It occurred to me that most of us just use the plugins search tool in the WordPress Dashboard to find stuff, so I haven’t been moved to comment on a WordPress plugin for awhile now.
It’s easy to miss out on gems because of the sheer volume of plugins available though, so when I do find a plugin that stands out, I try to mention it.
Simple:Press, from Andy Staines and Steve Klasen, is just such a stand-out product. I use the term “product” loosely, of course, since this tool is Open Source, but it’s so slick and professional you’ll find that hard to believe.
For as long as I’ve used WordPress, a decent “bulletin board system”, “message board” or “forums” package has been tough to come by. There are a lot of packages and plugins out there that claim to integrate message boards seamlessly with WordPress, but this is the first time I’ve come across one that actually lives up to the hype.
Not that there’s actually hype. The WordPress bunch discuss this plugin with typical understated copy, but for WordPress users, this is revolutionary.
No more parsing through spaghetti code and inadequate documentation and hacking your way to a workable message board. Simple:Press works fine straight out of the “box”. Just download the zip file, go to your plugins “Add New” page, choose “Upload” and you’re almost done.
After that you have to click an installation link in the “Forum” Admin Menu in your WordPress back-end, configure some options, and presto – live forums! It also has SEO tools built-in, and other advanced features you generally only see executed this well in bulletin board systems that charge for licensing.
Bottom line: so far I love it!
Granted, I know the ins-and-outs of WordPress pretty well, but the only things I found mildly confusing were:
1. an error message that appeared in my page, which turned out to be an old lame plugin that needed uninstalling.
2. they ask you to create “Groups” and put your forums under said groups, which I didn’t really understand at first. Groups turned out to be names for top-level Forum categories, which have forums nested under them when you pull up the “Forum” page on your blog.
The fact that you can just install the plugin and be off to the races is HUGE.
Check it out. I installed a forum here while I was testing it. You can get to it using the “Forum” link up top.
It’s live, it’s working, and I’ve defined a bunch of forums areas. I’ll try to answer any questions put there if nobody else jumps in. Spammers beware! Simple:Press also makes it easy to prune spam and other lame-assery.
As for the rest of you, more soon!