A request for WordPress plugin ideas

As a front-end web developer, I am regularly working with clients and fellow freelancers, to create a wonderful looking, well working website that fits the client’s needs. With that, I am working in the browser and utilizing tools and technologies to achieve these goals. When needs are greater than my knowledge allows or budget/time restraints are in place, plug-ins are utilized to help get the job done in the end. With the proliferation of WordPress as more than a blogging utility, many use needs have risen, and many smart developers have produced the tools to fill those needs. It is with this idea that I write this post.

If you are a WordPress user, whether as an end user or a website designer/developer, what are some areas in your use that you find yourself regularly needing filled? I would love to hear from you with some of your needs that you’d love to have a plug-in solution for. I am interested in expanding my knowledge and I feel that developing some plug-ins would be a wonderful way to go about this. However, I don’t want to just re-create, for example, another Twitter WordPress plug-in. I’d prefer to do what I can to help fill a unique need or one that hasn’t been well addressed.

So please, let me know of any ideas you have or needs you’d like filled, and I’ll see what I can do for you. Hopefully it results in a plug-in for you and others who have the same need.

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47 thoughts on “A request for WordPress plugin ideas

  1. One thing that I have not found anywhere is a ‘fluid/adaptive’ slider that works on sites like twenty-eleven.

    If you build a fully fluid template then everything must be % based with no fixed images/videos etc. (Anything fixed will break fluid column layouts)

    Every single slider on the market requires a fixed width to be set in order to function.

    I did manage to build one myself that works pretty well, but it is very basic. I am guessing that as more and more people start to use fluid themes with css3 media queries, that the demand for fluid sliders will only increase.

    *Warning*
    This is NOT an easy project and it requires pretty decent math and js skills to pull off.

  2. Here’s a few ideas for you:

    1.) Page-specific meta boxes

    WordPress would be more user-friendly as a CMS if meta boxes only showed up on the pages where they were relevant. I use More Fields to generate custom meta boxes / fields but it lacks this feature. It only needs to be simple, e.g. comma delimit page IDs for where this meta box should appear.

    2.) Cross-linked posts

    Imagine you have created a custom post type called “Adverts” or “Support panels” where you define a set of items. You then need to be able to define which pages these items appear on (ideally using checkboxes).

    I’ve yet to find a plugin which dynamically generates a list of options e.g. when you add a new post, it will update the meta box to include this as an extra checkbox option.

    Basically the idea is to assign relationships between posts. Could also be useful for things like “related links” – so when on the page editor you can select 3 pages which relate to the one you’re on and then display links at the bottom of the page content accordingly.

    All it would need to do would be to return an array of page IDs with a function like and it’d be easy to do a multitude of things!

      1. Not sure if this entirely covers your cross-linked posts request but I use this plugin on one of my sites to relate posts to each other.

        https://wordpress.org/plugins/related/

        You can select as many related posts as you want and drag and drop the order. It then displays a link at the bottom for the related post(s).

  3. Hey, I learned about your post from WPCandy. I think WordPress needs a lot of help with its built-in commenting system. It needs a default commenting system that’s, at least, as sophisticated as Disqus and the other ones. I did write a little about that topic here. This also is a very major undertaking, I think, but many great projects were built by people who were trying to learn…

    @shawn, what’s a fluid/adaptive slider? Do you have an example of fully fluid template sites?

  4. It’s been a while since I have looked to see if a plugin like this exists. I found 1 that got close to it, but it was super clunky…

    Having the ability on ay post, or page I guess, to be able to upload as many images as possible in the same fashion you would set a featured image. This way you get full access to the thumbnail sizes it generates.

    So imagine just one of many scenarios, a portfolio post on some kind of project where you want to show off a bunch of pictures related to this project. You upload as many as you want and then in the theme’s code you are able to loop through images and do what you will with the raw image paths. This would allow the images to be used in almost any scenario. Slider, simple unordered list, etc.

    Although the given scenario above would really only be useful for someone comfortable with theme dev. I suppose it could have some sort shortcode with some default markup resulting in an UL.

