What Plugins Do You Use?

Published on January 7, 2007 at 1:15 PM EST
In the Discussions category.

The chefs let you into their kitchen to reveal what’s in their spice rack!

Six Apart is running a little survey about what plugins Movable Type users have installed. (This link will take you right to their survey.) It’s exciting to know that the input we give will receive serious consideration in the direction that future versions of MT will take. Plus, it’s a plugin survey; I love plugin surveys.

I think filling out the survey only provides a tiny glimpse at the plugins, unfortunately. I’ve never even tried many of the available plugins, let alone do I know what they all do. If I knew why somebody is using a certain plugin I might have to install it for myself. So, below’s a quick look at what I have installed and why. All are running on an MT 3.33 installation.

  • Acronym provides tooltips to your acronyms and abbreviations. Examples: MT, HTML, and CSS. It’s easy to add more to the list of default ones, too.
  • Better Entry Preview provides an easy-to-read proofreading preview that I use after writing an entry. Disclaimer: I wrote this plugin. (It’s worth noting that LivePreview is a much better choice if you want a preview of what your published entry looks like.)
  • Better File Uploader is essential for uploading more than just a couple of photos, as is typical on danandsherree.com. Without a doubt, this has become my most-valued plugin, and the largest time-saver when doing any blogging. Disclaimer: I wrote this plugin.
  • I only occasionally use Icon-o-matic, which provides an easy way to reuse art like emoticons. I suppose that’s ok, though, because I wrote it for an entirely different project.
  • MT-Akismet works to keep spam away, and does a very good job of it.
  • MT-Notifier keeps commenters in touch with each other about an entry.
  • MT-Quicktags is an unreleased plugin I’ve written. It adds Alex King’s JS Quicktags to the entry editing interface. Eventually I’ll add some more functionality and release it.
  • MTCollate is a very powerful plugin that allows you to sort and organize a blog for presentation in just about any way imaginable. At one time I used it quite extensively, but I don’t even know if I’m using it at all anymore.
  • I consider MainMenuRecent a tiny plugin that doesn’t do much—but that little thing it does improves the usability of MT significantly: MainMenuRecent will display the most recent entries for each weblog on the Main Menu screen.
  • Plugin Network provides quick notification of plugin updates and new plugins.
  • PreviousNextInCategory provides a simple function that is pretty much explained by its name. I think this plugin ought to be in the core list of template tags.
  • Publishing Buttons lets me click Publish or Save as Draft, rather than selecting the option from a drop-down dialog and hitting save. It’s just a little nicety. Disclaimer: I wrote this plugin.
  • RateIt allows visitors to rate an entry on a 1-5 scale. The plugin works well if you’re using it on only one blog and it’s not too big, but its shortcomings become obvious if you have grander plans for it.
  • SimpleComments will combine comments and TrackBacks into a single list—after all they’re both comments, just different kinds of comments.
  • SmartyPants provides typographically correct punctuation: ” and ’ rather than ", for example. It’s a detail that really completes the presentation of any good (or bad!) site design. The typographer in me loves it.
  • UpdateEntryDate is another plugin that does something small but significant: it adds a button to update an entry time/date-stamp to the current time and date.
  • Widon’t keeps widows out of your post titles. (A widow is a single word that appears on its own line.) This is another plugin that makes typographers happy.
  • ArchiveYear is a plugin that should be a part of the MT core, in my opinion. As the name implies, it provides the tags necessary to create yearly archives. The original is no longer available, but is available from Movalog, and instructions are on LMT
  • Spamlookup is a set of good spam-fighting plugins bundled with MT. Enough said!

Are any of these plugins new to you? Do they sound interesting? Give them a try.