would have access to user’s information just when they visit, which would be a security problem. (Michael Adams gives a fascinating presentation on cross-domain cookie, Javascript, and iframe communication issues, I’ll see if I can find a video.)

      Like I said earlier the iframe should be transparent to your users, and the redirect should happen so quickly you don’t see it, but I’ll look into if there might be something slowing that down. (It shouldn’t be any slower than your old POST to wp-comments-post.php.)

      The design and functionality of the comment form is such that we have to replace it because there’s no way to predict the infinite variety of markup that may or may not be there. There are some built in options to accomodate light and dark themes.

      I’ve personally run into wanting to hook into that form (for a comment policy) and I’ll see if there’s a way to replicate some of the arguments that comment_form() supports to make the system more flexible.

      That said, I think it’s the most elegant hybrid between hosted systems that replace the entire comment section, like our own IntenseDebate, Livefyre, Disqus, and Echo, and a plain-jane comments section where you can control every line via PHP. It should also be noted that every comment comes back to your database, and you still have complete control over the markup and styling of the rest of the comment thread. I think we addressed the above points, while maintain the most flexibility we technically could.

      1. Pippin

        Everything about the iframe makes perfect sense, though I can tell you first hand that the redirect is definitely shown. I’ve seen the jetpack.wordpress.com URL with almost every comment I’ve ever left through the plugin. I currently have it active on my site and I don’t think I’ve posted a comment without seeing it.

        I do really, really, really appreciate the fact that all comments get posted back to the site’s database. That is invaluable.

      2. Matt

        I had mentioned a Mike Adams presentation on some of the interesting problems here, the presentation was titled “Developing Secure Widgets: Secure iFrame Communication in a Pre-postMessage World” and is here:


        I’d highly recommend watching it for anyone curious about this sort of thing.

    2. Brad Dalton

      You don’t need a WordPress.com account to use the Carousel, Contact forms or Sharedaddy.

      I’ve written a post about this last week and also provided the downloads for the individual modules.

  2. Helen H-S

    How appropriate, given that earlier today I was complaining about some CSS being loaded from wp.com (SO not allowed) that was mucking up the dashboard. I’d seen some .org forum posts about it this past week, with understandable confusion because the users hadn’t updated anything on their respective installs, and then today saw even more broken-ness on one of the Make WP sites. The external loading appears to have been inadvertent and they’ve since fixed it, but I was not very pleased about that.

    1. Matt

      I found your tweet, but looking at my dashboard I don’t see the symptom you describe (messed up columns) or any CSS being directly loaded from WP.com. Is it all fixed up as you said or are you still running into this? And what was loading from WP.com?

      Regardless, if you come across a bug like that again as a core contributor and a VIP developer you (or anyone at 10up) don’t have to complain with ephemeral tweets, feel free to reach out directly and we’ll try to get it address as soon as possible. Just like with core, we can’t fix what we don’t know about. (And there will always be bugs, no matter how hard you try, what matters is how you respond to them.)

      1. Helen H-S

        Yes, it was fixed quickly – Joen let me know. It was just a style sheet that I saw. There was actually already a support thread about it: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/plugin-jetpack-by-wordpresscom-problem-with-the-admin-css-jetpack?replies=12

        1. Matt

          It seemed like a big deal from your comment (“today saw even more broken-ness”) so don’t be shy about reaching out directly, even if there’s already a forum thread.

          1. Mitesh

            Reading you @matt respond here made my day!

            Not a fair expectation, but I would have loved to read a comment from likes of Bill G., Steve G. or Marc Z. on such random reading (no offense to @brian). I came here by chance!

            I got carried away, but yes, I don’t see how making .com integration “per need basis” was un-intuitive.

            @brian you should check-out slim jetpack.

  3. Natahan

    A pay version would be great. I also feel this way about jet pack. Why not a free version, developer and enterprise!? Please!!!!

    1. Matt

      There are no plans to do a paid (or enterprise) version, it would be weird to charge for what you can get for free on WP.com.

      1. Nathan

        Matt!!!! Thanks for the reply. 😄
        Multi Site activation with one sign in would be an extremely valuable feature. One I know we would pay for. This thread is what has me scared to try it, we have around 80 sites on a multisite install, and certainly don’t want to release a feature to our clients and have it fail.


  4. Holli

    I wanted to try it, but I haven’t used Jetpack on any client sites mainly because of the .com account issue. I’ve heard of other people complaining about this, so you’re not alone. I didn’t even know about the other problems. Hopefully, they’ll rethink it and make it better down the road.

