The world first and easiest to use Issue Managing plugin for WordPress.
I've been going backwards and forwards as to how many stars to give this plugin. If I could break it down I would give it 5/5 for its power and potential, 3/5 for its usage and 2/5 for documentation. This is why:
The power to publish magazine issues made up of individual articles is, in my mind, a major leap forward in WP's ability to handle content. Moreover, with the emergence of long-content (think of the Snow Fall feature on NYTimes), online publishing is now competing with the big boys. Tablets and smartphones have become serious alternatives to printed copy and suddenly traditional media is receiving competition from online content providers. WordPress is playing a big part in this explosion and plugins like IssueM help grease the wheels of this transition. It has been observed elsewhere though that the publishing industry is slow on the take-up and it could be a while for it to catch on.
IssueM's simple shortcodes make simple publishing easy. Cut and paste them into your pages and Bob's your uncle. It really is that simple, but that's where the problem lies. To really format issues and articles requires at the very least a knowledge of CSS and HTML programming, and to make the most of it you need to get under the bonnet and understand things like conditional statements and all that other scary php stuff. The lack of built-in customisation is going to put users off unless there is a comprehensive support backup and document library. What free support there is on the IssueM forums is great and Lew and Peter make a point of answering each post, but one can't help wondering how much the developers are keeping back from Joe Public. A bit of smoke and mirrors, don't give the whole game away, and content providers with a budget are going to want to pay for support to get their publication online. And why not? It's a sensible business strategy. The problem is many WP users are simple content providers like myself who don't have much money to spend on support. I am battling my way through what little documentation there is in order to get my head around its potential.
Either that or the developers are just hard-core programmers who simply don't have time to put together a wiki, examples, documents, FAQs or any other resource that would really get people flying with this plugin. My bumbling lack of php skills doesn't help, but I'd be happy to share my theme once I get my project up and running if it helps anyone else.
So there's my situation. You should understand that I tried a few publication plugins but settled on IssueM for its logical back-end structure. I am beginning to build a rather splendid but simple publication for my wife's travel writing club. Since she and her members are not tech-savvy it is my job to make publishing their magazine as simple as possible... and it's taking me a while. Perhaps as IssueM grows in popularity the support network around it will increase, and that can only happen if people take a punt with this plugin. I have, and it's starting to pay off. This is one of those projects I'd like to see go stratospheric.
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