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WordPress Wishlist for October

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I receive requests from readers about plugins or modifications for WordPress that they could use on their own blogs. I have been able to find them existing plugins in the past but I also write about them so plugin authors can get a chance to know what their audience is looking for or if I cannot find a suitable solution through my grapevine. I had a few questions this week that I could not find appropriate answers for. If you have other questions, please leave a comment and I will add it to the list. In the future, if you have questions on products, plugins or themes you are looking for and cannot find, please Contact us through the contact form or send me an email and I will try to find it for you or accumulate them for a post like this. If you have an answer for these questions or would like to help develop a plugin or a hack for it, please let us know.

Regular reader Michelle asks:

I’ve been looking around for a plugin that would allow me to do A/B testing on my clients’ sites. By that I mean something would would allow me to set up a “campaign” where one thing would change (on a page or across the site) and I’d be able to get results showing which faired better. For example, say I’d like to test the wording of a headline and I have 2 or 3 different versions. I’d like to be able to set something up where I could enter in the different options, then WordPress would automatically randomly serve up the different headings to people visiting the site. I could then measure traffic on that page or clicks on a particular link etc. These are common things that marketers like to do: test things on a page, or even different versions of a page. It would need to be pretty broad, allowing for randomization at different levels of content, eg entire pages/posts, blocks of text within a page/post or across the entire site, images, links, form buttons, even themes. I know it’s a big ask, but being able to test these kinds of things without getting your hands too dirty in templates would be great.

Also, Matthew asks the following:

Conduit allows a menu to be created which can pull from an XML file on the server. Well what if there was a plugin for WordPress that could dynamically generate the XML file, say adding WordPress pages or whatever from the blog? Maybe even links to the archives or whatever.
Don’t know if it’s even possible.

Finally Ricardo asked me for the following:

is there any plugin availiable that showcases WP-Themes in a single WP-Page? I mean something like… on the left side a preview screenshot, on the right side a small description with a preview link and the download link.

Do you know of any existing plugins that would accomplish the tasks for them? Are you in the process of developing something that works? Would you have use for the plugins(s) if they were developed?

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Comments

  1. Jeremy (3 comments.) says:

    Just for clarification, is Matthew referring to Conduit, the GNOME synchronisation project?

  2. Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

    Jeremy, he was talking about http://www.conduit.com/

  3. Alex (5 comments.) says:

    I know this isnt a plugin, or free but google adwords has ‘experiments’ where different content can be tested. Their guide on it is here:
    https://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=61149&hl=en_GB
    maybe this is good enough? Or at least useful to start to understand how google does it

  4. Alex (5 comments.) says:

    actually, it is free, it can be used with a free Analytics account, just found out.

  5. Daniel (38 comments.) says:

    No offense to the eCommerce folks at Instinct — but I’m still looking around for a stripped-down cart with IPN support. One that’ll just allow you add in the Buy Now button — and take you directly to te PayPal site, instead of convoluting the entire shopping concept as a trying to ‘be all’ to everyone. The biggest problem that I have with eCommerce, is that it’s intensely buggy — which is why I refuse to purchase their ‘Gold’ support. Besides the lack of support, there’s major issues in the code and how it’s implemented — adding code to pages as ‘hidden’, even though it shouldn’t be applying it cross-site, etc.

    I’m just about done — and I’d love to finally see a more basic, solid method for integrating PayPal.

    Either that, or if it’s possible to hack the eCommerce source to be a stripped-down, no frills substitute, I’d love to use it.

    Kind of tired of solutions like that, which try to become a content editor in the process — when all I need is the back-bone of the system, and I’ll lay-out my page how I would like.

  6. Sergio (11 comments.) says:

    i hope the most of this items of wishlist are ready soon, thanks!

  7. John Dallaire (1 comments.) says:

    I’m with you on the shopping cart solution, Daniel. eCommerce is extremely buggy, and has never worked for more than a few minutes at a time on Pink Raygun (and I have the “Gold” support: I guess in their case, “Gold” means that you get to pay for the pleasure of having the creators of the plugin tell you that they’ll be glad to help you set up their cart on your site, as long as you pay their hourly “consulting” fee).

