WooThemes yesterday announced the release of a new plugin called WooDojo. Like the popular plugin JetPack, WooDojo includes a number of different modules within the plugin that can be activated and deactivated depending on what features you want.
By default, the plugin comes with 5 bundled features: Custom Code, Shortlinks, Tabs, Login Branding, and Social Widgets. Two additional plugins can also be downloaded and activated within WooDojo: WooSidebars and WooCommerce.
Custom Code lets you easily insert CSS code into your website. You can also add HTML inside the head tabs and just before the closing body tags. Most WordPress themes released over the last year already offer this functionality though if your theme doesn’t it’s worth activating it.
ShortLinks automatically generate short URLs for your posts using Bitly or Tiny URL.
The tabs widget lets you add a 4 tabbed information widget to a widget area such as your sidebar. By default it shows latest posts, popular posts, comments and tags. The tabs can be placed above or below the content or even at the left or right hand side (though this looks awful in my opinion). The number of posts or comments can be defined in the widget as can the size of the thumbnail and where you want it positioned.
Tabs is a simple widget that I’m sure many of you have love. There are better tab widgets available though and some of you may find the lack of options in the widget limiting. You can’t exclude categories from listings and by default popular posts list posts with the most comments. I’ve always found plugins that determine popular posts by the number of comments received to be impractical as they show articles from years ago that are no longer relevant. At the very least popular post plugins need to restrict how old posts can be to be published.
A simple feature that lets you change the login logo, the login title and the URL the logo image links to.
This will change your login page to something like this:
I was confused and disappointed with the Social Widgets feature. Once activated, WooDojo adds two Twitter widgets to your widget area. These widgets allow you to display your latest Tweets and display information about your Twitter account.
Unfortunately, neither of them seem to work. The Twitter Profile widget only seems to add a text link whilst the Tweets widget caused an error when I added it to my sidebar.
The Tweets widget did actually display my tweets. In addition to displaying a fatal error on my page, it also displayed tweets from my Twitter account. For some reason, these tweets were sandwiched between my listing of featured posts and tags.
Clearly, the Social Widgets hasn’t been tested properly. The Tweets widget is certainly conflicting with something in the current theme WP Mods is using, though I’m unsure as to why the profile widget displays nothing but a simple text link to my Twitter account.
It doesn’t seem like that WooSidebars and WooCommerce haven’t been integrated into WooDojo at all. I downloaded WooSidebars via the WooDojo page and got a message that it was successfully installed. Nothing seems to have been added though. Even after the installing WooSidebars the ‘Download and Activate’ links on my WooDojo home page remained. They were not listed as active on WooDojo and they not listed on my plugin page either (active or inactive).
Either these plugins haven’t been integrated properly into WooDojo or these plugins are simply being advertised on WooDojo and are not part of the plugin in many way. I suspect WooThemes will use WooDojo in future to promote their other plugins through WooDojo. This would be a smart move by them as it will increase exposure to their plugins to a large number of people however from a user point of view, it’s completely unnecessary and doesn’t enhance WooDojo in any way.
Individually, there is nothing in WooDojo that stands out as an important feature you must have. Collectively WooDojo is a useful plugin that adds a lot of simple features to a WordPress website. It does still feel very rough around the edges though. The social media widgets don’t work and even after installing WooSidebars and getting a message confirming that it had been activated, I still couldn’t find it anywhere and it was still shown as inactive on the WooDojo page.
I’m sure WooThemes will resolve these issues and develop it in a similar way that JetPack was developed as this will enable them to add more great features to the plugin over time fairly easily.
It’s not an essential plugin at the moment though if you think you would find any of the features mentioned in this review useful, it would be worthwhile trying it out.