  5. John O'Nolan

    Great post! Couldn’t agree more.

  6. Jon Brown

    Wow, I too really can’t imagine it said any better.

    Not using standard UI is utterly unacceptable… Auto-activating ANY of the modules is unacceptable… Removing hooks from comments that other plugins rely on, again, unacceptable…

    Authenticating needlessly to .com is super annoying and why I can’t use it on 90% of the sites I build for clients. I used to try to set clients up with their own .com account but it just utterly flummoxed them. The confusion between wordpress.com and self-hosted is bad enough without trying to explain clients that they need a .com account separate from their site. I recently had one client baffled why when they logged into .com they could not get to their site anymore and blamed me for it… I get that Automattic is 100% focused on blogging, I just wish that focus didn’t bleed quite so heavily over into .org.

    FWIW, I pushed HARD for the .com comments module and hence am beyond words with disappointment over it’s implementation. Hijacking everything is about as “un-wordpress” as they could have been. I’ve yet to be able to use it on ANY site.

    Jetpack had such awesome potential… but rather than being a shining example of doing thing right it keeps being an example of how NOT to do things.

    1. Matt

      I think I addressed authentication and Jetpack Comments in other comments, so let me talk about the UI:

      The vast majority of Jetpack is useless (or broken) without a connection to WordPress.com, especially stats and subscriptions which are people’s #1 feature. We’ve been doing this connection thing for 4 years now, when it was overly hidden or constrained to a specific page people just didn’t notice it and it generated a huge support burden. You’re also loading a bunch of code you don’t need to, so if you’ve activated Jetpack you should either connect it right away, or deactivate it, there is no utility or feasible reason to keep it active but not connected for longer than a moment. I’d rather have it prominent and usable than hidden and causing frustration.

      The comparison to Gravity Forms is different because one shows an update, and the other shows a required connection. We actually don’t show update notifications, so are less aggressive than GF in that regard, we rely entirely on the built-in WordPress UI there and GF is breaking it.

      As for the clouds, perhaps it’s a matter of opinion, but I like them and think they’re pretty. It’s nice having a bit of extra design love (and color!) put into an otherwise extremely utilitarian space, and one of the goals with the Jetpack aesthetic is to make people happy. (To remind people there’s an outdoors… ;)) I hope that more care and polish into details like that will become standard UIs in the future.

  7. Paul

    Great overview of what’s wrong with jetpack. On my site I use the comments and the latest tweets widget. Another small issue you haven’t mentioned is that Jetpack also suppresses the widget_title filter so I couldn’t modify the HTML for it.
    I do find it annoying that I can’t style the widgets on my local install, as Jetpack doesn’t seem to work on localhost, because of the connection to WordPress.com.

    1. Matt

      That sounds like a bug, but an easy fix. I’ll raise it internally.

  8. Cas

    What‘s so cool about JetPack anyway? From what I read and see it‘s the same old trap disguised as the same simple choice users are supposed to make in the days of ad-powered web app budgets:
    a) donnot use me,
    or b) use me AND I get access to every darn piece of your data I am able to chew.
    Almost looks like Matt and Mark had a couple of beers and a good talk lately, doesn‘t it?

  9. Fritz

    Great post, really! Had some major issues with JetPack Contact form taking over “control”, thanks for the tip on the plugin to control just that :)

  10. Doug Stewart

    I deactivated it after the Quantcast non-disclosure garbage a couple of years ago and never looked back. I shouldn’t ever be made to feel as though I’m compromising my ethics merely for some extra chrome or functionality on my blog.

    1. Matt

      For the record, the description of Jetpack now mentions the Quantcast bit, and the stats stuff that uses that is much closer to launching.

      1. Doug Stewart

        Thanks for the clarification. I fought that battle back when WP Stats was a separate package and it really left a bad taste in my mouth in re: WP.com federated services. I’ve had a rough go of it replacing the functionality, particularly in the stats and spam departments (because, try as they might, Google Analytics just doesn’t/can’t understand the innards of a WP blog the way WP itself does) but I’m to a point now where I think I’ve got things just about right.

        I think the iframe/CSS/redirect/Quantcast issues nicely encapsulate why I don’t use Jetpack (except on wordcamp.org, where it’s non-optional): it makes my blog both beholden to an outside provider whose code can change without my knowledge and it can expose my end users to side effects, again, without their or my knowledge.

