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April 25, 2014

Matt: Scrollkit and Longreads at Automattic

You might have seen the news last week that Longreads is joining Automattic’s editorial team. Today I’m excited to announce that we’ve acquired Scroll Kit and they’re joining Automattic as well, and will be focused on making customization more visual and intuitive. We’re barely on the second inning of what WordPress could be, and the impact it can have on the world, and I consider myself very lucky to be working with the best and brightest on transforming the way the world publishes.

by Matt Mullenweg at April 25, 2014 12:32 AM under Asides

April 24, 2014

WPTavern: Automattic Snaps Up Scroll Kit to Add to the WordPress.com Product Team

scroll-kit

Scroll Kit founders Cody Brown and Kate Ray announced today that they are joining the product team at WordPress.com. Automattic, having recently acquired Longreads and Cloudup, adds Scroll Kit to its collection, ostensibly in order to subsume its better features into WordPress.com.

Unlike Cloudup and Longreads, which have continued on with business as usual after acquisition, Scroll Kit will be shutting down its editor in three months as part of the deal. Users of the app are encouraged to export their scrolls in case a more native solution is available further down the road.

Scroll Kit allowed users to create beautiful web pages without writing a line of code. Its powerful visual content editor was actually used to recreate the New York Time’s interactive Snowfall experiment in an hour, a project which NYT says took hundreds of hours of hand-coding. Although its makers cannot yet comment on their super secret future plans, one cannot help but wonder if this radically simplified visual editor may soon make its way into WordPress.com.

Scroll Kit already has a WordPress plugin listed among WordPress.com VIP’s list of layout and organization plugins. This tool offered Scroll Kit users the ability to connect directly to self-hosted WordPress sites and create customized templates as well as change images, fonts, backgrounds, and add special effects. “We’ll take what we learned building Scroll Kit and apply it to a product that’s always been tightly integrated with ours,” Scroll Kit creators said, as they bid their current users goodbye.

Will WordPress.com incorporate Scroll Kit’s editor into the theme editing experience for its customers? If so, it will be interesting to see if some of those features trickle down to the open source WordPress project. With the instant popularity of front-end visual editors like VelocityPage for self-hosted sites, a simplified theme editing experience is bound to resonate with WordPress.com’s user base. Scroll Kit’s makers said that their objective was “to create a process for making the web that was more like drawing on a piece of paper.” If they can bring that experience to WordPress.com, then Automattic has just bought itself a magic wand.

by Sarah Gooding at April 24, 2014 11:37 PM under scroll kit

WPTavern: View More Themes in the WordPress Theme Browser

WordPress 3.9 brought a huge improvement to the WordPress theme browsing experience. By default, the new browser shows large preview images of themes with indicators for the ones you already have installed. It also allows for better filtering and exploring of featured and popular items.

Theme Browser Experience Revamped In WordPress 3.9

Theme Browser Experience Revamped In WordPress 3.9

These updates to the theme browser make it far more likely that WordPress users will want to look for new themes without leaving the admin. The experience is much better than searching directly on WordPress.org.

See More Themes

Themes and their previews load quickly from WordPress.org, but the size of the thumbnails prevents you from seeing more of them on the screen at once. See More Themes is a new plugin, written by Sean Davis, that allows you to browse more themes. When activated, the plugin modifies WordPress’ default admin CSS for the theme browser, reducing the size of the thumbnails to display more themes.

The default theme browser looks like this:

Default Theme Browser

Default Theme Browser

When you have See More Themes activated, you’ll be able to take in more themes at a glance:

Theme Browser with See More Themes plugin activated

Theme Browser with See More Themes plugin activated

Sometimes it takes hours of browsing and previewing themes before you can settle on one that works for your site. See More Themes helps you browse through them faster while still presenting a decent sized thumbnail. It also maintains the theme browser’s responsiveness. If you like being able to see more themes at once, download the plugin from WordPress.org the next time you’re on the hunt for new themes in the admin.

by Sarah Gooding at April 24, 2014 10:10 PM under theme browser

WPTavern: Why WordPress Can’t Kill Commercial Plugin Businesses

Will WordPress be a Plugin Business Killer? The post is based on the idea that features from a commercial plugin added to WordPress could kill the business based on that plugin.

The short answer to Poulson’s question is no. Here’s why.

WordPress Needs To Be Generic

gravityforms logoWordPress serves a huge audience. Commercial plugins usually address a specific niche and hammer away at it with features and functionality. It wouldn’t make sense to take GravityForms or Backup Buddy and merge them into WordPress because those plugins are not generic enough to cover a wide audience.

Even if a GravityForms were to merge into core, it would likely be stripped of its niche focused functionality and probably be rewritten. It would be stripped to a point of basic functionality to cover the majority of WordPress users. GravityForms would likely continue to exist as a successful commercial plugin since it would contain features that didn’t make it to the core of WordPress.

Don’t Sell Features, Sell Products

Within the comments of the article, Carl Hancock of RocketGenius made a great point when he said:

To me a viable commercial product is just that. A product. Not a feature. If something is more of a feature, then unless it’s part of a collection of offerings it could be dicey to rely on it as a commercial plugin. Features aren’t products.

I agree. Commercial plugins that are just glorified features are more at risk of being added to core than full-fledged products. Regardless of either camp, merging existing plugins into core is not a routine task. Outside of the features as plugins first model, it rarely happens.

