All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of John’s discussion of the weekly plugins he has reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #407 here.
It’s Episode 407 and I’ve got plugins for Image Compression, Importing and Exporting user lists, Cleaning up old Short Codes, and what’s happening in the world ClassicPress, all coming up on WordPress Plugins from A-Z!
John: It’s Episode 407 and I’ve got plugins for Image Compression, Importing and Exporting user lists, Cleaning up old Short Codes, and what’s happening in the world ClassicPress, all coming up on WordPress Plugins from A-Z!
WordPress, it’s the most popular content management and website solution on the internet. And with over 80,000 plugins to choose from, how do you separate the junk from the gems? Join us for a weekly unrehearsed conversation about the latest and greatest in WordPress plugins. This is WordPress Plugins from A to Z.
John: Well good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you happen to be hiding out there on the globe today. Coming to you direct from the Brewery Overlook in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, I’m John Overall. And I have the usual great show for you today but of course right off the top, you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. Also, take a few moments and subscribe and review the show over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store. You can also catch it live here every Thursday on YouTube at noon. You can subscribe and check out our training videos, screencasts, and the extra shows that do show up here.
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All right, well all of that being said, let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
All right, starting it off I have a plugin for you here. It’s one I have yet to use, but I thought you might want to know that it exists. The plugins I cover here at the beginning of the show are usually ones that have been submitted to me. I haven’t had time to put them through the formal review of using them and testing them, but I think they’re interesting enough that you might want to know that they exist. Keep in mind the ratings are based off their demo site if they have one or just my reviewing of the materials and the basic setup of the plugin.
The first one I’ve got for you was submitted to us by Weronika Pomorska and it’s from Smartframe.io and it’s a WordPress Image Security & Compression Plugin. Now, this is a freemium plugin. It has both a free and a premium version, and the free version of course available over at WordPress.org. It’s an image compression plugin but it also adds some security to your images also – a little different than most other image compression plugins in that what it does is it encrypts your images, thereby preventing them from being downloaded in their standard format, and also it decrypts some within the websites themselves for display. It also eliminates right clicking on your website and a few other little tricks to it.
It’s a really neat, little plugin. It looks kind of interesting. I haven’t tested it yet. It is a third-party service you’ve got to sign up for to use their third-party platform for the compression, etc., but it does look interesting and as a premium service, it doesn’t look too bad, reasonable pricing on it all. Go check it out if you’re not already using some form of compression plugin or if you’re looking for a way to maybe enhance the security of your images for your WordPress website.
And I give this one a 3-Dragon rating and that is WordPress Image Security & Compression Plugin called Smartframe. Go check it out.
All right, and I have a little bit of a news segment I’m going to be tacking into the show here, bits and pieces of information due to, you know, my not getting the Saturday show out in quite some time and keeping up with the news. But I thought, “Well, let’s bring some of it into the show. Why not? Let’s just spice it up that make the place a little more exciting than usual.”
I’ve got a little bit this week here, some thoughts on WordPress 5.2. So if you’re not aware, WordPress 5.2 of course dropped this week, and they’ve added in a whole lot of new security features and updates and tidbits to it. In particular, some of the things they’ve done is they took the Site Health Check plugin and they incorporated it into the core of WordPress. They’ve also upped the ante on PHP, making the minimum needed for PHP 5.2 to be PHP 5.6, yet it gets confusing at times.
So that’s kind of a useful thing, but I do have a thought about the Site Health plugin that is now incorporated into the core, because I have upgraded one website to 5.2, so I could check it out and see what it is. The upgrade went smoothly enough, but when I went to check out the Site Health, I noticed that well, one, I don’t like the new layout. It’s a little hard to read than the other one. Now you’ve got to open up all the little expansion tabs to see all the bits instead of just scrolling down to get it all in one shot. The other is they’ve added a very interesting function, and that is the death of the White Screen of Death; it no longer occurs, or it’s not supposed to occur. I have yet to actually see how this works in practice. But with the White Screen of Death gone, it means it goes to a developer’s mode or a recovery mode, allowing you to do things.
Now, one of the interesting things when I was reading it is that what it does is it sends out an email from your website to the administrator of the site that will allow the administrator to then go to a page to activate and work within that recovery mode portion of the site. Now, one of the things that occurred to me, what happened if the administrator email has not been updated since the site was set up?
Say for example one of the things that I do is I’ll get someone hire me occasionally to set up their WordPress website. They don’t give me an email address to set it up, so of course I use mine. I usually do that anyway and then change it to theirs when I’m done, but sometimes it doesn’t get done. Or for instance a WordPress website that was set up a while ago and that administrator email was set to go to some developer three developers ago. I know there’s clients I’ve had that are three, five, seven years old now, that have long since moved on to do something else or with another developer, but I still get emails from their website as the administrator – that administrator email that’s set in the settings.
