New PowerBoard Forum

This week, the Invision Powerboard forum went up. After some careful consideration and research into other PHP applications, I ended coming back to IPB as a solution for my needs.

What I was looking for was a helpdesk, a file download area, and a knowledge base. There are many types of open source helpdesks out there and even a few commercial ones that were very well done, but they were too much for what I needed and I still was not happy with the frontends of most of them. For knowledge bases I did find one that was great, but the price was too high, but I was very impressed. The free knowledge bases tended to be very simple interfaces and not much to look at. Lastly download scripts all looked the same and there was not one that I could choose, and since I never really needed that much of a file area, I kind of let this go.

With IPB, there is proven security and it is quite affordable. Plus there is the comfort level, I am used to IPB since I have used it personally for a couple of years now.

Right now I’m waiting on Invision’s 2.1 version to come out before I mod too much of the new forum, but everyone is welcome to join in the discussion now at: WebKeyDesign Forum.

Essential WordPress Plugins

There is no denying that WordPress is one very popular PHP application, and that its popularity is well deserved, but perhaps what is more important is that WordPress provides a lot of flexibility in the form of plugins. WordPress Plugins extend WordPress by adding custom features (which may not be for everyone). In fact many of the WP Plugins do seem to be very specific, but there are a select few which have universal appeal. If you just installed WordPress, then your next task is to probably install all of these plugins or at least one of them.

WP-Cache 2 is my personal favorite plugin to install. I can’t honestly think why anyone would want to run WordPress without WP-Cache. As it’s name implies, WP-Cache does one thing, it caches your WordPress blog and immediately speeds it up. When first trying out WP, I was very disappointed with the loading times. It seemed to just pause. My MovableType blog never would take this long to come up, so it was definitely something I noticed about WP and other PHP/MySQL based applications that lacked caching. This is why I consider WP-Cache essential, because it adds a caching mechanism which is sorely needed in WordPress.

If you are using WordPress as your main site’s Content Management System, then you should consider installing these plugins too:

WP-ContactForm is the easiest way to add a contact page to your site. The hard way of course is to use a perl script like FormMail and verify that it is secure, or you can simply install this plugin and add your settings to WordPress and you are done.

WP-Shortstat brings web traffic stats to your WordPress Dashboard section. Most web hosts offer AWStats in cPanel, but how about if you just want something simpler and easier to acess? This is where the WP- Shortstat plugin really aims at, namely simple stats for your weblog.

Google Sitemap Generator is essential if you are interested in having your site indexed frequently by Google and if you want to help facilitate Google’s spiderbot by giving it a custom XML based sitemap to your site. The plugin gives you custom controls too, so you can add static pages from your site that exist outside of WordPress.

If you look around there are more WP Plugins, but most of them are either not as developed, or simply their niche is too unique for most general setups of WordPress.


Most web design requires you to look at html source code, because even if you design your pages in a graphical editor like Nvu or Dreamweaver, you always end up with typos that you have to go back and fix quickly. Perhaps you forgot to close a tag or you misspelled something in your content section, either way, you will need some type of text editor. On Windows most users rely on MS Notepad for this, but there are better editors out there.

Florian Balmer‘s free editor, Notepad2 is not the world’s greatest text editor, but it is simple and has many features over MS Notepad. Best of all you can manually setup Notepad2 as your default in Windows, by renaming notepad.exe. Note, that you have to replace the notepad.exe in multiple locations first and then let Windows know you want to keep the new file.

What I like is that Notepad2 has no nagging ads or spyware.

Download Notepad2.