Building alexking.org 2.0, part 7: Plugins

One of the great strengths of WordPress is its plugin system. In the upcoming 2.1 release, there is very little you can’t do as a drop-in plugin. This makes it easy to use WordPress as a CMS and keep your customizations separate from the main codeline; which in turn simplifies upgrades and maintenance.

I used the plugin architecture extensively to customize WordPress as I wanted it for my new site. Almost all of the functionality I added was done as plugins – many of which I’ve already released, others are still being polished for release.

I currently have 23 active plugins, and that doesn’t include my 404 Notifier plugin or Dougal‘s Talk Like a Pirate plugin (both of which I activate as needed).

I think it’s easiest to just go through them as a list. Anything that isn’t linked is probably available on my WordPress plugins page (I’ve tried to note exceptions).

  • 404 Notifier – this was written by me for my new site. It logs 404 (file not found) errors to help you fix them. This one is no longer active.
  • Admin Drop Down Menu – written by Ozh, this is a great time saver.
  • AK Custom Code – this was written by me for my new site. It includes the URL and query handling stuff to keep my golf blog separate from my main blog, custom template functions, ad handling code and a bunch of other misc. little stuff. This one isn’t released.
  • Articles – this was written by me for my new site. It allows you to choose posts to highlight outside of the normal blog chronology. You can see it in action on my articles page.
  • Do Follow – written by Kimmo Suominen. This turns off the ‘nofollow’ on your comment links after a certain period of time.
  • Google Sitemaps – written by Arne Brachhold. Create a sitemap of your WordPress content, suitable for submitting to Google, Yahoo and MSN.
  • Inline AJAX Comments – written by Peter Kashou. This is the plugin that loads the comments below the post on the home page, etc. I made a number of changes to this for my needs, at some point I might get around to making it both IE friendly and generic enough that I can send changes back to Peter.
  • Last Modified Function – written by me a while ago. This simply shows the last modified date/time of a page.
  • Limit Posts to Parent Category – written by me for my new site, based on Ryan Boren‘s Front Page Cats plugin. This is the main SQL filtering for separating the golf blog from the main blog. It’s heavily customized for my site and isn’t suitable for release.
  • Link Harvest – written by me for my new site. This creates a links list from the links in your content. You can see it in action on my links page. I’ve been working for the last few weeks to get it ready to release.
  • Link Mojo – written by me for my new site. This is some basic link blog functionality, working the way I wanted it to. I’ve just about got it ready for release.
  • Old Post Alert – written by me for my new site. This shows a banner in the comments area indicating the age of the post being commented on and encouraging commentors to look in the more recent posts to see if their comment is still relevant.
  • Page Friendly Excerpts – written by me for my King Design web site. This creates excerpts on the fly for all posts and pages so that I can show them all together in my search results. Very simple, but I could release it if there is demand.
  • Popularity Contest – written by me a year or so ago. This tracks which of your posts are most popular based on your visitor’s interaction with your site.
  • Search Everything – written by Dan Cameron, updated to WordPress 2.1 compatibility by me. This plugin allows searches to include content from pages, comments, etc. as well as just posts.
  • Share This – written by me for my new site. This wraps the “post to social site” and “e-mail to someone” functionality in a single friendly link.
  • Shortcut Macros – written by me for my new site. This allows you to define little snippets to be expanded as longer text strings. It’s great for the lazy. :) I expect to have this released pretty soon.
  • Spam Karma 2 – written by dr. Dave. Geof Morris recommended this to me a while back, it does a pretty good job.
  • Title Reverser – written by me for my new site. This reverses all aspects of the page title in WordPress. There are similar plugins out there already, so I don’t plan to release this one.
  • WordPress Mobile Edition – updated by me for my new site. This presents a mobile-friendly version of your site to visitors on cell phones, PDAs and other handheld devices.
  • WP-CC – written by Firas Durri. This adds a machine readable Creative Commons license to each of my pages. Development on this plugin is dead and it has been superseded by WpLicense. However WP-CC worked exactly as I wanted it to, so I’m using it instead.
  • WP Photos – updated by me for my new site. This is the system I use to manage adding images I’m hosting on this server to my blog posts. There are lots of other photo gallery plugins out there now, so I do not have plans to release this again.
  • WP Since Last Visit – updated by me for my new site. This shows the little ‘New’ indicator by new posts and comments. I’ve got the old version available for download still, but the installation steps will probably keep me from releasing the new version. People had a really hard time with similar requirements when I first released Share This and I got a lot of rude e-mail as a result of the installation frustration.
  • WP Unformatted – written by me a long time ago. This turns off the default WordPress auto-formatting on a per-post/page basis.

Whew – that’s a lot of plugins! Is it too many? How many is too many? I’ll try to cover that next time.

This post is part of the following projects: Old Post Alert, Since Last Visit, 404 Notifier, Shortcut Macros, ShareThis, Link Harvest. View the project timelines for more context on this post.