WordPress is a great open-development community that encourages its users to innovate. But a few years ago, it started getting hard to keep up with those innovations. That’s when the WordPress Plugin Repository was born (currently hosted at http://WP-plugins.org).
The repository is a place where all WordPress plugins are pulled together and shared with the community of users. But more than that, it’s a place where developers can go to see what’s already out there, what they can base their new work on, and what needs to be improved. In addition to end-user utilities that anyone can download for their WordPress needs, there are plenty of development tools, including wiki-based version control and a bug tracker, that the WordPress development community is welcomed to use. Everything is licensed under GPL unless noted in the source, so almost everything is open.
If you’re new to the WordPress plugin repository but not to the WordPress support forums, you should login with your forum username and password; they are currently synced. If you have any problems, you should email the forum webmaster to ask what’s going on. Only logged-in users may edit on the Repository, though everyone is welcome to view what’s going on.
What’s Available on the WordPress Plugin Repository?
The Repository is designed to be a complete, organized, efficient method of seeing what’s in development and what has been developed for WordPress. As such, the core offerings here are the plugin directory and a robust version control mechanism. You can also use a special interface, downloadable for free, to work with the Repository more easily. The Repository is powered by Trac, a source control management and project management tool. Subversion is a wiki tool providing version control, and is also the source management tool WordPress is using today.
Developers using this directory can host all their WordPress developments for free, even organizing teamwork through the WordPress Plugin Repository. By hosting here, they have high visibility, can easily manage their code and track bugs, and develop wiki-based documentation with end users more easily than they could ever do it by themselves.
But developers without users are like stores without customers. WordPress users, too, are welcome to download plugins that are in alpha or beta form, or to download and use the plugins that are fully-functional but not integrated into WordPress yet. There are tools available for users to:
Browse plugins and themes available at the Repository
Download all desired plugins and themes from one stable location
Give their own feedback and suggestions to developers by using the tracker.
Help develop documentation and improvements by using the plugin’s wiki page.
Know what’s going on at all times by using RSS feeds.
Anyone developing or looking for WordPress plugins and themes is encouraged to use this resource. An email will get you the hosting you need for your project, and just coming and looking around will tell you a lot about what’s going on in the WordPress development world.
What Plugins Are Available Right Now?
While plugins are changing fast, a few core plugins are available and certainly worth the time they’ll take to check out. The best ones right now include:
Main Categories for WordPress allows you select “main” categories on your blog’s navigation bar. This allows you to highlight the parts of your blog you find most important, while still displaying everything else.
The WordPress DBManager manages your WordPress database so you don’t have to. Instead of worrying about lost data, you can use this manager to optimize, back up, restore, delete backed up databases, and even run queries for specific data.
WordPress Email allow you to send your blog entries to friends, enemies, or anyone you choose.
WordPress PageNavi gives you advanced page navigation.
WordPress Polls allows you to run the ever-popular polls and make the results public when you’re ready.
WordPress PostRatings allows you to have rating systems for your blog posts.
WordPress PostViews lets you display for users and for yourself how many times a post has been viewed.
WordPress Print will display for the user a printable version of any given WordPress blog post.
WordPress RelativeDate displays a relative date beside your post or comment actual date.
WordPress Stats displays WordPress statistics you want to brag about.
WordPress UserOnline allows you to note which users are currently browsing your blogs
WordPress Wap allows you to use a Wap-enabled cell phone to brows your WordPress blog entries from anywhere.
Other projects that are in development include:
A WordPress XHTML validator
Tons of tools for Python, including MySQL tools
Recording level monitor
An admin themer
A post editor enhancement
Fix broken links
Palm usage manager
There are always new things in development in the repository, like new themes and small fixes such as a way to make WordPress allow dashes.
Even if you’re not a developer or interested in expanding your blog beyond what it has now, it is a good idea to check out the Repository. It’s certain that many of the plugins provided or in development today will eventually be incorporated into the newer upgrades of WordPress. By keeping an eye on the Repository, you’ll know what new developments are around the corner ñ and by logging in and discussing them on the wiki logs, you’ll be able to give your own input regarding how things ought to be done. While there are other places to find WordPress plugins, it’s to be hoped that most people will use the Repository in the future, making life easier for everyone.