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 and Amber’s discussion of this weeks plugins that have been reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #490 here.
It’s Episode 490 with plugins for Cooking, Image Display, History, Debugging, Protection, BBQ Fire, and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right. First off, ClassicPress options. I don’t really have any this week. I’ve run out of all the little snippets I had, and I’ve just got the basic ClassicPress resources in here. You want to see stuff on ClassicPress, I know I have a few listeners out there that work with ClassicPress, please send me some info, I haven’t had time lately. I’ve been so caught up in WordPress development for everything, but I just don’t have time for ClassicPress right now. So I want to keep it going. I want to keep the ClassicPress segment of the show alive, but I really need some help with that one. So anyone using ClassicPress, send me some content, you can send it to email@example.com.
Let’s move on into the WordPress plugins. And the first one I have for you right out the gate here is called Simple History. This is a really great plugin. I pretty much forgot it existed until I was doing some work. I was moving one of my clients from one server to the other, and of course, I had to do some tweaks. And I was digging around in their site. I was like, oh hey, I remember this plugin. I remember when I installed it. I installed it about seven years ago give or take. It’s been kept up-to-date. Really great plugin, and it gives you a really great history of what’s going on your site. And this is a great plugin to use when you’re developing a site and your client keeps sneaking in there and breaking shit on you, blaming it on you. Every developer knows what client I’m talking about. Every developer has had that client. They sneak into the site, they change things, and they update shit, and you get all the blame. And then, you need to have something to catch all that. This is a great plugin. It tells you when they logged in, what they did, what they updated, whether they’ve changed plugins, updated, activated plugins, you know, user profiles, failed logins, it’s got a whole lot of stuff in this plugin. I completely forgot it existed. So I wanted to bring it back forward, a fantastic plugin. It’s a total freebie, and I give it a five-dragon rating
Amber: Question about that, do you have to set it up a certain way, or is it like a plug-and-play thing?
John: No. It’s pretty much plug-and-play.
John: Pretty much plug-and-play, and it just monitors stuff. I didn’t look to see if it had any new adjustments for things you can turn on and off. I’ve just used it the way it is.
Amber: That’s pretty cool, though. So first one I have is Disable User Enumeration. User Enumeration is something I only recently learned about, and this plugin seems like a good idea. It’s designed to stop the username harvesting that some people seem to enjoy doing. It only works against those that are not logged in, so there is no worry that your users will accidentally get screwed over. And this plugin doesn’t have any settings to bother with. It’s one of those plug-and-play, and off it goes, and I think it works pretty well. I haven’t had going for very long. I don’t think I’m going to be getting any reports or anything, but, you know, they do give you a couple of codes so that you can actually go and check to see if there’s enumeration happening, but unless you check it while it’s actually going on, you’re not really going to see anything. So it could be especially useful if you have a site that has multiple users or a chat community going on. I rate this at five dragons.
John: That can be a very useful plugin. I actually saw that, and I was like, who’s this? And I went, oh okay, what they’re doing is in WordPress ever since about version five, give or take, there’s been the ability with the API that people can run calls against your website and get a listing of all the users you have on your website, and of course, steal their email addresses for marketing purposes, or spam as it’s called. And this plugin prevents that action from occurring unless they are logged in user is how I understand this plugin. So it’s a very useful tool to help protect your website, protect your data from skimmers and scammers. So something you will want to check out if you do have a website with multiple admins or a community where people sign-in, or if you have an e-commerce store, then you have multiple users on your site because they all create an account to buy stuff from your store, and that is users that can be skimmed out. So, a good thing to have on your site for protection. Okay. The next one I have for you here is called Best Image Gallery and Responsive Photo Gallery – Foo Gallery, well, the name sometimes is like, you know, you guys could have just stuck with Foo Gallery.
John: You know as what you had to just expand it on out to the nth degree, you know, some titles are just too convoluted for a plugin.
Amber: They had to add the word best.
John: Yeah, well, at any rate, best aside, this is a pretty good plugin as far as image galleries go, and the reason I may have used this or I may have reviewed it in the past, I just don’t recall, but the biggest thing with this plugin is that it’s the one that would work on the Rogues Tavern. I tried a couple others, and for some reason, they’re just not loading the data. And it must be something I’ve done with my theme that’s preventing it from loading all the images properly. I don’t know what it is. But this one would load all the images in the nice galleries I wanted to display across my website, and it’s free for the most part. It gives you everything you need. If you’re just looking to display some galleries, they do have a premium version, which gives you enhanced galleries or enhanced layouts and other stuff, which if you’re into an image website, really a good tool. But if you’re just like me wanting to showcase some of your images from hunting or camping or whatever, this is still a great tool. So anyway, go check this one out. It’s called Best Image Gallery and Responsive Photo Gallery. It’s just called Foo Gallery. And I give it a four-dragon rating.
