Four Cool Ajax Plugins for WordPress
WordPress publishes and archives authors' posts in chronological order without any effort. It often comes naturally, both for you and your readers, to track and retrieve such posts through a calendar in the home page. WordPress does have a built-in calendar, but the Ajax-based one shown in Figure 1 is more dynamic and pleasant to use. The installation is simple, but not without a few issues. According to the README file distributed with the code, you must uncompress the tarball only in the WordPress plugins folder, activate it in the Administration pages, and add, in the index.php files of your WordPress theme, these three lines of code right where you want to place the calendar:
<div id="calendar"> <?php get_calendar(); ?> </div>
After saving the file, you should configure the plugin only in the Options→AjaxCal Administration page. In practice, this may depend on your theme and WordPress version. The calendar you see in the screenshots for this article, for example, appeared by placing the get_calendar() function call, without the opening and closing <div> tags, inside the sidebar div element of the sidebar.php file.
The joy of reading a blog or any dynamic Web site is being able to add a comment to each page or, even more often, to read what other visitors had to say. The normal way to do this is to follow the link to the whole page or to its comment section, but Ajax comes to the rescue to speed up even this WordPress task.
The Inline Comments plugin makes all the comments to a specific post appear or disappear in the home page, according to each visitor's preference. This happens in the usual Ajax fashion—that is, without freezing the browser or blanking the whole window. After you have installed and activated this plugin, the home page should look like the one shown in Figure 2. One click on the show comments link loads all the comments for that post and makes them slowly appear, right where you want them to be, as shown in Figure 3. After that, another click on hide comments returns the page to its original state. The beauty of the plugin is that all the comments to a post are downloaded only once and cached in the browser. If visitors hide them and then decide they want to read them again, they reappear instantly. The order in which comments are displayed (newest or oldest first) can be set in the Plugins→Inline Ajax Comments page. As with the calendar, the CSS styles for the comment box are customizable separately from the rest of the theme.
To add inline comments, download the plugin, place all its files in the plugins folder of your WordPress installation, and activate this function in the WordPress Plugins Administration page. After that, you need to add two new lines of code to the index.php file of your theme—one creates the link that opens or hides the comments box:
<?php ajax_comments_link(); ?>
The other instruction needs to go where the comment box itself must appear:
<?php ajax_comments_div(); ?>
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