I don’t think commercial plugin author needs to worry. Is it a possibility worth considering? Definitely, but it’s one of those thoughts that should be in the back of your mind, not the forefront.

by Jeff Chandler at April 24, 2014 09:46 PM under gravityforms

WPTavern: Take the WordPress Contributor Experience Survey

photo credit:  - cc license

photo credit: 23rdiancc license

If you’ve ever contributed to the WordPress project, whether through code, documentation, plugins and themes, speaking at a WordCamp, etc., your feedback is requested on the WordPress Contributor Experience Survey. Jen Mylo announced the survey today, noting that none of the questions are mandatory.

One of the questions in the survey asks: “What can the WordPress project do to make current contributors feel valued?” Since the vast majority of community contributions to the project are done on a volunteer basis, the project is seeking feedback for recognizing and valuing those efforts.

Recent and continued improvements to WordPress.org profiles present a more accurate representation of a user’s involvement in the project and recognize users with badges that denote contributions to code, plugins, themes, WordCamps, as well as active participation in the groups listed on make.wordpress.org. Do these badges resonate with contributors or are there more creative ways that the project can help them feel valued?

Helping New Contributors Feel Welcome and Encouraged

Another important question on the survey asks what the WordPress project can do better to make new contributors feel welcome and encouraged. Getting a better handle on this could potentially help the project expand its contributor base and move forward at a faster rate. This past year WordPress has launched several new initiatives targeted at improving new contributors’ experiences.

Recent updates to WordPress core trac, as well as the components reorganization, have gone a long way toward helping contributors to specialize and stay informed on selected tickets. The addition of the “good-first-bug” keyword helps to streamline areas where new contributors might get their feet wet.

In addition to helping new code contributors, the WordCamp Organizer Hangouts have been instrumental in getting new organizers oriented with the responsibilities of leading an event. A preliminary version of a new issues tracker for WordPress documentation was recently launched and will be refined to help documentation contributors work together more efficiently. However, there are many more areas where contributors might jump in that have not yet been optimized for newcomers.

The survey asks for feedback on user experiences contributing to the project, both positive and negative. If you have any thoughts on how WordPress can improve these experiences, take a few minutes to communicate your feedback via the Contributor Experience Survey.

by Sarah Gooding at April 24, 2014 06:23 PM under wordpress contribution

WPTavern: Read Where You Write In WordPress With The Orbital Feed Reader Plugin

When Google Reader was shut down on July 2nd, 2013, those who use RSS searched far and wide for suitable replacements. I’ve settled on using Feedly for my needs. However, there is a plugin available that adds an RSS reader to WordPress so you can create blog posts as you read RSS feeds from within the same interface. It’s called Orbital Feed Reader and is available on the WordPress plugin directory.

My Feeds Within Orbital Feed Reader

My Feeds Within Orbital Feed Reader

By default, Orbital is subscribed to a few different feeds to get you started. The design of the interface is a far cry from what I’m use to with Feedly. Because of the way content from feeds are displayed, it’s hard to determine when posts begin and end. The way the content is displayed makes it hard to decipher, especially if the content contains a lot of images.

If you can get past those setbacks, the feed reader performs as advertised. At the end of each article is a Blog This button. Clicking the button opens up the Press This bookmarklet enabling you to quickly post content to your site. Any text that is highlighted within the article before the button is selected will automatically be shown in the content area of the Press This bookmarklet. Being able to read feeds and quickly publish articles to a blog is a nice convenience.

You can add feeds either by importing an OPML file or by using a site’s RSS feed URL.

How To Add Feeds In Orbital

How To Add Feeds In Orbital

I’m Sticking With Feedly

Although I don’t use my feed reader as much as I used to, I prefer Feedly over Orbital because of the synching options between the web and mobile versions of the service. Feedly also displays content in a way that makes it easier to read compared to Orbital. Last but not least, I have the Press This bookmarklet installed in FireFox so I can blog stories from anywhere on the web.

With that said, the plugin’s purpose is to enable users to read RSS feeds and easily create blog content from within the same interface. It’s the plugin’s shining feature and it does so without any problems.

by Jeff Chandler at April 24, 2014 05:42 PM under rss

April 23, 2014

WPTavern: ThemeLab Acquired By Syed Balkhi

ThemeLab, a popular site dedicated to WordPress theme topics has been acquired by Syed Balkhi. ThemeLab has been a valuable resource of information since 2007. Leland Fiegel, the site’s previous owner made a positive mark within the community when he published an in-depth post explaining why users shouldn’t download and use themes from shady sites discovered in Google.

Don't Download Themes From Shady Sites

Don’t Download Themes From Shady Sites

According to the about page, the acquisition took place in 2013. During the time of acquisition, Balkhi and his team have revamped the site and turned it into a commercial theme shop. The site’s mission statement fits in with a trend we’ve noticed with commercial themes in general: “While most companies are focused on either design or functionality, our approach is to bring the best of both worlds with a special emphasis on usability.”

As a WordPress user watching from the sidelines, I’ve noticed that themes have become extremely complex over the last several years. The race to add more features, more options, more shortcodes, and more of everything has led developers to lose sight of what’s more important: usability.

Beginners who are just starting out no longer find WordPress to be easy. A lot of this has to do with themes because that’s their first encounter. Having to go through 600 options just to get the theme to look like the demo is beyond silly.

All of the free themes released on ThemeLab have been retired and are no longer available for download. Tutorials published by Fiegel will be updated as necessary with new ones on the way.

What’s Next For Fiegel?

ThemeLab has been an excellent resource of information within the WordPress community over the years. It’s awesome to see Fiegel has found the right buyer with the right price. In a detailed post on his personal blog, Fiegel explains what the past six years have been like running ThemeLab as well the lessons he learned.

His next endeavor is called Pluginferno and focuses on commercial plugins for WordPress, addons for existing popular plugins, plugin reviews, and commentary about the WordPress community in general.

