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Understanding WordPress plugins

From: Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts

Video: Understanding WordPress plugins

Although WordPress is very powerful right out of the box, there is a rich landscape of plug-ins that extends its capabilities tremendously. A WordPress plug-in is very similar to a Dreamweaver extension except you don't use the Extension Manager as you do in Dreamweaver, we use the Dashboard. So let's switch over to WordPress and go to the category on the left called Plugins. Let's open that up so we can see all the Plugins that are currently installed. WordPress comes with two extensions or Plugins preinstalled: Hello Dolly, which is just kind of a fun thing that you can implement on your own WordPress site if you like, and Akismet.

Understanding WordPress plugins

Although WordPress is very powerful right out of the box, there is a rich landscape of plug-ins that extends its capabilities tremendously. A WordPress plug-in is very similar to a Dreamweaver extension except you don't use the Extension Manager as you do in Dreamweaver, we use the Dashboard. So let's switch over to WordPress and go to the category on the left called Plugins. Let's open that up so we can see all the Plugins that are currently installed. WordPress comes with two extensions or Plugins preinstalled: Hello Dolly, which is just kind of a fun thing that you can implement on your own WordPress site if you like, and Akismet.

Now Akismet is a very powerful plug-in that performs a totally necessary service. A lot of times with blogs, you'll get comments that include a ton of spam. Akismet can greatly reduce that spam for you. So let's activate Akismet. I'll click Activate here, and I want to point out that once you activate any plug-in the options change below its name, now it says Deactivate & Edit Settings instead of Activate. You'll notice up here we have two messages, one saying Plugin is activated, but we have to enter here Akismet API key for it to work.

So let's click that link, and that will take you to a new screen, that's just installed with the Akismet activation, and that allows us to enter an API key. The Akismet API key is available for anywhere from free to relatively low-cost. Visit akismet.com/wordpress to get yours. Now I already have an API key, so I'm going to paste it in here, and I'm going to go ahead and click my options here to Auto-delete spam that is submitted on post more than a month old, that's good.

Showing the number of comments, I'm not so keen on having that there, so I'm not going to choose that option, and then I'll click the Update options button. I get a message indicating that the key has been verified, and I want to point out as we go, scroll down a little bit, that there's some more information here about the Akismet servers. There are four available, and they're constantly updating these. So let me point out also under the Plugins section, there is now an Akismet Configuration, which will take you to this page here. Other plug-ins will put their own panels under Settings or list them separately.

Now that's a nice free plug-in that I can recommend you implement very, very quickly on your own site or on your own client-site, but there are also other plug-ins that you can add, and the way that you get to them is by going to the Add New option under Plugins. As with the themes there are numerous ways that you can search for it. We're going to look for an Event Calendar. So I'm just going to go ahead and enter a Search for those two terms, event calendar. Now I click Search Plugins. As you can see, there's a good number of event calendars available.

Let's scroll down a little bit, and I'll show you the one that I have used successfully before. It's this one that just lists as Events Calendar and the author is Luke Howell. So let's go ahead and click Install Now. I'll get a request for a confirmation, I'll click OK. WordPress quickly unpacks it and installs it, and all you need to do is to activate it. Now that the events calendar has been activated, you see a listing for right here, as well as some coding information, including how to put it on your page very simply. So if you want to put a large calendar on the page, you put in this bit of code, that's in square brackets, right here.

This is called a short code in WordPress Jargon. So now that I have that selected, I'm going to go ahead and copy it, and let's go over, and we'll create a new page, and we'll call this Events Calendar, and here in the body I'm just going to paste in that bit of short code I copied. So in square brackets, it's events-calendar-large. Let's use the Events Template and then click Publish. Once it's published, let's take a look at the page, and here you can see the large calendar that's been added.

The calendar is showing the current month when I'm recording this lesson, and the current day has this light blue background here. Now you can see it's very functional. If I click on the month, it switches to the next month, then I can go back and forth to future and previous months. And if there were any events, you would see them listed right on the calendar. So how do you add an event? Well, in this case, let's go back to the Dashboard, and I'll scroll down, and as you see, as I mentioned before, some plug-ins add their own listing and here's one for Events Calendar.

