The Downside of the WordPress Plugin Directory

One of the most powerful and useful parts of WordPress and other popular CMS software offerings is the seemingly endless number of available plugins to extend functionality in nearly any way you like. WordPress provides the Plugin Directory, where developers can publish their open source plugins free of charge for other users to download and use at no cost. In fact, I’ve contributed to the Plugin Directory with a number of offerings over the years, including Document Gallery, Hello Simpsons Chalkboard Gag, and Prezi Embedder. But, with all this power does come a downside…

As a site owner planning to use one of these plugins, you either have to read every line of code from the plugins you are planning to to use (and understand the code enough to spot any possible security vulnerabilities), or you have to trust that the plugin developer has made the code secure. If the developer was careless, your site could quickly be compromised (hacked!).

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Shorten WordPress’ Jetpack Sharing Links (http://wp.me)

EDIT: I have since developed a more robust solution for using shortlinks in Jetpack. See this updated information in Jetpack Sharing Links Revisited.

When I first decided to use WordPress for my personal as well as professional CMS needs, one of the driving factors behind that decision was the Jetpack plugin, developed by WordPress, which allows off-site (non-blogname.wordpress.com) installations to use many of the fancy features that used to only be available on wordpress.com blogs.

The Jetpack plugin allows you to quickly and easily share to multiple social networks, get site statistics, enhances your site for smartphone viewers, and many other convenient things. The one thing I do not like about the system is how difficult it is to retrieve the shortlinks, which are another fancy feature that Jetpack offers. Unfortunately, the links are only obtainable through the admin side, and not used in Jetpack’s own social sharing buttons (see below). If you try clicking any one of the share buttons at the bottom of this post, you’ll notice the link is to the URL of this page, not the shorter wp.me version which is preferred for sites like Twitter, where every character is a commodity. At least, that used to be the case.

WordPress Jetpack - Sharedaddy
Example of what the Sharedaddy share links look like.

After reporting this for revision a few months ago and getting the run-around, I finally took the time today to make the necessary changes myself. I also submitted a ticket to the WordPress team which *fingers crossed* will result in the change being pushed to all Jetpack users some time in the future. EDIT: This ticket was recently rejected, but that doesn’t stop you from implementing the fix yourself!

In the meantime, anyone interested in implementing the fix themselves…

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