Earlier this week, I was once again visiting an old thought of wishing I had a place to keep notes within WordPress. A new site I’m working on requires a particular wrapper around embedded video to make them responsive in size. Instead of bookmarking the documentation or keeping a post draft with the information, I set to looking for a plugin that might suit my needs. This turned out to be more difficult than I originally thought because the implementations of even a simple “notepad” in a publishing platform like WordPress could be accomplished many different ways. I found four different plugins on the topic, including two that will work for my needs.
Peter’s Post Notes
The first plugin I found recommended was Peter’s Post Notes. It allows you to keep notes along with each post. It’s not intrusive and works very well. Unfortunately, the notes are per-post, not per-user or across multiple posts. This could work well if you want to keep some meta information with each post but for me I was looking to provide some notes across all posts for quick reference.
The second plugin is called Ninja Notes. It worked very nicely. It creates a box that can be moved around the editing page like below the post edit box or on the side column. Its adaptatibility was nice since I wasn’t sure where the best place for it would be. The best part of Ninja Notes was that it allowed you to create multiple notepads. You could create as many notepads as you want to keep your data sorted categorically. You then just change notepads with the use of a drop-down menu to pull up your different notes without a page reload.
The only negative to Ninja Notes that kept it from being a perfect solution was that it escapes the characters in your notes. Instead of <p class=’post-video’>, it would show <p class=’post-video’>. While this is good to prevent SQL injection attacks from other authors, it counteracts my primary need of wanting to be able to just copy+paste. I may still use Ninja Notes because its multiple notepads is a great approach but if I were setting this up for a client and just hoped to provide them with tips as they posted, this would not work.
WordPress Admin Notepad
The WordPress Admin Notepad plugin is the one that I am using currently but I may be tempted to switch back to Ninja Notes. This plugin keeps one notepad across the entire admin dashboard including the post edit page. Up in the top-right corner on the admin bar, you click the Note text and your note will expand above the title and post page. You can read your notes and make changes to it and then collapse the notepad again and hide it. This has proven to work well and it’s nice to have it out of the way entirely when you don’t need it. The text is unaffected when saved, so I’m able to simply copy+paste out of the notepad what I need.
Dashboard Site Notes
Dashboard Site Notes was a fourth plugin that came up in my searches and was recommended for different uses. Instead of having a notepad where you can leave notes for yourself, Dashboard Site Notes are more targeted for a site developed for a client. Instead of building a notepad with your information, you can create a series of notes you can place around the admin side of the dashboard to leave little notes for your client to get little reminders of what they need to enter in a field or what their steps are for publishing or updating content.
It was interesting to see different approaches to solving the same problem. I was happy to see that there were at least two plugins that implemented the solution how I pictured it. I should file a bug request with Ninja Notes to see if I can’t get the escaping fixed. Then it would be pretty much perfect. I’m contemplating switching to it from WP Admin Notepad more and more.