Amber: That sounds pretty cool actually.
John: Yeah, it’s a useful tool. It’s just really great for images.
Amber: The next one I’ve got is Debug Bar. This plugin is pretty nifty. You plug it in, activate it, and you wind up with a little added-on-bar on the top of your admin page. It honestly took me a little bit to find it because I was expecting it to show up just on the actual admin page, not at the very top on the bar, but it’s actually pretty cool. It can track PHP warnings and notices, and when save queries is enabled, the MySQL — I always want to say MySQL.
John: It’s also MySQL.
Amber: Oh, is it? Oh okay, so it’s not totally crazy. I want to say MySQL then.
John: No, that used to be what it was. I just call it SQL.
Amber: Okay. The MySQL series are tracked and displayed. To activate these options, there are a couple of codes they give you, which I put down here. It seems pretty awesome when you go to check it out, you click on the little bar and it takes you to a new page where you can check everything out in great detail as well. So you really have a good idea of what’s going on and what’s being worked on, what’s happening. It’s a totally free plugin, and it seems pretty useful. I would recommend anyone who is in developing, at least check this out and see if it helps you out at all, and I’d love to hear back about it. I rate this at five dragons.
John: Absolutely anything to help development go easier, it’s always a welcome sight to developers. Okay. The final one I’ve got for you today. This is called WP Recipe Maker. Now, this one here is an upgrade to their original plugin, which was called WP Ultimate Recipe, which was a plugin I had installed in last June or so for the Rogues Tavern because I’m going to have recipes there. And it’s a great plugin. I liked it out of all the recipe plugins I looked into. And when I was looking at things this last week, I realized they had a new warning on there because they completely rewrote their plugin instead of upgrading they rewrote it. Getting rid of their old one, they had a warning that this plugin has been depreciated. I went and checked, and then, okay, fine. I had to go through a bit of a conversion process to convert everything over, but everything worked very well. It actually worked a bit better than their original WP Ultimate Recipe Plugin. It’s a really good plugin. It has lots of premium stuff to it, but currently, with the way the Rogues Tavern is, I won’t go with the premium version, maybe in about six months or a year when I have enough clients, enough visitors, or members to the site. I’ll improve the Recipe Plugin to a premium version and add some of the functions from that. At any rate, really great Recipe Plugin. It allows you to put everything in here you need, and it has all the recipe metadata to help improve the search of your website. Go check this one out, WP Recipe Maker, and I give it a four-dragon rating.
Amber: That sounds pretty useful.
John: Oh it’s a great plugin. I like it.
Amber: It’s always nice when plugins, they do an upgrade and what you get is actually better than what you have.
John: Yeah, but it’s not always nice when they completely change the plugin. You got to install a new plugin, go through a conversion process, and hope that they do — and one thing I forgot to mention on this, they have set it up. If you’re using a different recipe plugin, you want to give this one a go, they will import from about 10 or 12 different recipe plugins that are out there —
Amber: Oh, nice.
John: — into their plugin.
Amber: So last one I’ve got is — I keep saying Barbecue Firewall, and I’m just going to stick with Barbecue Firewall even though it is —
John: It is Barbecue Firewall. Look at the image on there, you know, the image they give up.
Amber: It’s Barbecue Firewall, but the BBQ stands for Block Bad Queries.
John: Oh, I say it’s Barbecue Firewall.
Amber: Yeah, okay.
John: So I mean they’ve got a barbecue for their image.
Amber: That’s true. Maybe that’s why I keep thinking barbecue besides from, you know, BBQ. So this is from the creator of a black hole for bad bots, and this actually works in tandem with that plugin. This is a Lightweight Firewall that protects you against a huge long list of things. It runs silently in the background, and there’s nothing really need for the setup. You just plug it in and off you go. It doesn’t collect or store any data. It does not set any cookies and does not connect to any third-party locations. And there’s nothing to set up, so there’s no place in the settings to add your email or any other information. So, unlike with the Bad Bots plugin, you won’t be getting any periodic reports or anything, which I actually really liked that about bad bots. There is a pro version of this, though the free version seems to cover everything a general user needs. So, I would say, go check this out. I rate it four dragons.
