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September 16, 2014

Matt: Ultimate Office Perk

We’ve had some really good press the past week, the first I’d like to share with you comes from Aimee Groth writing for Quartz: The makers of WordPress.com learned years ago that the ultimate office perk is not having an office. The funny thing is I’m writing this from the once-a-year Automattic Grand Meetup, which is in Utah this year, there are over 250 of my colleagues here and it’s great fun meeting and hanging out with everybody.

by Matt Mullenweg at September 16, 2014 06:23 AM under Asides

WPTavern: Pho: A Free Minimalist, Masonry WordPress Theme

The folks at ThematoSoup are in the habit of naming their theme releases for delicious soup dishes. The team, comprised of WordPress plugin and theme developers Slobodan Manic and Dragan Nikolic, is dedicated to creating minimalist-inspired WordPress products.

“We eat, sleep and breathe WordPress and digital clutter gives us nightmares,” the duo expressed on their about page. The design of Pho, their latest theme, embodies this sentiment and follows in the minimalist tradition with emphasis on the content.

The theme was designed to be fast, lean, and easily customized. It showcases images on the homepage with a slider that features content based on a tag that you specify.


Below the slider you can customize the homepage display using the various page templates. The masonry aspect of the design is completely optional, as you can select between masonry (with or without sidebar) or standard (with or without sidebar).


Pho includes three menus: an understated, simple primary navigation, footer menu, and one at the top for social links. It supports both sidebar and footer widget areas.

All of the theme options can be found in the native customizer, including an option to upload a logo to replace the site title. You can also change the site’s primary color, archives layout, and choose from a few pre-selected fonts for the body and headings. The customizer also allows you to set the theme’s background image/color, and specify the featured content tag.

After testing Pho in my development environment, I found that with a few tweaks in the customizer, you can have your site looking just like the demo in a matter of minutes. Since the options are all in the same place, there’s nothing confusing about customizing Pho to suit your preferences.

The featured content area on the homepage will require the use of some larger sized images in order to truly shine. Pho is retina-ready and will respond nicely to various devices from desktop to mobile.

The theme’s developers did not neglect comments and have styled threaded comments up to four levels deep. Pho also includes support for paginated comments and styles for images, videos, and author comments.

The theme includes built-in support for Theme Hook Alliance, a community-driven project that offers third-party action hooks to theme developers to implement for more flexibility.

Check out a live demo to see it in action and test how elegantly it responds to various screen sizes. If you want to update your blog or website with a new minimalist design, download Pho for free from WordPress.org or add it via your admin themes browser.

by Sarah Gooding at September 16, 2014 01:16 AM under free wordpress themes

September 15, 2014

WPTavern: Free PSD Template for Creating a WordPress.org Plugin Banner

Creating a custom banner for your plugin on WordPress.org will help your extension to stand out among the 33,000+ others in the plugin directory. A little bit of branding also gives the impression that the plugin isn’t just a one night stand but rather a work that you’re committed to continually update.

If your plugin is lacking a custom icon, the WordPress plugin installer will create a default icon based on a color sampling of your plugin banner. It only takes a few minutes to create a banner and now it’s easier than ever with the free WordPress Plugin Banner PSD template from Ozh.


The reason why plugin developers put off creating a banner is because it takes a bit of thoughtful planning to find or create an image with the proper dimensions. In addition, you need to select an image that still looks good with the plugin title obscuring the bottom left corner.

Ozh’s template accounts for all of these things and gives you different layers for creating and previewing your banner in Photoshop with the right dimensions. It’s important to note that if you want your plugin banner to support retina displays, then you need to add an additional banner that is double the size of the template:1544 pixels wide and 500 pixels tall with a file named “banner-1544×500.png” or “banner-1544×500.jpg.” (The plugin directory does not accept GIF files.)

When using Ozh’s PSD template you can preview the plugin title on your banner, but make sure to turn the visibility for that layer off before saving your final banner image. The placeholder for the background reminds you of the file name for the banner (banner-772×250.jpg) and its location: root /assets directory.

After committing your banner to the /assets directory, it may take a few minutes before it will show up on WordPress.org. The Developer FAQ section for the plugin directory has a tip on previewing your plugin page with your image:

For development and testing, you can add a URL parameter to your plugin’s URL of “?banner_url=A_URL_TO_YOUR_IMAGE” to preview what the page will look like with your own image. This will only work with your own plugins; you cannot use this parameter on anybody else’s plugins.

With the availability of this new banner template, there’s no excuse to leave your plugin looking sad and neglected. Add a custom banner and, while you’re at it, check out Andrew Nacin’s tips for creating a custom icon. You can download the WordPress.org plugin banner template PSD directly from Ozh’s website.

by Sarah Gooding at September 15, 2014 08:28 PM under Plugins

WPTavern: New Plugin Adds Conditional Profile Fields to BuddyPress

photo credit: Dunechaser - ccphoto credit: Dunechasercc

When you create profile fields in BuddyPress, they apply to every user in the same way. Each user responds to the same set of questions, but this could stand to be a little more flexible to account for differences in users. What if you could conditionally show profile fields, based on a user’s answers to certain questions?

Prolific BuddyPress plugin developer Brajesh Singh created a plugin to do exactly this. Conditional Profile Fields for BuddyPress gives site administrators the ability to set conditions for hiding/showing profile fields based on a user’s responses to other profile fields. For example, let’s say you create a field to ask if the user is a morning or night person.


You can then set up a second question, such as “Do you eat breakfast?” With the help of this plugin, you can make the question contingent on the first question where you asked if the person is a morning or night person. Perhaps you are curious if a user who identifies as a “night person” also eats breakfast. While editing the breakfast question, scroll to the bottom and you will find a new box for setting a Visibility Condition.

From the dropdown, select the question you want as the condition, show/hide, and the value that field is contingent upon. The plugin also includes support for muti-option fields.


