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There are many plugins available that allow WordPress users to add customized lists of posts in WordPress, however its really easy to do this with a few simple lines of code. Doing this eliminates the excessive use of WordPress plugins.
Some WordPress plugins I belive are essential, for example Akismet, but some plugins you can really do without. It is good practise to de-activate un-used plugins and delete their files on your server and their entries in your DB.
If a plugin only consists of a few lines of code, then you can do without it, saving you unnecessary script and css file includes.
A simple example is customizing and adding additional lists of posts in your blog, this can be done using the built in WordPress function get_posts:[php]<?php get_posts( $args ); ?>[/php]
This function allows you to create multiple loops separate from the main Loop and pass a variety of paremters to the funcion, allwoing you to a highly customizable post list.
Display Random Posts
To display a list of random posts on your WordPress blog we can use the get_posts function like so:[php] <ul>
$args = array( ‘numberposts’ => 5, ‘orderby’ => ‘rand’, ‘post_status’ => ‘publish’, ‘offset’ => 1);
$rand_posts = get_posts( $args );
foreach( $rand_posts as $post ) : ?>
<li><h2><a href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>"><?php the_title(); ?></a></h2><p><?php the_excerpt(); ?>
<?php endforeach; ?>
Parameters In Use
Lets take a look at what parameters we have passed to get_posts, controlling what is displayed is vital, you do not want readers seeing un-published posts, or posts already displayed on the index page.
‘numberposts’ => 5
This limits the amount of posts that will be displayed.
‘orderby’ => ‘rand’
The most important part of displaying a set of random posts, using the MySQL RAND() function will produce a random generated list of posts.
‘post_status’ => ‘publish’
To ensure that posts that are either draft, deleted or pending review from being displayed it is good practise to specify that only posts that are published be displayed!
‘offset’ => 1
I added this parameter to offset the first post from being included in the list.
Using this method you be able to display a random list of WordPress posts without the use of a plugin, just like the right hand list on the DW index page.