Transcript of Episode 386 WP Plugins A to Z

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 #386 here.


It’s Episode 386 and I’ve got plugins for WP Forms, Controlling Updates, Temporary Logins, Plugin Notes and Classic Press Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #386

John:    It’s Episode 386 and I’ve got plugins for WP Forms, Controlling Updates, Temporary Logins, Plugin Notes and Classic Press Options. It’s all coming up next on WordPress Plugins from A-Z!

[Intro]

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:    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 right off the top, don’t forget you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. And if you’ve got a couple of minutes, I’d greatly appreciate your time over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store, subscribing to the show and leaving reviews on those channels. They really help the show out.

And subscribe and check out our training videos, screencasts, and extra shows on our YouTube channel, and you can subscribe to the show so that you get notification on every Thursday at 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time. I go live for the WP Plugins A to Z podcast. For those that listen to it later, check out the live show from time to time if you’ve got a chance on Thursdays at noon.

Also, follow me on Twitter @wppluginsatoz. You can join me on Facebook – I do respond there. Check out the links in the show notes. And finally, subscribe to the newsletter that goes out weekly every Friday with news, tips, information, and other things that I don’t cover in the show, and that newsletter has gotten fantastic now. Some really great, pertinent articles and other information is in that, so go check it out.

And also, remember this is the holiday season. Time to think about not just yourself, but think about others: those in need, think about our vets out there, make sure you say hi to them, thank them for their service, etc. That goes for the Americans as well as the Canadians, so do something nice for a vet. I know quite a few vets and if anyone has listened to my stuff in the last few months, there was a lot I learned about my father who was a vet, so it brought it closer home for me.

Another thing that’s happening with the show is you’ll find a new segment at the end of the show that I’m going to be doing for quite a while. It’ll probably last a while and this is due to the Gutenberg fiasco that occurred and ClassicPress which is the fork of WordPress, and I personally believe there’s gonna be a chunk of the WordPress community that’s gonna be moving to ClassicPress. It’s already happening, so I’m going to be covering ClassicPress plugins as I go along, mainly because I have to move a couple of my websites to ClassicPress because WordPress just won’t suit it anymore.

Okay, so that’s all the intro stuff. Let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.

[Plugins lead-in rock guitar music]

Okay, I do have four great plugins for you today and of course starting off as I changed the show up a couple of episodes back, I now have right out front a couple of plugins that I have yet to use but you might want to know about to know that they exist. These are plugins that are submitted to me by developers. I get a lot of developer submissions and I can’t check every one of them. I usually use the ones that are pertinent to whatever projects I’m working on or if I have time to throw it into a dev site to see how it works.

Sometimes I don’t get to them and I ended up accumulating a whole bunch of them, which they’re really great sounding plugins and I think you listeners will find them useful. I just haven’t had time to test them. So I give a rating on them based upon the reading of the information, their dev site or their demo site if they have it available, to give you my viewpoint and opinion on that plugin.

So with that, let’s start with the first one. This one was sent in by Malay Ladu. It is a premium plugin from Store Apps and it’s called Temporary Login Without Password, and this is a nice plugin. I’ve used a couple of plugins from Store Apps in the past, so they make pretty nice plugins. I’ve used some of their plugins for managing data in WooCommerce for a couple of my clients in the past. This one here though, a little different.

What it does for you is it creates a self-expiring automatic login link for a WordPress website. So if you need to give somebody instant access to your WordPress website, you can go create this link, send it out to them, they click it, it takes them to your site, automatically logs them in, and then the link expires after a period of time and they won’t have access. It’s a temporary fix so you don’t have to go create a set of credentials to a website.

It looks to be pretty good. It’s a nice little plugin. I didn’t catch the price on it; I imagine it’s about $39 (that’s what their lower end plugins tend to be), so you might want to check this out if you have that problem regularly recurring on your website where you have to produce this information. Go check it out. It’s a pretty nice looking plugin. I give it a 4-Dragon rating and it’s the Store Apps Temporary Login Without Password.