Once you have your condition set, you can navigate to the frontend to see that the conditional fields are shown or hidden based on your selection. Here’s a quick demo:


If you mark the first profile field as “Required” when creating it, then BuddyPress will also show the field on the registration form and conditional fields will also apply. The plugin currently supports the following features:

  • Compatibly with 99% of WordPress themes
  • 2 visibility option to either show the field or hide the field based on the condition
  • A field dropdown box to allow you to select the field that governs the display of this field
  • 6 operators to match the values (6 operators for the number/text/textarea field and 2 operators for matching the multi-select box/check box/radio)
  • It supports the multi-type field as well as other fields (and should support custom profile fields automatically)
  • Currently the date field is not supported for creating conditions

The Conditional Profile Fields plugin is an excellent addition to any BuddyPress site that brings together different types of users. For example, educational sites might include students, teachers, tutors, etc. Instead of using a complicated plugin to set up different user types, you can add a conditional profile field to ask the user to select from student, teacher, etc. From there you can create different profile field groups containing questions conditional upon the user’s previous selection.

Conditional profile fields could also be useful for many other types of social networks, including:

  • Dating sites
  • Professional organizations
  • Sports teams
  • Multilingual communities
  • Job or freelancer networks
  • Hobby or interest-based networks

I tested the plugin with BuddyPress 2.1 beta 1 and found that it works exactly advertised. Conditional profile fields are an excellent way to extend a niche social network to display profile fields specifically tailored to different user types. Download Conditional Profile Fields for BuddyPress for free from BuddyDev.com.

by Sarah Gooding at September 15, 2014 06:19 PM under buddypress profile fields

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 2.0.3 Security Release

BuddyPress 2.0.3 is now available. This is a security release which fixes one security issue with group creation, which was discovered by the BuddyPress team.

This is an important and recommended update for all BuddyPress sites. A full changelog is at http://codex.buddypress.org/developer/releases/version-2-0-3/.

You can upgrade via your WordPress Dashboard > Updates. You can also download the latest version at http://wordpress.org/plugins/buddypress.

by Paul Gibbs at September 15, 2014 03:51 PM under releases

Matt: White House Goes On Lockdown After Sneaky Toddler Breaches Fence

“We were going to wait until he learned to talk to question him,” Secret Service Agent Edwin Donovan said in a statement, “but in lieu of that he got a timeout and was sent on [his] way with [his] parents.”

Pretty funny article from White House Goes On Lockdown After Sneaky Toddler Breaches Fence.

by Matt Mullenweg at September 15, 2014 05:08 AM under Asides

September 14, 2014

Matt: Logical Conclusion of AI

There’s been some great threads going around inspired by the book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, including Elon Musk hoping we’re not just a biological bootloader. Via Automattician Matt Mazur I came across this fantastic review of the book on Amazon that gives a great counter-balance and lots of additional information you wouldn’t get from the book itself, and also summarizes it quite well.

by Matt Mullenweg at September 14, 2014 06:59 AM under Asides

September 13, 2014

Matt: Minimum Viable Civilization

We’ve talked about the Fermi Paradox here and here before, my long-time friend David Galbraith, ever the architect, tackles the Fermi Paradox from the point of view of the natural limits of communication in Minimum & Maximum Viable Civilizations.

by Matt Mullenweg at September 13, 2014 04:54 AM under Asides

WordPress.tv Blog: Designing with WordPress: Recent WordCamp Presentations for Designers

There is no doubt that design is a popular topic at any WordCamp. From WordCamp Vancouver and WordCamp Asheville come these great talks on how to level-up your WordPress design skills.

Designing for Content

This talk from David Hickox goes over the method he has created for designing websites from the content outward. His talk covers aspects of designing in code, type choices, line height and typographic scale, creating a proper base style sheet, usability best practices, semantic structure, and more.

Responsive web development made easy with CSS and the mobile plugin

In this lightning talk, Christine Rondeau offer some tips and tricks to get better looking sites on mobile devices, including how you can use the mobile plugin to get completely different layouts on mobile devices.

Designing for Sales and Conversions

Sarah Benoit shares insights into the latest trends in website usability, searchability and design elements that encourage conversions — purchases, form completions, event registrations, and more. Learn best practices for designing a site with WordPress that both looks great AND converts website visitors into the customers, clients, and potential leads every business needs.

Building Better Websites Through Collaboration, Communication, and Consistency

In this presentation from WordCamp Asheville, Julien Melissas talks about how perfecting your workflow can help you level up your professionalism, relationships with clients & colleagues, and happiness levels!

David Hickox: Designing for Content
Christine Rondeau: Responsive web development made easy with CSS and the mobile plugin
Sarah Benoit: Designing for Sales and Conversions
Julien Melissas: Building Better Websites Through Collaboration, Communication, and Consistency

by Jerry Bates at September 13, 2014 12:20 AM under Announcement

September 12, 2014

WPTavern: Graph Paper Press Launches Theme.Works, A Drag and Drop Platform for Building WordPress Themes

The folks behind Graph Paper Press launched a new custom WordPress theme builder this week. Theme.Works was created to be a new brand, featuring a theme building platform that allows users to build a WordPress theme in under 60 seconds.

“We wanted something crazy easy for users to understand and use,” founder Thad Allender said. “Theme.Works inverts the traditional theme creation process: Instead of passively picking a stock template, you get to create a totally custom design for each piece of your website,” he explained. Users have the option to choose different headers, slideshows, portfolios, blogs, signup forms, contact forms, testimonials, footers, etc, via a drag and drop interface.

Theme.Works is actually a custom one-page app built with Node,js, Grunt, and PHP. It allows each customer to design his own theme and then download it for $79. Here’s a quick preview of how it works:

Graph Paper Press is one of the oldest WordPress theme shops in business, founded in 2007, so it’s surprising to see Theme.Works launched as its own brand. I asked Allender why the team didn’t opt to put the new theme builder under its well-known GPP umbrella.

