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Plug In, Turn On, Far Out!

March 9th, 2007 by Kevin

I\’ve been using WordPress (WP) for awhile now and I\’ve been very happy. First of all, it\’s free. Secondly it\’s got a cleaner and more intuitive interface than Moveable Type which is nice. Really I was able to use it \”out of the box\” without reading up on it too much. But of course I like tweaking things so I have read up on it.

Speaking of tweaking, one of my favorite parts is the unworldly number of various plugins there are for it. I\’m firmly convinced with enough plugins I could run an air traffic control center and a nuclear missile silo off the same WordPress installation.

Now don\’t get me wrong, there are some bad plugins out there (crash your site bad) and there are some worthless ones (one which ships with WordPress), but there are alot of good ones. Some I don\’t have a need for, others I\’ve created a \”need\” for. For some of the other bloggers, out there I thought I\’d share the plugins that are behind the scenes of EckerNet.

Dunstan-style Error Page

Probably the newest addition to my site and despite a few pains getting it working properly (you\’ll see my comments on the author\’s page) it\’s awesome. For those of you that have transferred your site from elsewhere or changed the syntax of your links, this is invaluable.

You can see it in action if you try to visit a page of my site that just plain doesn\’t exist…such as this one.

So any links to your site that are screwed up?? No problems. They get a helpful page, plus the ability to easily notify you of the error if it\’s a real one, or send feedback.

When I first transferred to WP, I just hide a script in the page that automatically emailed me the relevant info every time someone got a 404 error (Page not found). What I learned is spam bots hit my site hundreds (thousands?) of times a day, frequently attempting pages that don\’t exist. That sucked. This is much better.

Live Comment Preview

Helpful for users, preview their comments before they post them. Basic, to the point, simple. Yeah

Maintenance Mode

Lets me take my site completely offline without destroying anything. Quick, easy and reversible….I think. Never had to use it so far.

Private Post

There is a tiny bug in WP that I haven\’t tracked down yet. Sometimes after you save a post it gets set to \”Private\” so that only certain users can see it. Only problem is there is no indication that it happened and to what posts it happened to. This plugin changes that. Puts \”PRIVATE\” in the title and makes it easy to change it back to public. I\’ve had to use it twice.

Random Header

I\’ve gotten compliments on my rotating banners above. This is the plugin that makes it possible. I fed it lots of banners awhile back, and it randomly selects one every time the page is loaded. I can activate and deactivate banners without removing them, which allows for a seasonal thing if you wanted to do that.

Random Quotes

Probably the one constant through 5+ years of revisions to EckerNet. I\’ve always had a random quote appear on the page. 🙄 Now it\’s at the very top, and the library has over 100 quotes in it.

Share This

Creates that nifty \”Share This\” button below which allows people to submit posts to various networking sites. Probably never gets used but oh well.

Snap Preview AnywhereTM Plugin

A recent addition, that is probably going to become a recent deletion. Cute, and nifty but not really useful for my site. Either I\’ve made the link sufficiently interesting by talking about it or I haven\’t. A graphic is hardly going to make a difference I think. But still a quality plugin

Spam Karma 2

The most overworked and useful plugin I have. Without this I would have given up on this site long ago. Kills the hundreds of spam comments I receive every day. It\’s a rare spam comment that doesn\’t get caught by this plugin. It\’s soooooo nice not having to deal with fucking spammers. 😈

ST Visualize Advanced Features

You never see it but I love it. Expands the toolbar for my post editing screen to include all sorts of nifty features. Yeah for you WP users that didn\’t know….there is a \”hidden\” toolbar for the post editing screen. To display it without the plugin, do Up, Down, Up, Left, Left, A, A, B, A, Right, bark like a dog, spin in a circle, press Start 26 times and then pass out.

Tidy Up

Once again you don\’t see it but your browser probably likes it. I\’ve been using it to slowly clean up some of the code that makes up the posts so it conforms to standards.

Underscore Permalinks

WP uses \”-\” to separate words in URLs. Due to my MoveableType heritage, I needed it to use \”_\”, hence the plugin. Yeah, unless you transfered from MoveableType you shouldn\’t care.

WP-Cache

A useful plugin, but I think I fall into the perfect niche where it\’s not really useful for my site. It\’s supposed to cache pages for a specified amount of time so that the next time someone visits that page it can load it statically rather than dynamically (improves load time). However, I don\’t think the server load is high enough to make it noticeable, and any changes to my pages (such as comments left) are noticeable until that specified amount of time goes by.

But for high-load sites, or those without comments, more useful.

WP-ContactForm

Runs the Contact Form…no effort required on my end.

WP Grins

Allows both you and I the use of emoticons…which I rarely use, but every once in awhile….

:mrgreen: 😐 😈 ➡ 😯 🙂 😕 ğŸ˜Ž 👿 😀 💡 😳 😛 🙄 😉 😥 😮 😆 😡 🙁 ❗ ❓

Ok that\’s enough….any other plugins WP users would suggest, drop me a comment.

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