Technology

WordPress Development

When there isn’t a plugin for that

June 26, 2012

Elisha Terada

By Elisha Terada

There isn’t a plugin for every problem

Occasionally, we encounter situations where none of 19,000+ WordPress plugins seem to solve the problem. When it makes sense to do so, we develop our own plugins to help solve our problems for us and our clients. We’ve created few WordPress plugins so far and we’d like to introduce two such plugins that we’ve created and are widely used on most of our client sites.

Fresh Shortcode

In short, shortcodes help reduce the amount of code and time to create good looking and content rich pages. For example, the button you see below, which links to our Contact page, can be created with a single line of code.

[button link=”/contact/”]Contact us[/button]

The button above is rendered simply by using the following code on our website:

[button link="/contact/"]Contact us[/button]

If you are to write the same code without the shortcode, it will look messy like this:

<a class="fresh_button" style="display: inline-block; font-size: 18px; color: #ffffff; background-color: #7faf1b; ;margin: 0; width: auto; height: auto;" title="Contact us" onclick="" href="/contact/" rel="" target="_self">Contact us</a>

Shortcodes have been around for sometime and are included with many themes. However, most of them do not give enough flexibility to customize the appearance and behavior of the Shortcode to meet the demand of various clients. Not only that, even themes which include Shortcodes often lack useful Shortcodes available in other themes. We decided to create our own Shortcode plugin that contains frequently used elements with maximum flexibility to meet any kind of demand.

In a nutshell, the Fresh Code plugin achieves following objectives:

  • Reduce the amount of code in posts / pages clients need to edit
  • Reduce the time it takes to code, which translates into cost saving for client and faster development of the site
  • Be able to consistently use popular Shortcode on client sites regardless of the theme used

Fresh Start

Without a list of items to check against, it’s easy to forget key tasks that need to be completed before launching a new website. While there are many ways to create and update checklist items, we found it sometimes difficult to even remember to update the checklist when the list is not in an obvious place.

Fresh Launch Checklist

So we thought it’d be helpful to have customizable checklist for each client right in the WordPress back-end. We even built a reminder notification message on the WordPress admin pages which displays on all pages until we check off each item. This tight integration of checklist and client website proved to be much better solutions for us than to use any external checklist application.

It’s not about reinventing a wheel

Our key to success in the two plugins mentioned above is that their flexibility allows them to be used to solve specific problems for multiple clients. We discourage reinventing a wheel on any given project. However, there are times when it’s not acceptable to compromise the quality of the product by limiting ourselves to what others have already created.

 

Elisha Terada

Elisha Terada

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