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WordPress Tip: Keeping A Development Log

Alex King brings up a good point about activating and deactivating plugins. Most plugins that you implement require some sort of code to be placed in the index.php file. Once you activate the plugin you’re ready to go. But when you turn off the plugin or deactivate it, your index page will probably fail, as the function(s) are no longer available for use. You’ll need to remember to go back into your index.php page and remove the reference to the plugin. If you do a lot of hacking to your WP installation, this can be a daunting task.

I would suggest keeping a development log to record each of the plugins/hacks that you make to your project. I use Alex’s Tasks program which is a web based, hierarchical task manager/to-do list/lightweight project manager. It works perfect for logging all the changes I make to BloggingPro, including adding or deleting plugins and hacks.

Here’s an entry I have in my development log:

-----  05/25/2004 @ 13:49  ---------------------
vBulletin-Style Page Navigation

Changed under Options --> Reading from last 20 posts to last 20 pages.
Added wp-vbnavi.php to plugins directory and activated
Added <?=page_navigation()?> to the bottom of index.php

I record the date & time I installed the plugin, and the name of the plugin and the URI so if I need to check for updates it’s in a handy place. Then I record the steps I took to install the plugin so if/when I need to deactivate the plugin/hack I can easily reverse the steps and clean-up all the files I added to my server. I have had many servers in the past that became littered with left over files from long abandoned installs. Most importantly, I know exactly what I did to my index.php file so when I deactivate the plugin I’m not sifting through code trying to figure out which piece of code belonged to the plugin.

If you enjoy hacking your WP installation with the latest cool toys coming from the hacking and plugin community you’ll benefit and save time by creating a development log, whether it’s a notebook kept handy near your PC or a project management program.

Categories: WordPress Tips

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