        1. Matt

          That’s true — most people see it as a benefit that they constantly get new features and improvements from a service, but if you either aren’t interested in them or don’t want any third-party domain calls for whatever reason then Jetpack is not a good fit.

  11. Jason

    I’ve never used the plugin myself, but this is a common support conversation I often have with theme buyers:

    “I can’t find the Screen Options tab you show in your video tutorial so I can’t follow your instructions.”

    “Do you happened to have a giant jet pack banner in the place where it should be?”

    “Oh ya, I suppose I do.”

    1. Matt

      There was a bug in an older version where it partially covered up the screen options and help tabs, but that should be fixed now. The best advice, of course, is for them to activate it or turn it off.

  12. Daniel Immke

    Excellent, comprehensive post. The title reminded me of this song, http://vimeo.com/21234810 😛

  13. This Week In WordPress: Jul 16, 2012 | Max Foundry

    […] Dear Jetpack: I Really Want To Love You, But You Make It So Hard Brian Krogsgard wrote a great post this week about a popular plugin Jetpack, from Automattic, and why he has trouble loving all of its functionality. It’s not that he dislikes Jetpack, he notes that there are many great aspects, just some things that leave him wondering why they are breaking away from the typical Automattic modus operandi. Have you had a similar experience with Jetpack? […]

  14. Siobhan

    It’s so true. After the Deadline has been essential for me, but after the last update it had a huge blue banner saying that I would have to use it via JetPack from now on. Sadly, I’d rather give up on AtD than install JetPack – it’s just too bloated and heavy. And at least I can use the Chrome extension for AtD in it’s place.

  15. Scott Kingsley Clark

    I see the same issues as you do, good post! I was working on a project when I noticed every single item you’ve touched on. Automattic should definitely address these things, and hopefully they will because of your post. Thanks for bringing attention to this in the way you’ve done: Elegantly, descriptive, respectful.

  16. Ryan Hellyer

    I’ve always been baffled as to why anyone installed that plugin at all. I disliked it from the beginning.

    I have a fork of the Twickett Twitter widget plugin on Github that I’m intending to maintain.

    Contributors welcome :) If someone is interested in contributing, then I might change the plugin name as I just arbitrarily stuck my own name on it due to complete lack of creativity 😉


    It’s essentially just the original plugin with a few bits of legacy code yanked out. I like it the way it was and don’t have any plans to add extra features to it. I might do a few performance enhancements as I have a vague recollection of there being something screwy with the way it handled caching last time I looked (I can’t remember what was wrong, but it was nothing major IIRC).

    1. Ryan Hellyer

      Also, if someone is keen on taking it over entirely, I’m cool with that as well. I’m not overly keen on looking after this thing, I just didn’t want to let such a terrific little plugin die.

    2. Matt

      The code is all open source so you can do exactly this. I keep an eye on the forks, and the plugins like Mark’s which modify Jetpack behavior, and they really don’t have much adoption. What people told us, why we created Jetpack in the first place, is they had plugin fatigue — too many different plugins with different updates and varying compatibility, security, performance, and code quality. We made separate plugins (dozens) for half a decade, so I understand that point of view, but my mind was changed.

    3. Daniel KOskinen

      The thing is, a single user is unlikely to actually need all the features that JetPack provides, so I don’t see how it’s a good idea to activate almost everything by default. For instance, how many people need WP LaTeX?

      Still, one of the biggest gripes I have with Jetpack is the inability to activate it on a local development install. The reason I usually want to do this is to test & style the twitter widget, which doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) require a wordpress.com connection. I suggest adding a developer fallback for activating jetpack anyway for this purpose.

  17. Alex Denning

    Just wanted to add my voice to the consensus of agreement — you’re quite right that it’s not really on for Automattic to essentially abuse their position and have one set of rules for them and another set for everyone else.

    Would be good to hear if there’s any particular reason why Jetpack is allowed to break the rules (and if it’s not breaking the rules why other plugins with similar functionality aren’t permitted).

  18. Ben

    As a jetpack user, I really love the stats side of things don’t really bother with the others in fairness apart from the comments as @pippin mentioned at the beginning it’s nice to have options for commentators.

    I fail to see why WooDojo is not added as a plugin in the repository as I have been playing with it of late and it’s pretty darn good I have to say, considering WP used there menu system in the end they might do well to include it.

    I can understand to a degree, that they offer paid for services via Jetpack such as VaultPress, after all they need to generate revenue for the betterment of WordPress, and we self installs maybe a hard nut to crack in terms of monetizing.

