Jan 16, 2013 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
I’ve been working on a WordPress plugin that takes advantage of the WP-Cron system (which, for the uninitiated, is a sort of event scheduling system that runs functions in WordPress at predetermined intervals). Unfortunately, that’s a bit of a pain considering the nature of the task. How do you test functions that are designed to run intermittently, say twice a day? The easy/hacky solution is to add a function call that runs the task on every page load, and then remove it when you’re done. But if you want a solution that doesn’t involve editing your code, there’s a handy plugin that’s perfect for this scenario.
Core Control is a plugin that lets you monitor and adjust several parts of WordPress for diagnostic and development purposes. It makes it easy to view registered WP-Cron events, and trigger them with a click. It can also force WordPress to check for ore, plugin or theme updates, log any HTTP requests WordPress makes to external servers and determine which filesystem access method WordPress is using.
Feb 6, 2012 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
Back in WordPress 3.1, a new feature called Post Formats was added to enable theme developers to more easily denote different types of posts in order to make “tumblog” themes. But the feature is lacking as it stands today. The UI is simply not as nice as services like Tumblr, and there isn’t really a set of prescribed standards for how to use Post Formats. So some themes store link URLs in Custom Fields, while others grab the first URL out of the post body. That sort of inconsistency makes portability between themes a nightmare.
Alex King and his company Crowd Favorite have a proposed solution. Their plugin adds a really nice UI to the New Post screen, with tabs that appear depending on which Post Formats your theme enables and different input fields that change depending on which tab is selected.
In addition to the way cool plugin, they have a sensible naming convention for custom fields to go along with it. I think it would great if the Core team adopted that as a recommendation for theme developers, and incorporated the UI plugin into WordPress proper.
Alex King did say, back in November, that he planned to suggest it to the Core developers once WordPress 3.3 shipped, so keep your fingers crossed.
WordPress Post Formats Admin UI [Alex King]
Dec 21, 2011 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
Have you ever wanted to embed an entire tweet into a WordPress post for some reason? Maybe you were doing a short write-up about a recent news story, and wanted to quote someone’s amusing tweet on the matter. You could just use a simple blockquote, and link to the tweet, but wouldn’t you rather embed the whole thing, complete with information about the user and interactive buttons?
The latest version of my Tweetable plugin, version 1.2.4, includes support for Twitter’s new embedding API, which enables you to do that with minimal effort. If you have the plugin installed (and “Auto-embeds” is turned on in the Media page of your Settings), you can just paste a properly-formatted URL from Twitter onto a new line in your post. After you hit Publish, it will appear in your post, thanks to the magic of oEmbed.
The best part? This is going to be built-in to WordPress 3.4, so you have ensured forward-compatibility. Otto, one of the major contributors to the WordPress core, has already worked up a patch and it is currently slated to be included in version 3.4. Beat me to it.
Oct 19, 2011 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
WooThemes recently announced the launch of their free WordPress e-commerce plugin, WooCommerce, along with a few themes with built-in integration.
This is one of our biggest release to date and it’s absolutely free. WooCommerce is an all-new plugin application and library of integrated themes for WordPress that help individuals and businesses turn their sites into professional, e-commerce stores. Our aim for WooCommerce is to be an e-commerce toolkit that allows anyone to sell anything online. View the WooCommerce page to see all the powerful features packed into the plugin.
WooCommerce is a fork of the lesser-known Jigoshop plugin, with a bunch of nice additions. This has been the cause of some controversy about the “ethics” behind the decision, despite it being 100% legal under the GPL. Personally, I can see merits to both sides of the argument, but I think it should encourage competition. The Jigoshop team should be able to absorb some of the improvements WooThemes made to their fork back into Jigoshop as well.
Apr 20, 2011 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
BlackBox is a handy WordPress plugin that I’m going to have to try out for development. It adds a debug bar along the top of each page, with items that would be invaluable for plugin and theme developers but probably of little interest to bloggers who don’t like getting under the hood.
With the theme you can have a look at all of the globals, see any errors generated, and keep tabs on the MySQL queries (including their execution times) behind the page generation. It even includes a profiler.
Apr 18, 2011 by Matt | Posted in Featured, WordPress
Wouldn’t it be neat to have an at-a-glance display of common statistical information on your WordPress Dashboard? The StatDash plugin does exactly that, adding a customizable widget that shows stats from Google Analytics, Feedburner, Twitter and even your earnings from the Envato Marketplaces.
You can choose which of the services are displayed, as well as hide the chart if you wish to have the widget be a bit more compact.
StatDash is my first item to be released on Code Canyon. It’s priced at $8, and is GPL compliant of course.
Mar 21, 2011 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
WP Utility Short Codes is a WordPress plugin that helps you easily add callout boxes to your posts with simple shortcodes. (Some examples here.)
Using WordPress short codes, this plugin will allow you to easily insert message boxes and buttons into your WordPress posts and pages. With easy to use options, there are over 1,000 possible display configurations. All buttons and message boxes include multiple color and size options.
I haven’t tried it out myself, but it seems like a good plugin. The code is very straightforward, too. It shouldn’t be too difficult to override the default stylesheet in favor of your own box styling, if you’re not a fan of the default.
Mar 9, 2011 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
Jeff Starr (co-author of Digging into WordPress) has released a new WordPress plugin for allowing users to submit guest posts to your blog. User Submitted Posts lets users write posts and upload images through a form embeddable in any page or post using a shortcode. You can customize the fields shown a bit, the maximum number of images and their dimensions, things like that. The post state (draft, publish, or “publish after some number of approved posts”) is also configurable.
Once a user has submitted a post, it’s saved as a “Draft” by default, but may optionally be set to “Publish Immediately” or even to publish if the author has “x” number of approved submissions. The plugin also displays a User Submitted Posts button at the top of the Posts Page that lets you filter all user-submitted posts/drafts with the click of a button.
This seems like a great option for community-oriented blogs looking for a way to open up to guest submissions. I do wonder whether spam submissions might get to be a problem, though. It could be handy if the plugin could hook into the Akismet API or at least offer a CAPTCHA option.
Dec 3, 2010 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
MediaElement.js is a nifty jQuery plugin that allows you to use the HTML5 video and audio elements while still supplying a Flash or Silverlight backup for compatibility.
There’s now a convenient MediaElement.js WordPress plugin that gives you easy-to-use shortcodes for use in the post editor. To embed a video when you have the plugin installed, all you have to do is put this in your post:
[video src="http://example.org/video.mp4" width="640" height="480"]
The MPEG 4 video will be served-up to supporting browsers, and others get the Flash backup. Supported formats also include WebM, MP3 and Ogg Theora. Multiple formats can be specified in one shortcode, if you have encoded multiple versions. You can serve Safari and Mobile Safari an MP4 version, Firefox an Ogg Theora, and Chrome the little-supported WebM.