Because WordPress is Open Source, and because there is a vast community of developers tweaking it for their own particular requirements, a vast library of plugins are available for you to install on your blog. A plugin is a small piece of code that adds functionality to your blog. Some are extremely simple, others are complex and have far reaching effects on your site. The screencast below shows you how simple it is to install and activate a plugin to your blog, but I would offer these words of caution:
- Because plugins are developed by the WordPress community, they are often only tested on particular versions of WordPress and frequently not at all on WordPress MU which is what Creative Blogs runs. This doesn’t mean that the plugin won’t work, it just means that it needs testing before you add it to all blogs. Don’t underestimate the importance of this step: we cannot guarantee that we can restore a broken blog to its previous state if a plugin causes problems. I suggest you set up a test blog that you use to install plugins on to see if they work.
- Once you’ve installed a plugin, and it seems to work, leave it running on a single blog for a while to see if it behaves as you expect and no further issues come to light.
- Only then should you propagate it across all blogs.
- You should also be aware that when WordPress releases new code that sometimes means plugins no longer work and require the plugin developer to do some work to fix them. With popular plugins this usually happens quickly, but there are no guarantees.
It will be extremely valuable to the Creative Blogs community of schools if you provide feedback for any plugin that you try. I have used the Creative ICT Ning site to set up a forum for people to discuss plugins, if you are not a member, please sign up to add your knowledge.
Installing a Plugin
In order to install a plugin on WordPress MU you need to be a WordPress MU admin.
This link will take you to a screencast that describes the process of installing a plugin: scissors_plugin