So, wordpress.com doesn’t allow the blogger to choose plugins. We rule out self hosting due to the hassles.
Note that a mechanism still exists by which functionality similar to a server side plugin can be implemented. This mechanism is simple: automating the interface the blogger actually uses for administration.
We could do this in a lot of ways. We could write programs in several languages to do this. But what if the blogger is not a programmer? Gotta trust some programmer with the keys to my blog? No thanks. Besides, it’s tedious even if you are an experienced developer. Unless you already specialize in it I suppose.
So I just bumped into WinAutomation and started playing with it. In the odd 15 minutes I’ve been looking at it I’ve gotten it to logon to my WordPress admin account. Looks promising; intuitive replay interface, pretty feature rich, it might be possible to get it to do sophisticated things. I particularly like that it can run programs; if a piece of functionality I need is missing it might be possible to write a simple app or three and let WinAutomation invoke them and process the results somehow.
You get 30 days for free, even after that it’s not an unreasonable price tag. I’ll be looking at this early this week.