Do you need to check a WordPress theme for hidden links? There’s a plugin for that. Want help managing a group blog’s editorial and scheduling needs? There’s a plugin for that, too. Da Li SocialIM sent me to Seattle’s recent sold-out WordCamp, where I learned about a lot of promising WordPressy things.
What an experience. I don’t get out much, so besides the marvelous shell shock of being in my element with 370 others who do WordPress, I was more than your average woo-woo over all that walking and talking eye contact. This won’t be my last WordCamp.
Theme Check Plugin
Theme Check Plugin is probably getting more buzz right now than any of the rest. Though it was not central to one of the talks, it came up several times. Theme Check bills itself as checking to make sure a theme is up to spec with the latest official WordPress standards, but it’s not just for theme developers. Theme Check can find encrypted code that can hide hidden affiliate links or malicious code. Never again wonder if there is something bad hidden in that free theme by an unfamiliar author.
The EditFlow Plugin was introduced in an Ignite talk at the end of WordCamp. It sounds like a blog manager’s dream. With EditFlow, a post can have any number of custom statuses, including “Waiting for Feedback” and “Assigned.” Users can cut down on those back-and-forth emails that can get lost, instead discussing a post’s development using threaded commenting in WordPress’s back end. Email notice is sent to admins, authors and any other included users when there are new editorial comments, or when a post changes status. This sounds like an absolute delight.
JetPack came up in the very first presentation at WordCamp Seattle, “How is WordPress.com Made?” by Scot Berkun. The JetPack Plugin is shiny new, debuting just last month. It’s envisioned as a way to let WordPress.org style users enjoy popular features previously only available to WordPress.com blogs. The way Scott put it, WordPress.com is WordPress’s proving ground, so it gets the new goodies first. Plus, JetPack components can be cloud hosted via WordPress.com, so they won’t put an additional load on your server. Right now, JetPack includes WordPress.com stats, a Twitter Widget, neato Gravatar Hovercards, WP.me Shortlinks, LaTex markup language, After the Deadline grammar and spellchecker, Shortcode Embeds for sites like YouTube and SlideShare, and last but not least, Sharedaddy, a Social Networking sharing tool complete with stats. But wait! There’s more! Or at least WordPress.com will be adding more. Tell them what you want.
If you use plugins that do even one of the things JetPack can, install JetPack instead. Down the line, if the equivalent of anything else you use becomes available in JetPack, change to the JetPack version. Because JetPack plugins are wired into the frequently tested offerings of WordPress.org, they will be updated regularly and they won’t conflict with each other.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
Have you tried Yoast’s SEO plugin yet? It’s in beta, but it’s a good beta and the buzz among WordPress fans is positive. In addition to the Post titles and meta description tweaks included in other popular SEO plugins, Yoast SEO can add breadcrumbs, edit your robots.txt and .htaccess, produce an xml sitemap and more. WordPress SEO by Yoast is several coordinated plugins in one. Fewer separate plugins means fewer plugins to update, fewer plugins that may one day not be supported. Besides, anything by Yoast has a high probability of being awesome.