Writing Dependent WordPress Plug-Ins

WordPress is a fantastic system in many ways, but one place that it’s really lacking is the ability to extend existing plug-ins. There is no built-in system of dependency when it comes to WordPress plug-ins, unfortunately.

Therefore, if you’re thinking of adding on to an existing WordPress plug-in, you basically have two options:

  1. You can modify the plug-in itself
    Using this method isn’t all that ideal, because any changes you make will obviously be overwritten whenever the plug-in is updated.
  2. You can write a plug-in that attempts to depend on the other plug-in
    With this method, if something changes in the other plug-in that causes your dependency check to fail, you could end up breaking the WordPress installation (which results in a blank white screen on most installations)

I would love to see WordPress implement some sort of dependency check or prioritizing method for plug-ins similar to the way they’ve implemented the method of using javascript and stylesheets. Sadly, though, there seems to be opposition from the development team because of too many unforeseen variables in the process.

One Awesome WordPress Plugin: WordPress File Monitor

As many of you know, this site was hacked several times over the past year. Upgrading to WordPress 2.8.4 seems to have calmed the attacks. One of the things I do every day is to verify that the templates in WordPress haven’t been hacked or exploited.

Last week I installed a new plugin that monitors the file system and sends an email anytime there is a change. It’s called WordPress File Monitor and should be acquired by WordPress and provided by default.  You can select how often the plugin should check for changes, whether it should email you when there is a change, choice to check based on modify date or hash, and paths to exclude (like cache directories). The WordPress File Monitor can monitor files outside of the WordPress install as well.

Just one word of caution as my friend and uber programmer Till notes…it’s a WordPress plugin so if someone gains access to your admin, they can just disable the plugin and have their way with your system. So consider the plugin one level of security for your blog.

Integrating Twitter With Your WordPress Blog

Last month, Smashing Magazine posted a great article explaining quite a few different ways to integrate Twitter with your WordPress blog. Many of the suggestions are “hacks” for WordPress, while some are just plug-ins, but they are all helpful.

Here are some of the things the article shows you how to do:

  1. Automatically create TinyUrls for your blog posts
  2. Display your latest tweet without a plug-in
  3. Create a “Tweet this” button
  4. Create a Twitter page on your WordPress blog

A Few of My Favorite WordPress Plug-ins

I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of my favorite WordPress plug-ins with you guys. I hope you’ll take the time to try them out, I hope they help you and I hope you’ll share some of your favorites.