Testing

He’ll also be entering the commercial theme market through PowerTheme. There’s not a lot of information about the site but it will sell 100% GPL licensed themes. Both sites give Fiegel a fresh start. The lessons learned from running ThemeLab should make it easier for his new endeavors to be financially successful.

by Jeff Chandler at April 23, 2014 09:41 PM under themelab

WPTavern: Have You Turned On Akismet 3.0′s Silent Discard Feature?

Akismet is one of those quiet utility plugins that works in the background of your WordPress site without a lot of fanfare. When it’s doing it’s job, your blog comments stay spam-free and you never think twice about it. Forgetting to activate Akismet on a new site will quickly remind you of just how much spam is targeted at WordPress sites.

Akismet 3.0 is a major rewrite of the plugin that improves its efficiency in handling the worst spam that hits your site. When you visit your Akismet settings you’ll see how many days of your life Akismet has saved you as well as some new stats and graphs demonstrating the plugin’s effectiveness. Here’s an example from a small, personal blog:

akismet-settings

Akismet 3.0′s Silent Discard Feature Improves Performance

In addition to an easier signup and configuration process, this version introduced a silent discard feature that identifies and outright blocks the worst spam comments.

Throughout the course of improving Akismet, the team found that approximately 80% of spam is so bad that it could be flagged as “pervasive.” The silent discard feature causes pervasive spam to bypass the spam folder entirely so that you’ll never see it.

akismet-discard-spam-feature

The plugin previously had a relatively ineffective option that allowed site owners the ability to automatically discard spam on older posts. This didn’t do much to block the worst spam and users found it to be confusing.

Akismet 3.0 remembers your selections for this previous feature and applies them to the new silent discard feature. In most cases this means that the silent discard will be automatically turned on when you update the plugin. For users who are new to Akismet, the default setting is to store the pervasive spam in the spam folder for 15 days. The silent discard feature will need to be turned on from the plugin’s configuration page.

There are some very compelling reasons to turn this new feature on. When announcing the silent discard option, the folks at Akismet said that “enabling the feature can result in significant reductions in your storage and resource usage requirements.” This is especially true on sites that are always publishing new content. Silently discarding the most pervasive spam, instead of storing all of it for 15 days, frees up the storage and resources required to display and manage those spam comments in the admin.

Akismet has zapped more than 135 billion spam comments and track backs to date, and the service is getting smarter at defeating the worst spam. The most important spam-fighting feature of 3.0 is the ability to silently discard pervasive spam before it even has the chance to land on your doorstop and get logged in your database. Turning this option on is a no-brainer. If you haven’t yet updated your plugins or have been waiting to update to WordPress 3.9, Akismet 3.0′s silent discard feature is another reason to get moving on those updates.

by Sarah Gooding at April 23, 2014 09:04 PM under spam

WPTavern: Tweet Archive: A Free WordPress Theme to Match the New Twitter Profiles

Yesterday, Twitter announced that it was rolling out the new profile redesign to all users. If you haven’t updated your Twitter profile, you can click on the “Get it Now” button on the new profiles product page.

Last week we featured Ozh’ Tweet Archiver as an easy way to archive your tweets to WordPress. The 2.0 version of the plugin has been updated to work with Twitter’s OAuth API and 2.0.1 has support for post formats, thanks to a contribution from Chip Bennett. Ozh also updated the Tweet Archive WordPress theme that accompanies the plugin in order to more closely match Twitter’s new profile design.

tweet-archiver-theme

You can view a live demo on Ozh’s tweet archive site. He created the theme for his own use so you’ll need to edit a few files to personalize it. It was designed to work in combination with the plugin, so the top bar displaying total tweets, following, and followers only works with the plugin installed. The theme utilizes Font Awesome icons within the tweet archive and social accounts display. It also has support for a sidebar which you can use to allow easy browsing of archived tweets, stats, hashtags, or anything you wish.

All of the user info in the left column can be customized in the header.php file as well as the avatar. The header image can be changed in style.css. It would be cool if the theme was updated to use WordPress’ custom header feature, but it wasn’t really created for distribution. Ozh has the project open to contribution, however, if anyone is interested in refining the theme.

Use Your WordPress-Powered Twitter Archive to Boost Traffic

Tweet Archive includes a search bar within the header, since WordPress’ search feature is much easier to use when looking for specific content within your tweets. Ryan Hellyer, who has his tweets backed up to a subdomain, commented on our previous post, highlighting another merit to hosting your own archive:

Another unexpected benefit, is that I actually get traffic from it. Google seems to preferentially send traffic my way instead of to Twitter itself sometimes.

If you’re getting extra traffic from hosting your own Twitter archive, you may want to make use of Twitter’s new pinned tweet feature. This should be easy to accomplish in your archive with WordPress’ built-in sticky posts and a little bit of CSS to make it a larger entry. That way, when visitors land on your archive, they will see your curated favorites at the top of the list.

If you’re using the Ozh Tweet Archiver plugin to automatically archive your tweets to WordPress and you want a theme that will approximate the new Twitter design, grab the Tweet Archive WordPress theme on Github and customize it to match your Twitter profile.

by Sarah Gooding at April 23, 2014 06:20 PM under twitter

Akismet: There’s a Ninja in Your Akismet

One of our favorite additions to Akismet 3.0 is the new discard setting. Previously, our plugin featured an option that allowed site owners the ability to automatically discard spam on older posts. But, as some may certainly agree, it was rather confusing and had little effect on the world’s smarter spammers.

After giving thought to how we could improve that particular setting and the overall user experience, we found that approximately 80% of spam could be flagged as “pervasive”, meaning that it is the absolute worst of the worst (of the worst!). In fact, that 80% is so bad that there is simply no benefit in paying any attention to it at all. Not even for kicks and giggles. Trust us.

