Plugins are an ever-moving thing in WordPress. As the internet and WordPress core evolves and moves on, so WordPress plugins come and go. About 18 months ago I blogged about The Life And Times of WordPress Plugins. This is a follow up, of sorts, looking back at my plugin usage, and trying to predict my future use.
Those That Were
Media Tags – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/media-tags/
This was a real must-have for my work. We have to use cases for media items: being able to group them and attaching meta data to them. A trivial example would be a list of sponsor logos with links to their websites. It now doesn’t get used that much. WordPress core has added the ability to assign taxonomies to attachments. And our sponsors data has grown more complex and become a custom post type. It may continue to fill a niche, but I think that much like scissors it has done the best it can: inspired WordPress core to improve.
Those That Are
Posts 2 Posts – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/posts-to-posts/
I just can’t live without this plugin. I use it to create complex profiles for users. Lets say you want your speakers to be able to login and update their profile? Easy, use P2P to link a WordPress user to any number of speaker profiles. Now you have separation and control over the auth credentials and the profile data. Really useful. Now you want to assign your speaker profiles to a bunch of seminars. These relationship can be defined, built and controlled programmatically.
Gravity Forms – http://www.gravityforms.com/
Not a free plugin! But I lost count of how much time (and money!) this has saved me (and therefore those that pay me). There some things about it that rather rub me the wrong way, but life without it would be full of boring manual form building. I have used other form plugins in the past, but they broke too easily. Being able to export and import forms seamlessly is a must.
Those That Will Be
A great compliment plugin to posts 2 posts. Being able to easily add custom fields to custom post types quickly and easily is not only just plain useful, but really speeds up development time. It is still quite clunky in places. I foresee that it will become slicker. And is possibly even a contender for being considered for absorption into WordPress core. With the emphasis on post formats in WordPress 3.6, and the implied requirement of different input fields based on type of some sort, I can see the attachment of meta data to varying post types being standardised.