The next one I’ve got here for you was sent in by Sanjeev Aryal and it’s called Entries for WPForms, and this is a form plugin – WPForms. I’ve never used this form plugin, so I don’t know a lot about it. But if you use the WPForms form plugin, this might be a plugin for you. What it does for you is it unlocks the entry panels of WPForms Lite plugin. So basically they wrote a plugin so you wouldn’t have to pay for the premium version of it so you could use that section. Kinda nice of them – the hazards I guess of having open source code. If you get it out there, somebody can just write a loop around your lock.

It looks to be interesting. It looks like it can be useful. It kind of reminds me of what comes built into GravityForms in that every time somebody submits a GravityForm, I get it kept in the database of my site, so this does that for you. It allows you to export the information. It looks to be a useful plugin if you use WPForms. Go check it out: Entries for WPForms and I give it a 3-Dragon rating.

Okay, and this show currently brought to you by…

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Absolutely. Call me for all your WordPress needs, especially if you’re in need of some really good hosting. And the new commercials are coming in the new year – I promise you.

And contests – we do have contests right now, and our contests are powered by Simple Giveaways Plugin, who kindly provided us with the premium version of their plugin to run our contests on. Go check them out; it’s a fantastic plugin if you’re running contests on your website. Our contests we have right now, we are giving away a copy of WooHoo, the plugin for customizing up your WooCommerce website. We also are giving away a copy of the Interactive U.S. Map, and it’s a really nice plugin. This mapping plugin from WP Maps Plugins, they’ve got maps around the world, not just U.S. but they’ve got Canada, Europe, Asia – everywhere – and these maps can be detailed down and you get clickable bits and pieces throughout the maps – a very nice mapping plugin.

And WP PDF Embedder – this PDF embedder here – the pro version is really nice and I think we’ve given away the pro version. I use the secure version of it myself to secure PDFs on my website and it displays PDFs beautifully, gives them the ability to download it if it’s a secured one, and you can lock them down to other ways. A very nice plugin – works excellent. Go check it out, go register for the contest – and a free year of Kanban WP, and this is to use their Kanban windows for dealing with your work progress. It is a project management kind of tool. I did an interview with the developer of Kanban a while back. You can go look that up and we’re going to get to the point where I’ll eventually have that stuff showing up in the windows or popping in as cards so people can see it. We’re slowly working out this system.

So anyway, go check them out and for all our contests, they are now available at wppluginsatoz.com/contests. Just simply go up there, click on it, register for the contests. The contests are running through until 11:59 on December 31st, so through to the end of this year. As soon as it hits 2019, contests are over and the winners will be announced in the first show of the new year.

That brings us to our next plugin. This one here is one that I’ve been using off and on. I’ve been meaning to bring it into the show and I may have done in the past but just in case, here it is again. This is called Plugin Notes Plus, and I used to use another notes plugin. I thought it was a bit better than this, but the guy abandoned it. I didn’t have time to get it rewritten and so I found this one and switched to this one.

What this plugin does for you is it creates a second column in your plugins list and that column is where you can start adding all the notes for what those plugins are for. And if you’re like me using lots and lots of plugins on your website or you’ve got multiple clients who use different plugins for different sites for different reasons, you come back to a client’s site after a few weeks or so and you look and say, “Why did I put that plugin in there for again?” This is the thing that will help you out, because you’ll put notes in there.

The other one that’s great is I have one client that always wants to know what all their plugins are in there for. So anytime I add something new, I have to put these notes in there so that they look at it and they know what the plugin is there and what it’s doing for their website. So this is a really great plugin, Plugin Notes Plus, and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.

[Dragon roar]

Go check it out.

Listener feedback – I like listener feedback. And if you would like to give us some, please drop into the website, hit the Contact page, leave us a note from there, click the SpeakPipe button in the lower right-hand corner of the website, leave us a SpeakPipe message, or you can email directly. Contact information is at the end of the show notes for that.

This week I do have a SpeakPipe from Louis, so take it away, Louis:

Hello, Mr. Overall. How are you doing today? I have a question – well, I have two plugins that I need help with. One, I’m building a website for a school that has an automated service for let’s say snow days and things like that. Do you know of a plugin – paid or free – that once the school sends out an email or an SMS message through the system, it would activate a popup or a bar on the website detailing snow day/school closed for whatever reason? I’ve looked around, I’m having a real hard time coming up with one.