We came up with something that would allow you to automatically and silently discard all of that pervasive spam attacking your site so that it never even appears in your “Spam” folder. The new setting identifies the worst and most pervasive spam (which can certainly change over time) on our side during the comment check and will immediately discard it if you’ve configured the plugin to do so.

If you’re new to Akismet, these spam comments will be stored by default; you must activate the new feature from the plugin’s configuration page (if you upgraded to 3.0, Akismet will use the previous value of your 30-day discard setting) :

Akismet Discard Spam Feature

It’s all very ninja-esque, we think. What’s more, enabling the feature can result in significant reductions in your storage and resource usage requirements.

This is a great step forward in our mission to make the web a cleaner place. We tested the feature on WordPress.com and received excellent results and feedback prior to rolling it into the plugin. So, we think (and hope) you’ll enjoy it. We are also working on an enhancement to the feature, which will highlight the pervasive spam comments in the “Spam” folder for users who choose to store them.

If you have any feedback on the new feature, we would love to hear from you.


by Anthony Bubel at April 23, 2014 01:09 PM under Spam

April 22, 2014

WPTavern: New Plugin Adds Less CSS Preprocessor to WordPress Themes

less-theme-support

Many WordPress developers opt to use the Less CSS preprocessor to speed up theme development. Its availability of variables, mixins, and functions allows you to do more with CSS and to do it more efficiently. It also makes it easy to compile and minify files for production use. However, the initial setup for adding Less to each theme is a somewhat time-consuming process.

Justin Kopepasah wrote a tutorial in the past for using LESS in a live WordPress theme, followed by one that automated the process by setting up the functionality as a Git submodule. Over time, he found that adding Less to each theme was becoming quite a chore, so he created a plugin to make the process easier for anyone.

Kopepasah’s Less Theme Support plugin radically simplifies the process of adding Less to your WordPress theme. It requires just two simple steps following activation:

  1. Add style.less to your theme’s root directory
  2. Add theme support to the after_setup_theme hook:
    add_theme_support( 'less', array( 'enable' => true ) );

Less Theme Support comes with four different options which change how it functions on development vs. production sites. All are boolean values defaulting to false:

  • enable – Enables Less and enqueues less.min.js on the front end.
  • develop – Enables development environment for Less and enqueues less-develop.js.
  • watch – Enables watch mode for Less and enqueues less-watch.js.
  • minify – Enables usage of a minified stylesheet (style.min.css) on the front end for all other visitors (best generated using lessc -x style.less > style.min.css).

These options give you quite a bit of flexibility. For example, during development you might configure your theme support with the enable, develop, and watch options:

add_theme_support( 'less', array(
    'enable'  => true,
    'develop' => true,
    'watch'  => true
) );

Less theme support in production would us the minify option:

add_theme_support( 'less', array(
 'minify' => true
) );

Using the Less Theme Support plugin provides a much cleaner and easier way to add Less to your theme. Download it from WordPress.org or via the project’s page on Github.

by Sarah Gooding at April 22, 2014 09:49 PM under Less

WPTavern: Display Before and After Images In WordPress With The TwentyTwenty Plugin

Have you ever wanted to combine two images to show a before and after? You can’t do that with WordPress out of the box but it’s possible if you use the TwentyTwenty plugin by Corey Martin. The plugin takes advantage of the clip property within CSS by stacking two identical sized images on top of each other. The clip property allows the image to show through the container. The slider is responsive and uses custom movement events within the jQuery Event Move library to support 1:1 slider movement on mobile devices.

The plugin is very simple to use. Upload two identical sized images to the media library. When inserting images into a post, make sure the attachment display settings for image size are the same. Add the [TwentyTwenty] shortcode above the before image. Add [/TwentyTwenty] after the second image. Here’s an example of the shortcode added to a post.

TwentyTwenty Shortcode In Action

TwentyTwenty Shortcode In Action

The shortcode generates a slider that can be moved back and forth. You’ll see which images are before and after when you hover over the slider. To see either image, users must click and drag the circle left or right.

TwentyTwenty Before Image

TwentyTwenty Before Image

TwentyTwenty After Image

TwentyTwenty After Image

The plugin was written using Sass and Zurb.com has a listing of each Sass variable used and what its default value is. The variables enable you to control everything from the handle color to the handle radius.

Here are a couple of ideas where TwentyTwenty would be ideal to use.

  • Compare counterfeit merchandise to real merchandise
  • Website redesigns
  • Home improvement renovations

During my test with WordPress 3.9, I didn’t experience any problems. According to Martin, TwentyTwenty is compatible with the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, FireFox, iOS, IE 9, and above. If you want to see the plugin in action, you can either watch this screencast by Martin or visit the plugin’s page on Zurb.com.

Outside of showing before and after images, what other creative ways could this plugin be used?

by Jeff Chandler at April 22, 2014 09:20 PM under twentytwenty

WPTavern: WordPress 3.9 Adds 30 New Dashicons

Dashicons are what’s known as an icon font and were added to the core of WordPress with the release of 3.8. The icons are vector based so they can be as large or small as you want without losing quality. Plugin authors can use CSS, HTML, or a Glyph for use within Photoshop to display an icon. While 3.8 had 167 icons, WordPress 3.9 shipped with 30 new Dashicons bringing the total to 197.

