EP64 - Love it or hate it: what you need to know about Jetpack for WordPress - Dec 2 2013

Today's topic is our favorite plugin Jetpack.

What is Jetpack?

It’s a plugin that comes with WordPress, it’s not always automatically installed but it does require an API key in order to work.

Although in some server infrastructures it is automatically installed.

Boiled down, it’s basically a lot of plugins within one plugin.

Jetpack has 2 main focuses. The first is to offer a lot of cloud services that are hard to do on a small shared hosting environment. The second is to offer a closer feature parity to WordPress.com so if someone has their blog on wordpress.com and they want to spin it off into a self hosted site, there are some short codes they may be missing from their content or widgets they might not have. By offering those in Jetpack, they have the ability to let their content flow in either direction.

Some of the Jetpack modules:

Photon - Free image CDN (content delivery network)

Tiled Galleries: With Tiled Galleries you can display your image galleries in three new styles: a rectangular mosaic, a square mosaic, and a circular grid. The rectangular and square tiled layouts also have hover-over captions to save space while making captions accessible.

Stats - WordPress.com Stats lets you know how many visits your site gets, and what posts and pages are most popular.

Likes - is a way for people to show their appreciation for your posts. It's also a way for authors to show the world how popular their content has become.

Notifications - It allows you to view and moderate comments right from the toolbar, anywhere on your site or across WordPress.com.

Happy Face - it’s for non javascript users. It’s an image that’ll be loaded even if you have javascript disabled and triggers that hit.

Json API: Jetpack will allow you to authorize applications and services to securely connect to your blog and allow them to use your content in new ways and offer you new functionality. Developers can use WordPress.com’s OAuth2 authentication system and WordPress.com REST API to manage and access your site’s content.

Publicize: Publicize makes it easy to share your site's posts on several social media networks automatically when you publish a new post.

Contact Form: A contact form is a great way to offer your readers the ability to get in touch, without giving out your personal email address.

Monitor: Jetpack Monitor will keep tabs on your site, and alert you the moment that downtime is detected.

Custom CSS: The Custom CSS Editor allows you to customize the appearance of your theme without the need to create a child theme or worry about theme updates overwriting your customizations.

VideoPress: The VideoPress module allows you to upload videos from your computer for hosting and playback directly within your site.

Gravatar Hovercards: A gravatar is your profile on the web, and the Hovercard is one way your information is made visible to others. It’s an easy way to help people find your blog, or access your identity on other services like Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed, subscribe to our YouTube channel or in iTunes as a podcast.

Comments

  1. Great episode- thanks to everyone involved.

    I love how it started out with everyone dissing jetpack, and George reacting defensively, before it played out where everyone had much more realistic input about Jetpack. I haven't used Jetpack very much in the past, so this was highly informative.

  2. Note: Admin interface standards are defined in the Codex. For example, here are the standards for Plugin admin menu placement.

    JetPack does things that almost no other Plugin would be allowed to do (and that Plugins shouldn't generally be doing); to wit:

    1) Requiring an API connection for functionality that doesn't require that API
    2) Auto-enabling new functionality. (Even worse now with automatic upgrades, which if enabled would mean that users won't get the update notice that notifies of new to-be-enabled-by-default functionality.)
    3) Annoying, billboard-esque nag notice for the API (belongs on the Plugin Settings page, and only there - NOT all throughout the Admin). Also: this has also since been fixed, but at one time, reliance on a non-standard UI for an admin notice resulted in the JetPack nag banner interfering with the Admin interface and obscuring the Screen Options/Help tabs - fixed now, but never would have been an issue if JetPack had simply used the standard core admin notice.
    4) Adding a menu entry to the Dashboard section (sorry; JetPack is no more important or "central" than any other Plugin, and simply doesn't belong there.)
    5) Since fixed, but at one time, JetPack loaded CSS from an external source (WPCOM)
    6) Complete hijacking of comments, instead of implementing via core hooks, which prevents other comments-related Plugins from functioning properly. (See also: widget_title filter in custom Widgets - now fixed, I believe.)

    Some may find this strange, but I don't have as much of a problem with the non-standard UI for JetPack's Plugin Settings page. I'm not a fan of the cartoonish colors/style, but I don't know how else you would better-display the modular nature of JetPack. I suppose you could replicate the Plugins screen, but that still would be a non-standard UI for a Settings page.

    I love the idea of JetPack, and I love that Automattic is contributing upstream from WPCOM to WordPress, by releasing the Plugin to enable WPCOM functionality. And while I would much prefer that some of the filters JetPack has would be exposed by default via UI (such as developer mode, or module visibility/default-enabling), I agree with what Helen so eloquently wrote almost a year ago: JetPack is for users first, not developers.

    But I believe that Automattic needs to put much more focus on leading-by-example with respect to conventions and standards, including menu placement and integration of core UI.. Likewise with wholesale swapping-out of core functionality: at least be sure to preserve all core actions and filters. Automattic are basing decisions according to user feedback, which is laudable. But when those decisions conflict with defined conventions and standards, the conventions and standards shouldn't merely be ignored. Find a way to meet user needs/feedback while conforming to defined conventions and standards, or start some discussions about needed changes to those conventions and standards; don't just ignore them.

    Perhaps I hold Automattic to too high a standard, but they are the Spiderman of the WordPress ecosystem, and it would be foolish to ignore the great power Automattic wield to drive de facto norms in the community.

Trackbacks

  1. […] In the WordPress community, there is a great show that I enjoy called the WPwatercooler. I was able to watch today’s episode about the popular WordPress plugin: Jetpack.  It was great to hear the many different opinions from the show’s hosts about Jetpack, how they use it, and what they think about the modules included in the plugin. Personally, I enjoy the features of Jetpack and while many of the features are not perfect, it is still a good plugin to have. My favorite modules would have to be the stats, the contact form creator, the gravatar hovercards, and Custom CSS. Those are not the only modules I use with Jetpack, but ones that i find very useful from time to time. Overall, I think that Jetpack is a really good plugin with great modules and a lot of great work put into it. So head over to the WPwatercooler website and check out the discussion about Jetpack. […]

  2. […] very first appearance on WPwatercooler happened this week with Episode 64 all about the Love and Hate of Jetpack. My colleague George Stephanis was also on the show, which was lucky for me cause I was not feeling […]

Speak Your Mind

*