Essential WordPress Plugins

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My Favourite WordPress PluginsRecently I have become a big fan of the WordPress Framework, its ease of use, extendability and flexibility make it one of the leaders in the open source cms community.

Here at Substance I recently built and deployed WordPress to run documentation for my internal MVCBuilder system and also used it to host our competitions for various clients.

To that end I have written this blog post to talk through my favourite plugins that I have used with WordPress.

Facebook Tab Manager

Green Lantern CompetitionThis is certainly one of my favourite plugins and has automated a large chunk of our entire Facebook workload here.

The plugin is extremely stable and was written in a way that allowed me to adapt it to my needs.

You can find the Facebook Tab Manager here and find out more at the authors Facebook page.

There is also a great tutorial that walks you through using the plugin here that takes you through authoring a Facebook tab using the WordPress system.

I extending the plugin to use a competition mechanic that allowed admin users here to author the fields they wanted and to also switch on or switch off Facebook integration (prompt permission for a users email and name when they enter). We also used the system to build landing pages for clients including Malibu, Warner Bros. & ATOC.

Dynamic Content Gallery

VILFI used this plugin on this website to enable me to display a ‘project showcase’ on my home page. This was very useful in allowing me to provide a non-flash solution for my work to be displayed on all portable devices as well as the web.

I adapted the plugin to be able to order my image ids based on how they appear which means I can prioritise a project very easily.

You can find the plugin here.

NextGen Gallery

WP PrettyPhotoThe NextGen Gallery is a fantastic plugin that allows you to upload a series of images that relate to one particular gallery and then display those images on your pages or blog by using simple short codes. You can see this operating on various pages of my website alongside the WP PrettyPhoto plugin which works seamlessly with all my gallery images.

I also adapted the plugin to take a url so that if the plugin sees a url exists then it will not use WP PrettyPhoto to display the image and will jump out to the url instead. The plugin also has a very good administration system which lets you define meta information for the image and also the user has complete control on how the images are ordered. You can download the NextGen Gallery plugin here and the WP PrettyPhoto plugin can be found here

HL Twitter

HL TwitterHL Twitter is a great little plugin that allows you to display tweets to the users of your website using the right widget area in WordPress.

What makes HL Twitter so good is that it will check for new tweets using the Twitter API over a user defined amount of time instead of making constant calls to the API which takes into consideration the constraints put on how many API calls can be made in an hour. It can also automatically tweet every time that you publish a page or post.

I use HL Twitter in the widget area of my website to display my latest tweets! You can find the HL Twitter plugin here.

Facebook Comments for WordPress

Facebook Comments for WordPressThe Facebook Comments for WordPress plugin enables you to replace your wordpress comments system with the Facebook Comments system. It also deploys meta tags that enable your WordPress blog to be read through the Facebook URL Linter site so that your pages and posts content can be easily placed into the users news feed/likes etc..

The plugin also allows for a like button to be placed on every post/page on your WordPress blog. I adapted this plugin to enable me to use the featured image for my pages and posts to be directly added to the meta tags so that the linter picks up the image!

You can download the plugin here

SyntaxHighlighter Evolved

SyntaxHighlighter EvolvedThe SyntaxHighlighter Evolved plugin allows me to display code snippets to readers of my blog that can be directly copied from my page without the need for popups to display the code in a seperate window.

It can also be styled, and integrated using short codes depending on the language you wish to display.

You will see this plugin running on a lot of my blog pages and is a must for any developer sharing code on their blogs.

You can download the SyntaxHighlighter Evolved plugin here


If you have used any of these plugins, let me know how you got on by leaving a comment below!

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