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WP-SNAP WordPress Plugin: Alphabetized Index Listing of Posts for Category Pages

Many people use their blogs like encyclopedias, wikis, or great repositories of information. Or for handling collections of information such as quotes, poetry, recipes, code, research, or facts. Others write reviews of books, movies, television shows, and technology.

So wouldn’t it be slick to be able to sort through the collection of posts in alphabetical order rather than by category or date?

WP-SNAP WordPress Plugin - alphabetical listing of posts within a specific categoryWP-SNAP! WordPress Plugin is the “WordPress System for Navigating Alphabetized Posts” in a SNAP! Literally.

WP-SNAP! WordPress Plugin creates an alphabetical listing of ABCDEF, etc. links on a category template file. When you click “A”, “D”, or “Z”, any post titles that begin with that letter are showcased.

Posts can be showcased by title or title and excerpt. You can also set the length of the excerpt.

It only shows the posts within the category you are viewing. If you are in category 6, it will only show posts within category 6. If you are viewing posts within category 2, it will only show posts within that category. The Plugin author is considering adding a feature to showcase all the posts within the site, but the Plugin then becomes a form of site map, which is splendid, but requires drastic changes to its structure.

It’s incredibly easy to use, but a little tricky. For the Plugin to work, you must have access to edit your WordPress Theme files and a category.php template file in your WordPress Theme. If you do not, you can create one following the instructions on the for creating a category template file.

Then follow the simple instructions.

  1. Download the WP-SNAP! WordPress Plugin, extract it and upload it to your WordPress Plugins folder on your site.
  2. Activate the Plugin from the WordPress Administration Plugins tab.
  3. Edit the category templates your Theme uses, such as category.php or category-6.php, and add the following:
    <?php if (function_exists('wp_snap'))
    {  echo wp_snap();}?>

    Make sure to place it within the WordPress Loop but not within an other PHP code. You may have to move it around in the template file to find a place where it will work.

  4. Copy the CSS example from the instructions page or readme file and paste it into your WordPress Theme stylesheet (you can style it better later).
  5. Upload the files and refresh the category page on your WordPress blog to see it in action.
  6. If it doesn’t work at first, go to the Options > WP-SNAP! panel and change the alphabetical structure to something different and click Update Options. If it works, you can change it back to the layout you prefer.
  7. Test it out and enjoy!

For more information on how it works once installed, check the Options > WP-SNAP! panel for instructions and help. Once you get the Plugin working on your category page, you can style it and customize it however you want. The WP-SNAP options allow you to change the CSS styles, but the ones it comes with are adequate. You change the look in your WordPress Theme’s stylesheet. To add a title, add the HTML title to your category page template file.

This works even with the Custom Category Template Which Replacing Multiple Category Templates With One, showcasing only the posts within the category you are viewing.

WP-SNAP WordPress Plugin is Not For Every Blog

Now, this WordPress Plugin isn’t for everyone. I thought it would be a great navigational aid for and for my . Taking Your Camera on the Road has over a thousand articles. Digging through all that educational and technical information within the various categories can be difficult unless people search first. The Plugin worked, but it didn’t work for the site.

Someone visiting is generally looking for photography or travel tips and information. So they click “P” for “Patterns in Nature” and indeed, they would see a list of post titles that begin with “patterns”. But if they are looking for “C” as in “cameras”, I don’t start any posts with the word “camera”. Thus they wouldn’t find articles about cameras, camera lenses, camera equipment, and camera buying, though I have articles about those subjects.

In other words, the WP-SNAP WordPress Plugin is fabulous if you have already titled your posts with the most important keyword as the first word in the title.

However, for those who title posts like quotes or books with the name of the author, or review movies by movie title, or similar, this is a must have WordPress Plugin.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

24 Comments

  1. Posted September 9, 2006 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle —

    It’s very kind of you to take the time to do such a nice review my plugin. I should replace my rather anemic description of its use and function with your far more thoughtful (and useful) write-up!

    I’ve gotten some great ideas from users as to how WP-SNAP! can be improved and I hope to find an afternoon sometime soon to crank out a new version. Thanks a lot for your feedback and support.

  2. Posted September 9, 2006 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    You are very welcome, Nathan. I’m still exploring ways to use your plugin, but not every plugin fits every hole. ;-) The issue of how the posts are titled plays a critical part. Now, if you could design it to read my mind and cull all the critical keywords out of every post I wrote, and generate a list of those to sort through alphabetically…oh, wait. Isn’t that what search engines are for? No need to replace the wheel. Hee hee.

    I love your plugin and you are very welcome to use my explanation on how to use it on your site, especially the part about having the tag wrapped in a conditional statement so it won’t bork the page if not installed or not working.

    Thanks again for the great work! I know many will find this plugin really helpful.

