on Feb 25, 2008
Sometimes I get emails from people asking what plugins I use for various features on this blog. I thought I’d post a quick list here for anyone else who might be curious.
Everyone should run this plugin. It catches well over 95% of my spam without requiring any action on my part. It should probably be your first anti-spam plugin. My only complaint is that it doesn’t like .info domains, so every time Fledge posts a comment I have to fish it out of the spam trap. If it weren’t for this, I don’t think the plugin would ever have a false positive. Still, it’s a real time saver.
You shouldn’t need this plugin until you have a serious spam problem, at which point it becomes indispensable. It has a few quirks that I’m not crazy about. If you’ve ever submitted a comment, gotten a 403 Forbidden error, and then refreshed to find your comment intact – this is Bad Behavior. The docs don’t explain how it works, so if you want to know you have to open the source and figure it out for yourself. (Which, I admit, I have not done.) Still, the plugin is very effective at repelling spam comments and other assorted trouble. If I take Bad Behavior down, my site gets crushed with spam traffic that borders on a DOS attack. The protection offered is easily worth the price of a few quirks.
I recently disabled this plugin when I realized that it’s largely redundant with Bad Behavior in place. This plugin is what displayed the CAPTCHA on the site, which I had set to always come up “d20”. When I disabled this plugin I went from getting zero spam a day to getting about four or five. A little annoying, but it’s worth it since people no longer have to type “d20” every time they comment. Still, I loved this plugin, as it was part of the personality of this site for over a year. It’s nice to know I still have this one to fall back on if it ever gets to the point where Akismet and Bad Behavior can’t keep up.
This is an unreleased plugin this I wrote myself. It lets me embed pictures without needing to clutter up my posts with a metric buttload of HTML. When I want to embed a picture, I just enter some text like this:
[image|ffx_sending2.jpg|center|One of my favorite scenes from Final Fantasy X.|?p=332|Final Fantasy X|300]
It’s a set of fields, seperated by vertcal bars: Image name, justification, caption text, URL to link to, mouseover text, and image width. Everything after the image name is optional. The code above results in:
One of my favorite scenes from Final Fantasy X.
I’ve never released it because there are other, more robust plugins out there for doing this sort of thing. I just wanted to write one myself that does exactly what I need. It’s nice to know that I can make global changes to the images used in all the posts on my site by just changing the plugin.
This is another homebrew plugin designed for this site. It produces the fun RPG dice beside each comment. I’ve never released it because it’s heavily integrated with my theme: You couldn’t just fire up this plugin on your own site and expect it to work.
This is what lets you switch between the white and themes via that little dropdown box in the upper-right corner of the site. By default the plugin is designed to list all available themes. I’ve modified it here to omit the “Default” theme. This site doesn’t work quite right under the default theme, but I need to keep that theme installed because the other themes depend on its files for things like search functionality.
My own plugin for making all those funny little faces you see in the comments.
(As a side note, I saw a great plugin over the weekend that generated avatars by cutting bits out of a larger image. So, you could upload a huge image of (say) New York and everyone’s icons would be little squares cut out from the image. It seems like a nice way to generate icons that will integrate nicely with your site theme. (I know wavatars clash badly with a lot of serious or formal themes.) I was going to pass along the link to everyone, but I managed to lose the URL. If anyone knows where to get it please drop a comment.)
This one only affects me. When I’m logged in, there is a bar of links along the top of the site that will take me directly to the various admin pages. This lets me jump right to the comments queue and saves me a couple of clicks. While comment traffic has cooled over the past couple of months (I can’t remember the last time with hit 100 comments) I still have brisk traffic on the old DMotR posts as newcomers work their way through the archives. The only way to be sure I’m keeping up with the comments is to read them via the queue. Otherwise I’d be navigating all over the site in trying to keep up.
This is the plugin that lets you edit your comments after you post. Probably the most popular and important plugin on the site. Man, I wish I’d known about this when DMotR was in full swing. This was a much-requested feature.
That’s it. Other plugins have come and gone over the years. My Useless Stats plugin was nice, but it broke when WordPress 2.0 came out and I never bothered to update it.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.