Sometimes opinion is clouded by assumption. You tend to think something is suitable when it’s not. Just because you’ve heard so much about it. Then everyone’s using it, so you’d be crazy not to use it. And then since you’re using it, you start recommending it. But that’s plain silly!
For example when someone says events, I immediately think of Event Espresso, and I recommend it quite often. Now, Event Espresso is undoubtedly a great plugin. At WisdmLabs we work a lot with it. But it might not be the apt plugin for certain scenarios.
One such scenario helped me discover the Events Calendar plugin by Modern Tribe. I was looking for an events listing plugin and the Events Calendar fit the bill.
The Events Calendar Plugin
The Events Calendar plugin is an event management plugin. It helps you create and list events. You’ll find the plugin in the WordPress repository. If the 200,000 installs don’t impress you, I’m sure the fact that WordPress biggies Mark Jaquith and Pippin Williamson have audited and reviewed the plugin will surely grab your attention.
It certainly grabbed my attention.
And set up my expectations too. I expected this plugin to be no less than awesome.
I evaluate a plugin based on 3 factors:
- The settings
- The UI
- The Code
These are awesomeness evaluation factors. The features of the plugin are covered by these as well, and they’ll help me get a fair idea of the workings and offerings of a plugin.
So let’s take a look at what the Events Calendar plugin had to offer.
#1 The Events Calendar: The Settings
The settings are options a plugin provides in WordPress’ admin panel. And the settings experience is triggered when you activate the plugin.
When you activate the Events Calendar plugin, it guides you. I like that. There are links to tutorials, faqs and user guides right on the ‘Welcome’ page. There is an explicit ‘Help’ menu as well. It provides you a link to the plugin’s hooks and filters and an option to contact Modern Tribe for support as well- Perfect!
The settings interface is easy to follow because it is inline with the default settings interface provided by WordPress. That is to say, if you know how to create a ‘post’, you’ll know how to create an ‘event’.
This stems from the fact that the Events Calendar plugin adds events, venues and event organizers, as custom post types. And provides custom taxonomies- tags and categories- for events.
The general settings option provide you a way to personalize event display, and default event settings. Each event you create, can be linked to venues and event organizers, and can be categorized and tagged.
If you’re tired of creating events through the admin panel, there is an option to import events as a CSV file.
A limitation I’m sure you’ll notice right away is the single option to set the date and time for an event. This means, if you want to add recurring events, you’ll have to go for the PRO version. Also, if you’re looking to sell event tickets instead of simply listing them, you’ll have to go for a paid add-on.
Highlights: ‘Getting Started’ Guides, Quick Link to Events page, Admin Bar Menu
Awesomeness Scale: 4/5
#2 The Events Calendar: The UI
The Events Calendar plugin gets a +1 for the user interface. The plugin’s UI- the calendar and the single event page- is clean and elegant.
On the ‘Events’ page, a user can view events by the month, or date or as list.
The bonus feature is certainly the event search option, which allows a user to search an event by the date or using search keywords.
The PRO version has an option to view events by the week, by venue location or by event organizers. There is also an option to filter events based on the location. There is a Filter Bar add-on for additional filtering options as well.
On a single event page, event details- such as the event description and the ticket price, along with the venue and organization information are displayed. There is an option to mark the event in your Google calendar or iCal– pretty cool.
Highlights: Event Search option and Clean UI
Awesomeness Scale: 5/5
#3 The Events Calendar: The Code
Modern Tribe says that the plugin is “By developers, for developers“. And I’d have to agree. The code is clean, well structured, there are adequate hooks and filters and template overriding options.
To help you out, Modern Tribe has provided a detailed knowledge base, along with code snippets to customize the plugin.
Highlights: The Themer’s Guide to customize template files.
Awesomeness Scale: 5/5
The Events Calendar Pro Version
You can’t ignore the PRO version of the Events Calendar plugin, if you’re looking to provide advanced search options and recurring events.
The PRO version provides the option to add custom recurring events, which is certainly its USP. Apart from additional event viewing options, and location-based filtering, the Events Calendar Pro plugin provides advanced widgets for a mini calendar view, upcoming events, featured venues and so on.
But are these the only reasons to upgrade to PRO? I would say not. The premium support is certainly a solid reason to buy a pro license key.
The Events Calendar Add-Ons
From the several add-ons available the ones I’d like to highlight are Tickets, Community Events and Eventbrite Tickets.
As mentioned, if you’re looking to sell tickets on your events site, you’ll need a tickets add-on. The Events Calendar plugin provides several add-ons which integrate with top WordPress e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.
If you’re looking to sell tickets on Eventbrite, Modern Tribe has you covered. Their Eventbrite Tickets add-on allows you to sell tickets on Eventbrite as well as import tickets from Eventbrite on to your Events Calendar.
To allow users of your site to add their own events, you’ll have to use the Community Events add-on. This add-on provides a frontend event creation option as well.
The Events Calendar is a well-built plugin, with a clean user interface and easy to use settings. If you need a calendar plugin on your WordPress website, I’d be sure to recommend the Events Calendar plugin (if it suited your requirements of course 😀 ). Modern Tribe is known for it’s great support, and you can see their dedication right away in the detailed documentation they provide.
If I had to describe the plugin in one word, it would have to be- awesome! 🙂