So would that give me then access to that website to go in there and play with things? This is kind of an interesting conundrum, not something I’ve tested out, but something to think about in this. If you upgrade to 5.2, doublecheck, go into your settings under menu, general settings, and doublecheck that administrative email. That’s the email it’s talking about, not the admin user, but the administrative email for the core of the site, and this is something that I don’t think they give much thought to about how it works. Or, the fact that many times that email is left over from ages – and there we go. Hey, that’s from New Guinea. I have lots of people down in New Guinea that I need to contact.
All right, so that’s what I’ve got there for that, and that’s the new PHP recovery mode. So at any rate, check it out. There are some really cool features in the 5.2, but then there’s a couple of things. There’s also one little controversial feature in the 5.2 – I’m not sure how controversial it is, but the site health also lists a grading, telling people how much is complete of site security, and so this is going to be kind of an interesting one, too. So at any rate, go check it out. The 5.2 looks like it’s going to be all right from as far as I can tell, but this is one aspect to think about.
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Okay, and we do have a new contest this week, and I forgot to get that up and fully functioning, but we do have a new contest, so go check out the newsletter as it comes out or go check the website for the information on that contest coming up.
All right and next up, a plugin I’ve got for you here is called Import Users from CSV. Now, this one here is kind of interesting and I’m working through – I’ve got a couple of plugins I’ve tested out for this, but we’ll bring one this week, one next week, etc. Importing and exporting users from WordPress can be a useful function if you’re running a bit of a membership site, and in particular, I’ve been working on a project where I inherited it. I had half the members were already in the WordPress website; the other half were in a list – a CSV list – that needs to be imported into the list, and I didn’t want to have to do them manually one at a time, which can happen if you’re working on a project such as that.
Well, this plugin here allows you to import a list of users from a CSV file. It’s a pretty straightforward CSV. The one problem I found with it was it didn’t have an export function, and to me, an export function is kind of helpful because what can happen is I’ve already used a membership plugin setup and it’s customized up, the member list information a little bit, so I wanted to export out so I had a default CSV file to work from, which is the default headers that I needed for the adjustments I had made. Well, this doesn’t do that. You would have to manually go create that list and go look everything up manually, and then you can use this plugin to then import that list into your WordPress, so it’s pretty basic in that it only imports into your site and you can’t export.
All in all, not a bad plugin. It’s the one that was recommended by the membership plugin I used for this site, and that will be coming in a future show. But I didn’t like the way it worked, so I went looking for another one that would do the same task but allowed me first to export the limited number of members I had so that I then could combine two CSV files to make one and then reimport the entire list again. So all in all, not too bad of a plugin. Import Users from CSV, I currently give it a 3-Dragon rating. Go check it out. Not a bad plugin.
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All right, next plugin I’ve got for you here is called Remove Orphan Shortcodes. Now, this one here is kind of an interesting one. I’ve got another project I’m working on that we’re changing out the theme, and the theme relied heavily on shortcodes – I mean heavily. And one of the problems you’ve got when you’re doing a changeover like that is you’ve got to find those shortcodes, remove them, you can do a manual search and replace to the database but sometimes you miss things. There may be additional shortcodes – all kinds of stuff.
So what do you do in that case? You spend a lot of time searching, researching, or you can install this fantastic little plugin, Remove Orphan Shortcodes. What it does is it takes all the orphan shortcodes and it just causes them to vanish. They leave the content wrapped inside the shortcode; it’s left there. But the shortcodes themselves disappear. It cleans up the site in a heartbeat. It’s as simple as install and activate and it works. It was just a dream. It allowed us to start our redesign of development as we go through and clean this stuff up, but we don’t have to manually get rid of all that junk first. We can find it little by little as we’re doing the actual work, instead of removing the shortcodes before we can get any work done.
So this is allowing us to go through and joyfully look at the site and see how our development is looking and how it’s going to look with the old shortcodes removed from the site. A very sweet plugin, really well done. It works simple; set it up, activate, and so what happens when you’ve got a free plugin like that? Of course, it gets a 5-Dragon rating.
Go check it out: Remove Orphan Shortcodes.
Okay, and this week here, ClassicPress options. I’m not going to be talking about a ClassicPress plugin per se this week, but what I am going to do is a little bit of discussion about ClassicPress itself and the community as I’ve been exposed to it over the last several months. Now, I started back in December as soon as Gutenberg was announced, and I tripped across a tweet about ClassicPress and I went, “Hey, an option.” I started following it and then I realized that this is going to be something that’s going to grow – and it is growing. It’s a community that is moving forward at a decent pace; not by leaps and bounds yet, but it’s going to get there.