“We wanted to build a new brand around a single idea/product,” he said. “Something with a clear value proposition without any distractions.” Allender also noted that the tech behind the venture is different, given that the builder is a Node.js / PHP app. “The dashboard (releasing next month) needed a singular focus on building custom designs,” he explained.

To celebrate the launch, Theme.Works released a free theme with fullscreen background video and portfolio integration. It includes 10 different page templates and 10 color palettes to choose from, along with dozens of custom fonts. The theme is an example of what can be built using the drag and drop theme builder.


Check out a live preview of the theme fully customized.

I downloaded the Theme.Works demo theme and installed it on a test site. I was impressed with some of the options, especially the color palettes and custom fonts.


Unfortunately, the theme options are divided almost equally between the native customizer on the frontend and the dedicated theme options panel in the admin. I believe this might introduce a point of confusion for users. If they don’t find the header options in the theme options, they may not know to look for them on the frontend.

Although I am no stranger to building and customizing WordPress themes, I found it difficult to get the theme looking just like the demo. The experience certainly was not as advertised in the announcement post, which claims: “The theme you design is the theme you download, simple as that. No guesswork, no reference manual needed to get your theme up and running. Just activate and start publishing.” On the contrary, I found there were many options to configure before I could even think about publishing.

I was also concerned that the portfolio functionality is bundled with the theme. Allender said that they have attempted using a portfolio custom post type in the past but decided to take a different route. “We did that at GPP and users found it confusing. So instead, we offer users a plugin to migrate CPTs.” This seems like an extra hassle if you ever want to change your theme.

However, the end result, as displayed in the Theme.Works live demo, is quite appealing and beautifully designed if you are able to achieve the same look with your content. Theme.Works plans to give away one new free every month, built using the new platform. You can download the free theme directly from Theme.Works. While you’re there, make sure to test out the new theme building platform and let us know your thoughts.

by Sarah Gooding at September 12, 2014 11:41 PM under graph paper press

WPTavern: Aesop Story Engine 1.1 Beta Now Available for Testing Ahead of First Major Update

Aesop Story Engine 1.1. beta is now in the hands of eager testers, as project leader Nick Haskins prepares to launch the first major update to the plugin since its release. Haskin’s open source storytelling plugin was fully funded via a Crowdhoster campaign earlier this year. Shortly thereafter he released it on WordPress.org and launched a line of commercial themes that showcase the storyengine.

The plugin’s 1.1 release represents a major leap forward in terms of usability. “Our primary focus with this update was to improve usability even further by removing the friction created with generating and editing story components,” Haskins said. The generator in 1.1 will be completely responsive down to mobile device displays.


The story components will have a new interface in version 1.1, which more closely matches the WordPress admin. This version also adds the ability to edit story components in the visual editor. Components are now converted into a placeholder where you can easily edit their attributes. Clicking the pencil icons launches the modal view with the last options you entered.


After 1.1 is pushed out Haskins plans to keep hammering away at usability in preparation for launching a hosted solution for Aesop Story Engine. “After 1.1 goes out, it’s back to further improving the user interface, making things even easier, and reducing even more friction ahead of revisiting a hosted solution to offer, as the plugin will have matured at that point,” he said.

Haskins is steadily and patiently refining the plugin and has set no ETA for the hosted version. His primary focus is on improving the experience of the story engine. “We really want it to be an incredible experience, more than just ‘a skinned WordPress multisite,'” he said. “I’m watching the JSON API and waiting for more admin type capabilities. Next year would be a better guess at this point for the hosted version,” Haskins told the Tavern.

So far the project is experiencing success. “Sales have been going really, really well. Month after month of growth even with the price of themes at $120 each, which subsequently allows for further development,” Haskins reported. Version 1.1 will introduce the ability for developers to create custom add-ons to tie into the Story Engine, which is likely to bring more products into the ASE marketplace.

Aesop Story Engine Finds Momentum in Education

The Aesop Story Engine was created to empower WordPress publishers to pursue the art of digital storytelling, but Haskins wasn’t sure where it would take off when he initially tested the waters to see if there was any interest. While the product seems to be rather niche, it has surprisingly found the most traction in the education sector. “In terms of demographics, we are seeing a lot of big name universities, and about an equal amount of design firms,” Haskins said.

“The rest of users seem to fall into general writers, publishers, and news organizations, Detroit News being the most recent addition. This inevitably gives us a bit more context when making decisions regarding premium themes and upcoming addons,” Haskins said. “Simply put, the education space is the biggest trend at the moment.”

Version 1.1 is projected to launch at the beginning of next week. If you want to get in on testing the beta, check out the post on the ASE blog to download the zip file.

by Sarah Gooding at September 12, 2014 07:01 PM under education

WPTavern: Take The Annual WPShout Webhosting Survey

WPShout Webhosting Survey Featured Imagephoto credit: hfabulouscc

Since 2011, WPShout has conducted a comprehensive, non-biased, webhosting survey. Although the site has changed hands, Fred Meyer and David Hayes are continuing the tradition and the survey questions are ready to fill out. There are four required questions with no identifiable information required to submit your answers. The survey is aimed at figuring out the following information:

  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • Usability
  • Support
  • Value
  • WordPress compatibility

The data will be collected, collated, and openly shared to the community for individual analysis. In 2013, 214 people participated in the survey. The goal for 2015, is 500. Most users who run a self-hosted WordPress site also have a webhosting account. This is a chance to share your experience with that company for the benefit of others.

It’s hard to find good information about webhosting companies without running into reviews filled with affiliate links. If you have a few minutes to spare, please take the survey and help spread the word.

by Jeff Chandler at September 12, 2014 06:51 AM under wpshout

WPTavern: WP Couch Mode Gives Readers an Option to Read Content Without Distractions

If you operate a content heavy website and want an easy way to give readers an option to read content without distractions, now you can with the WP Couch Mode plugin. Developed by Ritesh Vatwani, WP Couch Mode adds a customizable link to content. When clicked, a lightbox appears displaying only the content of the post. Within the lightbox, you can increase the font size, make it full-screen, or print the article.

