Tag Archives: WordPress

WP Vote

Word of a new social media site has been slowly spreading through the blogosphere. WP Vote, based off the Pligg CMS, is a topical Digg-type site focusing on WordPress-related posts.

I assume the site is fairly new, since I’m just now hearing about it, and I’m surprised that it took this long for someone to create a WordPress-oriented social news site. It’s a great concept, and I hope it takes off. (Hey Automattic, you could buy them out and make the site part of WordPress.org :D )

WP Vote is off to a good start, with a bunch of submissions, a decent design, and good comment counts.

Scheduled Post Shift Plugin

Have you ever wished you could have your oldest posts continually pushed back to the top of the stack, in order to highlight old articles from your archives? It’s not something I would do myself, but apparently there are some who would.

HackWordPress.com has a post on how to do just that, and an example scenario of why you would want to.

Personally, I don’t like the idea of mucking around with the time stamps like that, it’s…odd. What I would do instead, is have a section in my template that would pull older posts and display them. Maybe five random linked headlines that are older than 6 months? With the $wpdb class, you can work some WordPress magic and do whatever you want.

Though, as I said earlier, there are probably some people who would want to do what the plugin makes possible.

WordPress 2.7 to Include “Uninstall” Hooks

When you deactivate and delete a plugin in WordPress, something generally stays behind. All the tables the plugin added to the database, and their respective rows, remain behind, unless the plugin developer thoughtfully included a function to wipe them before deactivating. This means, if you have the expertise, it’s a good idea to go through the database once in awhile and delete tables created by plugins that you no longer use. (Warning: Unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing, don’t mess around with the WordPress database. You could easily break something.)

The next version of WordPress, version 2.7, will take care of this though. It will include facilities that will enable a plugin’s tables to be deleted if the plugin files are deleted (not deactivated, deleted).

The apparent best method for plugin developers to make use of the feature is to create an uninstall.php script in the plugin’s directory, and add some MySQL queries to remove their tables from the database. The script will run when their plugin is deleted.

Jacob Santos has a post up about the upcoming plugin uninstaller in WP 2.7.

WordPress Theme of the Month: Night Transition

This month’s featured, and free, WordPress theme is Night Transition by Web Kreation.

Continue reading →

WordPress vs. Movable Type: Who’s Winning?

Hendry Lee of BlogBuildingU recently published an article comparing WordPress 2.5 and the latest version of Six Apart’s Movable Type. It seems thought out fairly well, and seems to be fair comparision.

Though a lot of people may be getting tired of this little fight, it’s not going to end soon. Movable Type was the de facto standard before WordPress came along (coupled with that period where they charged for the software) and became the more popular option. Movable Type isn’t going to go down without a fight, I can tell you that, but WordPress is a few steps ahead. They’ve built a strong community during their time as Blogging Script of Choice, and the architecture is better. To quote the article:

WordPress is entirely developed in PHP, while Movable Type uses a mix of PHP and Perl (but mostly Perl).

Though there are a lot of Perl fanatics out there, PHP is, in my opinion, a better language for web publishing, and is easier for newbies to grasp. Movable Type has some cool features that WordPress doesn’t, but it’s reliance on Perl is a major handicap.

When Should You Upgrade WordPress?

As soon as possible!

When a new WordPress release, it normally fixes a plethora of bugs and security holes (WordPress 2.6 patches a round total of 196), in addition to adding useful new features.

One of the biggest reasons people wait to upgrade is plugin compatibility. The best thing to do is to check to see if plugins are compatible with the new release before upgrading. If a mission-critical plugin doesn’t work, let the developer know, and give him or her a couple of weeks to make necessary changes.

That’s also a reason you should upgrade as soon as possible. Plugins. With every release, new features are added that developers may want to take advantage of, and existing functions are changed. It’s a real pain to keep support for older versions for too long. I’m sure there are still people on WordPress 2.2…and they’re pretty much out of luck plugin-wise. If it’s pre-2.3, I’m not going to make sure my plugins work on them. They probably do work, but if they don’t you’re pretty much out of luck. WP upgrades are free, there’s no real reason to support older versions of WordPress that really shouldn’t still be in use.