The second thing is I need to be able to log out idle users. I’ve seen a bunch of them. The one that I’ve used in the past, it now hasn’t been updated over two years, so I’m trying to find something new. I’m not sure what – if you use that or something that I could use that would do that.

Thank you very much, keep up the great work. Thank you.

Thanks, Louis. I appreciate the questions. And yeah, it’s going great today. So I’ll get you an email after this, but I thought I’d answer it in the show first and I’ll take your second one first to log out idle users. I currently use a plugin and I realized listing to your thing again that you might be using the same plugin, because you said one hasn’t been updated in a while. It’s called Idle User Lockout. It still works very well. I haven’t been able to find a better replacement than this one myself. I have looked from time to time. What I’m actually gonna end up doing is paying someone to recode this one for me to bring it up-to-date. But that’s all I can suggest on that. It is a great plugin; it still works well and it still works at least up to Version 4.99, which came out today of course, and so there’s all we’ve got with that one.

The first question though, the popup that would occur when you send out an SMS message, I’ve been unable to locate anything like that but I did have some ideas for you that might work. One of them is you might have to get some custom coding done. You could use someone like Zapier that would receive your SMS message then send the signal to your website to cause the popup to occur. I don’t know exactly how that one’s gonna work, but to me that just seems like something that’s gonna require custom coding, so you might have to ask your client to spend a little money on that one. That’s all I can suggest on that. I will keep that one in my head though if I ever run across anything like that. I’ll be sure to bring it to the show. So thanks a lot, Louis. I appreciate your questions.

And I also do have a couple of written questions that came in via email this past week, and the first one here is:

Hey John

Is there a plugin or something where if I have 20 WP sites and I want to see what needs updating on each site, I am able to do this from all in one spot?

Thanks,

Steve

And Steve, yeah, absolutely and I suggest CMS Commander. I’ve actually been using CMS Commander for about five or six years now and ever since they came out when they were brand new and a fantastic company. You can purchase whatever plan you need for it. Their plans start as few as five sites for $8 a month and you can go on up to 200 sites for $75 a month, and it is fantastic; it works very, very well. It not only does and shows you what updates are need, it gives you some stats, it has a cloning feature, it has a backup feature, it has an auto-generated content feature.

It does a lot more than just manage your website and do things for you. There’s a lot into this. I’ve never really used it to its maximum and I’m just now starting to actually try to use it to its maximum to help enhance my business even further. So go check this one out, Steve. It’s a fantastic plugin, CMS Commander. Use the link in the show notes please if you do. It is an affiliate link, so I get a couple of extra bucks out of it – not a lot but, you know, every dollar helps, so go check that out.

Then we’ve got another question. This one came from Steve also a little later in the day and it’s:

John

Got a question for you.

Say I have some image files in one of my folders on my computer.

I go into those files and go into the details and in the comments I add the NAP of the website. I also add the keyword in the details for the title.

When I now add this image into the media of the WP site and add it as a featured image on the site, does WP strip out this information from the image?

I would have thought you would know this answer, so I thought I would ask you.

I am sure you know what I am talking about when I say the details of the image, thru right clicking on the image and going to properties and finding details.

Thanks john

Steve

Okay yeah, I do have the answer for this and the rest of it is just explaining to me how to get to it. I know what you’re talking about there, Steve. That is the metadata for an image and that metadata for an image, that’s a big maybe as to whether or not WordPress is stripping it out. On all my WordPress sites, WordPress is stripping out that metadata because I don’t want that metadata embedded in the image because I’m trying to lighten that image up, even by a couple hundred K, you know, or 50K or 10K or whatever the content of the text is. Strip that out, it makes the image smaller so it loads faster. Images are not what I’m overly concerned about with the metadata and keywords. If you’re gonna do that, you’re gonna want to put that information into the ALT tag in the description of the image, etc., and that’s what I use for that.

Not all websites do it, but the plugin that I use for smooshing images as they’re uploaded automatically strips out all the metadata, so there’s your answer there. That’s a big maybe; it depends on how your website is configured. So thanks a lot, Steve, and thanks a lot, Louis. I appreciate the questions. You know, that really adds to the show a bit. I think it gives people a few things to think about.