Configuration Settings For WP Couch ModeConfiguration Settings For WP Couch Mode


The plugin provides options to add the link before or after the content. You can edit the display text of the link and there’s a shortcode available if you need more control. Here’s what it looks like on the desktop view.

Desktop View Of WP Couch ModeDesktop View Of WP Couch Mode

One of the first things you’ll notice is that the images are large. When viewed on a desktop, the images are displayed at full size. On a mobile device, the images are smaller to account for screen size. Something that will need to be addressed in the next version is the poor handling of featured images. For some reason, WP Couch Mode takes a very small version of a featured image and blows it up. This causes featured images to look terrible on mobile devices. I think it would be better to not show the featured image and instead, only show images attached to the post.

When I accessed Couch Mode on my iPhone 5s in portrait mode, the X in the top right corner is cut off making it difficult to close the window. In order to access the close button, I put my phone into landscape mode. Alternatively, if enabled, I can tap the button to shrink/expand the lightbox as a work around. This is what the content looks like on my phone.

Portrait View Shows The X CutoffPortrait View Shows The X Cutoff


I doubt this plugin will be installed and used on sites that make a living through display advertisements. It’s like providing readers an ad-blocker tailored to the site. Overall, the plugin works as advertised. The lightbox needs some work but other than that, it gets rid of all the distractions.

by Jeff Chandler at September 12, 2014 05:53 AM under wp couch mode

WPTavern: Build Stories Using Multimedia With The Storyteller WordPress Theme

Storyteller is an interesting concept by Katharina Brunner. It’s a WordPress theme that when combined with the AddQuickTags plugin, provides the ability to build multimedia stories.

Once activated, you’ll need to import a special JSON file into AddQuickTags. This file automatically adds alignment code to the Storyteller specific quicktags making it easy to align the title and content of a slide.

Alignment Code Added To QuicktagsAlignment Code Added To Quicktags

The theme works best when used on a fresh install of WordPress. This is because it changes a couple of key components in the backend for the purpose of Storyteller.

  • Posts > Slides
  • Categories > Stories
  • Add Post > Add Slide

To see Storyteller in action, check out the following demo page. Images take up the entire view of the screen. The slide title and text are displayed above the image and are located on the page based on which quicktag is selected. Two arrows on the bottom right of the screen act as pagination to navigate between slides. Storyteller is a responsive theme that will resize the content based on the size of the screen. Slides are not limited to just images, you can use videos as well. It uses Backstretch.js and FitVids.js to create full screen images and videos.

Storyteller has one option to configure where you can select between four different fonts. The option is located in an Options top-level menu. There’s no reason why one option deserves its own top-level menu. I’d like to see it moved underneath the Settings menu and renamed to Storyteller. Options is confusing and at a glance, doesn’t seem like it’s connected to Storyteller.

Storyteller OptionsStoryteller Options


I had hard time getting used to Slides replacing Posts and Stories replacing Categories. It creates a new workflow that takes time to get used to. The demo page highlights the potential of Storyteller but because it’s best suited for a fresh install of WordPress, it limits the amount of scenarios it can be used in. During testing, I used it on an existing WordPress site with a lot of content and it was a mess.

Storyteller is in its infancy as a product and I have no doubt that Brunner will continue to improve the theme as more users discover it. The items she has on the to-do list include:

  • Option for individual width for text
  • Write a FAQ/docs
  • Sharing options
  • Option to scroll rather than click
  • Better video integration

Brunner encourages users to give feedback and report bugs to the theme’s Github page.

by Jeff Chandler at September 12, 2014 02:10 AM under storyteller

September 11, 2014

WPTavern: Add WordPress Coding Standards to NetBeans


The open source NetBeans IDE has support for several different languages and frameworks and a worldwide community of developers who depend on it to code more efficiently. A recent survey conducted by SitePoint placed NetBeans as the third most favored IDE among PHP developers, capturing 15.6% of the votes, trailing not far behind Sublime Text at 18.5%. PhpStorm locked up nearly 40% of those surveyed and recently added official support for WordPress.

WordPress developers who favor NetBeans as their IDE of choice can install a set of preferences that will help make their development environments a little more WordPress-friendly. Inspired by the NetBeans Settings for Laravel 4, PHP developer Leon Rowland decided to create NetBeans WordPress Coding Standards. It adds all the necessary settings for having your projects follow WordPress Coding Standards.


Rowland created the settings separately, because NetBeans doesn’t yet support a proper export of sub categories (PHP, JavaScript, etc). To use it, simply download the zip file from GitHub and import it at Netbeans > Preferences. Your NetBeans setup will now correctly get the PHP, JavaScript, and CSS Coding Standards as defined in the WordPress Handbook.

Rowland notes one small exception in the formatting – it doesn’t correctly account for spaces before JavaScript variables inside callbacks but not functions. Overall, the settings pack puts WordPress developers in a good place for using NetBeans while following the project’s official coding standards. It’s inspiring to see more WordPress tools and support availalbe for the most popular PHP IDEs. Any NetBeans fans have more WordPress-related tools to share?

by Sarah Gooding at September 11, 2014 09:57 PM under wordpress development

WPTavern: Jeff Starr Releases New 450 Page Book: WordPress Themes In Depth

WordPress Themes In Depth Featured Image

Jeff Starr, a contributing author to DigWP.com, has put the finishing touches on his brand new book, WordPress Themes In Depth. It’s 450 pages of focused information on WordPress theme development. It’s in PDF format and has support for widescreen monitors and mobile devices. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Setting up for theme development
  • WordPress theme fundamentals
  • Theme anatomy and the WP Theme Template
  • In-depth coverage of the WordPress Loop
  • Complete chapter on customizing themes
  • Theme development according to the WP API
  • Security, optimization & testing
  • Front-end techniques

The book comes with access to five themes and 20 demos. One of the themes is 2020, a full-featured premium theme. The bundled demos are plug-n-play examples of techniques covered in the book. A preview of WordPress Themes In Depth is available in PDF format and gives readers a chance to see how the information is presented.

