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What are plugins that are added to a post or page using comments...for instance I am aware of the
<!--nextpage--> tag, (it's part of Wordpress not a plugin...) but I'm assuming that there may be plugins out there with functionality that is placed in a post in a similar manner.

What is the name of plugins that operate in this manner?

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There's a similar concept for plugins called shortcodes (as andrewk said). The syntax for these is slightly different than the more tag (which does look a lot like an html comment). Shortcodes are wrapped in square braces like so:

[myshortcode arg1="something" arg2="something else"]

Shortocde is the term for the technique, but plugins that implement shortcodes don't have any special name or anything. They're just plugins that use the shortcodes API. Similarly, plugins that use the widget API (or any other WP functionality) don't have special names. They're all just plugins.

As far as I know, there is no built-in API for implementing "html comment-style" tags like the more tag. And I don't think the technique is in popular use by plugin developers since the shortcode API became available. At least, I don't see it very often.

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there is also the <!--more-->tag. there are many. You can actually use shortcodes [some_function] in posts and pages.

you can read more here on the codex shortcode api http://codex.wordpress.org/Shortcode_API

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So they're called short codes than? –  leeand00 Dec 31 '10 at 21:28
    
some of them yes. –  andrewk Dec 31 '10 at 22:00
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Just to clear up terminology <!--nextpage--> and <!--more--> are not shortcodes, their mechanics are entirely different and I don't think they have any specific term to describe them, tag is commonly used. Probably because they are closer to HTML markup tags than to PHP. –  Rarst Jan 1 '11 at 7:37
    
thanks for making it clearer @Rarst –  andrewk Jan 1 '11 at 20:43
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