Sparked by a tweet, this is reposted from a conversation here (thanks to Alan) but I figured that much writing ought to also be a blog post.


flickr photo shared by Internet Archive Book Images with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons)


And a pre-warning, I may have overdone this . . . .
As a secondary warning, I may not give the best advice. Add grains of salt as needed.

There seems to be two big buckets here for me. One is managing a large multisite and stuff around that. The other is plugins that are useful when helping people build educational things.

Security/Management
Be careful with security plugins associated with IP addresses (Jetpack got me early on, more on that later). That can turn bad very quickly if your school shares IPs etc.

iframe related – I’ve done iframes via the plugin Alan mentioned but found that getting people to do that was a hassle, I wrote a little plugin that I activate blog by blog that adds a chunk of allowed iframe parameters to the kses file. This way they keep doing things the way they think they should and since this is done for faculty, I figure I can trust them.

Jetpack has been a big hassle for me. I would find alternate routes if possible but we got in deep and now I don’t see any decent way out.
If you do use jetpack . . . you’ll want jetpack pruner which can hide modules and one to prevent auto activation of things (which JP does in a very irritating fashion).

I’ve got a random network activated plugin that I’m filling with stuff like . . .

function wp_remove_version() {
return '';
}
add_filter('the_generator', 'wp_remove_version');

which will hide the wp version. That concept has been useful.

dash alert

I do network notices in the dashboard with this plugin. Someday I’ll get around to making it provisioned via an interface or via a particular blog post category or something. There are probably lots of ways to do this but I find this simple and functional. I network activate it to apply and turn it off otherwise. It’ll give you whatever you put in but the example produces the image above.

User Switching – I think @timmmmyboy got me started on this one but essential for troubleshooting

Bulk delete – handy for all sorts of things, like cloning (wpmu dev plugin – although costly in terms of processor on larger sites) then emptying a site

Domain mapping – for custom domains

Plugin manager – show/hide plugins from the masses. You’ll see them all (which can lead to confusion) but it keeps you from overwhelming people with 100s of plugins while still having the options for you when you need them.

Image controller – something to keep people from uploading giant images- imsanity is one, wmpu dev does smush pro

More Privacy Options – let’s people set different privacy levels per site. While I’m not a huge fan of the concept, the plugin works well and people pretty much demand it.

import users from csv – get people in quickly, set their roles, passwords etc.

DESIGN/FUNCTIONALITY FOR THE HUMANS
Exclude categories – keep certain categories out of certain places (or include just particular categories). Handy to make the front page a list of blog posts that are in the category ‘announcements.’

Gravity Forms with quiz/survey add ons – basically you can do anything from guiding content that becomes a wp post, to self-grading quizzes (ick but still . . .). It does many, many tricks and is flexible enough to do much, much more with a bit of php.

Events Calendar gets my vote for best date related option. I bought the pro version.

Page List – lets you show particular content in particular places – it’s kind of an end around on creating child themes or having a wysiwyg theme.

Bootstrap-Based Themes/Bootstrap shortcodes – While bootstrap is a “heavy” framework, it is popular and it gives you consistent CSS/html language between themes. You don’t have to re-figure out how this particular theme does foundational things and you know it’s all nicely responsive. The shortcodes plugin gives users access to collapsible divs, tool tips etc. It’s nice and handy but people get confused about using it just with bootstrap themes.

geo mashup – for mapping posts to Google Maps locations for display. It’s not pretty initially but it works well. I use it with a Google Maps API/gravity forms thing I built and it works very well.

Alan’s export options is useful for talk around metrics and grading.

We also use the Google Folder embed plugin regularly to allow restricted access to PDF readings etc.

Leave a Reply