  19. ElShaddai Edwards

    Thanks for writing this. I’ve always hated the connection to .com for stats, but you bring up lots of other good points to think about. I delete it by default on my client sites (along with Akismet) and use other services when needed. I prefer a plugin:functionality model (or just write my own custom code) rather than one plugin to rule them all…

  20. Syed Balkhi

    I have to say that I completely agree with you. Requiring users to create a WP.com account for services like AtD and others is totally abusing the power. I understand that for WordPress.com Stats and other services that you mentioned the login is necessary. However, nagging everyone for a WP.com account just to use other basic features is one of the main reason why we do NOT install Jetpack on our client’s websites.

    I also wrote a post about whether this is the future of product placement model in the plugins directory. Surprising how WooDojo is not in the repository.

    1. Nathan

      Imho it does not make sense to sign up for WordPress.com for any reason, other than getting the service FREE. A pay service would make more sense here. That still of course does not excuse all the other points!!!

    2. Matt

      Hopefully what we’re providing is not basic features, but features that provide a ton of value, certainly more than the 30 seconds it takes to create or link a WP.com account. If not, the plugin won’t be popular. I think we have some good stuff in there now, but it’s not a “killer plugin” yet, I think we need another year to complete the vision I had when we launched it.

      1. Syed Balkhi

        Matt, I never questioned the quality of plugins in JetPack. Perhaps, I should clarify what I meant by basic features because as I re-read my comment, it is probably not the best word choice.

        I was trying to refer to features that does not require WP.com authentication as “basic features”. I know that AtD is no basic feature. It is a totally bad a** plugin. But I liked the option to use it without being able to connect/create a WP.com account.

        I totally understand why we need to authenticate to use WordPress.com Stats, WP.me shortlink, Comments or Subscription. However, do we really NEED to login to use AtD? or the LaTeX module? Or the Grunion Contact Form? Or Shortcodes? or the other features that have no connection with the WP.com

        There are other plugins that does require authentication like MailChimp, some Google Analytics plugin, Akismet, the Aweber plugin etc. I don’t think people are complaining about that as much because:

        1. They do not aggressively take over the dashboard with the giant nag.
        2. Their is obvious need for the third-party API in order to make the plugin work.

        Why I think JetPack is setting the wrong example here for others is because now anyone can release a plugin as simple as Hello Dolly and require authentication (when it’s not needed at all). I’m not saying that people will download and use that plugin. Many users find JetPack plenty useful (I think the # of downloads speak for itself). All what I’m trying to say here is that it would be much better, in my opinion, if JetPack didn’t deactivate all modules.

        It should only deactivate the modules that would not work without connecting to WP.com. Just my 2 cents.

        1. Matt

          You should look again — both After The Deadline and Latex use remote APIs, I cover both in this comment thread on the main Jetpack blog:


          You’re correct that contact form, shortcodes, and (most) widgets don’t require authentication, but those features aren’t the main reason anyone downloads and uses Jetpack, they’re only 3 of the 14 modules we promote on the homepage. The majority of the services use and rely on remote APIs. (Or as we like to call it, awesome cloud power. :))

          1. Syed Balkhi

            Hey Matt,

            Thanks for clarifying. I was going based on the AtD version that I used in the past, and still have activated on the site. If I recall correctly, we didn’t need API for that.


            Now even that plugin is adding a nag for Jetpack in my plugins area. I already removed it from WPB and told the team to just download the browser extension.

            Carousel is yet another example. It adds some serious power to WP gallery. I absolutely love it. I am 100% sure that it does not require remote connection.

            I just wonder what’s the good reason behind locking widgets/modules that don’t need the connection? I looked through the Jetpack code with my little code knowledge… I saw few checks that make sure to deactivate those other modules.

            For someone like me (I might be in a minority here), I only need a certain features of Jetpack. Most that don’t need the awesome cloud power.

            – Stats: I use GA, so I don’t need that.
            – Subscription: I use MailChimp, so I don’t need that.
            – WP.me: I use wpbeg.in (Bit.ly pro) so I don’t need that.
            – Comments: I use the built-in comments with Otto’s SFC / STC integration. So I don’t need JP comments.

            What I would love to have:

            – Carousel – Does not require connection.
            – AtD – didn’t use to require connection, so not sure why now?

            Most other features like sharing, embeds and others I have covered with other services or my own custom code.

