Jetpack, the latest plugin darling from WordPress, has had its share of controversy lately. The main point of contention for small to mid-level designers – which make up the majority of WordPress users – is that in order to use most features, you’re required to have a WordPress.com account even if you don’t use any modules that actually require that kind of connection.
In response to some of the negative reviews on this point, Matt Mullenweg noted, “The vast majority of Jetpack is useless (or broken) without a connection to WordPress.com, especially stats and subscriptions which are people’s #1 feature. We’ve been doing this connection thing for 4 years now, when it was overly hidden or constrained to a specific page people just didn’t notice it and it generated a huge support burden.”
Ok, so if you’re using modules that make connecting with or using modern media easier, Jetpack is great. But for everything else necessity, or in this case irritation, is the mother of invention. There’s already a rash of alternate plugins that allow for the same functionality of Jetpack but without the required connection to WordPress.
For example: Jetpack includes Carousel active for images. With this feature, any standard WordPress image galleries you have embedded in posts or pages will launch a gorgeous full-screen photo browsing experience with comments and EXIF metadata. If you’re irritated by the need to connect to WordPress.com to use it, there’s the Gallery Carousel Without Jetpack plugin created by Syed Balkhi of WPBeginner.
The editorial staff of WPBeginner announced the plugin on its website earlier this month. Here’s an overview of how it works:
Download the plugin first, then once it’s activated, go to Settings » Media and look for the section called Image Gallery Carousel.
Once you’ve established the settings there, add a gallery to your post or page, and voila! Your gallery will look just like Carousel in Jetpack, but without the connection to WordPress.com.
WPBeginner used photos of Lily, a member of the WPBeginner family, in its demo:
This plugin should get updates anytime Carousel gets an update in order to keep it functional. Remember too, that you don’t need this plugin if you already have a WordPress.com account, and you’re using Jetpack for all the other features it provides.
Tell us what you think. Will you use this plugin, or are you fine with using Jetpack’s Carousel feature, even with the WordPress.com account requirement? Leave us your comments in the box below.