Of course you have security to. If you have WordPress 2.4 still, your blog is at risk. The same certainly goes for older versions as well. I can’t say this too many times: Your blog is probably at risk if you’e using an outdated version of WordPress.

Sure, wait until your favorite plugins are available for the latest release, then upgrade. But don’t wait longer than a month. Outdated versions of WordPress are a big target for “hackers” (for want of a better word).

WordPress Template Tag Reference

DBS>Interactive has put together a comprehensive template tag list for WordPress users. The easy to navigate list features expandable JavaScript boxes that display examples and instructions for the tags, as well as a complete list of parameters for the function.

While it has exactly the same content as the WordPress Codex, some may find it easier and quicker to navigate.

I went ahead and bookmarked it for quick reference in the future.

WordPress Email Obfuscation

Email obfuscation is a useful technique to use to stop spammers from finding your email address (as opposed to the more common “munging” where you write “me [at] blah [dot] com”). An obfuscated email address is unreadable to humans and most robots in the source code, but is rendered correctly in a browser, and will function correctly in a mailto link. I’ve found it works well…but it’s a pain in the arse to do by hand. There are free online tools that will obfuscate an email address for you, but what if you want an automatic solution.

I didn’t know this until WordPress Garage pointed it out, but it seems that WordPress has a built-in obfuscation function. It’s called antispambot().

The function antispambot() above parses the e-mail address passed by get_the_author_email() (this is the same as the_author_email(), except it returns rather than displays the author’s e-mail address). Use of the echo command displays the output of antispambot(). An interesting feature is it encodes only portions of an address, and does so randomly so the letters encoded are different each time the page loads, adding a little more firepower to the spam protection arsenal.

The wiki page on WordPress.org has an example on how to use the function.

WP125 Plugin: Easy WordPress 125×125 Ad Management

After a few months of planning and work, I’ve finally released my new WordPress plugin. I’d had the idea sine around the time I started selling 125×125 ads on Webmaster-Source. I thought it was a bit of a pain to hard-code ads in and manually take them down after their run was over. And I don’t like figuring out end dates by counting ahead on a calendar either. That’s why I put together WP125, a WordPress plugin for easy 125×125 ad management.

I built the plugin to simplfy the management of 125×125 ads, and lower the barrier to get started selling them a little. Some of the features include

  • Custom ad layout options.
  • A widget to drop into your sidebar to make it easier to set the plugin up. Or you can use a template tag if you’re pro-code like me.
  • Click tracking.
  • Ads are automatically taken down on their end date.
  • The plugin can figure out an ad’s expiration date automatically, based off how many days you say the ad should run for (no more counting forward on your calendar!). It took a bit of time and effort to get this feature working, but it was certainly worth it.

Try the plugin out, and tell me what you think. It’s a first release (1.0.0), and it’s barely been out tweleve hours, so it may have some bugs or interface oddities that need fixing. (It’s not on WordPress plugin site quite yet either, but I’m working on that…) Tell me what you like, what needs fixing, etc.

I think WP125 is off to a good start, but I had to shave off a couple features I’d originally planned in order to get it out the door in time for the WLTC WordPress Plugin Competition. Sadly, that means I’m unable to use it on Webmaster-Source to manage my ads. I built the plugin to work the way I figured most people woud prefer, and pushed my preferences to the side for now. I handle my ads a little differently than other people, and it would have taken too much extra time and work to build support for that into the plugin. Hopefully I’ll have the time to include the settings I’d like at a later date.

Enjoy the plugin, and send your feedback along!

What Plugin Coders Must Know About WordPress 2.6

Planet Ozh has a new post up by the name of What Plugin Coders Must Know About WordPress 2.6. Ozh put out a similar post back when 2.5 was in development, and I found it very useful. This time around, there’s even more to worry about, er, be aware of.

It seems that users will be able to move their /wp-content directory wherever they want when the new release is out. That means you can’t rely on it being located at /wp-content anymore. A user could have it at /stuff/w-content or ../lib/wp-content, or anywhere, really.

Luckily, Ozh explains how to programmatically find the /wp-content URL or path.