Five plugins (and a theme) to improve Textpattern

Warning This article was written over six months ago, and may contain outdated information.

Following on from my previous post, I thought I’d explore in a little more detail how I like to optimise my Textpattern installation when starting a new site. While TXP has a pretty good setup out of the box, there are a few more steps I like to take to really make it zing.

Bear in mind that I’ve only really noticed the power of TXP in the last year or so, and there may be a heap of other plugins that I’m unaware of; listed below are just my favourites that I’ve discovered so far.

First, as I mentioned before, is the Restyled Admin Interface theme. I find the default admin theme to be plain (if not ugly) and the tabs and links too small, so this modified theme makes it a little fresher and easier to use. Also, if you’re delivering a TXP site to a client, you may want to consider a branded interface.

TXP uses keywords to provide folksonomic descriptions of articles, but on a fresh install they have no interactive properties. Tru_tags (latest (undocumented) release available here) extends keywords into a full-featured tagging utility, allowing you to categorise and increase the findability of your articles.

A must for any modern blogging software (sadly) is a spam filter, and mem_akismet integrates the popular (and excellent) Akismet filter into TXP. You will need a API key, however.

Another vital feature is provided by wet_parachute, which flashes up an alert if you navigate away from an article without saving your data. I’ve lost incomplete articles in this way before; this would have saved me the time I spent rewriting them.

For the times when you need to take your site offline temporarily: cbs_maintenance_mode provides a switch to toggle between states, and displays a 503 error message page.

Once your site is up and running, rah_sitemap generates a compatible XML file which will aid search engines to crawl your site. The default options should be sufficient, but a customisation panel is also provided for you to fine-tune the output.

I think these five plugins and the admin theme mod provide tweaks that really complement the already impressive default install; in fact, I’d suggest that their functionality be rolled into the next release.

That said, there are so many plugins available that I’m sure I’ve missed some important ones; if so, do be sure and let me know in the comments.

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