            It was really silly that I had to fork the carousel to use it on WPBeginner. All that took was taking the carousel out of the modules folder and saving it as it’s own plugin.

            Now, it makes it a little bit more work for me to keep track of Jetpack updates and update accordingly if/when Jetpack updates the carousel. On the other hand, I have full control over the plugin. I have optimized it a little bit for performance. I only load the additional carousel scripts in the footer if the post has a gallery.

          2. Matt

            If you read the code you’ll see that version uses a remote API as well. The English language model for AtD uses 4 gigabytes of memory, so not something that’s easy to run locally. By its terms of service, the API is only free for personal use — http://afterthedeadline.com/tos.slp . You can run the service yourself under whatever terms you like.

            We ported Carousel and it’s pretty standalone in this iteration, but two major features in the pipeline for it are going to require a connection, so its standalone-ness is temporary. Remember, our goal is to create a parity experience with WP.com.

            For most people, the “cost” of connecting a free WP.com account to their blog is more than worth the features they get in return, if it’s too much trouble for you then I wouldn’t recommend using Jetpack in the long-term.

  21. Diego Fernandez

    I was seriously considering this suite of plugins but those changes in the interface, custom configuration limits + all the privacy issues mentioned here are a mayor drawback.

    I understand their reasons to request an API connection but there are limits.

    Thanks for such valuable post.

    1. Matt

      To address your three drawbacks:

      * Jetpack does not change the vast majority of the WordPress interface, once it’s activated it’s 2 menu items (Jetpack and Feedbacks) out of 13, and the Feedbacks one is optional. Posting, commenting, everything else works exactly the same and uses WP UI conventions, many of which we created, for widgets, post boxes, settings, et al. What people have raised issue with is the activation notice and the main plugin config and information page, both of which are colorful and designed using Jetpack’s visual language.

      * There are no custom configuration limits I’m aware of, besides what’s been noted in the thread vis a vis Jetpack Comments. Modules can be activated and deactivated, many have ample options, and of course you can dive right into the code and change what it’s doing line-by-line.

      * Everything that happens with Jetpack is covered by Automattic’s privacy policy which you can read in its entirety here. I believe it compares very favorably to most internet services, and is even better than most web hosts provide. (Yes, your site is hosted somewhere and their privacy policy applies to your account. Read it!)

  22. Matt

    Sorry I’m a few days late to this post, I missed it when it came out.

    First I’d like to say I agree with you on several points:

    * Activating and deactivating modules is too hard right now.
    * There is no good workflow for clients.
    * People do get confused by having two logins, WP.com and local install.
    * The integration between the WP.com dashboard and user tools and Jetpack installs should be tighter.
    * We didn’t anticipate the contact form conflicts.
    * It is difficult to develop locally or behind password protection with Jetpack.

    First let me talk about those points, since we’re on the same page:

    The first and last points we hope to address with updates, as they’re pretty fixable. The contact form conflict we address with minor updates to 1.3 line as soon as we became aware of the problems.

    The login and identity issues are tougher, and I don’t know the answer and I think it won’t be easy, but I think we’ll be able to evolve something a lot more elegant there where there are both admin and user connections to WP.com, and options to log in with a WP.com identity that’s tied to a specific user (so novice users only have to keep track of one login), and better integration of Jetpack installs with the WP.com dashboard, for example allowing you to use Instapost, or any of the new developer.wordpress.com APIs, to route posts to any Jetpack install.

    Thank you for raising those issues and I really hope we start to live up to your high expectations better with the updates coming down the line.

    A few other points in the post I think might be misconceptions or misdirected, I’ll try to address those above in replies to people who concurred with you, or as new comments after this one, so as not to mix too much up into one comment. (Subscribing… :))

  23. Mike

    Thanks for writing this. I totally agree with all of the points you’ve raised.

  24. Tom McFarlin

    Obviously, I’m chiming in late to this [fantastic] post so there’s very little left that can be said but, for what it’s worth, the overall Jetpack interface is my biggest complaint (the promoted menu and the huge header) primarily because it’s so juxtaposed to the general interface and design principles generally practiced by Automattic.

    Other things, although a bit concerning, I see as the nature of software so I’m more forgiving – at least to a point.

    For example: the current behavior of Jetpack’s comment form is weak – it rips you out of the context of the site you’re on, it’s slow, and some people dislike the new UI.

    But is it a step closer in right direction? That is, is it helping to bring us closer to, say, accepting comments from multiple networks (as covered earlier in this thread) while also letting us keep our comments in our databases (unlike third-party plugins)? Absolutely.