Right now, it’s moving along at a really decent pace. It’s getting a lot of support, the community itself seems to have lots of support, and one of the things I wanted to talk about this week is that they are actually in the process of doing some experimental research. And what that research is is they’re looking at replacing plugins and other things in – that are WordPress-specific and making specific stuff for ClassicPress. Some of the things they’ve got here is like e-commerce, which is a mainstay of the internet now. Many websites depend upon e-commerce, and of course if you switch from WordPress to ClassicPress right now, WooCommerce will work just fine. In a year or two, not so sure about that.
So one of the great things here is they are working at developing two different e-commerce plugins that I’ve seen been forked in here. They’ve got ClassicPress Storefront, which is a fork of Storefront and then ClassicCommerce, which is a fork of WooCommerce. Now, these two plugins here may just be what you need if you’re going to go off to ClassicPress and you’re going to need an e-commerce segment, so these would be useful.
There’s also discussion about improving the media library, and if this happens, it could be a major factor for switching. And more is the community is growing by many talented people and many talented people are migrating over to it as it looks to be treating people much better. One of the things I myself am looking forward to in the ClassicPress world is the expansion of the number of ClassicPress-specific plugins and them having their own repository. Currently, there are not a lot of ClassicPress-specific plugins, but I do hear bits and pieces here where more and more developers are looking to support ClassicPress and move towards it.
So this is going to be quite an interesting future. If you’re at all upset with WordPress and one of the things to consider is that of course since the release of Gutenberg is we have the ClassicPress plugin – or the Classic Editor plugin for WordPress, and that Classic Editor plugin is currently being used by over 4 million people – 4 million active installs in WordPress websites. That’s a lot of people who have not committed to Gutenberg yet. I know that I don’t have a single site committed to Gutenberg. Of all the WordPress sites I manage, every one of them uses the Classic Editor to keep Gutenberg turned off, and this is a pretty standard thing for a lot of people.
But what’s going to happen is that Classic Editor is due to be dropped. They have it scheduled for 2022 or December 31st of 2021 for support for that to end, and once that support ends, you’ll have to make a choice. You’ll either have to commit to Gutenberg or you’ll have to never update your WordPress website again or move over to ClassicPress. Well, you might consider moving over to ClassicPress sooner rather than later. I know I’m slowly moving several of my sites over that way as I experiment with, see what works. I’m moving things over in that direction. I may end up be doing more and more ClassicPress.
So this is something to think about and consider for your business and website. I mean, WordPress is always going to have a place, but I think they dropped the ball for businesspeople. So keep that in mind, go check it out, and check out the ClassicPress community. If you’re looking for a change, the ClassicPress community may be just where you want to go, and their community seems to be really helpful and really supportive. Just reading through their forums, it’s pretty decent from what I can tell.
At any rate, that’s everything I’ve got for you this week and I covered up in this episode the WordPress Image Security & Compression Plugin – Smartframe, which I gave a 3 to; the Import Users from CSV, which I gave a 3 to; and the Remove Orphan Shortcodes, which I gave a 5 to.
Okay, a couple of reminders. Well, one, there’s a new interview that’s coming out next week. It will be posted up into the stream. It’s – I had an interview with Ivan Giugni from Stockdio.com and it was a pretty decent interview talking about their stock plugins, the one that I reviewed a couple of episodes back, so make sure you stay tuned for that interview.
The next WordPress Meetup in Victoria is May 21st, and I will be broadcasting it live on our YouTube channel here along with. Anyone in the local Victoria area, please come out to the presentation. It’s going to be given by Shawn DeWolfe of the DeWolfe Consulting. He’s a really great guy, excellent programmer. I hire him quite a lot for doing a lot of my extensive coding for plugins, so you can go check that out. For more information about the meetup, go to wppluginsatoz.com/meetup and sign up for the meetup.
Also, be sure to check out and subscribe to the YouTube channel, where you can catch us live every Thursday here at noon and you can find other training videos, screencasts, and of course, the live show every week.
And if you have any suggestions for plugins you’d like to have reviewed, please submit them on the website at wppluginsatoz.com/submit-plugin, and I’m always looking for plugins to review, so please feel free to submit them to me.
And if you’re a developer who would like to support the show and you want to donate a premium license for your plugin, please be sure to go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest where you can donate your information and we’ll create a contest just for you.
That’s pretty much everything I have for you, so thank you very much for tuning in this week and listening. And for those of you on the stream, hey, if you want to stick around for a minute or so, I’m more than happy to answer questions, anything along that line. So that’s all I’ve got for you now. Take care. After the closing credits, please stick around.
I’ll let my girl take us out of here.
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