New Dashicons In WordPress 3.9

New Dashicons In WordPress 3.9

The icons cover Media, TinyMCE, WordPress.org, Sorting, Widgets, Alerts, and Miscellaneous. Some plugin authors have already opted out of using a bitmap image and are using a Dashicon to represent their plugin within the WordPress admin menu. If none of the Dashicons match your use case, try Genericons instead. Genereicons is also an icon font but has icons that are not focused on WordPress.

by Jeff Chandler at April 22, 2014 07:37 PM under Plugins

WPTavern: Automattic Introduces Postbot App for Scheduling Photo Posts

Today Automattic introduced Postbot, a new stand-alone application for scheduling image posts. The new app allows users to upload multiple images and schedule them out over several days. Postbot creates a post for each image and automatically posts them to the selected blog, saving users the trouble of manually scheduling each one.

postbot

When using Postbot, you’ll need to connect via WordPress.com. The app is automatically connected to your main WordPress.com blog but once logged in you’ll have the option to connect other sites. Self-hosted WordPress sites can use the app via Jetpack with the JSON API module enabled.

Right now, you can only use the app from a desktop or mobile browser and John Godley, representing Automattic, says that a mobile app is not currently in the works. He elaborated on why they chose to create it as a standalone web app:

Postbot lets us provide a very targeted set of features to anyone with a WordPress.com or WordPress.org/Jetpack blog (or both), from one central place. It’s already mobile-ready so a special mobile app isn’t currently planned.

The experience of visiting Postbot.co from a mobile browser is not unlike using a mobile app. Those who plan to use it frequently via mobile can easily set a bookmark for quick launch while on the go.

Postbot Puts Photo Publishing on Autopilot

Postbot allows you to upload up to 50 photos at once to be published individually on different dates. While the images are uploading you can edit the titles, tags and content for each. The option to set a category is planned for a future version.

uploading-postbot

Scheduling allows you to set the number of days between posts published with the option to ignore weekends.

schedule_postbot

The app doesn’t yet allow you to set the featured image, but it’s on Automattic’s list of feature requests for future enhancements.

Postbot is an excellent example of the kinds of apps that can be created using the WordPress.com API. If you want to take a peek under the hood, the app’s code was released under the GPL and can be found on Github. This means that anyone can host their own Postbot web app or create interesting variations that interact with WordPress.com services.

Postbot is potentially very useful for photobloggers who want to break up their posts into individual images. It could also be handy for automating sites that are dedicated to publishing photos every day, i.e. “The Daily Kitten” or “Your Daily Dose of Fun.” It allows these kinds of sites to go on autopilot for publishing fresh content on a regular basis. Publishing new posts multiple times per day is an option currently under consideration and may be a possibility in the future. We’ll be following the app’s progress as it adds new features based on user feedback.

by Sarah Gooding at April 22, 2014 07:17 PM under postbot

Mike Little: Apologies for the old posts.

Folks, it looks like when I moved this old blog from a subdirectory to a subdomain, planet.wordpress.org (the feed that shows up in your dashboard) thought my last few old posts were new. Hence a lot of old stuff appeared in your dashboard.

Sorry for the confusion…

Mike

The post Apologies for the old posts. appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 22, 2014 02:36 PM under WordPress

WPTavern: How The Advanced Image Editing Properties Contributed To WordPress Theme Lock-in

Although WordPress 3.9 has refined the media editing experience, it did so at the cost of removing a feature users appreciated. In WordPress 3.8, users could easily add a border, vertical, and horizontal padding to images. WordPress 3.9 removed this from the advanced image settings screen.

It’s not just those who use the self-hosted version of WordPress that are upset with the change. A WordPress.com support forum thread with over 430 posts is filled with users asking why the feature was removed. In some cases, WordPress.com staff are explaining how to use HTML code to add or remove borders to images.

Thankfully, there’s a new plugin available that not only restores the original advanced image settings but has expanded upon them. The plugin is called Advanced Image Styles and is maintained by Gregory Cornelius. As you can see, users can now apply padding in all four directions instead of two. You can also apply a border color instead of just the border width.

Advanced Image Editing Styles

Advanced Image Styles

Early reviews indicate users are happy to see these options return despite having to use a plugin. Unfortunately, those on WordPress.com are still out of luck. A member of the WordPress.com staff says it’s possible the plugin will be merged into the WordPress.com codebase.

I have asked the developers if this will be merged. At the moment I have not heard back. I will let you know as soon as possible!

These Options Are Causing Theme Lock-in

If themes are coded to properly handle image padding and borders, the options within WordPress are redundant and unnecessary. What’s troubling is users are utilizing these options to override the styling within the theme instead of changing its CSS stylesheet.

In a test on my local server, I used the advanced image editing options to add a black, four pixel border to an image within the media library. Then I switched themes to see if the border was still there. I discovered that settings applied to images via the WordPress image editing options are displayed no matter which theme is used.

Old Tavern Design With The Black Image Border

Old Tavern Design With The Black Image Border

New Tavern Design With The Black Image Border

New Tavern Design With The Black Image Border

If a user switches to a theme that uses a color scheme not compatible with the image border color, each image has to be edited individually within the media library. Each time an image is edited using the advanced settings provided by WordPress, you lose more theme compatibility and it further locks you in to a specific theme.

WordPress.com vs. Self-hosted WordPress

WPcomWporg

WordPress.com and WordPress.org

I understand why WordPress.com users would be so upset with the removal of these options. By default, they don’t have the ability to edit their theme’s CSS file. That is reserved as a paid upgrade. So these options give them a chance to override the styling within the theme without having the paid upgrade.

For self-hosted WordPress users, there is no excuse. Image borders and padding should be controlled through the theme, not the advanced image editing options provided by WordPress. Despite the options making it easy to apply those changes to images, users are only hurting themselves by using them.

I think the options for padding and image borders should stay removed from the self-hosted version of WordPress while restored on WordPress.com. In retrospect, these options should have never existed in the first place.