  8. Jeffro2pt0 (164 comments.) says:

    I don’t have a need for any of those plugins but I do have a request of my own. I’d like to see ONE plugin that turned the commenting section of a blog and made it resemble a forum. This is some of the features I’d like to see it have. Threaded conversations, way to subscribe to the post, easily blends in with the theme or editable by CSS, avatar support through MyBlogLog and Gravatar, comment ratings, and the ability to edit ones comment in real-time via AJAx.

    Now, I know this is possible to do with a combination of a number of different plugins but that is not practical nor is it efficient.

  9. Michael (19 comments.) says:

    Ricardo, this may not be exactly what you are looking for, but have a look at BitByBit’s Admin Theme Preview. It allows you to view all of your available themes in a sort of private view, while your visitors continue to see whichever is your currently active theme.
    Get it

  10. Dan Milward (8 comments.) says:

    We’re gearing up to release a new version of WP e-Commerce soon. It is hugely optimized in terms of CSS and JS, things that used to run on all the pages now don’t, and it will come with google checkout and product tags all included.

    Daniel – I’ve messaged you on your site. I am keen to add an option that replaces the ‘add to cart’ with a ‘buy now’ button that goes straight to Paypal. Good thinking!!!

    We won’t be getting rid of features because a lot of people want more features but we will look at ways to tidy up the interface so that it is quicker and easier for people who don’t need everything.

    John – Gold Cart comes with additional features like the product search – if you look at http://www.apple.com and checkout their search you’ll see what we’re working on now. But it does not include free support aside from the community forums… I wish it did but there are only so many hours in the day :P

    We do our best mate. Over 25,000 WP e-Commerce sites speak for themselves :P

    That said anybody can always contact me on dan@instinct.co.nz or skype me on dan.milward for a chat. All I want is to make this better and better and better…

    - Download WP e-Commerce

  11. Michelle (2 comments.) says:

    Alex, Thanks so much! I thought Google just did ads, I didn’t realise I could do A/B testing as well! Thank you very much! This will definitely do the trick.
    Michelle

  12. chuck (6 comments.) says:

    Formatting quicktags for comments… would be nice, I know that there’s plug ins, none of which work for WP 2.3 why can’t they just put that in internally?

    -Chuck

  13. Richard says:

    For the third issue, you could always create a slideshow in http://www.slideshare.net and then embed it in your blog/site. For an example, see http://blog.insideoutlegal.co.nz/?cat=36 (you’ll have to scroll down a bit). Another option is to upload images of the site to Flickr and pull the Flickr feed into your sidebar using one of the Flickr widgets/plugins out there. Or if you wanted to use a custom-designed theme for this sort of thing, see this one (which would cost you $70: http://www.wpdesigner.com/2007/09/10/showcase/ Cheers, Richard.

  14. David McDonald (1 comments.) says:

    That link for WP e-Commerce should be this one (typo corrected).

  15. Reid (1 comments.) says:

    An automatic (or somewhat automatic) test section would be nice. Something where owners could test changes to their blog (themes,etc.) before it’s made public, without the hassle (or space consumption) or setting up another entire WordPress in a folder on their domain, and then having to set up more database tables to accomodate the new Test WordPress section (thus increasing the database size), or setting up a duplicate database for the Test section.

  16. Justin (3 comments.) says:

    For some reason, my last comment didn’t show up. Ricardo, I might have what you’re looking for. Take a look at my /projects/wordpress-themes page. It is a listing of themes I have created. I actually put a little work in last night and I plan on releasing a plugin in the next few days.

    Basically, what it does is list all of your created WordPress themes, which have to be in a certain post category. If this is what you’re looking for, just let me know.

  17. Jeffro2pt0 (164 comments.) says:

    Here Here Reid, I am completely with you on that suggestion. I would also like the ability to customize the background color of a comment made by the blog author.

