New plugin: VVVI – visually integrates apps (tried phpbb & mediawiki)
The Visual Webpage Integrator (VVVI) plugin allows you to visually integrate third party products into a page, without having to modify/understand the products being integrated. For example, one can integrate phpbb and mediawiki (using VVVI) in wordpress pages, keeping the layout (and headers/footers) of wordpress, without having to touch a single line of code/configuration in phpbb and mediawiki.
The concept used by VVVI is similar to iframes, but server-side. When integrating (say) phpbb, the plugin will fetch the HTML of phpbb. It will then merge it with the wordpress page, server-side, and display a unified page to the client. This avoids the visual problems associated with iframes (e.g., double scroll bars). This technique introduces some complications, like having to rewrite hyperlinks so that future browsing on the forum passes through the integration script. All this is handled by the plugin.
From a user’s point of view, all that needs to be done is adding the following to a wordpress page:
and phpbb will appear within that placeholder div. Note that the current version of the plugin does not handle this approach well due to technical reasons, so in practice one will likely need to edit a .php file and add the URL there (as recommended in my instructions). The plugin is very immature, as I just spent one day (today) writing it. I think that the idea has potential, and hence why I wanted opinions about it.
The plugin is available at:
All feedback is appreciated. I’d be particularly interested to know if this has been done in the past. Also, I’d like your opinions on performance, which I don’t think is a major problem (see the PDF).
To summarize, my goal was to have a 1-liner integration solution, of arbitrary third party software. Indeed, the plugin is so flexible that it can “integrate” google.com inside your wordpress page (as it can fetch pages remotely)! My assumptions is that others too wish to, easily, visually integrate third-party products in their wordpress pages, so I hope that a more mature version of this plugin becomes a practical answer to quick integration.
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