Do you think the image border width, color, and padding options should be restored to the self-hosted version of WordPress?

by Jeff Chandler at April 22, 2014 01:37 AM under options

April 21, 2014

Mike Little: WordPress 10th Anniversary: a Reflection

I posted about WordPress’ 10th Anniversary celebration and reflected on the last 10 years over on my new blog

The post WordPress 10th Anniversary: a Reflection appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 21, 2014 11:00 PM under WordPress

Mike Little: WordPress – A 10 year journey

WordPress logo

I find it hard to believe but it has now been ten years since my fateful comment on Matt’s blog that kicked off what became the WordPress project!
From those humble beginnings of a simple unmaintained blogging platform (b2/Cafelog) to a world-beating open source CMS. B2/Cafelog was used by perhaps 2,000 bloggers. Now WordPress runs more than 60 million sites around the world. That’s over 17.5% of the web!

WordPress Industry

WordPress now supports a world-wide industry from individual WordPress specialists like me (I’ve just completed my fourth year as my own company zed1.com); small WordPress-based companies like Code for the People; through to multi-million dollar companies like Copyblogger, WooThemes, and of course Automattic.

Praise must go as usual to the fantastic community around WordPress, the singular vision of Matt Mullenweg, and the awesome power of the GNU GPL open source license.

Here’s to the next year

As WordPress enters it’s eleventh year, with version 3.5.1 recently released and version 3.6 currently in the making, I predict it will be another great year for WordPress.

The post WordPress – A 10 year journey appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 21, 2014 11:00 PM under WordPress

Mike Little: WordCamp Edinburgh UK 2012

Folks, if you are looking to attend WordCamp Edinburgh UK 2012, on the weekend of the 14th and 15th of July, you need to get your tickets pretty soon to qualify for the early bird price (£35).

After midday this coming Friday (June 1st) the price will rise to £45. Mind you, that’s still a fantastic price for a two-day weekend filled with WordPressy goodness .

I’ll be there of course, will you? It’s looking like a cracker with some great ideas for sessions already put forward. I’ll be running an extended session called Starting Out with WordPress. Once again, get your tickets soon.

I look forward to seeing you there.

WPUK is organising this event.

The post WordCamp Edinburgh UK 2012 appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 21, 2014 11:00 PM under wordcamp

Mike Little: WordPress is Nine. Happy Birthday WordPress!

Today is the ninth birthday of WordPress (the anniversary of the first release).

WordPress still continues to astonish me in its phenomenal growth. Comparing to this time last year, WordPress now powers more than 74 million sites, accounting for more than 16% of the internet.

I’m looking forward to the next year in the world of WordPress. As usual there are lots of exciting things ahead. The first WordPress App Store launched recently, and I’m sure there will be more (it looks like WPMU Dev’s updater/dashboard now lets you buy).
WordPress is really maturing and as a platform and as an industry. There is much more to come and I can’t wait.

The post WordPress is Nine. Happy Birthday WordPress! appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 21, 2014 11:00 PM under WordPress

Mike Little: WordPress 3 for Business Bloggers

I’m currently reading WordPress 3 for Business Bloggers by Paul Thewlis. I’m trying to squeeze it in between all the other stuff I seem to have on my plate. I read the first edition of the book a couple of years ago (though I can’t find my review to point to); so I’m looking forward to this one.

I’ll post a proper review when I’ve finished it.

 

The post WordPress 3 for Business Bloggers appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 21, 2014 11:00 PM under WordPress

Mike Little: WordPress – 9 years since it’s conception

Simon D reminded me that it is now nine years since my fateful comment on Matt’s blog that kicked off this whole WordPress thing!

WordPress is really shaping up, and is an evermore stable and functional CMS platform. The statistics continue to astonish me, with more than 70 million sites around the world. That’s nearly 16% of the web!

WordPress is supporting a whole industry of WordPress experts, including me: I’m just starting my fourth year as an independent WordPress specialist.

Praise must go as usual to the fantastic community around WordPress, the singular vision of Matt Mullenweg, and the awesome power of the GNU GPL open source license.

With version 3.4 currently in the making, I predict it will be another great year for WordPress.

The post WordPress – 9 years since it’s conception appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 21, 2014 11:00 PM under WordPress

Mike Little: WordPress’ Eighth Birthday

Today is WordPress’ official eighth birthday (the anniversary of the first release).

I still marvel at the incredible distance it has come. I’m also still proud that I had a part in its birth. But even more, I marvel at the wonderful contribution of all the WordPress community make to this fantastic project.

A client said to me this morning “This WordPress is brilliant isn’t it?” As I helped him set up his fourth WordPress site. You can’t get much clearer praise than that.

So raise a virtual beer (or other non-alcoholic beverage if, like me, you are teetotal) to WordPress, the community, and to another year.

Update: I just spotted this tweet from Andrew Nacin:

Wow! 25 million standalone WordPress sites plus 20 million WordPress.com sites! No wonder it powers more than 14 percent of the web.

The post WordPress’ Eighth Birthday appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 21, 2014 11:00 PM under birthday

Mike Little: WordPress – 8 Years in the making

Wow! Another year has passed and it is now eight years since my fateful comment on Matt’s blog that kicked off this whole WordPress thing!

WordPress is now a mature CMS platform driving 13% of the web! It is used for an astonishing array of very different web sites around the world, from the humblest one person blog to award-winning education sites, celebrity sites, newspapers, and even world leaders!

WordPress is supporting a whole industry of WordPress experts, including me: I’m now in my third year as an independent WordPress specialist.

I believe that WordPress has achieved this massive success in no small way because of the fantastic community around it, the keen-eyed vision of Matt Mullenweg, and the awesome power of the GNU GPL open source license.

