Today we’re looking at Microdata Manager for Genesis by Brad Potter. This is the fourth plugin in our review series on adding Schema.org support to WordPress.
This plugin requires the Genesis framework, which you can purchase on the StudioPress website.
For this series we’re building a website for reviewing WordPress plugins. Our goal is to find a Schema.org plugin that lets us quickly add reviews without spending time on writing markup.
Our biggest pain point is usability. Whichever plugin we choose needs to be intuitive and easy to use.
We’re approaching each plugin from the perspective of a new user.
The artwork for Microdata Manager is bold. The “logo” gives the plugin some semblance of a visual identity.
We can see different Schema.org item types in the background: about, alternativeheadline, audio, author, award, etc…
This attention to detail, combining strong aesthetics with detail about the plugin’s functionality, gives the plugin a polished look.
A small design point, but one I really dig, is that the horizontal orange bar balances the “download” button and pulls the whole thing together nicely.
Last updated about 3 months ago.
At the time of writing, this plugin was last updated on August 24th, 2013.
Around 1200 downloads so far.
At first I thought “hey, that’s not a lot of downloads”, but this is a framework-specific plugin.
The artwork also lends credibility to the plugin — believe it or not — so I’m comfortable giving the plugin the benefit of the doubt.
Remember, popularity doesn’t represent quality! Many great plugins have low download counts because they’re only used in specific situations.
Simple documentation, no screenshots.
The Description, Installation, and Other Notes pages are short and to the point.
While the Other Notes page does describe what happens when the plugin is activated, there are no screenshots to show it.
That’s a missed opportunity. Screenshots are a great way to show potential users what to expect with a plugin.
Ratings & Reviews
Only four people have reviewed the plugin, but the feedback is solid:
“Super plugin – Simple and to the point :-)”
“Great little plugin for adding your own schema to Genesis child themes.”
“A straight-forward plugin that gets to the point and gets the job done.”
“Having a tool like this to quickly modify post or page microdata is great. Activate it, and edit any post or page to see the microdata settings. A welcome addition to the already great Genesis plugins that are out there.”
That last one was from Brandon Kraft, a WordPress developer with Automattic and author of the popular Genesis eNews Extended plugin.
These great reviews give me confidence, but they also raise my expectations. 🙂
There are only four threads in the support forum. One is praise, and the other three have all been attended to.
I was really impressed by Brad actually providing code for a user who was having a problem:
Using the Plugin
With the once-over out of the way, it’s time to give the plugin a test drive.
I’m installing Microdata Manager on a localhost version of WordPress 3.7.1 that’s running the Genesis 2.0.1 framework.
No configuration or settings. Just a meta box.
No screens are added to /wp-admin/ after installing Microdata Manager. The only addition is a new metabox on our editing screen:
The default values are shown in the fields. For the above image, “Blog” and “BlogPosting”. From this I can glean a few things:
This plugin does not add additional fields or information to your posts and pages. Instead, it applies Schema.org markup to existing elements.
If we wanted to add new elements — e.g. a rating as part of our review — it’d fall outside of the scope of this plugin.
What can we do?
That said, we can still use Microdata Manager to convert our posts into reviews.
For this, I change the itemtypes and itemprops:
And, viewing the markup, we can see that Microdata Manager has applied the changes:
What do we like? Microdata Manager does exactly as it says: it lets you update the microdata settings for pages and posts. If you don’t change the settings, it gracefully falls back to the default “blog post” type. Once you know what values to use, this is a very straightforward plugin.
What could be better? Some examples of what values to use for different schema types would be a useful addition to the documentation. I’d also like to see Brad get some screenshots in there.
The Takeaway: If you’re a Genesis user looking to apply basic Schema.org types to your posts and pages, Microdata Manager will get the job done. If you’re looking for something fancier — e.g. adding ratings and other Schema.org property types — Microdata Manager falls short.