So we'll click on Events Calendar, and then below the calendar itself is the Add Event screen. Let's go ahead and put in an event, I'm going to call this one Art Conference, and the Location will be Roux Academy. We'll leave the Link out blank for now, and let's put in a short Description, call this An excellent conference for emerging and thriving artists. Now let's set the Start Date, notice the year format that you'd have to follow. I'll put in a Date in upcoming October, and we'll do a Start Time, let's start it at 9 in the morning, and we'll put in an End Date the four days later.

And an End Time, now I want to enter in 6:30, but because this is using the 24-hour clock, we'll need to put in 18:30 instead, and everything else we can leave as it is. As you can see, we could, if we wanted to create a separate Post for the Event, but we don't have to do that. And let's click Add Event. And now you can see on the calendar within the Dashboard, my conference is already listed. Let's go ahead and take a look at that on the page. So I'll go to All Pages, and here's my Events Calendar. Let's take a look at it.

So I'll scroll down, and let's go to October, and there is the Art Conference. If I hover over it, I get more of my description, all the fields that I have entered, including the Starting Date, Starting Time, End Date, and End Time. Obviously, you could put a lot more information in here, and your clients can use this to update their events very, very easily. It's really a very powerful thing. Without a doubt, the popularity and usefulness of WordPress is greatly broadened by its extensibility via plug-ins.

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This video is part of

Image for Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts
Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts

55 video lessons · 51381 viewers

Joseph Lowery
Author

 
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  1. 4m 7s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 54s
    3. A word about updates
      1m 15s
  2. 15m 28s
    1. Overview
      1m 51s
    2. Creating the database and the initial site
      3m 45s
    3. Configuring WordPress
      5m 54s
    4. Establishing a Dreamweaver site
      3m 58s
  3. 20m 18s
    1. Accessing dynamically related files
      4m 12s
    2. Filtering files
      4m 20s
    3. Following links
      4m 15s
    4. Employing Live Code
      2m 54s
    5. Enabling site-specific code hinting
      4m 37s
  4. 21m 8s
    1. Adding blog posts
      4m 55s
    2. Editing blog posts
      3m 20s
    3. Adding new pages
      2m 59s
    4. Including images
      6m 59s
    5. Adding videos to posts
      2m 55s
  5. 18m 12s
    1. Understanding WordPress structure
      3m 52s
    2. Activating a theme
      7m 21s
    3. Setting up a child theme
      6m 59s
  6. 1h 29m
    1. Updating the page structure and the background
      12m 53s
    2. Working with web fonts
      4m 3s
    3. Styling a header
      11m 48s
    4. Adding header functions
      7m 40s
    5. Setting up content columns
      10m 9s
    6. Changing the main content
      5m 17s
    7. Managing the content code
      4m 48s
    8. Customizing the sidebar
      10m 32s
    9. Styling search
      7m 8s
    10. Working with search text
      5m 49s
    11. Integrating the footer
      9m 40s
  7. 27m 18s
    1. Setting up media queries
      6m 12s
    2. Customizing for tablets
      12m 19s
    3. Building smartphone layouts
      8m 47s
  8. 23m 28s
    1. Working with categories and posts
      5m 31s
    2. Developing category-driven pages
      11m 22s
    3. Changing headers by category
      6m 35s
  9. 36m 32s
    1. Adding Spry accordion panels
      17m 44s
    2. Working with Spry form validation
      11m 56s
    3. Integrating jQuery functionality
      6m 52s
  10. 11m 7s
    1. Understanding WordPress plugins
      6m 20s
    2. Styling plugin output
      4m 47s
  11. 25m 44s
    1. Customizing the Dashboard
      6m 52s
    2. Working with WordPress functions
      8m 7s
    3. Including administration interactivity
      10m 45s
  12. 13m 10s
    1. Setting up the data in WordPress
      2m 17s
    2. Adding dynamic data from WordPress to your web pages
      10m 53s
  13. 11m 38s
    1. Modifying general settings
      4m 12s
    2. Setting up users
      3m 11s
    3. Restricting access to specific WordPress pages
      4m 15s
  14. 26m 38s
    1. Exporting and importing WordPress files
      7m 9s
    2. Backing up and restoring the database
      8m 10s
    3. Transferring files
      6m 3s
    4. Testing and fine-tuning
      5m 16s
  15. 18s
    1. Next steps
      18s

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