    Tradeoffs are exactly that – they come at an expense. Maybe some of the features were one step forward and two steps back and maybe it shouldn’t have been released in the current state that it’s in. I don’t know. And this is but one feature of Jetpack – there are other aspects that you and others have hit on in the comments, too.

    Still, I see this is the nature of software. So many parts of Jetpack are what I consider to be ‘1.0’ products and most people know 1.0 is never the latest and greatest (just the latest :)). They are, however, perfect for getting something functioning into the wild in order to gather feedback to create a significantly better version (of which I believe Automattic generally does a killer job) – where the line should be drawn for 1.0 isn’t clear and is obviously a point of contention.

    The thing is, continuing to release a suite of 1.0’s makes for a weak product. Growing the Jetpack plugin without refining existing pieces is something that needs to stop.

    Anyway, and completely in a different direction, it’s refreshing to see a thread of comments where people are actually having a solid discussion (not some lame argument) about a product they care about. Too, I see people complaining about some WordPress theme developer’s mistake or complaining about the people talking about WordPress without bringing anything constructive to the table.

    Not so here and I dig that.

    1. Matt

      You’re right that this conversation has been substantive, which is why I’ve been taking the time to address everything raised.

      On the version 1.0 “problem” — it is very true that I believe there are many iterations in the future for all of the features of Jetpack, however it should be noted that one of the huge advantages of Jetpack is taking the learning we have from hosting, supporting, and listening to 30M+ blogs on WP.com. By that regard Jetpack is some of the best-tested code and interfaces in the entire repository.

      A good example is the recently-launched Carousel: it was actually our version two of something we originally launched about seven months ago in November and one of our teams spent over two months not only responding to user feedback on the existing functionality, but the significant overhead of turning it into something that runs in heterogenous hosting environments. For example on WP.com we can resize every image on the fly, there are hundreds of web servers able to create any size of any image we want, but not so on non-WP.com-hosted WordPress.

      The luxury of a hosted service, as a software developer, is that you can iterate many times a day, versus a few times a year like you do with shrink-wrap software, and you can get real data not just about what people say but what they really do, and that’s what makes great software.

      The commenting form on Jetpack Comments has had at least a dozen iterations as well. It’s just a long way of saying that just because is something is new to Jetpack doesn’t mean we just started working on it, and often what we’re porting over is a highly optimized and tested approach already. That’s the big idea, to bring the best bits of WP.com, the things people tell us they miss if they leave, and make them available to all WordPress users regardless of where they’re hosted.

  25. Matt

    For the reasons above Jetpack Comments has to replace the entire comment form, so if you had custom checkboxes there they’ll be gone, but for subscriptions at least it should integrate well with the built-in Jetpack functions. We can’t guarantee compatibility with other plugins though, that’s why we have an integrated suite. The good news is you’re just a few clicks from turning it back off, since all the data is in your database there’s no downside to turning Jetpack Comments on and off again.

    For connecting the wrong .com account, your stats are not lost, they’re still there somewhere, you just need to contact WP.com support and they can fix them up. (You can tell them I sent you.)

    There are lots of plugins that require connections in the directory, from the obvious like Akismet, to the non-obvious like Google Analytics plugins, which you need a Google account for it to do anything useful, or an Adsense plugin, or the Facebook plugin, or the Disqus plugin… The guidelines in the plugin directory are (1) always evolving, (2) endorsed and enforced by the entire core team, not just me and (3) designed mainly to prevent bad licenses, spam, malware, and things designed to confuse or bait and switch users. (I personally think it’s more straightforward to be up front about requiring a user account, and set expectations correctly for users in the title and description, rather than springing it on someone later in the process like many iPhone apps do.)

  26. technotinker

    Ok just saying great post and amazing reply thread, one of the most informative and interesting i’ve read in quite a while, great job guys.

    Also Kudos to Matt for putting the time in to reply in such detail and for putting the work in on Jetpack (necessity for novice users to have a separate wp.com account aside I’m keen).

    When so many committed and knowledgeable peeps chip in the tone can feel a bit negative, but I think most if not all the points are mean’t constructively.

    I for one think although not perfect Jetpack does offer a nice dose of wp.com functionality that’s especially useful for migrating clients who aren’t ready for the full plugin ecosystem. Even for non novice users I think it’s got some great stuff- the social comments are fantastic and I can’t see how that could work without the wp.com integration, personally I think the hybrid model used is a good call.