A Sample Page Of WordPress Themes In DepthA Sample Page Of WordPress Themes In Depth

WordPress Themes In Depth is available through Perishable Press for $40 however, using the coupon code DIGWP will save you $10. If you’re looking for a great resource to learn how to develop themes for WordPress, consider adding this book to your digital library.

by Jeff Chandler at September 11, 2014 09:04 PM under theme development

Matt: Long-term Asia-Pacific Security

As reported by the Boston Globe, four-star Admiral Samuel Locklear, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, provided an “unexpected answer” when recently asked “what is the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region?”

I usually don’t do this, but check out the link to see what the United States Navy admiral who currently serves as the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command said. Hat tip: Jim Meyer.

by Matt Mullenweg at September 11, 2014 08:56 PM under Asides

WPTavern: Freefolio: A Free Responsive Portfolio Plugin for WordPress

When creating a portfolio with WordPress, the most ideal way to store your work is in a separate plugin. Later down the road when you want to change your theme, you’ll be able to do so without losing your portfolio content. Many theme authors are now starting to build support for existing portfolio plugins into their themes, offering styles for the plugin’s output to make the content seamless with the overall design.

That’s exactly what UpThemes is doing with its new Freefolio plugin, which debuted a couple weeks ago on WordPress.org. The plugin was created to work hand-in-hand with the shop’s new Creative theme, but also drops nicely into any other WordPress theme to add responsive portfolio functionality.

After activating the plugin, you visit the General > Writing settings to enable the Portfolio Projects option. This activates a new admin menu for adding portfolio content:


Here’s an example of the plugin in use with the Twenty Ten theme:


Freefolio is unique in that it offers a Dribbble import for designers who want to showcase their shots in WordPress. You’ll find the importer under the tools menu and only need to enter your Dribbble username to pull your content into your site:


Once your works are imported, you can edit, delete, and curate your shots with the project type taxonomy (works like categories) and project tag taxonomy (works like tags). All portfolio items can be displayed in a responsive grid via the [portfolio] shortcode, which is highly configurable with the following options:

  • display_types: display Project Types. (true/false)
  • display_tags: display Project Tags. (true/false)
  • display_content: display project content. (true/false)
  • include_type: display specific Project Types. Defaults to all. (comma-separated list of Project Type slugs)
  • include_tag: display specific Project Tags. Defaults to all. (comma-separated list of Project Tag slugs)
  • columns: number of columns in shortcode. Defaults to 2. (number, 1-6)
  • showposts: number of projects to display. Defaults to all. (number)

Freefolio is compatible with the Jetpack Portfolio post type and was, in fact, based in part on that code. The plugin also credits Tammy Hart for her Dribbble -> WordPress code as well as the folks at array.is for Jetpack Portfolio Polyfill, which was adapted for use in Freefolio.

In the future, UpThemes plan to add a portfolio widget for showcasing recent items, and the development team is open to additional feedback on how Freefolio could be better. The plugin works with any theme but may require a few CSS tweaks to look perfect with yours. Download it for free from WordPress.org.

by Sarah Gooding at September 11, 2014 06:47 PM under wordpress portfolio plugin

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 162 – Lead Developer of iThemes Security, Chris Wiegman

Marcus Couch and I are joined by the lead developer of iThemes Security, Chris Wiegman. After helping us dissect the news of the week, he tells the story of how he got involved with WordPress. We learn about the circumstances that lead to the creation of iThemes Security and how he almost sold the plugin to a different company. He explains how the Brute Force Login Protection feature added to the latest version of iThemes Security works and the difference between local and network wide protection. Last but not least, we explore the idea of how it could turn into the Jetpack of WordPress Security plugins.

Stories Discussed:

WordPress 4.0 ‘Benny’ Released
What Happens When WordPress Is Updated With 100 Plugins Activated?
Flywheel Hosting Secures $1.2M In Funding
WordPress Theme Review Team to Launch Mentoring Program

Plugins Picked By Marcus:

Google Drive Media Library is a plugin that connects your Google Drive account to your WordPress media library. This allows you to use Google Drive to store your photos, documents and videos on your site. This is a great solution if you are frequently receiving files from clients you don’t want to have access to the backend of WordPress.

Speech Bubble is a fun way to document a quote or conversation within a blog post. It’s shortcode driven and presents a conversational display similar to texting or Skype chats. There are 9 different conversation bubble styles and you can mix and match styles in posts.

WP Couch Mode is a handy plugin that provides a clean reading layout at the tap of a button. Much like reader mode in the Safari browser, the content takes on the look and feel of a print mode style removing the distractions of sidebars, widgets, site graphics or ads. It also has a handy print button, doubling as a print ready post plugin.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, September 24th 11 P.M. Eastern with Andrea Middleton of WordCamp Central

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 #162:

by Jeff Chandler at September 11, 2014 06:50 AM under Plugins

September 10, 2014

Matt: Hip Hop is not down with Monsanto

Brentin Mock from Grist looks for evidence that Hip Hop is not down with Monsanto.

by Matt Mullenweg at September 10, 2014 10:25 PM under Asides

WPTavern: Edin: A Beautiful Free Business Theme for WordPress

A month ago, WordPress.com released a new business theme that features support for its new site logo feature. The Edin theme was an instant hit with its users and is now available for use on self-hosted WordPress sites.

The theme was designed by Thomas Guillot to create a strong brand and online presence for any business or corporation. The front page template offers three optional featured page areas and three optional widget areas. The big leading image is set by adding a featured image to the page that you assign to be the frontpage.