  18. AJK says:

    The ability to go to one of your templates’ sites without having to install it. WordPress only allows you to see the template author’s details when it is the selected template.

    A plugin that will assist you in replacing text across all your posts / pages. After the previous update of WordPress I had to manually re-edit all my pages to remove the “Ô.

  19. Wendy Piersall (1 comments.) says:

    Amen, Jeffro2pt0!!

    I have long wanted a more formal community on my site, but adding a forum seems so web 1.0. And I don’t want a whole social network, either. Just a place for people to have conversations, start their own conversations, have a profile page, and add friends.

    Whoever can come up with a way to create this — a Flog? A Blorum? — will make a great CMS into a *dream* CMS! ;)

  20. Mark (1 comments.) says:

    I was really disappointed to see that this major glitch has not been fixed in WP 2.3

    There is a major glich rendering image uploads completely unusable. If you care for having your blog search engine optimized (talking about on site SEO) and have your image uploads linked to a page, it is impossible to achieve due to the glitch in the script.

    If you set your Options >> Permalinks to Default, it will work. You can upload an image and have its thumbnail linked to a page, in which case the Send To Editor option will link it to a page with the end similar to this one:

    /?attachment_id=6

    If however you choosed to have your URLs contain your title for keyword relevancy – such as in my case, I chose Options >> Permalink >> Custom and I entered /%category%/%postname% to define it – in this case, after you have uploaded your image and chose to have the thumbnail linked to the page, WP will generate the link that points to a non existent page. The url that Send To Editor button creates contains the title of an image and what not – overall useless cause it simply links to a non existent page.

    If you go to edit that bad link, WP will recerse it as you hit SAVE back to that useless link that doesn’t work (404 error as a result).

    I would like to see this fixed soon so the search engine friendly link it generates actually works and opens a page with image as it’s supposed to.

    Thanks,

  21. Justin (3 comments.) says:

    Ricardo, I just finished putting together a plugin that I think you need, although you weren’t very clear. You can check out my blog. I have also uploaded a link on this site’s news section. The plugin’s name is Themes List. So, check it out and see if that’s what you’re looking for.

  22. inner (1 comments.) says:

    maybe is a good idea a comment system that cut and seperate large list of user-comments in different pages

    sure there is a plugin, but it would be nice if wordpress give this feature as default

  23. Danny (2 comments.) says:

    I can think of two features that I would like to see. These seem basic & simple enough that it’s hard to imagine that they are not already available somehow somewhere, but I don’t know how to make them happen.

    Caveat: I’m using WP 2.0.5, so please excuse me if what I am looking for is available in an updated version.

    I want to be able to see all comments without going to the posts. When I go from the dashboard to “Manage -> Comments,” I am only allowed to see the last 20 comments and cannot page back to older posts. I can search for a space and wait while thousands of comments load onto one page, but I would like to be able to easily page back through all comments starting with the most recent.

    Even better, I wish I could get email notification of new comments on posts that another author made. We have more than one author, and I am looking for an easy way to keep up with comments on those posts.

    If I go back to to “Manage -> Comments” but there have been 30 new comments since last time I checked, then I cannot see but 20 of the new comments, and I have to check individual posts of other authors because I cannot get email notification of comments on posts made by those other authors.

    Actually, I would also like to get email notification (or cell phone text message) when another author posts a new post.

    Apologies if these things are available in some way that I have not discovered.

  24. Dan Milward (8 comments.) says:

    Here is a very nice example of what you can do with WP e-Commerce:
    http://www.orangutan-appeal.org.uk/shop/

    It is one of the nicest integrations that I have seen. I was emailed this by one of the more happy WP e-Commerce users.

    Download it!

  25. Jean-Paul Horn (2 comments.) says:

    Michelle: As others have stated Google Adword’s A:B Testing to you, you’d might also want to check out ContentRobot’s Google Website Optimizer, which was written for this specific purpose. I don’t use the plugin, but just happened to stumble upon it after reading this post.

