When users complained about inline links that are becoming way too obtrusive, someone was bound to find the answer. Jeremy Curry has created the WordPress Plugin Linknotes. These are like footnotes, only with links.

Plugins

WordPress is a state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform that focuses on aesthetics, web standards and usability. Plugins are the tools to extend the functionality of WordPress. The core of WordPress is designed to maximize flexibility and minimize code bloat. Plugins provide a way to offer custom functions and features that will enable each user to tailor their site to their specific needs.

As the purpose is to extend functionality, not all WordPress users require plugins. At best, some may only require a few and not every plugin that is available. The choice list is long thus it is up to the user to determine what is required based on his/her specific circumstance.

WordPress plugins are designed by volunteers and are available for free to the public. However, plugins are the responsibility of the author and the user. They are all works-in-progress as WordPress continues to grow and expand.

The creators of plugins are the people who saw the need and came up with the solution. Many needed the solution for their own site thereby providing the opportunity to see the plugin in action. Others develop plugins for someone else when they had the time to do it.

Not all plugins are easily installed but authors and developers try to make the process as easy as possible. There are a few things one needs to know before installing any plugin. Since there are several versions of WordPress currently available, different plugins are likewise available for the different versions.

The first thing to do is to get the correct information before installing. This can be done by reading through the readme files and web pages including any comments regarding the plugin on an author’s website. Installation is much easier when equipped with the right information. Plugins require downloading and uploading to install.
Plugins may also require modifying WordPress files and templates thus familiarity with PHP, HTML, CSS and CHMOD may be necessary. Make a note in the code of any changes done to the files or templates by using comments before and after the changes and also in a text file saved to one’s site and on one’s desktop to serve as reminder of any additions or modifications to default files or templates. This will assist the user if there is any need to repeat the procedure in case of any future problems with the site.

Before installing any plugin that will result to dramatic changes, frequent backups of database and files should be made. Some plugins work independently of a blog’s content and file and only adds a little something special to the page. Others would require modification of content and file, including changes in database. The user should make sure that the plugin will work in his/her existing version. Upgrading is an option to consider when a plugin cannot work for a particular version.

Troubleshooting Plugins

Problems arising from plugin installation or one that stopped working after upgrading would request some steps to remedy. The user should check whether the author’s instruction has been followed to the letter. Any plugin tags or usage within the template files should be checked for correctness, right spelling and appropriate placement. The file should be uploaded to the plugins folder under wp. content. When a new version is being uploaded to replace the old, the old version prior to uploading should be deleted.

The user should check whether the plugin has been activated in the Plugin Panel of his/her Administration Panels. Deactivating and reactivating the plugin would verify if it makes it work. Visiting the plugin author’s website which is typically linked from the Plugin Panel will show if there are other people having the same problem and if an answer has been posted. It also updates the user whether a new version has been released.

The plugin authors can be directly contacted through their website or email requesting assistance. It is possible that someone else might have found the answer to the same problem a user is experiencing. Searching the Internet for the name of the plugin and the trouble being experienced can provide the elusive solution. Another way is to visit the WordPress Support Forum and post a clear question about the plugin and the problem. If the problem persists and there seems to be no solution in sight, the user should check other similar plugins to use.

Some plugins may become outdated and may no longer work with the newer version of WordPress. Most authors will upgrade their plugins to accommodate the newer version. Others will not thus the plugin becomes obsolete with the improvements in WordPress.

The Linknotes Plugin

This plugin allows the user to make links in his/her blog posts appear like footnotes. Installation is very easy as in other WordPress Plugins. However, the text should be formatted appropriately for usage. Normal links would simply need to have the Link. quicktag clicked in the Write Post page to enter the URI.

Jeremy Curry, the developer of Linknotes has added quicktags to the plugin. This addition would no longer require the replacement or editing of any files just by downloading VO.3. Linknotes is considered by many as the blog version of footnotes. Linknotes only affect the post content and pages but not excerpts or any other body of content.

Curry developed this plugin when he read that someone was in need of such as a solution. He went off to the WordPress Support Forums and couldn’t find anything that was exactly what he wanted. He then proceeded to work on it.

Since it was difficult to do it from scratch, he used the Textile Plugin as the base. He removed some features from it and added a bunch of modifications. He came up with the Linknotes plugin which was more customizable, bloglines- friendly and has quick tag buttons which can easily be turned on or off in the plugin file. This answers the requirement of making a link to open in a new window.

The quicktag also adds a superscript number beside the word or phrase which was hyperlinked. This would tell the reader that there has been a Linknote added which he/she can refer to after consuming the whole post. This plugin hopes to do away with the disruptive practice of having hyperlinks in the middle of the sentence.

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