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WordPress Plugins: My List

Ah, the wonderful, wacky world of WordPress plugins. You never know what you’re going to get with these little snippets. The WordPress plugin repository is not all that helpful in determining the quality of the plugins available, so it’s a bit of install-and-test to find ones that do what you want them to do. This is unavoidable, I’ve found, so I’m compiling a list of plugins I’ve found work well in my WordPress development environment and conform to my preferences in terms of coding style.

All these plugins work with the latest version of WordPress (3.1.3 as of this posting)– good to know because you often can’t tell if it’s going to work with your installation until you try it.

Admin or Backend Plugins

Add From Server

Wonderful plugin comes in very handy when converting an existing site to WordPress. Very good user interface allows you to work efficiently.

Compact Admin

Very helpful for those CMS-type sites where you have a lot of pages. Space is nice, but scrolling is tedious. This solves that nicely.

Duplicate Post

This is one of those plugins that adds essential functionality seamlessly into the admin interface. It’s so low-impact, I install it on every site I develop, need or not.

Enable Media Replace

This is a much simpler way to keep images and graphics updated. Yes, you can do this with FTP, but if you need to replace multiple instances of an image, this is your guy. No funny extra screens, just a seamlessly added functionality.

Custom Class Selector

I like using classes, and TinyMCE doesn’t normally allow this without going into the HTML, so this is a convenience. It’s great for those sites where the client is mucking about with content and they want to center text, make things another color, etc. You can control how they do this so they won’t be messing up the design because they like pink. The code is only as complex as it needs to be and I like that.

Regenerate Thumbnails

Great plugin for theme development when you’re still mucking about with image sizes, cropping, etc. If you, for instance, replace the main image file by FTP, this will regenerate all the derived versions for you. Handy, probably should be part of the core.

Simple Page Ordering

Again, should be part of the core because WordPress’ ordering mechanism is clunky and inefficient. This gets the job done seamlessly and intuitively with no annoying overhead.

Frontend Plugins

I don’t go in for fancy user interfaces in my plugins, just solid functionality that saves me from writing the code myself. Here are a few that form the core of my standard plugin set.

wp-Typography

Just an awesome plugin that I consider standard equipment. I know there’s a body of opinion that plugins like this, (and WordPress’ built-in text massager, wptexturize ) mess with your content, but I like it. It brings in solid typographical enhancements and although I’ve found that support for the plugin has dropped off, it works and it looks great.

WP Email Guard

I don’t like having plain-text email addresses on my sites because I don’t want to be in any way responsible for my clients or their guests receiving spam. I also don’t want to have to type some shortcode every time I want to add an email address. This plugin addresses this issue seamlessly without the need to do anything special in your posts. This plugin uses javascript to encode the text and adds a clickable link to the email address.

About email obfuscation: I know this is an issue of some complexity and contention, but this is where I stand: javascript is here to stay. No-one can effectively surf the web with it off anymore. (the “screen reader” argument is pretty much over nowadays) Email harvesters generally don’t waste time or resources running client-side code, although there are probably some that do. I will point out that a very effective way for spammers to get your email address is for them to guess it. Aside from using only non-obvious addresses, there’s little we can do about this. There’s no point in hiding your “[email protected] whatever domain” email address, because the moment you register the domain, every spammer knows that’s a good one to try. If it doesn’t bounce, they add it to the list. So, obfuscation is a good idea, but in some cases, it won’t make a difference.

More Plugins

This list is not yet complete, but it’s a good start. I intend to fashion this post to be a reference for my own use so I can quickly install the chosen suite of plugins in any new WordPress installations. Maybe I’ll create a plugin bomb to upload and unzip in the plugins directory. It will become dated, but I’ll just have to update the plugins after I install them. I have to go in and enable them all anyway.

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