And of course, this show, value-for-value model, meaning if you get some value out of it, please give some value back. And in that vein there, I like to acknowledge those who come in $50 or more. We read out their note, give them links in the show notes for that and below $50 they remain anonymous. This week here, we’ve got no major donations, so thank you to the small donations from Patreon and other small places that we get donations. I thank you very much. Every few bucks helps and it doesn’t come to me. The money, it barely covers my expenses. It helps pay for the fantastic transcriptions we get which are currently up-to-date, so thank you very much to our transcription artist who is actually listening today, so much appreciated. And yeah, it doesn’t get to me. Eventually I imagine I might have enough support where I can make a little money on this and I could put even more time to the show than I do.

Also, I will be changing out my Patreon. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Patreon seems to be pulling shenanigans again, so I’m going to be going with SubscribeStar and hopefully the few patrons I have at Patreon might move over to SubscribeStar, so that information will be coming in by next episode.

If you’d like to support the show, please just go to wppluginsatoz.com/donate where you can just simply fill out the form, add your donation amount, and donate directly via PayPal to the show. So any amount is helpful; we thank you very much for it. So if you get any value out of it, it saves you some time, hey, send me a couple of bucks. You know, say thank you for helping me save some time.

Okay, and that brings me to my last plugin for today. The last one I’ve got for you here is Easy Updates Manager and this one here is one I may have covered in the past, but of course it’s become more prominent after this last week of Gutenberg, etc. – all of the fun with that. And I started using this more prominently in the last couple of weeks as I was going through my client sites, doing updates, tweaking things. I was sticking this in there and the main reason I was putting this plugin in there was to stop core updates without having to go add the code manually to every site, because this was much quicker than FTP, etc. This only took a minutes whereas FTP takes a few minutes.

So you can go in and you can turn off all types of updates on your site, manage your updates so that they happen on your schedule, not on WordPress’s schedule. Now, I turned off all updates even for point updates because there were rumors going around that even point updates were causing major updates to slip through. So I turned them all off to prevent the updates also to prevent my clients from accidentally (or a person who thinks they’re doing well) to accidentally upgrade to Gutenberg before the site is ready to do that. Because if you haven’t already done it, you should prepare your site or at least test your site in a dev environment to ensure that Gutenberg will work with your site before you go there.

So anyway, a fantastic plugin, easy to use, easily manages all of your site updates. Lots of great tools in there. Go check this out. It is the Easy Updates Manager and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.

[Dragon roar]

And here we are at the ClassicPress options. This is a segment that is going to start to fill out as the show moves forward and as I become more proficient using the ClassicPress. Now ClassicPress is the fork of WordPress as it stood at Version 4.9.8, so this one here is going to be a major deal as going forward, I feel. There’s been so much information about this pushed out this last week ever since Gutenberg was dropped as quickly as it was for people or people weren’t expecting it, and just the way it was handled. And the fact that Gutenberg as an editor, while it looks to be really nice for basic users, for enterprise-level, bigger businesses, and stuff, I can’t see how it’s going to be of use.

In particular, I mentioned — not last show – I think I talked about it on the weekend. I’ve got one client that if we put Gutenberg in there, it will damage the mass amount of customizations we’ve done to their website because we built an intranet on top of WordPress, so there’s a lot going on there, and these are the people that need to be able to stay away from Gutenberg. Now, you can say, “Well, they’ve got the Classic Editor. You won’t have to use Gutenberg.” Well yes, but you’ve only got the Classic Editor for a guaranteed three years. After that, they’re gonna drop support on it, and that is adamant. If you watch State of the Word, Matt is 100% sold on this, adamant that Gutenberg is going to rule the roost.

So that being said there, let’s talk about Classic Press. The biggest question that people come up with with ClassicPress is, “Will my plugins work in ClassicPress?” And from what I’m finding out, they’ve got a forum that you can check out and they’ve got a segment dedicated to plugins that people have been testing in ClassicPress, listing up all the ones that are currently working. So it looks like almost everything is going to work there – and probably will for a while. This is the big “for a while” thing to me, because as Gutenberg develops and as ClassicPress develops, they’re gonna be on two different paths. It’s like coming to a fork in the road and for a little while you’re parallel and then all of a sudden you’re in two different directions. This is what’s going to happen over the course of the next year to two years, so you’re gonna have to – for some things – you’re gonna have to choose. For me, I’ve got a follow both paths, which is gonna be quite the spread for me. I’m gonna be doubling back and forth here and there I can see.