    Anywhooo – great post, good job contributors and keep your Chin up Matt 😉

  27. WP Late Night #17 "Huge brain bank" with Helen Hou-Sandí | WPCandy

    […] 3.5Trac ticket for removing link manage from core in 3.5Database changelogPaint the tracshed ticketBrian Krogsgard on JetpackBrian Richards’ hairWordPress Core HandbookPlugin: Simple Local AvatarsCustom Metaboxes and Fields […]

  28. wp-coder.net » WP Late Night #17 “Huge brain bank” with Helen Hou-Sandí

    […] Brian Krogsgard on Jetpack […]

  29. Dan

    Has there been any kind of official answer as to why Woo Dojo is not in the plugin repository?

    There’s been a lot of passive beating-around-the-bush here, and the real issue has not been addressed, maybe not even posed as a question. I’ll try to do that.

    Jetpack is an aggressive plugin that is “not really free,” as Brian originally noted. It is “not free” in a way that is not allowed for other plugins. It seems clear that Automattic is flexing muscle and gaining some monetizable access to WP.org users, their data, and potentially their ad space in a way no one else is allowed to do. Even if the big, loud, non-standard UI with its gotchas and aggressive, unfriendly default behaviors are exchanged for a less imposing and standard format down the road, is Jetpack the kind of thing the WP .org user and developer community really wants to see from Automattic? How does it affect that relationship? How do folks feel about a less clear boundary between WP .org and .com — while the boundary remains clear for all other such .coms? Is there a valid feeling of unfairness here, that sees Jetpack muddying the waters and compromising the ethic of “free” software, or at least the standard idea of what that means within the plugin repository?

    Yes, you can always not use Jetpack, or you can use (or create) alternatives, but this does not mean that anything Jetpack does is simply pointless or inappropriate to question because you’re not affected. You ARE affected.

    Jetpack affects everyone using WP whether they use it or not. Even if you think it’s OK for Automattic to absorb projects into a quasi-commercial plugin/service like Jetpack/WP.com, and even if you think it’s OK for this plugin/service to target the mass majority of users who want convenience more than freedom, who don’t understand or care about the hidden costs, you have to admit its very existence segments and alters the nature of the WP.org community and its relationship with Automattic. Users and WP.org sites that weren’t really a market for WP.com to monetize in the past now are.

    How do you feel about that?

    1. Adam W. Warner

      Has there been any kind of official answer as to why Woo Dojo is not in the plugin repository?

      I’d also be interested to read more details about this since it has been mentioned several times in this post/thread.

      p.s. I don’t use Jetpack or Woo Dojo, just interested in the future path of the community…

  30. Jetpack WordPress Plugin • Amethyst Website Design

    […] A good disscussion, including comments from WordPress founding developer, Matt Mullenweg, is at Brian Krogsgard. Share this:LinkedInFacebookTwitterStumbleUponTumblrPinterest This entry was posted in blog, small […]

  31. Brad Dalton

    I’ve noticed even when using the sharing module as a stand alone plugin that shortlinks don’t work which can cutoff titles so it takes more time to share as you have to manually replace the link and add the title again

    Is their a way to use your own shortening & tracking service hosted on your own server with this?

    Love the Carousel and even deactivated NGG to focus on using the native gallery and media functions.

    Contact forms also great but i read none of these will be updated on an individual basis which seems a bit strange.

    1. Doug Stewart

      You’ll be wanting YOURLs and a custom short domain then. There’s an excellent WP plugin for it as well.

      1. Brad Dalton
  32. Karl Bedingfield

    The single biggest bug bare for me (correct me if I am wrong) is that I cannot style the Greeting Message for comments (Leave A Message). Can this be styled – in any way?

    Also agree that once you click Post Comment that big white page saying comment posting is a major distraction.

  33. Matt

    As an update, the 1.7 release from today fixes the “submitting comment” interstitial screen that many people noted:


    Comments still need to bounce through the WordPress.com domain, we just do it a way that’s less noticeable now.

    1. Mark McWilliams

      I was just about to say something similar on the subject Matt, so it’s nice to see you’ve already beat me to it, and remember the discussion above. There’s going to be a good chance I’ll make use of the Jetpack Comments module; it looked good in some quick testing! 😄

  34. test12 | Daily Chillout

    […] some critique aimed towards it. I suggest reading an article by Brian Krogsgard – Dear Jetpack: I really want to love you, but you make it so hard – where he addresses the main problems Jetpack has like the fact that it’s not […]

  35. Franz

    Thanks for the great article!

