WordPress plugins in use

There are a few WordPress plugins that help me publish this site as I want it. Here are a few of the key plugins I currently use on Stopdesign.

  • Amazon Showcase by Aaron Forgue
    Drop in any ISBN and this plugin takes care of the rest for Amazon reading and recommendation lists.
  • Live Comment Preview by Brad Touesnard
    Lots of plugins generate a real-time comment preview. This one seemed to be easy to configure and get working right away.
  • Postalicious by Pablo Gomez
    This plugin automagically pulls in my Delicious links on an hourly basis, publishing an entry for each link I create. (It can also be configured to publish sets of links in a single entry too.) It’s a useful plugin for automating posting of links created elsewhere — it can also handle ma.gnolia, Google Reader, Reddit, or Yahoo Pipes. Pablo, the author, is incredibly responsive. After I emailed him a casual suggestion on a Saturday afternoon, he had a new version of the plugin (with my suggestion incorporated) in my Inbox later that same evening.
  • Twitter for WordPress by Ricardo González
    Set it, and forget it.™ Once installed and configured the way I wanted it, I’ve never had to think about my tweets showing up on the site again.
  • WP Super Cache by Donncha O Caoimh
    A must for speedy page-load times and to keep the server humming along, especially on high-traffic days.
  • Search Unleashed by John Godley
    Does several cool tricks with search for a WordPress site, including query term highlighting and searching across every post and comment field. I’m using the plugin for the results page, itself. But I wasn’t able to use the query term highlighting on entry pages because that conflicted with pages cached with WP Super Cache, and I wasn’t able to figure out how to prevent caching of entry pages referred by a search.

A friendly reminder: some authors put in lots of time and effort into plugins that are free for us to use at will. If you can afford to, send a donation their way, especially for plugins that do any heavy lifting for your site.


  1. Dan Wilkinson wilkinsonweb.com

    Great list.
    I see you’re using Mint AND Google Analytics for stats…lately I’ve been trying the WP-Stats plugin and have been pretty pleased with its WordPress integration. Any thoughts on the relative merits of these stats packages?

    BTW, where is the Live Comment Preview plugin being used? Just noticed as I type this that there isn’t a preview…

  2. Jason Beaird jasongraphix.com/

    Thanks for sharing these, Douglas. I thought about plugins and WordPress configuration a lot as I was working on my latest redesign. Super Cache is a must install. For me, the Automatic Upgrade plugin is also pretty essential. The fact that I had edited the core functionality of MT was one of the reasons I stuck with the same old MT install and design for so long. Being able to click a button and watch WordPress upgrade itself almost brings tears to my eyes. Ok, well, the experience isn’t that emotional, but it’s still pretty cool.

  3. Douglas Bowman stopdesign.com/

    @Dan – I thought WP-Stats was ok, but it seemed a bit limited if I remember right. (It’s been 6 months or more since I tried it on another WP site.) I keep Analytics installed just in case I ever want super-detailed stats on something. But truth be told, I hit Mint way more often for a quick-hit dashboard overview of what’s going on with the site. Mint captures just the right amount of data for me — not too little and not too much.

    Oh, and the live preview for comments renders below the comment form, so you may have to scroll down to see it after you start typing. Not ideal, but at least you can see a full preview, including formatting with the allowed HTML. For some reason, the preview breaks off at the first a href if one is inserted — need to look into that.

  4. Mr. Nguyen

    Dear Douglas Bowman,

    How about your portfolio?

    Do you use any plugin for this section? Does this section include posts or pages?

  5. drew alibiproductions.com/about

    This list solves a lot of questions I had. Thanks.

    Is Postalicious what your using for the “Twestival: Tweet. Meet. Give.” and “Getting Things Done with Twitter” posts?

    How did you get the post title to be the link and got straight to the url instead of another blog post page? I really like Pablo’s plugin but I can’t seem to configure it properly. Is that what your email was about?

  6. Douglas Bowman stopdesign.com/

    @Mr. Nguyen – I plan on writing about the portfolio in a separate entry. For now, I’ll just say that the portfolio is actually running on an entirely separate install of WordPress, and the only plugin I’m using there is WP Super Cache. More details to come.

    @drew – Yes, Postalicious is what I’m using for what I classify as links and automatically get pulled from Delicious. That’s also the subject of a future entry. But for now, know that if you have the plugin configured at 1 link = 1 entry, the plugin will put the URL of the link in a custom field for that entry. So I just use an if/else statement to determine whether I use the URL from the custom field for links, or the_permalink() for normal entries.

  7. Dan Wilkinson wilkinsonweb.com

    Oops, I meant WordPress.com Stats, not WP-Stats. WP-Stats appears to me more about a blog itself, like number of posts, number of categories, etc. WordPress.com Stats is actually a pretty full-featured stats package.

    Also, live preview apparently only works after your first comment. It wasn’t there on my first comment, but it’s here now.

  8. insic blog.insicdesigns.com

    nice choice of chosen plugins.

  9. Jeff Lin bustoutsolutions.com

    It’s a little more than just a plug-in, but I am a fan of Intense Debate.

  10. drew alibiproductions.com/about/

    @Douglas Bowman – Thanks for the tip. I almost got it working the way I need it to, but I will be anxiously awaiting your post about it.

    Thanks again for the help.

  11. Eric Meyer meyerweb.com/

    I don’t see a live preview either—using Camino 1.6.6, OS X 10.5.6, it doesn’t seem to be above, below, or beside the textarea. Same in Firefox 3, where Firebug informs me:

    Error: syntax error
    Source File: http://v5.stopdesign.com/?live-comment-preview.js
    Line: 1
    Source Code:
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd”>

    Dunno how or why that happens (and since I have no preview, I’m not sure if I need to character-encode the angle brackets around the DOCTYPE, so I did to be on the safe side) but it’s probably why some of us aren’t seeing a preview.

  12. Eric Meyer meyerweb.com/

    And now I see the preview in Camino (which I used to post the comment), as Dan indicated. Very, very odd.

  13. Tim

    Re WP-Stats, I find it works well on low traffic sites. In a month of testing on a site that gets 10k uniques/month, it generated 25MB of data in the database and over 100,000 database records. I’d rather dump that load on third party providers. The only positive was having the data one easy click away in the WP admin interface.

    Thanks for sharing Doug.

  14. kristin WIP-comingsoon

    just curious about this ‘Live Comment Preview’ issue…I want a comments block in my site, and found this here, so I’m testing it out…

  15. kristin WIP-comingsoon

    and now, the 2nd comment – as was said before…very strange.did not see any preview in the first one…, but now I do…hmmmm, .it encourages you to make more than one comment, this does…

  16. Johann Dizon johanndizon.com

    I wonder what the equivalent plugins if available are for Expression Engine. I’ve been toying with EE but may take a gander at wordpress. It seems that wordpress has all the cool plugins!

  17. Brad Touesnard bradt.ca/

    Thanks for the mention Douglas. I’m planning on making some long overdue improvements to the plugin and releasing a beta soon.

    As for the odd behavior, it is likely a problem with the $_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’] variable. If that variable is not set to ‘live-comment-preview.js’, then the plugin will not fire and the include will load your homepage instead of the Javascript. Unfortunately, I can only guess why that PHP variable wouldn’t be set as expected.

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