Tag Archives: Plugins

Blogsessive on WordPress Themes and the GPL

I recently read an interesting post over at Blogsessive on the big controversy over the GPL and WordPress. It covers the other perspective, that of the smaller theme developers trying to earn a living, from a somewhat neutral standpoint of someone who on one hand likes the GPL, but on the other hand doesn’t want to put stifle the creativity of the authors who can’t necessarily devote time to something that will have little return.

The discussion around this always seems to evolve into “open source” versus “author protection”. As Alex King pointed out in one of his posts, theme authors should be aware of what the GPL license exposes them too, while it provides freedom for basically everyone else.

I’m not by any means against freedom and open source. I’ve been preaching about the power of WordPress and the wonder that it is, but what I love more is to see a protection system for those authors that make a living out of releasing quality themes and plugins for WordPress. Somewhere along the way, in our quest for “freedom” we forgot how hard it is to earn our living, how hard it is to learn the things we now use to feed our families.

I have a similar position. I like the GPL as much as anyone who contributes to the WordPress community, and I appreciate it’s provisions for paid software, but as nice as that sounds in print, it doesn’t always work out that well in real life.

My Take on the WordPress Themes & the GPL License [Blogsessive]

Changelogs in WordPress Plugins

A new feature recently launched on WordPress Extend allows plugin authors to create changelogs in their plugin readme files, which will now show up in a separate tab on Extend, as well as in the dialogs that appear when you click the “View version 1.3.2 Details” links on the Plugins screen in wordPress.

For me, a changelog is a very important thing it is all about justifying to your users why they should upgrade to the latest version of your plugin as well as reassuring them that the changes made have been made for specific reasons and helping them to understand the impact the changes may have on there usage of your plugin.

Some plugins are already starting to take advantage of this new feature. Others, such as my own, already have changelogs, but they aren’t yet formatted in the manner required to trigger the creation of a separate Changelog tab.

Changelogs, Changelogs, Changelogs [westi on wordpress]

An Easier Way to Handle Plugin Options in WordPress 2.8

Write forms, collect data from them, validate, then store. That’s the routine familiar to most plugin developers, and one that could always be easier. Why should you have to waste your time writing boring form handling functions when you could be working on one of the more interesting parts of your code?

With WordPress 2.8 comes the register_setting() function, which just might make things a bit easier.

Essentially the function lets WordPress handle the data collection and storage dirty work. After calling register_setting() when the init hook runs, you can just create the form and sanitize the data with a callback function.

add_action('admin_init', 'ozh_sampleoptions_init');
function ozh_sampleoptions_init() {
register_setting('ozh_sampleoptions_options', 'ozh_sample');

Apparently this method works in 2.7 as well, but in 2.8 it is required if you’re using options.php for your settings.

WordPress Hosting Monitor Plugin

The WordPress Hosting Monitor plugin, created by WebHostingSearch.com, that gathers useful data about the server your blog is hosted on, and spits it out in a convenient widget.

If you only have access to your server via FTP you really won’t know all that much about it. The reason for this lack of information is that you don’t have admission to the SSH, also known as the terminal, network protocol. Many of the biggest hosting providers are for some reason a bit shady when it comes to some of the numbers and stats that can be useful for their clients to know. We recognize this problem and have therefore created a plugin with which you will be able to see basic info that can help you understand your site and server better.

The plugin shows the OS the server is running, CPU speed, cache size, RAM usage, load averages, and the time since the last downtime (among other things).

The data can be output via a widget, or a template tag that you could put somewhere out of the way. You can customize what information is displayed, so I can output select data to be shown to the general public (e.g. server uptime). A page under the Settings menu lets you choose what data to display.

The plugin provides some interesting insights into your server, and is certainly a fun thing to play around with, and could potentially be useful for diagnosing issues.

40+ Invaluable PHP Tutorials and Resources

My newest post on Net.Tuts+ was published yesterday: 40+ Invaluable PHP Tutorials and Resources

It is a roundup of articles, tutorials and tools of interest to PHP coders, on topics such as security, OOP, frameworks, and WordPress.