John: Very nice. It could be very useful. An Indian had a question here about this Debug Bar show off-site calls. He’s looking for an easy way without looking at code to see if a plugin is pulling content from another site.
Amber: You would have to actually go on there and search. I’m not sure. I’m still learning to understand entirely how to use things like this. So I would say, try it out, see if it pulls up that information. That’s the only thing I can think of, or maybe, well, Hemdian, you have more knowledge than I do at this point. So I’m still learning. So go check out the plugin and look into it, you’ll probably have a better understanding of all the stuff it says.
John: Yeah, you should probably read the rest of his comment. It goes to the first comment that he wants to verify some old plugins that are — if they’re vulnerable to these other sites that are being picked up by bad actors when abandoned by the original developers, once I have in mind are fairly simple and shouldn’t need to pull from elsewhere. Okay. Let me translate that to something I understand a little clear. I think what Hemdian is talking about here is recently it made the news — I think I talked about it in one of the shows, is that plugins are being abandoned firstname.lastname@example.org. And what happens is authors will buy them up and do something with them, but the other one that’s occurring, and this why things happening is domains.
Amber: Oh, okay, I think I kind of misunderstood the question there, of course. Okay, I have a better understanding of what was meant now.
John: All right. And one little final tidbit of news — or not news, but from the plugin world, we have a link in the show notes. This will be something that I’ll look to do a little more often occasionally. It’s a random link to a website that builds out some plugins, you know, so some great small OpenGraph Refresher, Woo Fiscalita, WooCommerce Taxonomy Report, Glossary for WordPress, Pinterest, Adrotate Excel, Hook Flowchart, there’s a lot of different WordPress plugins out there. I think I’ll try and find more information on different websites and pieces out there and bring them to the show. Okay, that’s all we got there for plugins. This show is currently sponsored by the podcast — where was that?
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John: Absolutely. Now that makes more sense to me. That was funny. It’s amazing what happens. Your brain just tunes things out sometimes. At any rate, if you’re looking for great web hosting, make sure you tune in to me, come visit johnoverall.com, I have a limited number of slots left. If they are going, and once they’re gone, they’ll be gone until somebody decides to leave me. And well, truthfully, I have very few clients ever leave me. I’ve got clients that have been with me for 20 plus years now. So I’m really thrilled with that. Okay. And of course, this falls down into one thing, how important is your website and your data. I’ve run into more than a few of these in the last few weeks helping clients move things around or update or change stuff. And don’t worry, don’t get the blues, the gators will get you in the end, you know, not naming any companies, but they don’t offer backups or an easy way to transmit your data or move it. So it’s a very important thing you want to take care of yourself quality hosting.
Hey, and a little bit listener feedback. This isn’t exactly listener feedback, but it’s close. And what I want to do is I want to mention Jess, the winner of our contest for the Cart Lift program. It seems he has a local company called Silent World Apparel. It’s a local apparel company here on Vancouver Island. They sell some really interesting art and designs for t-shirts and other apparel, and tote bags women’s use, really great stuff. They’ve got a really great story, go check out their store. Go help them out, folks. They could probably use a little bit of help in this current state that we are in, Really great guy. So thanks a lot, Jess. I appreciate you winning the contest and it’s important to the show. So go check out his website at silentworldapparel.com. One other little bit, if you are a No Agenda Listener to this show, and you listen to this show also, go check out my new website I just created for the no-agenda show. It is the no-agenda, Red Book Predictions. If you are a No Agenda listener, you know what the Red Book is? Go check it out. I finally built out the website and it’s working well. I’ve got to get more of their predictions in there but go check that out. Because after all, Adam and John are from the future.
Amber: Nice. I will definitely have to go check that, and you would actually put it up.
John: I’ve been working on that one for about a year off and on, and I finally managed to get it accomplished last weekend. I’ve suddenly felt the urge to finish the development on it.
Amber: Oh, and Hemdian said he thought he blanked out himself, and then, just missed part of the show.
John: Yeah, I don’t know. That’s what happens. Sometimes your brain just fries, the very Monday styled Thursday. Yeah, absolutely. All right. And contests, I do want to announce, we have a winner from the last contest, but first off, our contests are powered by the Simple Giveaways plugin. I thank them very much for providing us with the premium version of the plugin for our contest. And I do like to thank Charlie for coming to the aid of the show and getting our contests all organized. We still have an unclaimed prize from the WP Admin Pages Pro where we’re recycling that prize real soon. We do have a winner. Winner winner chicken dinner for the WP Ultimo.
