With every new version of WordPress, I update my list of plugins that I consider to be essentials. That is, these are the group of plugins that I install in almost every instance of WordPress that I run on my site. In the last couple of weeks, there have been several really slick little plugins that have either been developed or updated for WordPress 2.5. Here are the ones I’ve adopted:
“cforms”:http://www.deliciousdays.com/cforms-plugin has become my contact form plugin of choice. It is a very powerful and robust plugin that allows user customizability right down to the last detail. As such, the admin interface is a little daunting, but the power that cforms provides makes it well worth the effort to learn it. At this point, I think it’s fairly safe to say that there isn’t a better contact form plugin out there.
“Extra Sentence Space”:http://coffee2code.com/wp-plugins/extra-sentence-space is exactly what the typing Nazi ordered. High school typing class taught us that it’s proper form to place two spaces between sentences. HTML documents only display a single space, no matter how many you type. This plugin brings back the ability to add the second space back in and clean up your document formatting.
I’ve been using “Flexible Upload”:http://blog.japonophile.com/flexible-upload/ almost since it was first developed. What’s attractive about this plugin is that it allows you to resize images on the fly and, if so desired, add a personal watermark to your own images. Now, with all the problems surrounding the Media Uploader in WordPress 2.5, Flexible Upload provides the means to bypass most of the buggy AJAX code and get your images uploaded to your blog quickly and reliably.
“Ozh”:http://planetozh.com has fast become one of my favorite plugin developers. He consistently creates plugins that are practical and high quality. I’m running three of his plugins on all my installations that make the WP 2.5 dashboard experience a lot more fun.
“Ozh’ Admin Dropdown Menu”:http://planetozh.com/blog/my-projects/wordpress-admin-menu-drop-down-css/ reorganizes the WP 2.5 dashboard, putting all the links in a single row at the top of the dash. What’s more, a simple mouseover for any menu tab will display a dropdown menu that will give one-click access to any submenu in the dash. This plugin effectively cuts dashboard navigation times in half.
“Ozh’ Absolute Comments”:http://planetozh.com/blog/my-projects/absolute-comments-manager-instant-reply/ makes it fun and easy to reply to reader comments by reorganizing the Comments menu and allowing for instant comment reply right in the dashboard. It’s fast and powerful, and every WordPress user should be running this plugin.
“Ozh’ Better Plugins Page”:http://planetozh.com/blog/my-projects/wordpress-better-plugin-page/ cleans up and reformats the plugin page, making it a little easier to look at and use. It also provides a set of filters that can be used to display only a particular subset of plugins.
The WP 2.5 dashboard comes with a fixed width, which is rather ugly for those of us who use a large monitor resolution. “Remove Max Width”:http://dd32.id.au/wordpress-plugins/remove-max-width/ undoes this limitation and allows the dashboard to stretch completely from side to side.
“ShareThis”:http://sharethis.com/ has been around for awhile now, but it compacts social bookmarking down into a single button. Using this plugin gives your readers the ability to share the wealth and send additional readership your way.
I’ve been using Textile as my text markup option almost since I started using WordPress several years back. Textile and and its plugins have undergone various iterations since that time, but “TextileWrapper”:http://www.huddledmasses.org/category/development/wordpress/textile/ is the one I’ve been using for the last year or so. The thing that I like about Textile in particular as a markup tool is because it uses common characters for the markup, making it extremely fast to add formatting to my writing as I go. I use TextileWrapper on all my WordPress installations and won’t set one up without it. Everyone has their markup tool of choice, but this is the one that I think is easiest to use.
Anyone who’s ever had a catastrophic blog failure resulting in lost data knows the value of backing up your database. “WP DB-Backup”:http://www.ilfilosofo.com/blog/wp-db-backup should be required for every WordPress installation. It makes it easy to keep a backup copy of your DB on file, y’know, just in case.
“Shift This Order Pages”:http://www.shiftthis.net/wordpress-order-pages-plugin/ is a little clunky to use, but it beats hands-down having to go into every page on your blog manually to change the menu ID. If I have an installation of WordPress that contains more than a couple of pages, I make sure I include this plugin to move pages around more easily.
I know I, for one, like to have the option of subscribing to comments on particular blog postings, and I don’t generally like to add individual RSS feeds to my Google Reader. “Subscribe to Comments”:http://txfx.net/code/wordpress/subscribe-to-comments/ gives readers the option of getting follow-up comments in their email.
Web servers don’t provide a means of automatically adjusting for daylight savings time. “Timezone”:http://kimmo.suominen.com/sw/timezone/ fixes this by automatically applying this adjustment twice a year. Just tell it what time zone you live in and whether you make the adjustment, and it does the rest.
These are my favorite plugins, and I firmly believe they are well-worth your time to investigate, as well. Feel free to tell me about any other essential plugins you use by commenting below.
fn1(footnotes). A problem which, at this point, still has no real solutions, despite many reports of bugs on the WordPress support forums.
fn2(footnotes). And the rest of you _ought_ to know the value of backing up regularly.
fn3(footnotes). Frankly, it ought to be included into the WordPress core, in my opinion.
fn4(footnotes). It took me a little while to figure out just exactly how to make it work.