Make the P2 theme even more useful with plugins built for it


The version 1.4 release of the P2 theme brought one intriguing feature: the ability to add to-do items into update messages by starting a line with an “x” (for a checked item) and an “o” for an open item. While crazy useful in and of itself, it got me thinking about plugins made specifically for the P2 theme again.

P2 theme, if you haven’t checked it out before, is a theme from the folks at Automattic made specifically for collaboration and team communication. It’s a bit like a private Twitter, really.

It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, really, that I’m a big fan of plugins made just for a certain theme. Plugins are the most natural way to expand upon WordPress itself, and it shouldn’t be any different for WordPress themes too. Below I’ve put together a small (but hopefully growing!) list of plugins made specifically for P2, as well as a few non-P2-specific plugins that I find particularly useful when used along with the theme.

Mention-Me Widget

Mention-Me is a tiny plugin that adds only a widget that you can include in your P2 sidebar. It has a couple of configurable options, but basically it will display (relative to the logged in user) a list of any mentions “@” you or comments on your posts.

Mention-Me Widget by Thorsten Ott is a free plugin on the plugin directory.

P2 Likes

P2 Likes is a plugin I only just started using, but it’s a fun one too. Along with the normal set of actions for a post (like reply and edit) it adds a “like” link. Liking a post will add your avatar to the post.

There have been many discussions on the relative value of things like “likes” and “plus ones”. In this case, I’d say it’s helpful to have a quick way to recognize a post on a P2 blog, particularly because it’s so obvious once you’ve done so. Not every post needs a followup comment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t respond.

P2 Likes by Scott Basgaard is available for free on the plugin directory.

P2 Resolved Posts

One problem I’ve run into with P2 blogs is not quite that conversations get lost, but that they get buried. As authors post new updates, and new threaded conversations take place, important conversations can slip off the home page. That’s why I’ve found P2 Resolved Posts so useful.

P2 Resolved Posts lets you mark a post as “resolved” or “unresolved”. By default a post is nothing, not until you mark it as unresolved. At that point the display changes a bit, and the widget that comes with the plugin will update to show a list of unresolved posts. When used correctly, this is a great way to always keep important conversations in sight.

P2 Resolved Posts by Daniel Bachhuber is available for free on the plugin directory.

Who’s Online

I’ve made a habit of a keeping a list of the P2’s users in the sidebar, so everyone knows just who is in on a given conversation. In the past I’ve just used the authors widget from Widgets Reloaded to display all the blog’s user’s names. Who’s Online takes that a step further, and adds the user’s online/offline status below their name, along with how long ago they were last signed in if they are offline.

Who’s Online by Adam Backstrom is available for free on the plugin directory.

Handy plugins to use with P2

In addition to the plugins above, which various developers made specifically for use with P2, I’ve also found a few plugins useful in my experience with P2. I use Subscribe2 and Subscribe to Comments to enable simple email notifications of posts. I could use Jetpack for the comment subscriptions, but normally I don’t need anything else it offers so it’s not worth the trouble.[ref]And many of my P2 sites aren’t public, and therefore wouldn’t work with Jetpack anyway.[/ref]

Speaking of privacy: I use the More Privacy Options plugin to make sure private P2s stay that way. I also use Widgets Reloaded because I find myself wanting even more control oer the sidebar widgets in a theme like P2.

At times I’ll also use WPMU Custom CSS, or a plugin like it, to make adding simple CSS tweaks to the theme really easy. Sometimes I want to tweak the theme a bit, and it’s not worth firing off a child theme for such a minor change. A custom CSS plugin keeps those tweaks painless.

Riffing on P2

Conversate is a commercial theme from the folks at UpThemes. It’s a riff on P2, in the sense that it’s functionally the same but looks quite a bit different. If you like P2’s behavior, but aren’t crazy about the user experience, Conversate might be worth a look.

To be clear: this is a theme, and not a plugin for P2. Since it’s related I thought it would be worth pointing out here.

If anyone else has put together a child theme, or even a theme inspired by P2, let me know so I can add it to our list here too.

How do you use P2?

If you’re a plugin developer who has cooked up something specific for P2, let me know in the comments so I can add it to the list above. And if you have a private P2 customization that could be rolled into a plugin for public use, I’d love to see it and try it out.

If you find yourself using P2 in a specific way, or with customizations or plugins that others might benefit from, leave a note in the comments. Also, if you are a P2 theme user, what other themes do you find as consistently useful as P2?

30 thoughts on “Make the P2 theme even more useful with plugins built for it

  1. Cool list of plugins. I’ve just recently started using P2 as an internal communication tool. Resolved posts will be a great addition.

  2. We have create a Child theme of P2 called p2poet that we use for our project management needs, we have added the ability to *assign* tasks to users, and proper editor in the front-end for clients to easily write their requirements, and selective emails to users, along with p2 resolve post plugin functionality inside theme itself.

  3. We forked P2 and styled it up a bit. I personally think the default style of P2 is hideous. The resulting theme can be found here: Conversate.

    • Great plugin Frank, so simple and just what we were looking for! We use a WPMU/multisite install with several P2 blogs for different projects.

      We also use the WooThemes FaultPress theme for job ticketing. This created an issue where we’d get double notifications using your plugin. I built a quick function to check if the active theme is P2 (or a child theme of P2) and then automatically activates your plugin.

      I put the function up on github for anyone who is interested in this niche solution 🙂 We’re just placing this in a file in the mu-plugins/ directory

  4. I will definitely be adding the resolved posts plugin. I hate trying to keep track of which comments are answered and which still need attention. This will be a lifesaver!

  5. Thanks for this great plugins coverage for P2, Ryan! Personally, I haven’t had the chance yet to actually work with P2, but instead I’d be working with Google Docs and then wonder why I haven’t yet embraced P2. I think it’s a great theme, and there are countless reasons why every WordPress developer/designer should be working with it. It works just perfect, not over-bloated with too many features, but has the ones you most definitely would appreciate.
    So these plugins are totally the icing on the cake! Gotta love ’em!

    • I hear you — I tend to bounce between P2 and Google Docs, depending on the group I’m organizing things with. Mostly that has to do with the group, though; a collaboration tool only really works when everyone’s actively using it, and sometimes groups are just more comfortable using Google Docs.

      Still, both useful tools with their own purposes.

      And I agree — I love when features are added to themes by way of plugins.

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  7. A couple of us made a plugin to add a category selector for the front end of P2. When you click “Blog Post” and the headline field toggles down, a slim dropdown-style selector appears. You can attribute that particular post to any existing category that you have. Under Settings/Reading you can choose “Admin Only” or “All Users” for whom the selector appears. If anyone is interested, it’s free. Simply post back here and let me know.

  8. Has anyone tried to limit thread access by rolls by perhaps categorizing threads? In the example of having a project with an owner role that could see everything and a contractor role that would only see certain items?

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  10. @Kevin_S,
    I’d love to check out the plugin you built for categories. Can you post a link? Thanks!

  11. Great post. We’ve just setup a private P2 network for internal collaboration / comms in our distributed team.

    We setup a multi-site network, with different P2 blogs for different topics/projects. One challenge we’re now thinking about, is how to view a summary of content across all the blogs.

    Has anyone found a simple / elegant way to view an aggregation of posts across separate P2 blogs?


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