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Extending WordPress

One of the reasons I switched to WordPress was the easy way it is to extend it.  It seems the epitome of David Weinberger’s Small Pieces, Loosely Joined:  not a single central technology, but one with a strong core integrated with multiple other pieces.

Initial Maintenance

The first plugins I installed were Stephanie Leary’s HTML Importer and the Find and Replacer plugin by wesg.  I used the Importer in conjunction with HTTrack to get my content out of Plone and into WordPress.  Find and Replacer enabled me to do some content cleanup.  It’s not perfect but it cleaned up my page titles.  I’ve also added the XML Sitemap plugin so that Google can leverage the site map and I can see information based on it in my Google Webmaster tools.  It also works for Bing.

Theme and Widgets

One of the things I wanted to use was a tabbed sidebar widget.  It took a while to locate one that worked the way I wanted.  In fact, it looks like it’s at the end of its life but I saw it recommended on an Arras theme discussion.  It’s the Fun with Sidebar Tabs plugin.  It’s easy to drop in and easy to theme.

WordPress also handles comments, related content, and popular content better than Plone’s products.  I’m using the Efficient Related Posts, Get Recent Comments, and WordPress Popular Posts plugins to grab that content.  It’s all displayed within posts or on the sidebar.

Mega Plugin Jetpack

I read about a plugin called Jetpack on Makeuseof.com.  It includes a number of interesting plugins but, as the post on Makeuseof explains, having them wrapped in one plugin reduces the load on the site.  Jetpack has more than I need, but I enabled the Twitter plugin to replace the Twitter RSS feed that I had on the sidebar, using the RSS widget.  It’s a cleaner Twitter feed.   It also includes Sharedaddy, which enables icons for sharing content:  e-mail, print, and sending it to Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.  I added Linkedin to the default sharing functions.  Last but not least, the WordPress stats plugin makes it a lot easier to see what’s going on with your site.  I use Google Analytics too but it’s interesting to see how WordPress presents the data.

WordPress as Blog and Wiki

One of the aspects I’d been toying with when considering migrating off Plone was what options I would have to string a blog and wiki together.  Initially, I looked at WordPress and Mediawiki on the same page.  But I came across the WordPress Wiki plugin and it does the trick.  I like that it rides on top of the accounts in WordPress and uses the same theme without having to try to keep two sites themed in parallel.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.