Web developing with WordPress has become a standard process for some us. Of the last dozen or so web sites I’ve worked on only 2 have not had a WordPress back-end. With regularity comes the need for tools that you can count on and a work flow that is easily maintained.
For me, the key to a good solid WordPress install is establishing a set of commonly used (and reliable) plugins that can be uploaded with your core WP files so that you can install them right away. In a way you are just creating your own default WP installation that suits your work flow and style of developing.
Here is my short list of essential WordPress plugins that make my life a lot easier:
- Classy wp_list_pages : Anyone who works with CSS knows that the last and first items in a list are most likely to need special treatment. In WordPress a lot of navigation works off of auto-generated lists of pages and posts hence the need for more control. I wish I had found this plugin a year earlier than I did this is now a must have for my work flow.
- HITS-IE6 PNG Fix : A fairly comprehensive plugin that provides you with 5 different PNG fix methods for Internet Explorer 6. As PNGs become more and more popular—as well as being preferred by designers who love gradients and drop shadows—the need for PNG fixing is obvious. Very simple, reliable plugin that will do the work for you.
- PHPEnkoder : I’m a big fan of the HIVE Logic Enkoder in both its on-line and desktop (mac only) forms. So when I discovered that someone had developed a plugin based on their Enkoder I knew I’d like it. This plugin takes any ‘mailto:’ link in your posts and scrambles it so that Bots can’t get your email address… which means less spam. (Note: I have seen this plugin conflict with other plugins so make sure you test. Specifically this does not work well with Shopp because it scrambles email addresses that are entered when ordering)
- Contact Form 7 : Hands down one of the most powerful and convenient plugins you will find for WordPress. Allows you to create PHP based forms that include validation and send the entry as an email to any address you want.
Those are just the four essential plugins I use for most web sites I work on. If you are looking for a good calendar I suggest Event Calendar 3 and if you need to embed flash content (as I did on this site) I suggest you check out ph-embed Flash.