Automattic.com just released a collection of plugins as one “super-plugin” called Jetpack. As they explained it, the goal was to bring eight of the most requested features available on WordPress.com to the millions of self-hosted WordPress sites in one easy-to-install curated package. Let’s take a look at each feature:
This is a widget that will show a list of the latest Tweets from any Twitter account. The configuration is easy; simply drag the widget to any widgetized area in your theme, pop in your Twitter username (or someone else’s), configure a couple of other options if you want, and boom, there you go! Instant Tweets!
This is one that’s easier to explain with an image than without. If the commentor has a Gravatar profile the information they have included will appear when someone hovers over their avatar image in the comments. You can see a live example on the WordPress.com Gravatar Blog where they first revealed the new feature. With Jetpack, you can easily turn this feature on or off.
If you click on the “Get Shortlink” button when you are on the post edit page in your wp-admin, normally it would give you something like http://mydomain.com/?p=34. This often isn’t that much shorter than the original permalink, so it isn’t that useful for posting a link to Twitter, for example. With Jetpack, you will instead get a WP.me link, such as http://WP.me/j7gv9, which is obviously much shorter. Of course, you could also use bit.ly or even roll your own link shortener solution, but this one is effortlessly integrated into the post editor screen.
This feature lets you easily add those ubiquitous sharing buttons you find on most websites, including buttons to Tweet, Share and Like on Facebook, Digg, send by email, etc. The configuration is relatively simple, but the buttons themselves might require some CSS attention if you really want them to stand out (or not stand out as much).
This is something that likely won’t be used by many, but will be highly appreciated by those who need it. LaTeX is a markup language for writing mathematical equations, formulas, etc., and this part of the Jetpack lets you easily include them in your posts.
After the Deadline
This plugin lets you check your spelling, grammar, punctuation and style from the post editor. It is more powerful than the regular spellcheck integrated in Firefox. It can check for misused words (example: accept and except, or their and there). It will warn you when using clichés or jargon. It is not a replacement for careful reading and editing of your writing, but as is the case with Microsoft Word or other word processors, it is a useful tool to help you minimize and correct common errors.
Shortcodes are small macro codes enclosed in square brackets that allow you to access some special functionality from within a page or a post. Jetpack comes with several media-related shortcodes that make it easy to embed a video from YouTube or a presentation from Slideshare into your post. Each one has its own parameters that may or may not be required, so you’re better off reading the instructions for each one.
The shortcodes are:
archives, audio, blip.tv, dailymotion, digg, flickr, googlevideo, scribd, slide, slideshare, soundcloud, vimeo, youtube, and polldaddy.
The Jetpack site as well as the plugin’s options page in the wp-admin include teaser boxes that hint at upcoming additions to the package. I won’t speculate on what they might be, but please go ahead and do so in the comments below!
Soar or fall?