13 Indispensible WordPress Plugins

I’ve broken my promise about focusing on adding photography, as I spent the last few days solving technical issues and making improvements around here.

Category URIs don’t have “category/” in them anymore, so you can get to the shop at richardxthripp.thripp.com/shop, which is what I’ve wanted for a while. I got this working with Top Level Cats.

The comment section for each entry has been totally redesigned. You can subscribe to comments (Subscribe to Comments plugin), preview comments without a page reload (AJAX Comment Preview plugin), and subscribe to an RSS feed for the comments on each entry. I moved stuff around and renamed stuff so it makes more sense; the “reply to” (for comment threading) is now at the top so that when you click a “Reply to this” link, you don’t have to scroll up to see the comment box. I use Yet Another Threaded Comments Plugin (YATCP) version 0.6.1, in which I accomplished this by moving <?php yatcp_show_comment_parents($post_ID); ?> up above the contact boxes in yatcp_comments.php, and delinking the reply box from the comment form (comment_form) by changing add_action('comment_form','yatcp_show_comment_parents'); to add_action('','yatcp_show_comment_parents'); in template_functions.php.

I added notifiers for disabled JavaScript, because the “Reply to this” links, comment previewing, and the shopping cart require it. Try disabling JavaScript in your browser to see what I mean.

When viewing individual entries, there is a link to the next and previous entries above the similar entries list (Related Posts 2.04 plugin, which has been taken offline by its creator). I added <?php previous_post_link(); ?><br /><?php next_post_link(); ?> in my theme’s index.php file for the previous and next entries feature.

If that isn’t enough, first-time commenters will get an automated thank-you email, with a plug for my RSS syndication feed. The Comment Relish plugin makes this easy to set up.

My cousin wanted his own website, so I set it up for him in the same WordPress installation at jt.thripp.com (which just redirects to his category at richardxthripp.jt.thripp.com). I added him to the banner and sidebar, and he’s already got some photos up. I’m using Role Manager, Bind User to Category, and Advanced Category Excluder, so that his entries stay off the home page, he can only post in his category, and he can’t go on a rampage destroying my website. The three plugins are playing nicely together.

I’m using SEO Title Tag to manually edit the titles of the home page, categories, and other pages; they’re more descriptive and search engine-optimized.

Admin Drop Down Menu makes it a breeze to navigate in the administrative section.

I thought I was adding too much stuff; I’m getting 35 MySQL queries on the home page, and 20 on most individual entries, with query times of 2-3 seconds on the home page and feed, and ~1 second on most individual entries. I have cheap shared hosting from Netfirms, and the WP-Cache plugin speeds up load time and reduces the server load, so this seems acceptable.

To make an even 13, I use Random Image Script for the random photos in my header. It isn’t actually a WordPress plugin, but it’s convenient because you can throw it in a directory with some images and call it like a normal image (an img scr HTML tag). To have three random photos, I just made three copies of the script. It’s an inefficient method, but it’s easy and the cool (or annoying) thing is the same images can show up in each box. Get three of a kind and you’re really lucky.

And finally, there is a bugs and problems page, where I list the problems remaining, which I don’t know how to fix and are fairly minor.

I’m $3.25 away from recouping my hosting costs on this website, though domain renewal is up in March and I’ll have to pay more for hosting in August. Save me from insolvency. :help: Buy three prints from the shop today—$3.85 shipped in the USA). :big-grin:

List of the plugins:
Top Level Cats
Subscribe to Comments
AJAX Comment Preview
Yet Another Threaded Comments Plugin (YATCP)
Related Posts (Original site, offline currently)
Comment Relish
Role Manager
Bind User to Category
Advanced Category Excluder
SEO Title Tag
Admin Drop Down Menu
WP-Cache
Random Image Script

Write Concisely

New Year’s Day. A time to make commitments for self-improvement and then break them a week later. I have one I’m going to keep.

My resolution is to speak and write concisely and correctly. While filler and disfluencies are excusable in speech, in print they are intolerable. Rewriting is writing, so the standards are higher because you can polish your work easily. “Kinda,” “sort of,” “like,” “more than,” and “less than” have no place in writing. If I ever use “in all circumstances that I know of,” yell at me to replace it with “always.” More examples:

• Don’t say “America has over 300 million people,” say “America has 300 million people.” We know what you mean.

• Use “always” and “never.” English is a language for humans, not computers—treat it as such. If you are wrong, plenty of people would love to correct you.

• We have plenty of words already; don’t make new ones up. “Servers” are waiters and waitresses. A “chair” is a chairman or chairwoman. Unless you are referring to a woman or women specifically, he, waiter, and chairman will do just fine. Don’t use they in place of he; it’s imprecise and dehumanizing. Gender inclusivity is a crock.

• Don’t use “special” to describe the retarded. It takes away from people who really are special.

• All our jungles have disappeared and been replaced with rainforests, while all our swamps have become wetlands. How did this happen?

• People are not sewers! Have a little respect for our tailors and seamstresses.

A lot of the Newspeak doesn’t even make sense. What is a “flight attendant” anyway? I know what a steward is (female: stewardesses), but isn’t a flight attendant anyone who has ever been on (attended) a plane?

English is losing its humanity. Don’t let them steal our language.