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The process of installing WordPress plugins is really a pretty straightforward one. Anytime you install a plugin, really all you're doing is copying a folder into a specific directory in the WordPress environment. Sometimes we can download plugins from third-party sites that aren't through the WordPress directory. In the case of CLICKY--although you can get to get through the WordPress site-- they do allow you to download it directly from their web site. So you can see I can click Download the Clicky WordPress Plugin now, which downloaded the plugin.
I can than manually install this from this Plugin screen in the Add New and then clicking on Upload. What this will do is I can upload a ZIP file. It will extract the ZIP file and put it into that directory. So you can see I've got clicky here in my downloads directory. Install Now, and it's installed. And really, basically this is all that's happening with the widgets and the plugins that we are getting from the WordPress directory.
It's just downloading a ZIP file from that web site, extracting it, and uploading it to a specific folder. If we were to take a look inside the development environment--I'm in PDT now-- this is my WordPress installation. There's a number of directories in here. One of them is content and under content, I have plugins. So I had to refresh them there by right- clicking on the Refresh option to see any new ones that existed since the last time I was in this environment.
You can see here is clicky. If I were to open it up, you can see there's a number of different images. There is some language information, so they can work in different environments. There's a readme.txt file, which tells some information about it, and there is a PHP file. This is the actual plugin itself, and we'll get more into how to develop these later. You can also see the other plugins I have. Hello php is the Hello, Dolly. akismet, we talked about earlier.
social-links and tweet-this are also third-party ones that I've downloaded. You can see in some instances they install as directories, or they can install as files. In any case, all plugins in the WordPress environment are simply a php file either on its own or in a directory that's uploaded to the WordPress installation/wp-content/plugins directory. Whether you download them from the WordPress Plugin Directory, or you upload your own ZIP, or you actually manually copy a folder into here, any of those methodologies will work.
Once they're in here, they will become available as a WordPress plugin.
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