Various Plugins

WordPress Plugin Review : Category Icons

By Rene, November 22, 2009 in Plugin Reviews, Various Plugins 4 Comments

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
4.0
2 VOTES
In this first plugin review at the WordPress Plugin Guide I have chosen the plugin Category Icons. After installation of this plugin you can assign icons to categories, which will be displayed next to the category title. This plugin is also used here at WPPG, and as you can see this plugin made a very nice graphical change to this blog. Just check the icons at the left of our post titles – see the post title above, with a ‘box icon’ which is assigned to the ‘various plugins’ category, the small icons positioned right to the menu options in the dropdown menu’s (in the blue navigation bar), or check the screenshot below and you will see what I mean. According it’s own website Category Icons is ‘the No. 1 plugin to assign icons to categories’. As there is no similair plugin yet they are probably right about this, let’s see what this WordPress plugin has to offer in this first review.

Screenshot of Category Icons at WordPress Plugin Guide

Screenshot of Category Icons at WordPress Plugin Guide

According to it’s page at WordPress.org the description of Category Icons is as follows :

Assigns icons to categories with WordPress 2.3 or higher. This wonderful plugin :

  • displays one or more icons in front of your post title or wherever you want
  • displays icons in the sidebar, with or without the category name, with or without the help of the widget
  • includes a widget. You can : use multiple Category Icons widgets (for WordPress 2.5 and higher), include or exclude some categories, display only icons (i.e. without the category name)…
  • you can make rollover with the icons in the sidebar if you follow this tutorial
  • is able to display category icons in your RSS
  • will either show you where to place the little code needed in your themes, or patch them automatically
  • generates pure html code of the img tag, so it gives you the freedom of doing what you want to with the icons (customizing via CSS or not)
  • generates valid XHTML (and Strict XHTML)
  • can prioritize the icons display (by Oliver Weichhold)
  • is translated in 20 languages (all the .po files are included, in case you want to update your language)
  • is compatible with these powerful plugins : My Category Order, qTranslate, Recent Posts, SEO Friendly Images, Similar Posts
  • is compatible with WordPress MU

The Category Icons plugin is written by Brahim Machkouri, and the author has made a website dedicated to this plugin (http://www.category-icons.com) where you can find many more information like full documentation, FAQ’s and a ‘Troubles’ section where you can ask your questions regarding the plugin. At the time I’ve written this review I checked this section and noticed the author is actively supporting the plugin, and he’s also quick in answering questions at the plugin’s WordPress.org forum.

Plugin Information*

Plugin name: Category Icons
Version: 2.2.3
Last update: 2013-07-22 1:13pm GMT
Requires at least: WordPress 2.8 or higher
Tested up to: WordPress3.5.2
Number of downloads: 144.350
Author: Brahim Machkouri
Homepage plugin: Category Icons
Plugin URL: Plugin URL @ WordPress.org
Download plugin: Download from WordPress.org
* Information is updated in realtime from WordPress.org
Installation

Installing the Category Icons plugin is quite easy. If you’re an advanced WordPress user you can skip this part, otherwise continue reading : go to the Plugins menu, select Add New, type category icons next to Term and press Search Plugins. Click on the install link at Category Icons and click again on Install Now at the popup window. Enter your FTP information at Connection Information, click on proceed and activate the plugin. Another option is to download the plugin at WordPress.org (see link on the left), unzip, upload and activate it yourself, but I like the first described method which is much easier to do..

Setup

After this basic installation select Category Icons at the Posts menu of the WordPress admin interface (not at Settings where you might have expected it!). You will notice five menu options :

Main menu Category Icons plugin for WordPress

Main menu of Category Icons

  • Icons – here you can assign icons to your blogs’ categories
  • Options – modify options of the Category Icons plugin
  • Template Tags – displays instructions where to place the required code in your template
  • How To – more information and help with plugin usage
  • Support the plugin – make a donation to the author

When you select the options page you have to enter the local path and URL to the location of the icons you want to use, or if you have uploaded them to your default upload directory (the same icon in two different sizes) you can leave both fields blank.

If you are looking for nice icons I can recommend IconFinder, a very good icon searchengine which finds you almost every icon you have in your mind…

Below these fields you can change options for Image File Types, Maximum icon width and Maximum icon height, which I didn’t change and you probably will not change either. At the field Maximum number of icons you can enter the maximum number of icons to display in front of the posts titles – if you have a post assigned to various categories it will display multiple icons. For normal use you can leave the fields at Database access and Template Tags at their default values, the same thing for the position of the category icon, unless you want to have it displayed at the right. At Sizes of the margins around the sidebar icons you can choose the handling of the space around the icons (CSS or by using an image), and at last you can select to display category icons in RSS feeds or not.

Icons menu at the WordPress plugin Category Icons

Icons menu

Now it’s time to assign icons to categories, this is very easy too. First select a category (assuming you have uploaded icons to the directory you have set at the option page). With the field Priority you can prioritize the display of icons (more info about this at the plugin’s website). From the dropdown menu Icon select the big icon first, and at Small icon obviously the smaller one.

After you have assigned all icons you can go to the Template Tags menu, here you can read instructions where to place the code for your template to get it up and running. If you follow all these previous steps your blog should be displaying the icons next to it’s category. If you want to display icons in the sidebar you can use the widget, here you can also enter parameters and include or exclude certain categories. For more help about this plugin check the How To section next to Template Tags or the official website of Category Icons.

Editor Review*

Features
(5.0)
Ease of Installation
(3.0)
Documentation
(4.0)
Help / Tech Support
(5.0)
Updates
(3.0)
* To read our review criteria click here

4.3

My Opinion

Category Icons is a great plugin to spice up your blog, and it’s very easy to install and implement. It’s also nice there’s support for RSS feeds so you can show your fancy icons to subscribed readers of your blog too. You can use the plugin for a lot of different things; like here at WPPG for titles and drop down menu’s, or you can use it in the sidebar when displaying categories. I have even seen a blog where they created a menu which consisted only of icons (no text) by using this plugin. One minus thing though; the plugin does not have an uninstall option. When you uninstall the plugin from your blog the MySQL database still contains numerous fields and a table from this plugin, data which should be removed too with an uninstallation (if you’re handy with PHPmyAdmin you can easily remove this clutter). This is the only minor factor, Category Icons is a great plugin which can add some nice flavour to your WordPress blog !

Overall Plugin Ratings

WordPress.org rating average : 3.69  (68 votes)
WordPress Plugin Guide editor rating
average : 4.3
WordPress Plugin Guide user rating
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


Are you currently using the WordPress plugin Category Icons ? What kind of additions would you like to see in this plugin ? Please share your thoughts about this plugin below, and don’t forget to rate this plugin !

 

 

Comments

4 Responses to “WordPress Plugin Review : Category Icons”
  1. BELGIUM BELGIUM Raymond Kleine on December 13th, 2009

    Nice review, I’m using this plugin too on my blog and the results are great !


  2. FRANCE FRANCE Brahim Machkouri on December 14th, 2009

    Thanks for the review. I’ll add an option to uninstall the plugin as soon as I’ll find some time. I’ve rated the plugin 4 stars out of 5, because of the uninstall option not present. ;)


  3. Adriana Silva on March 14th, 2010

    Could you tell me step by step, how and what to enter for the local path and URL to the location of the icons.


  4. UNITED KINGDOM UNITED KINGDOM rav on July 25th, 2010

    Hi, just wondered does this plugin allow me to use any image as a category ‘icon’ or just .ico files?