    I absolutely agree with many of your points. The only reason I keep using Jetpack is because 1) it offers a lot of functionality in one package 2) is up to date 3) offers the social log-in for comments.

    The stats look neat too – especially if Google Analytics is not necessary.

  36. miri

    I wish I’d read through this before installing JetPack on my blog. Now my server moves at a snail’s pace and the darn plug-in won’t deactivate no matter how many times I click on the deactivate link.

  37. Mike Schinkel

    I’m very late to this party but would like to add my comments for anyone still listening.

    My thoughts about Jetpack are relevant to my history with WordPress and blogging so let me give that background. I just launched a blog about developing WordPress plugins at hardcorewp.com and for 3+ years I’ve been a professional WordPress plugin developer building plugins for clients.

    On the other hand the last time I actively blogged was at my personal blog well over 5 years ago back when dasBlog was still popular. So my comments are based on my perspective as a plugin developer and a newly reborn blogger.

    I agree with many things said about JetPack above but there are two things not mentioned that I have issue with and one that was only mentioned once that I want to really emphasize because it’s the one of the two things that absolutely keep me from using JetPack, in increasing order of importance:

    1.) This is cosmetic, but that’s important. I think JetPack treads on one of the core philosophies of WordPress: "Decisions, not Options." JetPack overwhelms the user with too many modules on an ongoing basis. It needs to segment it’s main module page into three (3) pages; one for active modules, one for inactive modules and one for all modules. And it’s should present the active modules page by default, not the page with all of them, please.

    2.) You can’t active JetPack on a local install so you can’t reasonably use it when a professional site deployment workflow is used for client’s sites where site development happens on developer’s machines with testing happening behind a firewall prior to deployment to both staging then production site. Yes there is a workaround, you can activate on a machine on the web and then copy the database down but that doesn’t allow local debugging through activation and it’s also a big hassle if you have to activate many times to resolve a problem.

    3.) The local activation issue is a killer but even worse JetPack throws hundreds of warnings in PHP5 strict mode when using the PhpStorm debugger (see them at this Gist). This makes it completely impossible to use JetPack for anyone that depends on a debugger for professional development. And the sad this is that more than 99% of the warnings are for calling non-static methods with the static method call operator (::); actually they need to declare those methods as static. Doing that would resolve most of the warnings.

    So there are my list of issues with JetPack. I can’t even consider using it until issues #2 and #3 are resolved because all my development where I might use it requires local development and debugging. Besides, when I see a plugin with so many warning I wonder what other problems it may be hiding that have yet to be found.

    Here’s hoping Automattic hears this and addresses these issues.

  38. Paul

    Hi Brian and friends here

    Thanks for all of this info.

    Will jetpak ever be like ‘1 click to activate only feature you want’ instead of ‘1 click to learn more and then 1 more click to deactivate the feature you don’t want ‘ ?

    I don’t mind clicking but hey, there are tons of modules in jetpack to not use. It’s so wrong, no matter what angle you are viewing from, that a plugin packed with tons of features and auto activates all upon install.

  39. Passion For Excellence: How To Become A Top WordPress Professional | ShadesColour & Associates

    […] Brian Krogsgard takes a look at why it’s so hard to love JetPack […]

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  41. Johnny

    I really like Jetpack plugin but is eating alot of resources..

  42. Kristen

    I actually like JetPack. I love the stats and not having to worry about it being updated/compatibility issues. I also like the non-standard interface (although all the required clicking is a bit excessive).

    I do agree with a lot of the comments here, though – especially that it shouldn’t auto-activate everything (I mean, Jimminy Cricket!).

    One additional gripe:
    I’d really like to know why the menu shows for non-admin users and why we can’t hide it?! Not nice.

  43. Jetpack WordPress Plugin • Amethyst Website Design

    […] Note: Some developers have expressed dissatisfaction with Jetpack recently, primarily due to paid product placement, the required connection to WordPress.com, the loss of previous stand-alone plugins, and unconventional plugin behavior. A good disscussion, including comments from WordPress founding developer, Matt Mullenweg, is at Brian Krogsgard. […]

  44. AkoaBlog – Updating Akoa

    […] a list, then downloaded almost all of them to give them a try. I was especially interested in the debate about jetpack. Currently I do not have it activated. But I will look into doing so once I do a bit more research […]