John: Ultimo. That’s it. Congratulations to Daniela Paez who has also supplied artwork for the show. So congratulations out to you, Daniela. I appreciate it. And as soon as you get back to me with the email, then we will get your license sent off to you. We don’t have a contest starting this week. We’re going to take a break this week, and we’re going to start it up again next week with a lot of fanfare. It is Christmas after all, you know, and it includes eggnog and lots more rum than eggnog. Okay. And to help close out a couple of things here, the plugins I covered in this show here and the reason we’ll play the closeout for this time is because we’re going to go into the —
Amber: Do your brain on again.
John: Get my brain on. Oh yeah, we do the closeout halfway through the question and answer segment. There we go. All right. So we’re going to just cover up the other tidbits here before we go into Q&A. Plugins we covered on this episode, I covered up the Simple History, which I gave a five to, the Best Image Gallery and Responsive Photo Gallery from Foo Gallery, which I gave a four to, and the WP Recipe Maker, which I gave a four to.
Amber: You put mine down backward again.
John: Yeah, well, .
Amber: I covered Disable User Enumeration, which I get five to, Debug Bar which I gave a five, and BBQ Firewall, which I gave a four to.
John: Okay. And they’re quick reminders, there are none — really no meetups, no nothing else. If you want to be in an interview show, reach out to me at wppluginsatoz.com/interview. Find out more about my insanity, just go on over to the roguestavern.com. I’ve started adding a few things to the website and starting to tweak it out, and the membership section will be going up real soon because there’s a lot of stuff that I’ve been developing that is going to be members only on that site. Okay, it is time for —
It’s question and answer time.
Amber: So just a quick note here. If you have any questions you’d like to ask, send them to me at email@example.com, and I’ll get them into the segment. Okay, so ready, dad?
John: No, go ahead.
Amber: Okay, the first question is what is syntax highlighting in WordPress and why would I want to add it? This is a question that was given to us.
John: Okay. All right. So syntax highlighting is when you use the ever-dangerous code editor in WordPress, and the code in that editor is your syntax for the code. And nowadays most code editors do highlighting of the syntax. They highlight the syntax with different code colors depending on whether it’s a function, whether it’s HTML, whether it’s CSS, all the little bits and pieces, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for in the code. Because previously, it was all black and white, it all just blurred together. It was actually rather hard to read before syntax highlighting came into effect. So the reason you would want syntax highlighting is it makes it easier to read your code, thus easier to find your mistakes in your code.
Amber: Okay, so I’ve only really just started understanding code a little bit. What is the syntax? Is that, like, the different language of code or?
John: No, no, the syntax is the different ways the code is written.
Amber: Oh okay.
Amber: Okay, so what this does is it highlights your mistake?
Amber: Oh, okay, now I’m understanding.
Amber: Yeah, I can’t type code very fast, though.
John: Yeah, well, if you type enough of it, you’ll be able to.
Amber: That’s true.
John: It’s just a matter of figuring out what you’re typing I imagine. You know how to type real well.
Amber: Yeah, I can type really fast. All right. So the next question is, what is a staging server? There are a few questions attached. Should I ask them all at once?
John: Or you can ask them all at once and we’ll split this up.
Amber: All right. And this is another question that was sent in to us. What is a staging server? How do I know if my website host offers this service? Why would I test my site using this?
John: Okay. Now, what I’ll do is I’ll answer what a staging server is, and then, we’ll cut out and we’ll come back for the final bits only on the YouTube version. Okay, first off, a staging server is, this has multiple definitions, but it still boils down to the same thing. It can be a staging server. It can be on the same hosting provider inside the same hosting account you’re on, on the same server, or you can be like I do is I often have a staging server on a separate server using a subdomain or some other thing. But in essence, what a staging server is, it is a place, which is a duplicate copy of your live site. So it’s duplicated. And when you’re going to make changes to your live site, you go to your staging site, you make those changes, you test those changes, see if you don’t break your website. If it doesn’t break your website, if you have the right connections, you can then just push those updates to your live site. If you don’t have all the connections, you manually copy and put those updates into your live site. That’s what a staging server is and what it’s for. Now, I’m going to cut us out, and this time I’m really going to play the extra little girl take us out of here have my tequila shot, and we’ll come back after this for the YouTube version and answer the rest of that question and a couple of other follow-up questions. All right. So let’s let my girl take us out of here and enjoy my tequila.
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John can be reached at his website, JohnOverall.com, or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for joining us and have a great day.
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