Tag Archives: Plugins

What Plugin Coders Must Know About WordPress 2.6

Planet Ozh has a new post up by the name of What Plugin Coders Must Know About WordPress 2.6. Ozh put out a similar post back when 2.5 was in development, and I found it very useful. This time around, there’s even more to worry about, er, be aware of.

It seems that users will be able to move their /wp-content directory wherever they want when the new release is out. That means you can’t rely on it being located at /wp-content anymore. A user could have it at /stuff/w-content or ../lib/wp-content, or anywhere, really.

Luckily, Ozh explains how to programmatically find the /wp-content URL or path.

Widgetized WordPress Admin Dashboard

In WP 2.5 the WordPress developers tweaked the WP dashboard, making it a bit more usable, looking sort of like Netvibes or iGoogle. Unfortunately, they haven’t seen fit to provide the ability to customize the dashboard “widgets” yet. So what’s the point? Well, it looks better…

Jason of Pressography.com has provided a solution, since the WordPress devs haven’t yet. The Widgetized Admin Dashboard plugin does just what it’s name says. It removes the WordPress Development News and WordPress Planet boxes, and adds a new sidebar to the Widgets screen called “WordPress Dashboard.” You can then put whatever you want on the Dashboard, and re-order the widgets at will. You could even use your themes’s functions.php file to write your own custom widgets, if WordPress and your plugins don’t provide one you would like.

Login-Box Plugin for WordPress

Login-Box, by danillonunes, puts a hidden WordPress login in your template, which can be made visible by pressing Ctrl-E (or in some cases Alt-E). Not a bad idea.

I’ve found it much easier to do administrative tasks by putting a login link on Webmaster-Source’s navigation. However, this is kind of dumb, since my users have no use for it. I’m the only one who can register new users, so no one other than me can really login. (I started out allowing registrations, but the spammers decided it was funny to register 20+ accounts per day…) Maybe I should replace the login link with this plugin? Or I suppose I could just bookmark the wp-admin link for easy access… :D

Back to the plugin:

Login-Box has several configuration options. You can define

  • The way the login box looks
  • Which key combination opens and closes the dialog
  • Whether someone logging in should go to the Dashboard, or back to the page they came from.

I think this plugin would be useful for multi-author blogs, possibly, though for my purposes it’s overkill, I think.

Smarter Archives: Clean and Compact Date-Based Archives

I can’t stand seeing blogs that have a long list of monthly archives in their sidebars (I’m looking at you, prefab Blogger templates!). It clutters the design, and promotes long sidebars.

Blogger users, unfortunately, don’t have the nifty Pages feature WordPress bloggers get (or plugins for that matter), so they won’t be able to enjoy this amazing WordPress plugin.

Smarter Archives, creates a new template tag, <?php wp_smart_archives(); ?>, that you can put in a custom template, allowing you to build a custom Archives page. I use it here, and ProBlogger does also.

The plugin displays the monthly archives compactly, one line of text per year, so you have room on the page for other things, like a tagcloud, output from the Popularity Contest plugin, etc.

WordPress 2.5 Automated Plugin Updater

WordPress users have long complained about the time and effort required to update all of their plugins. WordPress 2.5 RC1 introduces a new feature that allows you to update plugins to their latest version simply by clicking a link and entering your FTP password.

I’ve tried this out on a test installation of WordPress, and it’s great. There are, however, a few issues with this new feature.

The automatic upgrade does not deactivate your plugin first and then reactivate it after upgrading. If the plugin requires activation to run any checks for WordPress version, or do any db fixes, or “activate” any new features then it won’t do this and the plugin won’t work as expected. In most cases this can be simply remedied by remembering to deactivate and then reactivate the plugin after the upgrade is complete.

This is important because plugins sometimes update database entries when a plugin is re-activated after an update. So if you use the automated updater, be sure to deactivate and re-activate the plugin after the update has completed, to insure that the plugin will continue to work correctly.

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Preview Theme Plugin

Working on a new theme for your blog? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could edit a theme, and preview the results, without activating it for all to see? Yes, you can do that.

You could do it the hard way, and install another copy of WordPress in another location (your local computer, a directory of your website, etc). Or you do it the easier way and use the Preview Theme Plugin for WordPress.

Preview Theme, when installed, allows you to view a theme by appending ?preview_theme=ThemeName to a page’s URL. So to view WSC’s index with the WordPress Classic theme, you could use this URL: http://www.thesite.com/index.php?preview_theme=WordPress%20Classic

Cool, or what? Now you can work on your new theme, live on your blog, without letting anyone see it. and if you’re really paranoid about people not seeing the theme ( :D ), the plugin allows you to restrict the preview feature to certain user levels (e.g. Administrator) .

GoCodes Redirection Plugin 1.0

Introducing my latest WordPress plugin: GoCodes, the redirection plugin for WordPress.

Have you ever had to give someone a shortened version of a URL? Maybe you’re a podcaster, and you need to say “visit mydomain.com/2008/01/03/my-post-with-a-long-url/ for more info.” Wouldn’t it be useful if you could just say “go to mydomain.com/go/mycoolpost/ ?” Sure, you could use a service like tinyurl.com, but that’s still not too great if you need the URL for a podcast. It’s still awkward to read-out “tinyurl.com/27asr9,” isn’t it? It’s less professional too. GoCodes let’s you create shortcut URLs to anywhere on the internet, right from your WordPress Admin. Whether you need it for podcasting, printed publications, or affiliate programs, GoCodes will do the job for you.

You can read more and download the plugin here.

WordPress Plugin: Accept Submissions For Posts

The TDO Mini Forms WordPress Plugin allows you to create a form on your blog that allows people to write a post on your blog. Submitted entries are saved as drafts for your approval.

You will find this plugin useful if you run a blog that’s big on collaboration. For most of us, however, it’s probably a better option to accept guest posts the “normal” way, by setting up a contributor account, letting your guest writer write a post, then approving it.

It’s an interesting concept, though I’m not about to use this plugin on any of my WordPress-based sites. However, if you accept a lot of guest articles then this may save you a bit of time and effort.

Is ShareThis 1.0 Better Than ShareThis 2.0?

What do you think? Alex King just released the new version of the great ShareThis plugin, but I don’t like it as much. Here are my main reasons:

  • It’s a lot slower, as it uses JavaScript to load the collapsible DIV’s contents from ShareThis.com.
  • The default styling doesn’t look as good.

I’m still using the original plugin, and I don’t intend to stop.

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On WP Super Cache

Everyone’s been talking about WP Super Cache, the new WordPress plugin based off the old WP-Cache 2. By storing static copies of your posts for a predetermined amount of time (then refreshing them after they expire), it reduces server load by a huge margin, which hopefully keeps your site from going down if you get “Dugg.”

It’s a great idea, but I’m not about to install it yet. As it says on the website, “dynamic content such as that within the sidebar, will only refresh when the cached pages are refreshed.” That, of course will cause major problems with some plugins. It’s hard to explain why those plugins won’t work, but I can give you some examples.

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