PHP is one of the most popular scripting languages on the internet today, and one of the easiest to get into. Whether you’re a PHP newbie, or an experienced code-slinger, there is always something new to discover. A function you’re unfamiliar with a killer timesaving tool, a technique that you forgot about…

Head over to Net.Tuts+ to read the full article.

Anti-AdBlock Plugin

Thaya Kareeson, maker of the useful WP Greet Box Plugin, has just released Anti-AdBlock, a WordPress plugin that detects if the user is running the AdBlock Plus extension for Firefox and displays a message “humbly asking them to support your website by turning off their AdBlock software.”


The plugin allows you to customize the message to be displayed and the accompanying image. The box will, by default, log a cookie to prevent the box from showing again after the first visit, though you can set it to show more than once. Also, the message can be set to not display until a user has visiting more than X pages on the site, and it is set to a reasonably high number by default; a nice touch.

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“Twittar” Twitter Avatar Plugin

Smashing Magazine has released an interesting WordPress plugin called “Twittar.” The plugin, named for “Twitter Avatar,” is used in place of WordPress’s Gravatar template tag. When a comment is displayed, the plugin will check to see if the email address left matches a Twitter account, and will add the user’s avatar to the comment. Should they not have a Twitter account, it will check for a Gravatar instead.

This is an interesting idea, though some users have commented upon the plugin’s performance. It’s not terribly efficient, making two HTTP requests per comment server-side, and then the client loads the image. A solution is being considered, probably some sort of caching.

I quite like the idea, though I think it should have the option of changing the order of precedence for the avatars, so Gravatars could be favored over Twitter avatars. My Twitter avatar is the same as my Gravatar, but since Gravatars are more known for being “comment avatars,” it makes sense that some people would expect their Gravatar to load instead of their Twitter picture.

WordPress 2.7 Favorites Menu Manager Plugin

I would like to formally announce my latest WordPress plugin today. Behold Favorites Menu Manager.

When WordPress 2.7 launched, a small menu was added to the upper-right corner of the Admin. This menu was referred to as a Favorite Actions menu.

The menu, by default, doesn’t offer the user any customization options. It just contains links to Admin pages that are used often, or ones that most people use often. Shouldn’t it contain the links that you use most?

That’s where Favorites Menu Manager comes in. The plugin adds a new submenu under the Users section of the Administration, allowing each user of a WordPress install to customize his or her Favorite Actions menu. New items can be added easily, little-used ones removed. Items can be reordered and renamed as well. A handy Bookmark This item is added to the menu to make it easier to add items to the list. (Just navigate to the page you want, click, and then edit the name of the link.)

Finally, the Favorite Actions menu can actually contain your favorite actions.

Download the plugin from the WordPress Plugin Repository.

WP125 Patch 1.2.1 Released

If you have already updated to WP125 version 1.2.0, which was released just a few days ago, you would be strongly advised to upgrade to the the new 1.2.1 release, which fixes a critical bug.

If you are running 1.2.0, ads will not be taken down properly when they reach their expiration date, and you will recieve an endless supply of email notifications stating that the ad has been taken down. For every time someone loads a page on your blog, an email notification will be sent. This could quickly fill your inbox, and put unnecessary strain on the server.

This issue was caused by a mistake in an SQL statement that has since been fixed. Please update to version 1.2.1 of the WP125 ad management plugin, via the automatic updater in WordPress, or by downloading it manually.

EDIT: It seems we are up to 1.2.2 now. A couple of other, less major, bugs came up, and have since been fixed.

WP125 1.2.0 Released

Version 1.2.0 of the WP125 ad management plugin has been released. You can download the latest version from WordPress Extend, or you can update using WordPress’s automatic plugin updater.

The latest version streamlines the management workflow, and overall makes the plugin more friendly with WordPress 2.7. The subtle usability tweaks should make it easier to navigate the plugin in the latest WordPress release.

But what about the more major features?

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