The Daily Plugin for 07-23-2013

Welcome once again to another installment of The Daily Plugin. Today we’re pleased to see that the WordPress Plugin Repository has just hit 26,000 plugins in the index. This is quite an accomplishment! I’m grateful to all the developers out there who put in thankless days and sleepless nights creating these magnificent plugins. They can’t all be a perfect 10 plugin, but the simple fact that people are making a solid effort to participate in the community is very commendable.

Before we begin, make sure that you test out all these plugins on a staging site. It’s always best to create a mirror of a live site with an identical set of plugins. Then install the new plugin to see how it interacts with the others. After a day or so, you’ll get to know the functionality, speed and performance of the site with the new plugin installed. If everything seems to be cool, then it’s probably safe to remove the plugin from your “quarantine” and use it on an actual live site.

YouTube Comments is yet another tentacle in the power of the commenting system. This little gem allows you to automatically pull in the comments from a YouTube linked video from within the post. I like this because it keeps my WordPress installation as the central hub for everything despite how many social services that I want to hook it to on the outside. The plugin allows comments by all users logged into YouTube. Hopefully this doesn’t become abused or has some degree of control of spam.

Blog Watch helps you monitor the competition or fellow content creators right in your dashboard. It runs on both RSS and ATOM feeds. You simply add the feed URL and the posts will be inserted in the dashboard module. An added bonus is that if you do not know a specific feed URL, the plugin will attempt to locate it for you based on the main URL of the blog you want to monitor. This could be used to monitor the blogging activity streams of your favorite authors, sites with similar interests or anything you choose. Heck, why not double up and add the WPTavern feed to it as well, ok?

Time DifferenceTime Difference calculates the amount of time between the current date of your WordPress installation and a date that you signify in shortcode form. The date can be either in the past or in the future. I like the versatility of this plugin, as it can act as a countdown timer to an event and as a running stopwatch of something that has started. It could be used in a number of practical ways. Days left in Summer, countdown to when school starts, days since you were born and on and on. Since it’s shortcode based, you’ll be able to use this within content as well as within a widget.

Free Voice Comment System is another plugin I tried in hopes of finding a free solution for Speakpipe. This plugin ideally would have the same functionality in that a site viewer would be able to record an audio comment with just one click-through their browser. In the case of this plugin, it runs off a service called, a social messaging site based on audio recordings. I could not get the plugin to function at all after installation, from requesting an API key on down. This one is simple not ready for prime time, as the site crashes every time you try to request a key. I tried it on 3 different staging sites with the same result. Oh well. I’ll keep on searching.

Last Friday I mentioned that there would be some news for those fans of the column that are commuters seeking an audio version of The Daily Plugin. After some consideration and discussion with Jeff, I’ve decided to give the people what they want and create a daily audio recording. We will wait until the next version of WordPress officially drops so that we can take advantage of using the new audio and video capabilities within the Media center. I can’t wait!

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