WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #303 here.
It’s Episode 303 and we’ve got plugins for Admin Menu Items, WordPress File Downloads, Shortcodes within Excerpts, Two Factor Authentication and an easy way to edit WooCommerce Templates. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, the first plugin I have this week is one that I came across due to a client asking me for some help and support with it. It’s called WP File Download. It’s done by a company called Joomunited, and I think they kind of specialize in Joomla! plugins, but it looks like they’ve expanded into WordPress plugins. This one here is a pretty nice file download management plugin. One of the big features that I was called in to help with was integrating it with Google Drive.
The nice thing about this plugin and how it works with Google Drive – and it is a premium plugin to let you know at $29 to $59 – the integration of Google Drive, once you get that hooked up, set up, the integration through your Google app platform and everything. Then what you can do is through the backend of WordPress, you can create directories and upload files that are then automatically synced to your Google Drive and you can go both ways. Once you have it fully working and functioning, you can add files at your Google Drive level and they get automatically synced to your website.
John: How this one client was using it is they needed to get contracts and other bits and information to specific clients and keep them in separate folders and only allow the clients into those folders with specialized pages. They used G-Drive to do that, because it was easier from their computers to just drop them in Google Drive and have them sync to the website for the clients, instead of having to share out the link for G-Drive all the time.
John: So it works fairly smooth once you get it worked and set up. It does take some work and effort to set it up and I found it to be a pretty decent plugin all in all. Anyway, check it out. It’s called WP File Download from Joomunited.com, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Beautiful! That’s a great plugin. That’s really nice. What kind of drawbacks did you find to give that a 4 instead of a 5?
John: The hassle in setting it up.
Marcus: Yeah, that’s it?
John: That’s it.
Marcus: All right, well, I’ve got something that I typically probably wouldn’t highlight as a featured plugin, except I know this audience and I know that you are plugin-crazy if you’re listening to this show. You love plugins just as much as John and I do. So this plugin is called Show Plugin Menu Items on Activation. John, how many times have you installed a plugin and then went, “All right, where is it?”
Marcus: You’ve got to go do a hunt, right?
John: Probably about 80-90% of the time.
Marcus: Well, when you do this, instead of having to hunt around the admin sidebar trying to find new menu items where your plugin is, this plugin actually shows and highlights the different menu items on activation, so you never have to search around again. It’s got just kind of a highlight exactly where and point it to where this goes. So if one, two, three, four menu items are added, it actually shows you what menu items get added the second that you activate the plugin.
Marcus: No more hunting around, no more trying to find out where the settings are – if there even are any – and this one will show you exactly what’s up right when you install the plugin. It’s pretty cool; I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice! Yeah, that will come in real handy because almost every plugin I add it’s like, “Where in the menu?” If they’re ones I’m familiar with, I know where to look but —
Marcus: Yeah. Yeah, it’s tough sometimes. And sometimes they just hide it in settings or tools or sometimes they’ll create their own menus.
John: Oh, that’s true.
Marcus: I’m preaching to the choir here on this one.
Marcus: You know, this is a great plugin.
John: Okay, the next one I’ve got up here is for two-factor authentication. I’m in the process right now of researching two-factor authentication plugins to find one for a client so that we can set up two-factor authentication, and we’re looking for easy ways to do it. At the moment, not really finding a lot of easy ways but I’m finding some pretty decent plugins along the way. The first one I’ve got here is RapID Secure Login, and this one here is relatively new and they’re touting it as a replacement for Clef, since Clef is being disabled come June of 2017. If you use Clef, you’re going to have to replace it.
This one here looks like it might be a halfway decent replacement for Clef. It works in a similar manner to Clef in that after you get it installed on your site and downloaded, you have to download an app to your phone and then you need to create a RapID account. But the process looks to be pretty painless; I haven’t done it yet but there’s currently a couple of issues around it. If you lose or change phones, then you have to go through a process to get it disabled and set up again. Their pricing – they don’t have any pricing on their website beyond the initial free license they’re giving out, but they say, you know, send them an email for that and they do offer a premium version of the plugin.
