Although every WordPress plugin performs different functions and operates differently, you can get a general sense of how they all operate by seeing a couple in action, and that's what this lesson is about.
I've installed two plugins on the Island Travel site that I think would be useful: NextGEN Gallery to manage photos and Contact Form 7 to help me easily create contact forms. In the next lesson, I cover more uses for plugins and give some recommendations for those as well.
The most popular (more than three million downloads) and the most powerful photo management plugin is called NextGEN Gallery. Developed by Alex Rabe, this highly configurable plugin goes well beyond the image gallery function built into WordPress. I'll barely be able to scratch the surface of its capabilities, but you'll have a good sense of what's possible.
When you activate NextGEN, a special section is created on the admin menu, as you can see at the lower left of Figure 36-1 (immediately above it is a menu section created by the second sample plugin, Contact Form 7, which you will have seen already if you installed that plugin as part of the previous lesson's Try It section).
You can also see from this opening screen of NextGEN that it has its own kind of Dashboard showing you how many images you have, how many galleries and albums (I explain them in a moment), as well as a lot of technical details about your server settings and server graphics ...