  26. Daniel (38 comments.) says:

    Dan, Refer to the most recent email I sent you in relation to what I think a better free PayPal system would look like. Unfortunately, the main issue I have with eCommerce Lite is that it’s too complex for most of us out there who just need a very basic method of handling PayPal/IPN downloads. For instance, I only have one ‘product’, with the thinking that I may or may not add one or two more in the future. I’m not looking for categories, brands, and massive pages and code bloat with tons of bells and whistles that tie-in to stuff other plug-ins do better (such as Share This, LightBox, etc) — because I want total control over my content, and just have the ability to associate a Buy Now button with a ‘product’ for download. That way, you can take the string spit-out for the button, include it in a page or a post anywhere in the site — and the rest is handled appropriately.

    It’s wonderful that you have sites that can use your solution — because they’re big enough and have a need for a more robust catalogue system. But what the ‘everyday blogger’ needs is something basic — something simple. Not AJAXy flash-ness and additional functions that you can set-up with other, smaller plug-ins to compliment a page or post.

    If you do that and release it as the free version — then you’ll have more time to spend on your commercial version, and you’d have gained far more trust by those of us who’ve had a difficult time trusting eCommerce because it’s bugginess. This is the main reason why we don’t bother ‘upgrading’ or ‘purchasing support’ or ‘contracting you to set it up’.

  27. Michelle (2 comments.) says:

    Jean-Paul, you rock! I haven’t tested it yet, but that plugin looks great! This is why I love the WordPress community! cheers and thanks heaps! Michelle

  28. Ed says:

    Dan (#11) – haven’t looked at your ecommerce solution, but can take a guess at something that will need revamped – the postage charging system. Did you build it based around post office tables for national and international by geo-zones, weight, and service used? Or did you just throw in a flat-file structure for x-Kg = Y-money style P&P?

    To understand what I mean, have a look at the post in the SMF-forums website add-ins catalogue for a product called VirtueMart and find the long post about postage system inadequacies.

    I hear what people above are saying about a simple buy now button (which is already available from merchant tools in the PayPal website after logging into account), but most product based businesses ship physical, not virtual, products, and have a need to cater for a very wide range of items of different sizes, shapes, and weights, going to different countries, via different services, at different lead-time priorities, in different combinations. Cutting out functions ain’t the way to go with a serious package.
    ————————————-
    The plug in I’m looking for is more of a “plug-out” – in that I need two wotsits (not widgets) that can extract (similar to rss) title and first X characters of post, with a link, for dropping into a box on the homepage above the WP folder in the site heirarchy (i.e. the index.html file of the homepage).
    I also need one that grabs say 5-6 latest comments at random from any posts (e.g. define the period the comments were made in, such as last 7 days) and also “up-dumps” them onto the home page.

    I’m assuming it would need to be some sort of query done periodically in the WP database (by cron job?) with results exported to a file or cache, and the wotsit then grabs the contents of that?

    Anyone got a clue for such a thing, please advise
    Ed

  29. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    I’d like to see a plugin for WordPress, that sends a post to Pownce and Twitter at the same time, so I don’t have to post the same thing in both places. For example, just a simple sentence, and when you make a post in your blog, so it lets both Pownce and Twitter know that you made a post, like you could make a twitter and pownce post say like

    title of posthere: tinyurl here

    something along those lines. I’ve seen it done for Movable Type before, but not with wordpress. Same with Facebook. would like to see something that sends the title and tinyURL of the post to your facebook news feeds.

  30. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    oh another thing, a plugin that makes posting images to your blog posts easier, easier then uploading with the WP default file uploader, so it types in all that XHTML stuff to place the image inside your blog post, in the spot that you want it, for you.

    like when you want a picture on one side, text in another, in a certain paragraph for instance. I always have to go into HTML code mode and type all the XHTML manually to get that to work, and it usually takes me a couple of tries of trial and error. Then when I upload a picture, I have to either upload 2 separate files (one for the thumbnail and one of the actual full size image) and type in the correct XHTML code manually, which is kinda a pain, especially when your an image idiot, ilke us, who don’t know how to create thumbnails of photos that we pull from our camera onto our computers. hehe

    could someone suggest a specific plugin that would make that process simpler? like, have it create the thumbnail for me and have the correct code for placing the image put in the post editor for me, either in its own paragraph, or to the left or right of existing text in the current paragraph, so I don’t have to fuss putting it in manually. something that works regardless of the CSS class names your using in your theme.

