In the early days of WordPress (2005) and WP-plugins there was usually only one plugin to do the job. Today there are many. So the task comes to sorting out which plugins are the right ones for the job and which ones are the best.
PDF viewing on site
I have been looking for a solution for giving my visitor the option to view PDFs I create on my site without having to download the PDF.
- Third Party Services
There is a service for this called Scribd.com. They use a technology called iPaper to present your material. As best I can tell, you upload your document and then they convert it to flash and present your content as flash in a custom flash viewer. It works great. There is also a WordPress plugin to pull your hosted content to your WordPress website. Actually there are two plugins at the time of my writing iPaper and Simpler iPaper. I found that iPaper was the easier plugin to work with.
If you are into using GoogleDocs then there is a plugin for presenting GoogleDocs in the same way as documents submitted to Scribd.com. It is called Google Doc Embedder.
Embedit.in is another snazzy third party service. I have not tried it but it seems to work well and has some built in analytics for seeing who downloads your document.
Docstoc.com is yet anther third party service for serving documents.This review pits it and scribid.com against embedit.in
Zoho Apps is a rival service to Google Docs, they have a viewer for the files which users create with their online apps or add to their services. So if you are using an office document work flow which uses Zoho Apps you can embed these with ease with viewer. According to this review, Zoho Viewer lets users do three things:
- view documents
- share document as URLs
- embed documents
- Self-Hosted and Self-Contained
- Self-Hosted SWF
However, in general, I do not like using third party services, after a while I forget what content I have in “the cloud” and I like to keep as small a digital footprint as possible. So I found a third solution. There is a plugin called WordPressPDF. This one requires that you convert your PDF files to SWF files and then presents them on your site without requiring a third party service. It did require the installation of swftools to do the PDF to SWF conversion. However this seems a small price to pay for leaving a smaller digital foot print.
- A second
solutionthat I found in use was to use http://www.fpdf.org/ which is a PHP class to view PDFs the technical skill required to implement it was beyond my current time to develop. There was also another viewer mentioned here. with it’s code on Google Code but I could not figure out how to download the whole set of files out of Google Code.
Keeping track of “To Dos”
There are so many cool things you can do with web pages and with WordPress. I needed a way to track all the things that I wanted to do. I have tried three plugins for this.
- Admin Notes ajax jquery
The first, Admin Notes ajax jquery, added a blue box at the top of all my admin pages to which I could add “To Do” items however this increased the load time of my admin pages by at least 3 seconds under heavy use. So it had to go.
- WordPress Admin Notepad Plugin
The second, WordPress Admin Notepad Plugin, added a single “scratch paper” spot through the settings tab. This was not accessible enough. It seems more ideal for passing notes between users on a WordPress install.
- Peter’s Post Notes
The third, Peter’s Post Notes, Is the winner! is by far the best plugin for my uses because it keeps track of notes on a per page or per post basis. So I only see the notes which are relevant to the current post.
- Note Pad
A long time ago, I also used Chris Davis’s Note Pad plugin it allowed me to make a note in the admin area and then easily change it to a post draft. I could not get this plugin to work with a current version of WordPress.
- Stats on content downloaded from my site.
There are several plugins out there for tracking stats. I found that the best one was WordPress Download Monitor.
I compared that with Download Counter and WordPress Download Monitor simply gave me more controls and more options. I use this plugin to see how many people download content I distribute or recommend through our newsletters. I then compare this with how many people were sent an update/newsletter.
- Where Are people from?
- What are they viewing? and How?
- Counterize II
Counterize II is an awesome plugin. I have been using since 2005. However it has dropped IP address tracking. There have been several attempts to put that back in. This was headed up by a fellow of the moniker beardedknight on the WP forums. He had a detailed description on his site on how to mod this plugin but his site has since vanished from the Internet.
It does need a few fixes as mentioned here:
- WP Stats
There are other option like Google analytics and Mint which I have not investigated.
- There is still the outstanding question, “Who exactly is viewing my content?”
I still have not answered this question. There are several questions which need to be answered yet – like who is my target, and how do I want them to access it? i.e. log-in free browse. etc.
Get people to view your site with a browser other than Internet Explorer.
Again there are several plugins. They take two different approaches one is Pro-FireFox (from spreadfirefox.com), the others are anti-IE6.
This is a really sensitive, but serious issue. As a web-developer I do not want people using a browser that is less secure than a modern browser like Firefox 3.5.3+. However, there is another reason to encourage a browser other than IE, and that is I don’t want to have to recode each page in an IE friendly manner. This is just too much work.
- Spread Firefox
The spreadfirefox plugin got annoying because it showed it’s logo all the time even when viewed in FireFox and it created a huge footer.. So I yanked it.
- IE Warning
The IE Warning plugin was a bit friendlier and had a really cool custom panel where I could customize the CSS applying to the warning.
- Shockingly Big IE6 Warning
But in the end I went with the Shockingly Big IE6 Warning because it had the best admin panel and the most customization options.
- Anti IE6 Army
Anti IE6 Army was not tested but appears to be a plugin of similar function.
How do you keep a page from showing up in the menu?