  3. Posted September 10, 2006 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    This is a really useful plugin, It helped me clean up my ‘Articles’ Page. Thanks for the great Review.

    And Thanks Nathan for this wonderful Plugin

  4. Posted November 8, 2007 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Help! I am in desparate need of this plugin, but can’t figure out how to make it work. Can you help? I am using WordPress 2.3 and every time I try I mess up the whole thing

    Wendy

  5. Posted November 8, 2007 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle,
    I posted a comment before but would like ask for additional information. I would like the alphabetical plugin to be used on it’s own page. I have tried and tried to get this plugin to work and have had no luck. I do not know what I am doing wrong and was unable to get clarity from Nathan. I am not a programmer, but I am not dumb either. If you can not help, would you direct me to someone who is willing to help me.

    Thank you very much – You have a fabulous blog.

  6. Posted November 8, 2007 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    @Wendy:

    I can’t help you beyond this article. I’m not familiar with the inner workings of this Plugin and if Nathan isn’t supporting it, or you don’t understand how to implement his suggestions, you might try to find help in the WordPress Support Forums. WordPress 2.3 messed up a lot of post and category oriented Plugins. You can also choose to go back to an older version of WordPress if you absolutely have to have this Plugin working.

    Good luck.

  7. Posted January 10, 2008 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Lorelle,

    Thank you for this post. I’m going to try it tonight to help organize my site.

  8. Posted April 4, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Just to clarify, I do support my plugin. If a bug is found in it’s functioning, I am more than happy to troubleshoot it and correct the problem. Unfortunately, the majority of support questions I get are questions about PHP, CSS and WordPress templates. I just don’t have the time to mentor all the people who need help in these areas. Maybe there will be a away for me to make implementing my plugin on a site a little easier sometime in the future but, for now, it requires some understanding of WordPress template creation to get it functioning.

  9. Matt
    Posted June 6, 2008 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    With WP-Snap, when you install it does it automatically organize all posts alphabetically? In other words when a new post comes in does it organize it or does that post stay in my blog. I am looking for a plugin that can alphabetically organize posts in 1 category. Can this plugin do that? Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

  10. Posted June 6, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    @ Matt:

    You will need to check with the Plugin author for details on this. I don’t know the specifics of this type of question.

  11. sourena
    Posted October 13, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    This can be a great plugin for an online dictionary as well. With a little bit of change in the plugin and the management area it can also add several text boxes to the “Write Post” page to enter the Word (title), its meaning(s), and audio file for pronunciation, and all that. Right now it is doable using the Custom fields but it would be nice if somebody develops a plugin for making dictionaries.

  12. Posted October 13, 2008 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    @ sourena:

    I believe that there are one or two out there, but they might be old. They aren’t so much for dictionaries as they are for glossaries – lists of definitions. Check those keywords to see if you can turn up one that will still work with current versions of WordPress.

  13. jess
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    is the index widget will work with blogspot? Or how can i use for blogspot?Thanks.

  14. Posted November 2, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi,

    As it is, the plugin generates a number of pages with each a unique URL, but the pages all share the title and description from the category, which is not ideal for SEO.

    Do you think the plugin could modified so that it generates pages with their own title and description?

    • Posted November 3, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      You will have to ask the author of the Plugin, and the answer is yes, if you understand WordPress Plugin code.

  15. Ralph
    Posted June 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Great guide, however, I feel that “within the wordpress loop” is extremely vague. Developer’s site says right above the beginning of the loop. I am confused here!

    Below is my code from category.php – it looks ok on my site, however when clicking on the letters it doesnt sort them. It posts from the beginning all the time. I tried many different configurations, reading online, etc, etc. All are vague! Where exactly do I paste the wp-snap code?

    Thanks for reading.

    • Ralph
      Posted June 12, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      HUH. it removed some of the code so it doesnt show correctly. Sighs….

    • Posted June 12, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      See also Writing and Publishing Code in Your WordPress Blog Posts for future reference if you choose to publish code in posts or comments. Thanks.

    • Posted June 12, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Within the WordPress Loop is very specific for those familiar with WordPress. The Loop in Action and The Loop from the WordPress Codex. Please check with the Plugin author for details and updates.

    • Ralph
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Just wanted to update here. I find it interesting. The WP-Snap never worked until I finally updated to the latest version of wordpress yesterday. I was about to go and contact the developer on troubleshooting my configuration, so I gave it one last test, and behold, it worked! LOL. (Now on ver 3.2.1)

  16. Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for share! Good job!

  17. javurektomas
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to use WP-SNAP Ext. in combination with qTranslate plugin. Each of post sort under the first # tag. Is it because of qTranslate use “” tags before and after the title? How can I solve it? Ignoring these tags in WP-SNAP settings does not work and some errors with the mb_strlen…etc. functions appear.

    • Posted May 29, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that Plugin is supported any more. Contact the Plugin author.


4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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