There are a lot of amazing WordPress plugins. Many book bloggers (including myself) often take time to showcase their “Favourite WordPress Plugins” or the “Plugins Every Book Blogger Needs”. I even made my own plugin specifically for book bloggers. That leads us to this week’s question:
So much of the plug-ins that you created are solely for WordPress and for some of us other bloggers who only use blogspot, that’s not all that helpful as wonderful as they are. *g* Is there any way that you could create a plug-in that would work specifically for bloggers who host their blogs on blogspot, such as one for ratings or one similar to your ultimate book blogger plug-in, so that those of us who are still on blogspot could benefit as well?
Honestly, the answer to this question is going to get a little technical, so strap yourselves in for some jargon.
What kind of coding languages are there?
Then, most importantly for this question, there is a fourth language: PHP. PHP is the language that has to be used to make any kind of complex plugin. All of the functionality in the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin is built with PHP. You need to use this language if you want to achieve anything like this:
Create a new box on the admin side, which allows the admin to upload their star graphics. Store that star graphic in the database for later use. Create a new box on the post creation page, which allows the admin to select their rating from a drop down menu. Analyse which rating was selected, and from that, generate the appropriate star graphic.
This is honestly a really roundabout way of explaining PHP, but any time you have to do heavy ‘thinking’, ‘processing’, or ‘analysing’ (as opposed to ONLY ‘displaying’), you have to use PHP.
Why can’t we use PHP on Blogger?
So we’ve established what PHP is. Now, why can’t we use it on Blogger? PHP is not a client side language; it is not interpreted by the browser. PHP is run on a server; it is a server-side scripting language. All of that thinking, processing, and analysing we talked about, can’t be done by the browser. It’s more complex than that. You can use PHP on any self-hosted blog because you are renting shared (or unshared, if you pay up the butt) server space. But on any free host—like Blogger or WordPress.com—you don’t have access to the server and thus you can’t use PHP.
The reason you can’t have access to the server on a free platform is because PHP is a lot more ‘dangerous’ than client side languages. If you mess up your HTML, the worst that happens is that the page looks ridiculous, or you start seeing the HTML tags. If you mess up your PHP, your entire site can go blank and just say “Server error”. Obviously websites like Blogger can’t have people uploading PHP that can be dangerous or knock entire blogs offline.
Long story short…
The moral here is that it just isn’t physically possible to code WordPress plugins for Blogger or other free hosts. A free platform doesn’t give you the access you need to be able to use server side scripting, and a language like PHP is required to do any serious plugin work. I wish I could make the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin available for Blogger, especially because it cuts out a large chunk of the book blogging world, but it simply isn’t possible. 🙁