With version 3.1 just around the corner, I predict it will be another great year for WordPress.

The post WordPress – 8 Years in the making appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 21, 2014 11:00 PM under mike little

Mike Little: WordCamp slides featured on Slideshare

The slides from my presentation at WordCamp UK in Manchester over the weekend are now on SlideShare. I presented on the fantastic I’m a Scientist Get me Out of Here project website I have built for Gallomanor this year.

It’s best to read the notes in the “Notes on slide x” tab so that everything makes sense! I also link to some of the plugins I used at the end.

Amazingly, the presentation features on the SlideShare home page today along with a couple of other presentations from WordCamp UK! See the “featured” section in the right hand column. Woo Hoo!

I have still to finish my write-up of the weekend, but will hopefully get that done ‘real soon’.

The post WordCamp slides featured on Slideshare appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 21, 2014 11:00 PM under WordPress

Mike Little: WordCamp UK A Few Places Left

For those of you thinking you may have missed out on this coming weekend’s WordPress fun at WordCamp UK in Manchester, think again!

As the tickets did not completely sell out, we are making the last few available on the door, as we did last year.

You must email me (mike at my domain ) to reserve a ticket, and then turn up on Saturday morning with your £30 cash.

To recap, WordCamp UK is this weekend, July 17th and 18th, at the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School which is in Manchester city centre, a few minutes walk from the main Piccadilly train Station.

There are four simultaneous tracks : General & user, Specialist & developer, Miscellaneous & spontaneous and a ‘Genius Bar’ (a range of WordPress experts available to advice attendees on a one-to-one basis).

I look forward to seeing you there.

The post WordCamp UK A Few Places Left appeared first on Mike Little's Journalized.

by Mike Little at April 21, 2014 11:00 PM under wordcampuk

WPTavern: WordPress Projects Announced for Google Summer of Code 2014

gsoc2014

Earlier this year, WordPress was accepted as one of 190 mentoring organizations for Google Summer of Code 2014. This year marks the 10th annual GSoC and WordPress’ 7th year participating in the program. Five students have been accepted and will soon begin work on some exciting projects:

  • Arian Allenson M. Valdez — Working on GlotPress UI and profiles with Yoav Farhi and Marko Heijnen as mentors
  • Gautam Gupta — Working on bbPress improvements with John James Jacoby and Stephen Edgar as mentors
  • Janneke Van Dorpe — Working on front-end editing/content blocks with Gregory Cornelius and Aaron Jorbin as mentors
  • Nick Halsey — Working on adding custom menus to the customizer with Erick Hitter and Konstantin Obenland as mentors
  • Varun Agrawal — Working on SupportPress as a plugin with Ian Dunn, Aaron Campbell, and Alex Mills as mentors

The students selected to participate are all very talented and enthusiastic. In fact, several of them are already active in contributing to WordPress core and have several plugins hosted in the directory.

GSoC 2014 kicks off May 19th when the students will begin their summer coding adventures. In the meantime, they will be bonding with their mentoring teams and working to nail down the scope of their projects. Jen Mylo, who is coordinating WordPress’ involvement in the GSoC, will be working with the teams to set up some livestreamed prototype demos at midterm. Students will also be posting on a weekly basis and we’ll be following the progress on their projects throughout the summer.

by Sarah Gooding at April 21, 2014 08:15 PM under gsoc

WPTavern: 13 Vagrant Resources for WordPress Development

vagrant

Vagrant is an open source tool that makes it easy to configure and distribute virtual development environments. The project was started in 2010 by Mitchell Hashimoto and John Bender who wanted to create a way to standardize development environments for teams. Vagrant was designed to put an end to the “works on my machine” frustration that often surfaces when teams develop on different environments.

Because it’s so lightweight and portable, many WordPress developers have adopted Vagrant for development, which has resulted in different tools and configurations for various project needs. We’ve collected a few WordPress-related Vagrant resources here that will help you get started.

Varying Vagrant Vagrants

Varying Vagrant Vagrants is one of the most widely used and best-supported Vagrant configurations for WordPress development. Originally created by the folks at 10up, the open source VVV project became a community organization earlier this year. The company still contributes to its development and maintenance, helping to make it one of the most stable options for setting up a Vagrant-based WordPress development environment. VVV provides a comprehensive configuration for developing themes and plugins as well as for contributing to WordPress core.

VVV Site Wizard

If you’re a VVV user who is often creating and removing sites, then the VVV Site Wizard may be able to save you some time. It completely automates the creation of new sites as well as the teardown of old ones.

WordPress Theme Review VVV

If you’re a VVV user who spends quite a bit of time developing WordPress themes, this is a quick Vagrant setup that adds all the necessary tools for reviewing themes. WordPress Theme Review VVV creates a fresh WordPress site, installs and activates the Developer and Theme-Check plugins, and imports the Theme Unit Test data. Check out our tutorial for a quick walkthrough on setting it set up.

Primary Vagrant

Primary Vagrant is a configuration created by Chris Wiegman. It’s similar to VVV but with a few important differences: it uses Apache instead of NGINX and Puppet instead of Bash. Wiegman used VVV and Puppet as a base for a new Vagrant configuration for WordPress plugin or theme development. Primary Vagrant supports Apache and MySQL on Ubuntu and allows for use of different major PHP versions (currently 5.3 – 5.5), which can be easily changed with one line of code.

VagrantPress

VagrantPress is a simple configuration that sets up a WordPress development environment using Apache with Vagrant/Puppet. It’s geared toward developing themes and plugins. VagrantPress currently does not allow for multiple installations but Chat Thompson, the project’s creator, plans to add more features related to automating the provisioning and maintenance of multiple WordPress installations.

