Get a free year on Tuts+ this month when you purchase a Siteground hosting plan from $3.95/mo
Jetpack by WordPress.com is a brilliant plugin which allows you to activate some modules that are ready to use on WP.com blogs. And with its recent release (v2.0), they added several very useful modules.
In this article, we're going to go through them.
Photon: A Free CDN Service from WordPress.com
That's right: Now you can keep your images on WordPress.com, free of charge!
As Jetpack defines, Photon is "an image acceleration and editing service for your website". When you click on the "Activate" button of the Photon module on Jetpack's settings page, your images (old ones and new ones that you'll upload) will be uploaded to the servers of WordPress.com and will be ready to use.
Think about it: You don't have to use your own server's bandwidth anymore! And that's not the only perk: Photon is a "content delivery network" which means its response times are shorter and visitors can download your images even faster from Photon's servers. Plus, this is another server for you, so visitors will download images simultaneously while your page is loading - sort of a pipelining feature.
Check our this page to learn more about Photon - usage instructions, limitations and the Photon API for plugins & themes.
Open Graph Integration: Help Social Networks Understand Your Content
As I talked about "manual integration" of Open Graph into WordPress on my previous post, I explained that the Open Graph protocol helped most social networks about understanding the basic elements of your content, such as the title, the excerpt/description, the thumbnail image and so on.
I also mentioned that Jetpack 2.0 was released while I was working on that article and hinted that you could use this plugin instead of tweaking your theme, if you were already using Jetpack.
It's actually the easiest Jetpack feature to use: Just activate the Publicize module and that's it! You don't have to connect with the social networks (we're also going to cover that in a bit). You can check the source of your website to see that the Open Graph
<meta> tags are already there.
Publicize: Publishing Posts to Popular Social Networks
This is probably the best module Jetpack 2.0 brings. With this module enabled, you can post directly to various social networks by connecting to them via WordPress.com.
At the moment, there are 5 services to send via Publicize: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo! and Tumblr.
Connecting to these services is relatively easy - you just need to authorize the applications of WordPress.com and optionally, adjust a few predefined settings for each service. For example: You can select between profiles and pages on Facebook or choose a blog from your Tumblr account to publish to. With all services, there's also an option to allow editors and authors to use Publicize. Check out the full instructions if you need to learn how to authorize applications.
The obligation of choosing just one Facebook profile/page or just one Tumblr blog is kind of a bummer (in my opinion), but there's already good news on Jetpack's website - it says that they're going to implement the feature to allow us to set our own URL shorteners (such as Bitly) or they'll add Google+ if Google provides an API. I assume that these indicate that they will continue to improve the plugin constantly.
Post By Email: Publishing with a Personal Email
While this interests just a fraction of WordPress users, the "Post By Email" feature is still one of the best feature of JetPack 2.0.
Usage is not so simple but the learning curve should be pretty quick:
- Enable the feature on Jetpack's settings page,
- Produce a speacial email address for your website,
- Send that email address an email to publish a post on your website.
By utilizing special shortcodes (check the documentation here), you can set categories, tags, excerpts, slugs, passwords, "more" or "next page" tags, the post status, the post title and so on. They seem to have worked pretty hard on this module! :)
Completely personal wish: I really, really hope that this will be the end of the core feature "Post By Email" of WordPress installations.
Infinite Scroll: Forget Pagination!
The last big feature Jetpack 2.0 brings is the module that allows us to remove the pagination with a neat "infinite scroll" feature.
This module utilizes the core
add_theme_support() function. Looking at the documentation, we see there are some parameters to tweak for the theme we use:
add_theme_support( 'infinite-scroll', array( 'type' => 'scroll', 'footer' => 'page', 'footer_widgets' => false, 'container' => 'content', 'wrapper' => true, 'render' => false, 'posts_per_page' => false ) );
Since you can see all of their explanations from the documentation, we're not going to cover them all now but let's go over the essentials:
type- This parameter has two settings:
click. If you choose
click, visitors will have to click a button to load new posts. This could come in handy on some scenarios.
container- This has to be the ID of the HTML element that Infinite Scroll loads posts into.
posts_per_page- As you can guess, this overrides the 'posts_per_page' parameter of WP_Query to load more (or less) posts each time it's triggered.
As you can see, these new enhancements take this great plugin to a whole new level. And serving all these features with just one plugin is great, isn't it?
What do you think about these new features? Share your thoughts by commenting on this post. And if you like the article, feel free to share this page!