    But anyways, I always thought this would be handy and have wanted to look into what it would take to create it myself, but who am I kidding, the time is just never there ^_^

    Good luck, Michael!

    1. I could see this being capable and have actually used similar functionality in client work as of late. The way they did it is custom meta boxes. I’ve got some experience in that area and just tie the resulting data to custom fields. Gives easy-ish interface for users and easy use in the theme dev to pull and display. Thanks for the well wishes!

      1. True, I have handled similar scenarios in the same fashion before but what it lacks is the thumbnail generation like setting a featured image does, and for an end user it is just another step to have train them to upload the mage, grab the image path then paste it in come custom field box.

        Anywho, looks like you’ve got quite a few comments, hope it’s going well ^_^

  5. Hi Michael,

    Came here from the WPCandy post….

    I had a plugin developed last January to solve an issue requested often by our clients…how to hide the widget titles on the frontend, but still see them on the backend?

    There are a few ways to do this, but because there is no widget title filter (as of yet) we opted to hide the widget title using CSS based on a class. The problem is that different themes write different classes for widget titles.

    So, in essence, our plugin only works for some people.

    Our plan was to have this fixed and run through an array of all possible classes, but have not had the ability to hire it out.

    I would be very appreciative if you had a look at our plugin description and code and considered this as an inclusion in your call for plugins.

    Below are some relevant links, and please feel free to contact me directly at the email on this comment or through our site.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/hide-widget-title/
    http://wpmodder.com/hide-widget-titles-wordpress-plugin-1147.html

  6. That is already EXIST:
    http://matmarquis.com/carousel/

    Here an adaptive slider, easy to be adopted into WordPress πŸ™‚

    What misses from WordPress is a booking system for Hotels. AT the moment, many people setup WordPress sites for Hotels, and they all use Gravity forms to produce a simple but elegant form for Booking. There is nothing that can Work for WordPress πŸ™‚

  7. An event/location map plugin.

    There are event plugins that will show events in a list until they expire. Event Espresso, others.

    There are map plugins for locations. Store Locator is one, but it is buggy and no longer supported. One nice things is when you hover over the map markers, you get a tooltip popup that can contain an image and information.

    I would like to see an Event Locator plugin. Events will show up on the map with an html tooltip popup until they expire. A Google Earth looking map would be nice.

    Ideally this should be compatible with Genesis and will work with multisite installs. Each subsite should be able to put their event information on the main map.

    1. Ironically, I actually had a similar idea with this except my idea was targeting more musicians/touring people. It’d take the list of their upcoming gigs and add markers to a map. So kudos for similar mindedness.

      Noted and we’ll see if anything comes of it.

      1. It could work for trade shows, bands, sporting events, pub crawls, bike runs, speaking events, church events, marathons, park and rec events, the list goes on. See? Someone needs to make this plugin. Why not you? πŸ™‚

  8. I think a plugin that many sites would actually PAY for is something for custom posts and taxonomies like Chris Coyier has at http://digwp.com/2010/10/dynamic-archives/ for blog posts.

    For example, in a movie database, show me all the MOVIE (custom post type) instances where the DIRECTOR taxonomy includes Scorcese and the ACTOR taxonomy includes DeNiro.

    And an AJAX preview of how many instances to expect (ie “DeNiro (12)”) would be nice, too.

    I realize the challenge here is making it flexible for the variety of installs but I suspect it could be done.

  9. Different posts widget with images.

    Right now I’m using some custom coding to add post images to my related posts plugin. It search for images in this order: 1) featured image, 2) first image in the post, 3) default image.

    Would be neat if this could be made available with other post lists, like:
    – recent posts
    – popular posts (based on views, comments, etc)
    – other posts in this category
    – etc.

    I’m combining all of this with TimThumb to fix scaling problems. If you’re interested I can fwd you what I have already.

  10. although this is pretty specific, I would love a plugin that could create a new website via the multisite feature upon registering a new member.