Chassis

Chassis uses Vagrant and Puppet to create a development environment running Ubuntu, Ngnix, PHP 5.4, Imagick, MySQL, Xdebug, WP-CLI, and WordPress, a setup which more closely matches many managed WP hosting environments. Chassis makes it easy to add additional testing domains via a YAML configuration file. It also has support for WordPress multisite, which can be enabled in config.local.yaml or the project configuration file.

WordPress and Vagrant Google Group

WordPress and Vagrant is a public Google group that you can join to post basic or advanced questions about using Vagrant for development. This can be a helpful resource for troubleshooting some unique issues concerning Vagrant-based WordPress development environments. Most of the threads seem to be about working with VVV, but the group isn’t specifically limited.

WordPress Vagrant Boxes

WordPress Vagrant Boxes is a Vagrant configuration that uses Apache. Although the web server is preconfigured to look for WordPress in a specific location, WordPress Vagrant Boxes is unique in that it doesn’t checkout or install WordPress at all. It’s up to you to unpack and install a WordPress ZIP, checkout from SVN, or clone from git.

VCCW (vagrant-chef-centos-wordpress)

VCCW (Vagrant + Chef + CentOS + WordPress) was configured for those developing WordPress plugins, themes or websites. It includes 17 customizable constants for setting the WordPress version (or beta release), language, hostname, subdirectory, admin credentials, default plugins, default theme, multisite, SSL and other options. These constants give you a lot of flexibility in tailoring your development environment to your specific needs.

Throwaway WordPress VMs with Vagrant and Ansible

Throwaway WordPress VMs uses Vagrant and Ansible to automate the process of creating and provisioning local virtual machines for WordPress development. The scripts were designed for use with Ubuntu, but you can select any version of Ubuntu you wish to use, or a base box from vagrantbox.es.

WordPress Machine

WordPress Machine sets up WordPress on a LAMP stack. It also includes Composer, WP-CLI, and Forge for WordPress theme setup and asset compilation (SCSS, CoffeeScript). This configuration runs WordPress as a submodule using WordPress Boilerplate, which means that themes, plugins and uploads are separated from the WordPress installation so that WP can be easily updated as a git submodule.

Monkey Rocket

The developer who created Monkey Rocket used much of the code from VVV, which he found installed more things than he needed for a simple development environment. This Vagrant configuration is basically a stripped down version of VVV that will set you up with the latest stable version of WordPress at local.wordpress.dev on your machine.

WordPress Kickstart

WordPress Kickstart is a Vagrant development environment provisioned by Puppet. It was created for use with production stacks that are hosted on DigitalOcean. Once you enter your DigitalOcean API credentials into the vagrantfile, you’ll have a command available for working on production deployment and provisioning. This command allows you to create a new droplet, setup your SSH key for authentication, create a new user account, and run the provisioners configured. You can easily switch back and forth from production to development by removing .vagrant/ from your project’s root folder.

by Sarah Gooding at April 21, 2014 02:19 PM under wordpress development

April 19, 2014

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 146 – WordPress 3.9 With Andrew Nacin

In this weeks edition of WordPress Weekly, we discussed several topics with WordPress lead developer Andrew Nacin. Ever since the release of WordPress 3.7, many have questioned why auto updates are turned on by default for minor and security updates. Nacin described the philosophy behind the auto update system and why the team will be sticking with its current implementation.

We also learned the details behind the release of a major security update to Jetpack. Last but not least, Nacin describes what it was like to lead the release of 3.9 and what he’ll be focusing on now that he won’t be leading a release cycle.

Stories Discussed:

WordPress 3.9 “Smith” Released
WordPress 3.9 Has Built-In Support for Pasting from Microsoft Word
BuddyPress 2.0 Released: Big Performance Improvements and New Administration Tools

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Friday, April 25th 3 P.M. Eastern – Special Guest – Japh

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe

Listen To Episode #146:

by Jeff Chandler at April 19, 2014 02:29 PM under word

Andrew: Customizing TinyMCE 4.0

Many of the TinyMCE settings have changed in version 4.0. There is a new default theme: Modern, and all the UI settings for the former Advanced theme (theme_advanced...) are deprecated.

One often used setting was theme_advanced_blockformats. It was renamed to block_formats and keeps the same formatting. To specify a different set of elements for the ‘blockformats’ drop-down (second toolbar row in the WordPress Visual editor), you can set a string of name=value pairs separated by a semicolon in the initialization object:

block_formats: "Paragraph=p;Heading 1=h1;Heading 2=h2;Heading 3=h3"

Another handy setting: theme_advanced_styles doesn’t exist any more. However there is a more powerful version: style_formats. Now it can replace or add items to the new “Formats” menu.The value is an array of objects each containing a name that is displayed as sub-menu and several settings: a CSS class name or an inline style, and optionally the wrapper element where the class or inline style will be set:

toolbar3: 'styleselect',
style_formats_merge: true,
style_formats: { name: 'Custom styles', [
  {title: 'Red bold text', inline: 'b', styles: {color: '#ff0000'}},
  {title: 'Red text', inline: 'span', styles: {color: '#ff0000'}},
  {title: 'Red header', block: 'h1', styles: {color: '#ff0000'}},
  {title: 'Example 1', inline: 'span', classes: 'example1'},
  {title: 'Example 2', inline: 'span', classes: 'example2'}
]}

The above code will add another sub-menu to “Formats” without replacing the default menu items. There is more information and an example on the TinyMCE website.


by Andrew Ozz at April 19, 2014 07:04 AM under TinyMCE

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April 25, 2014 05:45 AM
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