Developer Dispatch » WordPress Plug-Ins That I’d Like to See

WordPress Plug-Ins That I’d Like to See

I’ve been using WordPress for various sites for a number of years. Rarely have I been able to use it as-is. Usually, I have to go into the code and make some changes to get things to work the way I want. But recently I was lectured by someone about this. I should be using plug-ins (AKA add-ons) instead of modifying code.
It is true that modifying the WordPress code has one huge disadvantage: it is very hard to update to the latest version of WordPress. Before any update, I need to go though the new files and add my little changes. It makes it a pain and I end up skipping updates because of it.
Writing my own plug-ins is no going to happen. Do I add WordPress to my growing list of expertise? There just isn’t enough room in my brain.
So if there are any WordPress plug-in programmers out there looking for some ideas. Here are four plug-ins that I would love to see. Or, if you know of a plug-in that does this, let me know.
1. Private Tags
Tags are a useful way to organize your posts. I use tags to indicate topics covered in a post. But I also use them for other things. For instance, if a post is to be included in newsletter number 43, I tag it n43. The problem is that those tags appear in lists and clouds that the public can see. I’d like to be able to indicate that a tag is “private” and not use it in lists and clouds that the public sees. The post should be visible, sure, just not that it is tagged with that particular tag.
2. Indented Paragraphs
This one has driven me crazy since the dawn of WordPress. I want each paragraph in a post to have a little space after it, to separate it from the next paragraph. In addition, I’d like the first line of each paragraph to be indented, like it would be in a book or newspaper.
Now, there are tons of ways to do this if you are writing a post. But what if you want to apply a change like this to all of your previous posts. This is difficult to do as a WordPress modification, and I’ve never seen it work quite right.
3. Daily Status Report: Number of users, plug-ins, comments, images, etc.
A common WordPress break-in technique includes the addition of plug-ins to your install. So you can avoid a lot by simply confirming that no new plug-ins have been added. A good way to do this is via email. I’d love a plug in that send me a status email every day with the number of plug-ins and any changes. And while it is doing that, it might as well tall me if any new users have been created, the number of comments added, etc. This would be a useful tool to look for any anomalies.
4. Email Alert on Login
With all of the nasty people and bots out there targeting WordPress installations, I’ve come up with a variety of WordPress modifications to make it more secure. Some of those revolve around the fact that I rarely let people register for my sites — doing so only creates another ID and password for them to remember, a huge database of users for me to maintain, and doesn’t seem to cut down comment spam or have many other positive benefits.
So if someone tries to log on, it should be me. So I’ve modified WordPress to simply email me when someone logs on. Every once in a while I get someone (or a bot) trying to do this. I get their IP address and add them to my firewall. I also see what user name and ID they used, so I can monitor their attempts.
5. Access Restriction
I’ve seen the horrors of a WordPress break-in. It used to be able to happen no matter how secure your server, passwords or firewall was. Things are better with the latest versions of WordPress, but I’ve learned to take nothing for granted.
You should be able to restrict admin login, or access to any admin page, by things like IP address or even browser type. Not everyone has a static ID, but this could be useful for those of us that do. And perhaps the ability to change the standard directories and file names. So instead of wp-admin or wp-content it could be something else, which would really make it hard for a lot of the WordPress hacking scripts out there.
Now I know how to do all of these — I have done all of these — but as code base modifications, not plug-ins. I’m fine with that other than the pain it takes to update. But I think WordPress would be a better platform if some enterprising developer wrote plug-ins for all of these.

Posted on September 7, 2009 at 9:00 pm by Gary Rosenzweig · Permalink
In: General