Shiny New Toys: A Weekly Report of New WordPress PluginsThis week in we have some great new additions to the WordPress plugin repo. To start, here are a few statistics from the last week:

That’s a total of 176 new plugins and 7,234,195 total downloads just last week. Let’s see what kind of new toys came in stock last week:


Carbon Fields

With WordPress, we have a lot of custom field solutions these days: ACF and CMB2 being the two top contenders in my book. Seeing Carbon Fields come out of the gates with a nice branding, a polished website, and good documentation makes me think we may have a newcomer here. This plugin is primarily for developers looking to add custom fields to existing custom post types, taxonomies, users, comments, options pages, and more. There’s even capability for widgets. Now that’s cool.

The number of field types included in this plugin are impressive. There’s a map field type, which I presume uses Google maps, and includes methods for retrieving locations as an array. There are also “Relationship” & “Association” field types which can be really powerful for creating links between single post types and beyond. The support for this plugin appears to be mainly on the Github Repo & WordPress.org

If you’re looking to add custom fields in your future projects definitely give Carbon Fields a good look.


Imagify Image Optimizer

Everyone wants a faster website. Often, images can cause a website to load slowly because they are not optimized properly. This is due to a variety of reasons. For instance, a photographer uploading directly from their lightroom export files which can be up to 5mb each. If this is your client, you likely want to provide them a solution to optimize their images on the fly when they upload them. Imagify.io is a well established player in this market and has a great looking solution along with a new WordPress plugin that already has 1,000 active installs in the first week. That’s impressive.

This plugin is free to try and you can optimize 25mb of images (about 150 images) every month. Now, that’s not very much so keep in mind you may end up paying for the premium service or looking for a free alternative. This plan is inline with most solutions. TinyPNG, one of the leading plugins in this space, offers 20mb for free. So you get more with Imagify.

Personally, I tried a number of image optimization plugins and have had mixed results. The main issue I have experienced is with seeing obvious loss of quality in supposed “lossless” compression techniques. Displaying high quality photos is very important for most people, especially photographers. It appears Imagify is off to a great start in the WordPress space. Check them out.


WooCommerce-Related Plugins

This week I noticed a lot of new WooCommerce plugins in the repo offering all sorts of extended functionality:

I like color-coding notes and statuses. It provides a quicker visual representation of the note status and allows for faster reading. This plugin is simply adding coloring to your WooCommerce order notes. Some of the best plugins do the most simple things. This is one of those cases.

If you’re looking to allow your users to request a price match check out this plugin. It allows your potential customers to request a price match which may lead to more conversions. How it works:

“If a customer finds a lower price for a product at a competitor, they can submit a price match request via a form on the product page, and you can choose whether to approve or deny each request by clicking the appropriate link in the notification email or in the WordPress admin. If a request is approved, the customer receives a one-time-use link that allows them to purchase the product at the approved price”

That sounds pretty neat. I’m assuming users of this plugin will be requesting a lot more features, but this plugin is off to a good start already. I also wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of a polished readme file. Despite this, I haven’t seen a plugin specifically like this one before. As well, there may be a premium alternative with more features. That said, if you’re looking for a promising free newcomer check this one out.

We are seeing more and more free payment gateway plugins in the repo. Payleap may not be a hugely popular gateway, but it’s nice that they have a free integration with WooCommerce. If you’re using PayLeap you may want to check out Woo Payments with PayLeap.


Addons for Visual Composer

Like it or not, a lot of people use the Visual Composer plugin to build their websites. VC is arguably the most popular WordPress page builders. The plugin adds a lot of additional elements to build with such as testimonials, carousels, client lists, pricing plans, etc. Pretty neat stuff if that’s your jive.

This plugin also says that it should play nicely with most themes. This is great, but I expect it won’t be pixel perfect CSS across all devices in some cases. So be sure to still check out your layouts once they are built.


Invitations for Slack

Slack is gaining in popularity and more companies are allowing others to join their channels. This plugin allows you to enable a “Join us on Slack!” badge similar to Twitter follow & Facebook like buttons. The design looks similar as well from the plugin screenshots. It’s nice you can choose from several styles. I can see a definite need for this plugin for many companies.


Summing this Week Up

There were some really promising plugin releases last week. I primarily have my eye on Imagify. The entire solution looks polished through and through and to come out with such a strong download and active install count is impressive. Carbon Fields is also notable. Keep an eye on those two.

Devin Walker is a San Diego-based WordPress Developer and enthusiast. He is the author of several popular and highly-rated WordPress themes and plugins. In his free time he enjoys playing Golf and traveling.

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