Passionate About Plugins - WordCamp Montreal 2012


Published on

The huge range of community-contributed plugins is one of the most valuable features of But how do you determine what’s a safe and effective plugin without being overwhelmed by choice? Learn how to make an informed decision about which plugin to use – and how to troubleshoot any conflicts that may crop up.

Published in: Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • What is a plugin? Extra bit of code that performs a special function – whichcan be added (or “plugged in”) to your WordPress site. Keeps the core of WordPress light and lean, while adding extra functionality for sites that need it. Independent of theme.
  • Different ways to view plugins in the repository – by download frequency
  • Most recently added
  • Curated collection
  • If you’re searching for a plugin but don’t know how to word it, phrase your search in the form of a human question.Try variatons, i.e. WP instead of WP. Try Google. Always download from the official repository – usually most reliable source
  • Old plugins increase exposure to security vulnerabilities, their functionality may have been replaced by core WP
  • Requires – what version of WordPress is required to use the plugin. Some plugins won't run on older versions of WordPress. Downloads – the number of times a plugin has been downloaded can give a sense of a plugin's popularity. If a plugin has only been downloaded twice, you may be excited to be a pioneer and try it out – or you might not feel like having your site used as a guinea pig! Last updated – if the plugin hasn't been touched since 2009, for example, it's often not a good sign. Although, sometimes that's only because the older version continues to work fine, so there's no need for an update.
  • Creating an account at lets you do a bunch of cool stuff
  • Compatibility – the plugin's known compatibility with various versions of WordPress. Older plugins that haven't been updated are often not compatible with newer versions of WordPress, so be careful. There's also a handy compatibility tool, where you can check the plugin against different WordPress versions. You can add your vote into the mix to help others know which versions play nice together.
  • Star rating – WordPress users can rate plugins, so take a look the average rating to get a sense of how well-regarded a plugin is. 1617 ratings of 4.5 stars or more? Mr. Popular! Is the plugin author a professional? Do they work with WordPress for a living? Is it a hobby? How much experience do they have? Core contributor?
  • Changelog – another element to check is the frequency of plugin updates. A history of consistent updates is generally a good sign, as it usually means the developer is keeping the plugin in good working order and/or making improvements. Regular updates are better than sporadic ones.
  • Support threads resolved – this new feature tells you how many recent support-forum threads – with questions about the plugin – have been resolved. This gives you an idea of how active the community is around a given plugin, and how likely you may be to get a helpful response on the message boards, should you run into any trouble.
  • This feature has a bug in it currently, numbers not accurate
  • Ask the community, including the plugin developer
  • Subscribe to support thread
  • You can now subscribe to get an email whenever a commit is made to a plugin repository even if it isn’t yours – keep on top of any updates without having to log into to your WordPress admin area
  • Remember your favourites & share with others – you can go here to see some of mine
  • You install a plugin and something goes amiss. What could it be?
  • What if you can’t deactivate within the dashboard? Rename plugins folder temporarily via FTP from plugins to pluginsOLD or something else
  • unless you enjoy redoing your changes every time you update the plugin. ask yourself if your changes can be moved outside the plugin (i.e. CSS), or they’re something others would find useful, ask the developer if they would incorporate into next release, Consider forking the plugin (discuss w/developer first) at the very least, keep a backup of your changes so you can restore them.
  • Including some you’ve probably heard of, and some you might not
  • From Automattic. WordPress provides 13 widgets, many of which contain a form enabling us to customize each instance. Populating a sidebar with widgets can be rather time consuming especially if you have to tweak each widget’s settings. The Monster Widget consolidates all 13 core widgets into a single widget! The Monster Widget installs just like any other plugin and creates a widget that can be used just like any other widget.
  • Bringing some of the best features of to sites
  • Paid plugins (some have free versions too)
  • Passionate About Plugins - WordCamp Montreal 2012

    1. 1. Passionate ABOUT Plugins Kathryn Presner @zooniniWordCamp Montreal 2012 #wcmtl
    2. 2. Kathryn Presner•Automattic Happiness Engineer as of Monday• support-forum moderator since2011•WordPress site designer/developer since 2008•Professional web designer since 1998
    3. 3. Over 20,000 WordPress Plugins
    5. 5. courtesy SixRevisions
    6. 6. 1. credibility2. track record3. popularity Revisions courtesy Six
    7. 7. Popularity Contest
    8. 8. Recently Added
    9. 9. Hand-picked
    10. 10. Search Tips tag in repo non-repocompliation
    11. 11. Past its Prime
    12. 12. Log in to Vote, Rate & Post
    13. 13. Version Compatibility 0 people say it works. 23 people say it works. 2 people say it works.0 people say it’s broken. 1 person say it’s broken. 14 person say it’s broken. If IT WORKS votes / TOTAL votes >= 0.7 then IT WORKS If IT WORKS votes / TOTAL votes >= 0.3 then IT’S BROKEN
    14. 14. Author
    15. 15. Screenshots & FAQ
    16. 16. Offsite Support
    17. 17. Changelog
    18. 18. Support Record
    19. 19. Resolved Threads
    20. 20. Post in the Forum
    21. 21. Follow a Plugin - Support
    22. 22. Follow a Plugin - Development
    23. 23. Favoriting Plugins
    24. 24. Plugin TroubleshootingPotential conflicts:• between plugin & WordPress core• between two or more plugins• between plugin & theme
    25. 25. Plugin TroubleshootingWhen in doubt, deactivate all pluginsIs the problem still there? NO YESReactivate one plugin at a time
    26. 26. Plugin TroubleshootingWhen in doubt, deactivate all pluginsIs the problem still there? YES • Search forums/Web for similar issue • Post in forum/report issue to developer • Look in source code • Switch to default theme • Replace plugin with an alternative
    27. 27. Proper Plugin Care and FeedingAvoid editing others’ plugin code...COULD THE CHANGES:•Be moved outside the plugin folder?•Be incorporated into the plugin?•Be forked into a new plugin?
    28. 28. A Few NOTABLETypes of Plugins
    29. 29. SEO Plugins
    30. 30. Security & Backup Plugins
    31. 31. Widget Logic
    32. 32. Monster Widget
    33. 33. Jetpack
    34. 34. Commercial (“Premium”)
    35. 35. Share Your Faves• Contact forms • Caching• Analytics • Admin interface• Anti-spam • Custom fields• Mapping • Custom post types• Slider/slideshow • Social sharing• Gallery • Multilingual
    36. 36. KATHRYN PRESNER@zoonini • & RECOMMENDED READING• “Overwhelmed” photo (cc) andres.thor• Background patterns –• 6 Questions To Ask Before You Install A WordPress Plugin – (flowchart used with permission)• Functionality: Plugins vs Themes –