    cuz my wife and I both fuss and fuss with this. We like to post images to our blogs with that lightbox JS stuff so it opens in a pretty flash window over the page like that, which is cool, but its putting the images into the post and have them sized and everything for us that we fuss with. I always have to put in the code manually, and my wife, she don’t know enough about XHTML or CSS to do it herself for her blog.

    thanks,

    Tom

  31. stef (1 comments.) says:

    I’d like to see something that performs like a telescoping search, for want of a better term, for WP posts. E.g., Let’s say I’m looking for all posts about Education, then narrow it down to High School, then given several topic choices, I choose Curriculum, then down to an individual book recommendation. Kinda like how Sears helps you narrow down choices for a vacuum cleaner, let’s say. Or how Amazon helps you narrow down from Books to Cookbooks to Regional to Asian to Chinese…. thank you for any help!

  32. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    whats a “tag”? I never did understand, is that the same as a Category?

    ya know the new tags in WP 2.3? what is a “tag”? I don’t get it.

  33. Daniel (38 comments.) says:

    Bubazoo, a ‘tag’ is simply (or more specifically) contextual terms that are directly relative, or relevant to the actual post content. A ‘category’ then, is a very general term for which to file a post.

    Say you have 5 general categories that you store your posts in. You can ‘file’ your post in say one or two categories — and then when you’re writing your post, you can add tags specific to the content of your post.

    What this does, is dramatically enhances the taxonomy of your web site, giving the hierarchy even more semantic meaning.

    The best, and most familiar form of tagging that I can give — is photography. If you’ve ever edited the metadata of your pictures in Photoshop, you’ve noticed that you can ‘tag’ the image with terms you feel represent the image. Or, if you’ve ever uploaded a picture to a site like Flickr, for instance — the same premiss in tagging represenation. It makes the image searchable, and adds semmantic value to the content, relative to the content.

    Now, with WordPress, you can do this with your posts (and pages). But what I’m sitting back and waiting to see — is when some cleaver plug-in developer figures out that they can associate image tags with post tags — and what visual representations, or even abstract representations can come of this thinking. Imagine a navigation that’s purely abstract based on images stored through the Upload system, wherein you enter tags for the images you upload — and use all these associations to develop a visualization schema that’s unlike anything else!

    Unless it’s because I didn’t go to sleep last night — that I’m yet again dreaming in kooky little schemes. But seriously — someone will figure out the basic principle to associating image tags and content tags, and we’ll see some interesting ‘stuff’ occur once that happens.

    Also… I’ve decided to go with another ‘new’ shopping cart system for Paypal — which I’m currently beta testing for someone. It’s essentially ready for release, minus a few very minor display issues. But, it’s the easiest shopping-cart plug-in I’ve ever installed thus far, and it’s essentially doing all the things I needed, while allowing me to retain content creation within WordPress. It’s extremely slick, and I think it’ll become one of the more popular plug-ins available!

  34. Dave Starr --- ROI Guy (4 comments.) says:

    here’s arequest for a plug-in I _hope_ I have searched for throughly and not found. I feel it’s really needed, though.

    screen length … something to control the number of lines each screen of WordPress shows. If apost is long, WordPress makes the viewable page as long as needed. If it is short, WordPress makes the content portion of the screen perhaps way shorter than the sidebar widgets and filllers.

    yes, you cna control this to some degree when writing posts … add a “more” command at what you guess is the right place … but then two long posts with “mores” may still be longer than two short posts.

    We need something that sits in “the loop” and inserts a more-type function when the blogger’s selected quantity of lines of text have been generated … so every paged viewed is nearly the same length and carefully constructed side bars don’t suffer.



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