Plugins are features that are added to WordPress to expand its functionality. Below is a listing of available plugins based on function.
Plugins for Site Layout/Display
Widgets are a powerful feature of WordPress that allow you to easily add dynamic features to your site sidebars like tag clouds, a list of authors on your site, links to other resources, search forms, and social media features. Sometimes, though, you only want a widget to appear on a specific page of your site and by default adding a widget to a sidebar will make it show up everywhere.
Activating the Display Widgets plugin on your site will allow you to control where widgets appear. Once activated, your widget settings screen will contain a list of pages with checkboxes. You can choose to either show or hide each of your widgets on the selected pages. With this, you can do things like tailor a list of resource links to a particular topic page, or only show your Facebook like button on the homepage.
Midd Post Thumbnails
Set a featured image for your posts and this plugin will allow you to see thumbnails of those featured images in a new "Thumbs" colmun on your All posts page in the dashboard.
Note: If you haven’t set any featured images or added any media to your posts, this plugin won’t change anything. If you have added images but not set a featured image, the first image of the post is considered the featured image by default and displayed in the Thumbnails column when this plugin is active.
WP Google Fonts
This plugin allows you to change the font family of an active theme. Users can mix and match font families (although not recommended), target specific text such as headings or paragraph text. Additional details can be found here.
Note that previews of fonts are not generated (search for font here).
Once this plugin is activated, hover over the “Settings” navigation element located under the dashboard panel and click on Google Fonts. You can enter up to 6 different font families.
Plugins for Embedding Content
Embedding Google Components
Google Docs Shortcode
Embeds a Google doc in your site. This plugin supports embedding documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and forms.
Enable the Google Docs shortcode plugin in your site's administration interface. You can use some shortcode like this to add your documents:
[gdoc link="LINK_TO_GOOGLE_DOC" height="600"]
Google Maps Shortcode
Embeds a Google map in your site.
Enable the Google Docs shortcode plugin in your site's administration interface. You can use the following shortcode to add your maps:
[googlemaps insert link to Google Map here width="123" height="456"]
To locate the insert link select to share the map through the embedding feature and copy the link starting with https:// and ending with the exclamation point. Paste this into the shortcode in the location indicated above. Please note that using the full iframe link will not work.
Jetpack Shortcode Embeds
Middlebury Timeline JS
Provides a shortcode for a Timeline JS embed.
This plugin requires activation by a WordPress system admin. To request activation submit a ticket to the helpdesk. It also assumes that you have already created a timeline using Timeline JS.
To get the value needed for the shortcode, go to http://timeline.knightlab.com/, and paste your Google spreadsheet URL into the generator box. Copy the string of characters after “source=” up until the next “&”. This is your source value. Height is also an optional configurable attribute. Ex: “height=650″
WP JQuery Timelinr
JetPack Plugin Features
WordPress is an open-source, community-built platform, but it also has a company behind it that coordinates activity and runs WordPress.com. This company Automattic, has released some of the most popular features of WordPress.com as a plugin they support named Jetpack. By connecting your site with a WordPress.com account, you get access to many additional features.
Activating the Plugin
You can activate Jetpack as you would any other plugin in the WordPress administration interface for your site. After you activate the plugin, you need to connect it with a WordPress.com account. These are free to register on their site, but if you do not wish to create an account, let us know and we can connect it using one of ours. It is important to note at this point that all features of Jetpack are currently free to use, but some may require an additional payment in the future.
The Jetpack plugin adds a feature for collecting simple feedback and information from visitors to your site through a custom form. Before we start, here are some things that these forms are not good at:
- Collecting sensitive or personally identifiable information. This should never be done in our WordPress or Drupal sites. If you need to collect this type of information, please contact LIS so we can work on finding an appropriate solution.
- Reporting. There’s no export feature for the data these forms collect. If you need to download the form data to Excel, consider using the Webform module in our Drupal site instead.
- Complex form logic, branching, and advanced survey fields like scales and grids. These forms have only a few basic field types available and everything needs to be on the same page. Advanced survey features are available through our KeySurvey application and you can contact LIS for access.
But if you just want to add a basic feedback form or a poll to your blog or site in WordPress, this can be a handy tool.
- To add a new form to a post, click the form button to the right of the Add Media button while editing the post. This will bring up an interface with some example fields.
- Modify that sample form to suit your needs and click the “Add this form to my post” button. This will put a bunch of shortcode text into the body of your post, but when you Publish the post visitors to your post will see the form.
- When people submit the form, the results will be stored in the “Feedbacks” section available in the left sidebar of your site’s Dashboard.
Jetpack can be used to collect information about the people visiting your site and display that data in an interface that is significantly easier to use than Google Analytics. This allows you to see which of your posts were the most popular, how people are finding your site, and the geographic distribution of visitors to your site. To view these stats click on the menu item titled Jetpack > Site Stats on your dashboard.
Additional Shortcode Embeds
Jetpack provides additional shortcode embeds for a variety of web services. Visit this site to view the full list and additional instructions.
Extra Sidebar Widgets
Jetpack adds three extra widgets that you can add to site sidebars:
- Twitter: show the latest tweets from your account to encourage people to follow you on Twitter.
- RSS Links: add a link to the RSS feeds for the posts and/or comments on your site.
- Image: add an image to your sidebar for extra visual appeal.
This plugin allows you to "optimize your site with a mobile-friendly theme for tablets and phones". To activate access the Jetpack option on your Dashboard and search for Mobile Theme.
More Image Galleries
Plugins for Content Delivery
Liveblogging is the practice of covering an event as it happens on your blog. Rather than a composed post that covers your thoughts on a subject and is published once, a live blog post is updated with snippets of your thoughts on the event as it occurs. Common uses of liveblogging are covering a speech, television show, or sporting event. The practice allows the author to interact with their readers in real time via comments on the live blog post.
Activate the Liveblog plugin in the Dashboard and you’ll be able to mark certain posts as live blog posts. This will add an interface for the author to make short posts to the live blog without having to use the normal back-end WordPress editing interface. Readers will see updates appear on the post page without needing to refresh their browsers. This video covers how to use the plugin in practice.
The Co-Authors Plus plugin lets you assign multiple authors to a single post or page. Each of these authors will have access to edit the post. This makes it a helpful tool for collaborative writing or reports from group projects.
If you’re using a theme that supports it (which all of the Middlebury-produced “Translucence” family of themes do), each author will also appear in the byline of the post. If you’re using a theme that doesn’t support this, submit a helpdesk ticket to request its addition to your theme.
The newest version of Co-Authors Plus also lets you add Guest Authors to your site. This is helpful if you want to have a post appear from a guest blogger who doesn’t have an account in the Middlebury system, or to post primary source material in the original author’s name. This can also be used on department or office sites to have posts appear under the name of the group, rather than a single person. Guest authors don’t have any privileges on the site, the post simply appears as if authored by them.
The Co-Authors Plus plugin can be enabled if you are an Administrator of a WordPress site in the Plugins section of the dashboard. Guest Authors can be added in the Users section.
Provides a widget with icons for IM clients (Skype, ICQ, AIM) you use, displaying your availability on each. Good for users who want readers to be able to reach them through multiple services.
After activating the IM Online plugin, go into “IM Online Options” under Settings in your Dashboard. Here, you can add instant messaging accounts (by choosing the service from the drop-down menu and entering your username) as well as choose how often your online/offline status is checked and updated on the website. You may also need to add the “IM Online” widget to your page by going to Appearance > Widgets in the dashboard.