Edin comes packaged with four custom page templates for a greater level of flexibility in creating your business website:

Here’s an example of the grid page template:


Edin offers support for three navigation menus:

  • Primary: The default menu pops into display from a hamburger icon but the customizer also includes an alternative classic “classic” menu which displays under the site title
  • Secondary: Displays top-level quick links above the site title
  • Footer: Displays top-level links and/or social links

Edin is fully responsive, maintaining its beautiful design and function as it responds to the varying displays of desktop and mobile devices. That means that mobile visitors to your business site will receive the same great experience as those using desktops.


Edin includes several options built into the customizer, including the ability to set the sidebar position (left or right), designate the thumbnail aspect ratio (4:3 or 1:1), customize header text and background color, assign a header image, show or hide the search bar, and more. The theme also adds support for post formats with minimal icons assigned for each format.

Check out a live demo of Edin on WordPress.com and make sure to navigate through the theme’s different page templates.

The self-hosted version of the Edin theme does not contain the site logo feature, but the Jetpack team is considering adding site logos to the plugin in the future.

If your business website is in need of a fresh look, Edin is a high quality, professionally-supported theme with a good deal of flexibility built in. All of the different options ensure that each customization of the theme will be unique. Download it for free from WordPress.org or via the theme browser panel in the admin.

by Sarah Gooding at September 10, 2014 09:02 PM under free wordpress themes

WPTavern: Take the 2014 WordPress User and Developer Survey

photo credit: WordCamp San Francisco 2013 - ma.ttphoto credit: WordCamp San Francisco 2013 – ma.tt

The WordPress 2014 survey is now available. Anyone who uses WordPress in any capacity is encouraged to take this short survey to help improve the project. The questions take approximately five minutes to complete and participation is anonymized. WordPress does not collect your email address or IP address, so feel free to offer your sincere feedback.

The survey asks how you use WordPress and helps the project learn more about how the community uses the software to power their websites. The feedback that you supply will help the core team make decisions for the coming year.

Results of the survey will be shared at WordCamp San Francisco during the State of the Word address in October. Tickets for the event are on sale now if you want to be in attendance to hear the results live.

Last year, 30,000 people in 178 countries took the survey. Results revealed that 69% of those surveyed use WordPress as primarily as a CMS; 20% use it as a blog/CMS combo; 6% for blogging only; and 7% as an application platform. Mobile usage data from the survey showed that 30-31% are using WordPress on iOS or Android devices.

Around this time last year, 18.9% of the web was powered by WordPress. That percentage has shot up this year to more than 23%.

We’ll be reporting live from WordCamp San Francisco to bring you all the latest data about WordPress users around the world. Any predictions for a change in CMS vs blog usage and mobile usage for 2014?

by Sarah Gooding at September 10, 2014 06:29 PM under wordpress survey

Post Status: Your website is not allowed to be fast


There could quite realistically be a day that your blog or website is not allowed to be fast. Not because you didn’t do proper performance testing and optimization, but because a corporatocracy won’t allow it.

And your website is small potatoes that they don’t care about. You simply don’t have enough money for them to bother enabling you to deliver your website at high speeds to potential readers.

Net neutrality is a horribly boring term to describe the seriousness of the issue at hand. Thankfully, comedian John Oliver explains net neutrality in a way that makes it significantly more entertaining and easy to understand:

As Oliver notes, and the website Battle for the Net describes, this is incredibly important but also quite difficult to understand. The issue primarily affects the US but by default will impact the entire web and therefore the world around us. The democratization of the web (a core priority for WordPress itself) is at risk.

This is why WordPress, Netflix, and a whole slew of other websites are taking part in a protest today. I complained this morning that I didn’t think poor UX (via popups and distractions on websites) were the best way to educate, but rather a day to write blog posts about the issue would be better. So here I am. This issue is important to me, my career, and you too — whether you know it or not.

The web is an amazing place with a level of publishing accessibility — no matter how little money a publisher (you’re a publisher) has — that has never before existed in the world.

Don’t let your internet plan become this:


This issue is much more up in the air than you may think; lawmakers (amazingly) can still be swayed. So do your duty and contact your lawmaker today. Let them know that you value an open internet and you support net neutrality. Sign the petition on the Battle for the Net website.

Even more importantly, educate your friends and family about the importance of an open internet — an internet where the barrier to entry is low and citizen journalists, bloggers, and anyone that has a message can share that message and potentially impact the entire world.

Support net neutrality. It makes the internet and our world just a little bit better.

by Brian Krogsgard at September 10, 2014 02:32 PM under Everyone

Lorelle on WP: What is Your Favorite Article on Lorelle on WordPress?

I’ve been asked to put together a best-of collection of Lorelle on WordPress articles in an ebook. Do you have a favorite? I’m looking for articles that you’ve bookmarked and returned back to over the years to help you with WordPress and blogging, or articles that helped you understand and embrace a WordPress or blogging […]

by Lorelle VanFossen at September 10, 2014 11:31 AM under writing tips

WPTavern: Join the September 10th Internet Slowdown Protest with These WordPress Plugins


Today, those who support internet freedom are simulating serving pages at a snail’s pace, in protest of internet service providers that are currently spending millions of dollars lobbying for the FCC’s proposed rules which essentially eviscerate net neutrality.

WordPress.com joins 150 other major tech companies, including Netflix, Mozilla, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Reddit, Dropbox and Etsy, in the September 10th Internet Slowdown protest. The campaign features a loading icon and urges visitors to demand that lawmakers defend net neutrality.


The FCC’s proposed changes would allow ISPs to charge a premium for putting companies in the “fast lane.” Smaller companies and startups without resources to pay the ISP tolls would be relegated to a “slow lane,” which would be an all-around bad experience for internet users.

WordPress.com users who want to participate in the protest have the option to activate the new “Fight for Net Neutrality” plugin available under the Settings menu.


The plugin replaces a few posts on WordPress.com websites with a “Still Loading” spinner that simulates what the internet will be like if cable companies have their way.