But at the moment, very nice list of plugins all in one: WP Full Stripe, Contact Form 7, CAPTCHAs, Super Cache, WP Bakery. Other people that have made a list is WordFence, All in One, Divvy Booster, Really Simple SSL, Smoosh, Updraft – people are listing what their plugins are that are working in here, and it just keeps going. You just scroll down through the list.

What I’m going to be doing is because I have to make a change on one of my client’s site this next week is I’m going to be covering off my conversion to ClassicPress and then I’ve also got to update a couple of my sites and rebuild a site. I’m going to be covering off the rebuild of a site from scratch using Pure Gutenberg and I’m going to be covering off the conversion of my main site, JohnOverall.com, to Gutenberg to see how it goes, because this is going to be an interesting time for everyone. And while it’s going to be growing pains and, you know, the community of WordPress isn’t going to die. There’s a lot of people that have dedicated their fortunes and their futures to WordPress, so they’re not gonna abandon them overnight. It’s just people that just can’t use the platform are going to have to abandon it, and that’s the way it’s simply gonna be, and personally I think that’s gonna be upwards of 30% of the current WordPress community. So that’s what we’ve got there and that’s the component that’s coming to the show, so make sure you check it out.

Closing out this episode, I covered up the StoreApp’s Temporary Log On Without Password, which I gave a 4 to; the Entries for WP Forms, which I gave a 3 to; the Plugins Notes Plus, which I gave a 5 to; and the Easy Updates Manager, which I gave a 5 to.

A couple of reminders: if you like my thoughts on Gutenberg as it came about, go back and look to my two live shows I did over the weekend. They’re of good length. I actually watched State of the Word and did a critique on it while watching it – had some really great interactions with I believe it was Greg in there, so it was really quite nice and fun to do. And I also did another episode previous to that, talking about where I thought the community was going, so go check those out.

And the WordPress Meetup in Victoria is still happening in January. We don’t have one in December of this year, but January 22 it’ll be broadcast live on YouTube, so make sure you subscribe to the channel and hit the bell so you get notification of when it happens. And I just made a change on what I was going to do. I was going to do a talk on disaster planning for WordPress. This talk is going to be on Gutenberg and what it means – the implementation of Gutenberg on the editor, so what it means for the community and how people can prepare their sites, etc. I know it’s gonna be a long way off from now, but it’s still going to be quite relevant, so make sure you go check that out and be sure to subscribe to our channel. Just, you know, hit the button – there we go. Hit the button down below, subscribe, hit the bell. And if you don’t want to do that, subscribe to the show on iTunes and Stitcher Radio and Google Play.

And that’s all I’ve got for you, so – oh, one last note. For developers out there who’d like to submit a premium license to give away, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugincontest where you can submit all that information.

And that’s all I’ve got for you now, so take care. Bye-bye. I’ll let my girl take us out of here.

[Female speaker]

Reminders for the show: All the show notes can be found at wppluginsatoz.com, and while you’re there, subscribe to the Thursday newsletter for more useful information directly to your email inbox. Wppluginsatoz.com is a show that offers honest and unbiased reviews of plugins created by developers because you support the show. Help keep the show honest and unbiased by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and set the donation level that fits your budget.

Help us make the show better for you by subscribing and reviewing to the show at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store. You can also watch the show live on YouTube, check out the screencasts and training videos, and remember to subscribe and hit the bell to get notification of all new videos. Also, follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz.

John can be reached at his website at JohnOverall.com or send him an email, john@wppro.ca. Thanks for joining us and have a great day.

 [Outro]

Thanks for listening to the show. This show is copyright by JohnOverall.com. So until next time, have yourselves a good morning, good afternoon, or a good evening, wherever you happen to be out there on the globe today.

[Child giggling]

John:    And that’s all we got. There’s something I might be consider doing if I actually get some feedback from people. I may consider doing a brief after-show that would go out to the world – or to go out just on YouTube. It wouldn’t be on the podcast feed.

Take care, bye-bye.

[End of Audio]