So anyway, it looks to be pretty decent, so check it out: RapID Secure Login for two-factor authentication and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Good! That’s good. Yeah, I’m gonna miss Clef. That was my Siskel & Ebert moment when I got my own quote from my review of Clef on the actual artwork in the Repository.
Marcus: …now it’s gone.
John: Yeah, it looks like they’re merging with another company.
Marcus: Yeah, I know. It stinks. You know how that goes: it’ll never be the same.
Marcus: Never. All right, the next plugin is something that I actually needed and used for my new homepage, and this is called Edit WooCommerce Templates. I am using a theme and a child theme that is not out of the box WooCommerce compatible, so I needed to create a few tweaks to do some WooCommerce templates, and I didn’t feel like doing any PHP or any of the other stuff that goes along with that. I wanted a nice, easy way to create my own template files and have them come up relatively simply.
I’ve only got a couple of different products that I’m putting onto the page, so I just wanted to make it short and sweet, and this plugin called Edit WooCommerce Templates allowed me to do that. So I could take a stock WooCommerce template and change it around, reset it, do all that I needed to to get the proper, you know, values and things like that within the page, and it was really, really easy.
This template is something that I highly recommend if you need to just quickly add something into your theme that will allow you to do WooCommerce a little simpler. It allows you to do editing, saving, resetting, and finding different WooCommerce templates that you can modify and add to your theme. I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very sweet. I always like it when you can edit those WooCommerce templates in an easier manner than what’s normally required.
John: All right, well, the final one I’ve got here today is called Two Factor Authentication. (I know, not very unique.) But what they’ve done here, this one is created by the guys at UpDraft and it’s a pretty decent two-factor authentication. It’s one that I’m gonna dig in much deeper to because it offers more than just using a device, like your phone or a tablet, for doing your authentication.
You can use email, TOTP protocols, HOTP protocols, it also sets up three emergency one-time use passwords that you can write down and hang onto in case you use a device or something and you need to get in there and deactivate a device. It also will integrate into the add-ons that are available for Google Chrome, such as Authenticator, SAS Pass, and G-auth authenticator, which are available for Chrome. So you can use a browser to create the one-time use codes for it, instead of having to use your phone or some other device.
So it has a lot more options to it than the previous one I looked at, and this one I’ll be digging into deeper. And, of course, coming up in shows, I’ll have even more of these plugins along the way. So anyway, check out Two Factor Authentication from UpDraft. It looks to be a pretty decent plugin and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Good deal! I like that. All right, John, I’m going to close it out here with a lazy plugin. As I was working on my own homepage, I tried to take advantage of this other plugin I like called Shortcodes Anywhere – or Everywhere – I forget which one it is. The problem was it was not actually giving me shortcodes everywhere because my excerpts did not allow me to use the shortcode.
Why would you want to do that? Maybe I want to insert something every time in the excerpts that is a revolving advertisement or maybe a link or something like that to click on. And those excerpts, by the way, are part of a podcast feed —
Marcus: — or things like that.
Marcus: So I found this plugin; it’s called Add Shortcodes to Widgets and Excerpts, and it does exactly what it says. It allows you to add a shortcode to any widget area, any excerpt. Super-easy, super-lazy, and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Sweet. You’ve just got to like those simple plugins that just work and do what you need to do without having to do any other tweaks to it.
Marcus: Yep, and I didn’t even find it – it created its own menu, so —
Marcus: No menu required! One function.
John: All right, well I covered up in this episode the WP File Download, which I gave a 4 to; RapID Secure Login, which I gave a 4 to; and then Two Factor Authentication, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Show Plugin Menu Items on Activation gets a 4 out of 5, Edit WooCommerce Templates another 4 out of 5, and we just talked about Add Shortcodes to Widgets and Excerpts. That gets a perfect 5 out of 5.