  11. It would be great to have a S3 storage plugin and download manager. There are a ton of them out there but mostly broken. I have a large online gaming site and would love to offer files to download (patches, maps, etc..) but there is no good solution. This could be adapted to many verticals and I would be happy to chat with you about it further if interested.

  12. I’ve always wanted a plugin that would help turn WP into an “intranet” site for small businesses or corporate business too. I know there are plenty of ways to create one on your own with custom pages, themes and other plugins that could be used together to do this, but I would really like to see a plugin developed solely for this purpose and using “best practices” for creating and managing an effective intranet site for your company or organization.

    PS: I’d be willing to pay to have something like this developed for me to use for clients. πŸ™‚

    1. I like this idea Sammy, and would be a great product. I currently am using a Multisite setup to run 8 separate customer-facing sites for our company and 4 other sites used to filter content to our internal users. Essentially an Intranet site, but with limited capabilities.

      If an Intranet came in a “pre-packaged” setup, that would have saved me months and months of trial and error and customizations;)

      1. Glad you like the idea. I just wish I had the programming know-how to do this myself(or folks like Michael). I’ve had this want/need for years now, but unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything solid come out for WordPress to help build the foundation of an intranet site. Again, keeping the “best practices” in mind would be key because anyone can put something up and call it an “intranet”. It’s the functionality, ease-of-use and actual acceptance by its users that makes it a true intranet.

        Let’s hope Michael likes this “idea” too and takes it up as a project.

  13. Hi Michael. One piece of functionality that I’ve been needing and haven’t found a great solution for is the ability to limit the amount of posts (including custom post types) a user can publish, based on their wordpress user role (including custom roless). This would be great for a membership site or directory listing where businesses can only add one post about their company.

    I’ve found two, bainternet limit posts and another one by spaw, but they both do not seem to work in a multisite environment.

  14. The text editor is the bane of WP. I use TinyMCE Advanced plugin, but not all themes support importing the CSS. It would be great to have a text editor that looks exactly like the site CSS. Or, at least one that has a default serif font in 12 or 14pt, like most sites use.

    I also like Eric’s suggestion for a better AS3 interface. I have a member site with tons of vid tuts I’m about to launch.

  15. I appreciate each and every one of you for throwing your ideas around and also replying to each other.

    I will see what I can do with which ones and see what comes of it. I can’t necessarily promise timely results as I do tend to have a lot of things going on at once, but half the battle is finding a goal, which is what you all have provided. If I do come up with something, I will do my best to contact the person who’s idea it was and either get more details or provide something for testing/feedback.

    Also, massive apologies for any usability issues with the “leave comment” button. I barely look at it so I didn’t realize how hidden it is.

  16. Hello Michael, I came here from the WPCandy post.

    I think a Advance Category Search Plugin would be nice for those who wants to create an advance search for their sites. My idea is the plugin let you select the posts that have all categories chosen, using drop-down list and allowing multiple dropdown. Let me know if you like the idea for more details.

    Thanks

  17. (I left a comment over at WPCandy, then I saw his tiny link to this post… πŸ˜‰ )

    How about a plugin for image cropping. Let’s say you have defined a few picture sizes to use on your site 100Γ—100, 250Γ—250 and 350Γ—200 (or whatever). When you upload a bigger picture, WordPress creates all these automatically but it uses the centre of the images, so often faces are cut off.

    What I would like after I upload, is to be presented with a β€œcropping-tool” for all the different sizes so I can decide what part of the picture is kept.

    (Does this exist already?)

    Thanks! πŸ™‚

    1. wanna know the nice thing? I was keeping track of the post and periodically checking for new comments, and already got yours noted down. Thanks πŸ˜€

  18. This is for sites with fluid widths or visitors with slow connections.

    How about a plugin that detects the browser width and serves appropriate sized images. Not scaled CSS but different resolution images. The different sized images, small medium, large, etc could be generated by wordpress using featured image thumbnails. WordPress can already make those on the fly. Rather than specifying an image size when writing a post the writterr could choose the option “best fit” and the most appropriate scaled image would be shown in the browser. This way small screens get small images and large screens get crisp hi resolution ones.