Self-hosted WordPress sites can participate in the protest by adding the Internet Defense League Cat Signal plugin. It picks up on any active campaigns from the Internet Defense League and will only be active on your site during those times. You can test the plugin ahead of the next campaign by adding ?_idl_test=1 to your domain.

Big companies like Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T have millions of dollars to throw at lawmakers in hopes of slowing down the internet for every company that doesn’t pay up. What they don’t have is the power of your voice to influence your site’s visitors to call upon lawmakers. Now is your chance to speak up in defense of net neutrality and make a difference for the future of the internet. If you run a WordPress site, it’s as easy as adding a plugin.

by Sarah Gooding at September 10, 2014 05:13 AM under net neutrality

WPTavern: iThemes Security Now Has Brute Force Login Protection

iThemes announced Brute Force Login Protection has been added to the latest version of iThemes Security. The new feature enables users to protect their sites either locally or by activating a network wide setting.

  • Local brute force protection looks only at attempts to access your site and bans users per the lockout rules specified locally.
  • Network brute force protection takes this a step further by banning users who have tried to break into other sites from breaking into yours.

Similar to BruteProtect acquired by Automattic earlier this year, network wide protection uses the power of each site using it to block known IP addresses from breaking into a site. This is possible thanks to the introduction of the iThemes Brute Force Protection Network.

Brute Force Login Protection SettingsBrute Force Login Protection Settings

By enabling this new setting in iThemes Security, the Brute Force Protection Network will automatically report the IP addresses of failed login attempts to iThemes and will block them for a length of time necessary to protect your site based on the number of other sites that have seen a similar attack.

Timing and Roadmaps

When I asked if there is a difference between the pro version of iThemes Security and the free version when it comes to Brute Force Login Protection, iThemes Security lead developer, Chris Wiegman, said, “There are no differences at all and no plans to change that. It’s originally a free feature and we want to keep it that way.”

When BruteProtect was acquired by Automattic, users expressed disappointment that they would have to use Jetpack. Was this move and the feedback surrounding it a motivating factor to add the feature to iThemes Security? “That was a bit of the timing but we’ve actually had it on the roadmap before I moved to iThemes. It is an effective way to protect against brute force login attempts that we just didn’t get up and running until now,” Wiegman said.

The Jetpack Of WordPress Security Plugins?


I’m not aware of any other plugin that comes close to what Jetpack offers. iThemes Security has so many protection mechanisms within the plugin, I think it  makes sense if each major feature was separated into a module.

iThemes Security could morph into a plugin like Jetpack with a focus on security. New modules could be developed to help make connecting to complimentary services easy. Development of the plugin might be made easier as well with contributors being able to focus on their favorite modules. The only thing preventing it from being like Jetpack in it current state are modules and a proper user interface to manage them. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the direction iThemes takes with the plugin.

Respecting A User’s Privacy

One major difference between Jetpack and iThemes Security is that iThemes has chosen to leave the choice to users on whether network protection is enabled or not. Jetpack however, will auto-activate BruteProtect when it’s enabled. Wiegman explained two reasons why network protection is not enabled by default. “First, I don’t believe in auto activation. Second, as a security plugin we have an obligation to protect users privacy along with their site so anything that communicates remotely must be opt-in rather than opt-out.” While a noble choice on the part of iThemes, it may leave them with less data to work with than if it were enabled by default.

Choices Are Good

With nearly 3M downloads, the iThemes Brute Force Protection Network has an opportunity to become larger than BruteProtect’s before the company was acquired. Since the feature is free in both versions, it’s exposed to the maximum amount of potential users. It offers a choice to those who want this type of protection but don’t want to use Jetpack to get it. For those who want a single purpose plugin that only offers Brute Force Login Protection using the data from each site that uses it, you’re still out of luck.

by Jeff Chandler at September 10, 2014 02:37 AM under security

WPTavern: First Look at Designs for the Twenty Fifteen Default WordPress Theme

Konstantin Obenland released the first look at the Twenty Fifteen theme on the Make WordPress Core blog today. Takashi Irie, the Automattic theme designer who created Twenty Fourteen, was asked by Matt Mullenweg to design the upcoming Twenty Fifteen default theme.

It is now confirmed that Twenty Fifteen will in fact be a blog-focused theme, according to Irie’s description:

Twenty Fifteen is a clean, blog-focused theme designed through simplicity. With careful attention to typography, the theme treats text as a major part of the user interface. It features Google’s Noto Serif and Sans – a font family designed to be visually harmonious across many of the worlds languages, and a perfect fit for the internationalization strides being made in WordPress core.

The first preview of the theme shows that it includes a sidebar and makes liberal use of white space to emphasize content:


The theme will include the ability to add a custom header image and a custom background. Obenland shared additional images, which show the theme with text only (sans images), a further customized version, and examples of how it might look on mobile devices.

twenty-fifteen-colors twenty-fifteen-no-images twenty-fifteen-phone twenty-fifteen-menu twenty-fifteen-mobile

Twenty Fifteen is being designed from a mobile first approach. Obenland reports that the design itself is “far from finished.” After finalizing the design, contributors will create a working theme and commit that to core. At that point, those who have volunteered to test the theme will be able to put it through the paces to ensure that it meets WordPress’ standards for default themes. Twenty Fifteen is expected to be included in WordPress 4.1, which is scheduled to ship in December this year.

by Sarah Gooding at September 10, 2014 12:38 AM under wordpress 4.1

WordPress.tv Blog: New videos from WordCamp Asheville and WordCamp Vancouver

Check out these great new videos from WordCamp Asheville 2014 (May 30-June1) and WordCamp Vancouver 2014 (July 26) that have been published on WordPress.tv recently.

What’s Your Story? Engaging Your Readers with the Power of Personal Narrative

Whether you’re starting a personal blog to share your thoughts and ideas, or blogging to promote your business, storytelling is the most effective way to engage your audience. In this presentation, Cindy Reed explains how well-told stories are memorable, unique, and position you as a trusted voice.