    This could be an awesome bandwidth saver for folks with lots of pictures.

  19. Hi Michael. Many thanks for this initiative. Super!

    One thing I’m hoping for is a lean and effective plugin that enables people to export posts or pages to some or all of Microsoft Word, Open Office and Google Docs. The following features would be awesome:

    (1) the plugin would support full styling (e.g., nested ordered lists, the CSS for which would carry through to the exported document)

    (2) the exported files would be capable of being protected and not being available to search engines

    (3) the admin could indicate in the backend whether he/she wishes to auto-create a table of contents in the exported doc by reference to H1/H2/H3 headings in the post or page to be exported

    (4) the admin could also indicate whether page numbers should be automatically added to the exported doc

    (5) the admin could also specify the font that should be applied to the exported doc

    A good deal of this capability already exists in the Universal Post Manager plugin, but development of it appears to have ceased, its support of Open Office is patchy, it doesn’t support export to Google Docs and items (3) and (4) are not supported.

    I’d make a donation if a plugin matching the above features were developed.

    All the best.
    Richard

  20. Sorry, I forgot a feature for the suggestion above. The plugin would also enable the admin to select which categories of posts are available for export as docs and would have an option to turn doc export on or off for specific pages. πŸ™‚

  21. Hello,

    I’ll be short:
    A simple crm/helpdesk/bookings plugin where customers can give their details. ask a question and even pay (for a booking or other service). Each customer will have access to his own page with his details (that could change) and a list of questions/replies and payments history.

  22. Hey Michael,

    Drop me a tweet at: @meninkilts I think I have an interesting plugin concept that you would find interesting (based upon needs not met by WP from Joomla users porting over).

    Regards Brent

  23. We’re finishing up a plugin to help automate marketing that we will be using as a launching point for a theme framework. Have you consider making or donating development time to a theme framework – you get the experience you need of plugin development, but you also help build a more integrated solution.

  24. Hi Michael!
    I have an idea (I don’t know if it can be done with a plugin). I haven’t found a plugin to manage custom music charts, or a simply way to present/embed/… a custom link (with a shortcode?)to a song from, for example, iTunes, 7 digital, last.fm… If that plugin can get the song info (cover, title, album, author) can be the best for music bloggers!
    Great initiative! Cheers!

  25. Hi Michael,

    What an awesome and benevolent idea on your part. I’d love to see a plugin (or series of plugins) that lets people earn and exchange virtual credits on a WordPress and/or Buddypress site.

    Just bookmarked your blog and whatever you choose to develop, I hope you keep us up to date on progress. Thanks.

  26. One of many ideas I have would be to create a personal address book for each user, that might be useful for an intranet situation, such as, i.e., development of document templates that the users could send to their clients where the templates will be calling those fields from the address book.

  27. Hi Michael,

    We’re a non-profit arts festival and need an online application process that works with our site. The requirements are already fully spec’d and go beyond just setting up a form using Gravity Forms. There is judging, approvals, artist placement, etc that takes place in the admin. This may be more than a plugin can handle but I thought I’d post the initiative in case it peaks your interest.

    Best,
    Brian

  28. I would love a plugin for freelance translators.

    It would allow a visitor to upload a file (doc/docx/pdf/rtf) and get a quick quote based on word count.

    Then, it proceeds to PayPal checkout.

    Translator (me) starts the job.

    NOTE:
    There are many great plugins like Formidable Forms which allow to upload files, but they do not count characters in a doc file.

  29. If it’s not too late, I would like to suggest “comparison plugin” idea is simple:

    admin can set up “comparable” custom fields for each category (post templates maybe)

    then there will be button on each post “ADD TO COMPARE”, that will allow visitor to add post to the sidebar “Comparison list” and then click on that block “compare” button to compare two posts side-by-side, with the values entered in the custom fields.

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