View on WordPress.tv

Power Your Non-Profit Website

An important part of any non-profit organization’s mission is getting its message out to as many people as possible. As Ray Mitchell explains here, a well-designed WordPress website can help even the smallest non-profit reach a wide audiences and help activate both supporters and volunteers.

View on WordPress.tv

Magic with CSS Pseudo-Selectors

Pseudo-selectors are a magical CSS tool, because they make it possible to create some amazing visual effects, while keeping your HTML semantic and minimizing the images on your site. This presentation by Morgan Kay introduces the basic concept of pseudo-selectors, and goes over the various pseudo-selectors that are available and when they are useful.

View on WordPress.tv

WordPress Single Page Web Apps

Alessandro Biavati shows how WordPress can be integrated with modern Web App tools by leveraging its innate modularity, flexibility and speed. This talk is about WordPress as much as it is about general Web Application best practices and future applications and considerations.

View on WordPress.tv

These are just a few of the great videos we have published recently, but you can view all videos from these events here:

Cindy Reed: What’s Your Story? Engaging Your Readers with the Power of Personal Narrative
Ray Mitchell – Power Your Non-Profit Website.mp4
Kevin Stover: The Candid Developer. Developing and Maintaining A Successful Plugin… Is Scary
Alessandro Biavati: WordPress Single Page Web Apps

by Jerry Bates at September 10, 2014 12:14 AM under Announcement

September 09, 2014

WPTavern: A Successful WordPress Plugin Adoption Story

The “adopt-me” tag in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory is starting to gain traction, with two pages of current listings. While that may not seem like very many among the 33,000+ plugins, the new clear path for adoption is helping to change the course of extensions that would otherwise rot in the repo.

photo credit: sparrowsoundphoto credit: sparrowsound

The “adopt-me” tag was introduced as a possible solution to help lower the rate of plugin abandonment. It provides a centralized way for developers to search for plugins that need a new owner.

matt cromwell

When novice plugin developer Matt Cromwell heard about the “adopt-me” tag, he was intrigued. Cromwell is the Solutions Manager for FooPlugins, a web developer by day and a plugin developer by night. FooThumbnail Gallery was his first foray into plugin development, prompted by the need to create a solution for one of his clients. After launching his first plugin, he started looking for ways to expand his development skills.

“Like so many other WP developers, I’m always slightly saddened to see that rust-orange notice at the top of a plugin telling me this or that plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years,” Cromwell said. “I wanted to test myself by looking at someone else’s code, seeing how and why they did what they did, and seeing if I could improve on it.” With that goal in mind, he reached out on the Advanced WordPress Facebook Group for plugin adoption opportunities and discovered the “adopt-me” tag.

In the process of examining various candidates, Cromwell was less concerned with the plugins’ potential audience/user base and more focused on finding one that fit within his current skills. “While I did want a challenge, I didn’t want to adopt something way out of my experience, like a booking plugin or something overly complex,” he said. “I didn’t want to do something so different from what I’d already done that I’d never actually update it or improve on it.”

He eventually landed on two plugins that worked well with the development he had done previously: Imagelens by Ramoonus, and Carousel Gallery by Joen Asmussen and eTiger13. “I contacted each of them through their website or social media channels and heard back from them fairly quickly that they’d love to hand over the wheel,” he said. Plugin authors can easily add new developers as contributors if they want to pass the plugin on for a better future.

“I’m happy with my progress so far,” Cromwell reported. “I completely revamped ImageLens from the ground up. Formerly, it simply added the script everywhere. I didn’t want that. I wanted users to be able to enable it per image, or for a whole post/page. Deciding that forced me to learn how to filter the_content() and to leverage custom attachment fields. I also discovered Ohad Raz’ “My Meta Box” class for custom metaboxes in the process.”

Pleased with the success of his adoption experience so far, Cromwell plans to continue browsing the “adopt-me” tag for more extensions to bring into his plugin family. “I really like being able to contribute to the WP community this way,” he said. “It’s also a great way to jump into the deep end of plugin development, at least it has been for me.”

Cromwell is enthusiastic about plugin adoption and hopes to encourage more theme developers to pursue the challenge. He also thinks that experienced plugin developers should consider adoption as a new way to give back to the WordPress community. “Experienced plugin developers who really know their stuff could adopt two or three plugins tonight and have them updated and shining by the weekend,” he suggested.

Based on his experience, Cromwell believes that if you haven’t updated your plugin in a year, the best thing you can do is add the “adopt-me” tag to give your extension the chance to thrive. “The threat of automatic deletion if the plugin hasn’t been updated in two years would do MARVELS for the repo as a whole,” he said. “But there’s probably easy ways that plugin adoption could become more prominent in the repo. An ‘I adopted!’ badge for profiles would be fun,” he suggested.

If you no longer want to maintain your plugin, consider adding the “adopt-me” tag to keep it alive. Developers who want a new challenge then have the chance to discover your plugin. Cromwell’s adoption success story demonstrates how easy it is for abandoned or unwanted plugins to find a new home with an enthusiastic developer.

by Sarah Gooding at September 09, 2014 11:30 PM under plugin adoption

WPTavern: What Happens When WordPress Is Updated With 100 Plugins Activated?

Over the years, there have been several articles published on the topic of how many WordPress plugins are too many. A common point of debate is that too many plugins can slow down your site or cause things to break. While the risk of things breaking exists, I don’t think it’s as bad as people make it out to be.

Longtime WordPress trainer, Bob Dunn, has published the results of his WordPress 4.0 update experiment. He set up two different sites each with 100 plugins installed and activated. One site used a Genesis child theme with several Genesis specific plugins. The other site used Canvas from WooThemes with WooCommerce and several WooCommerce extensions. Watch the following video to find out if WordPress and the server hosting it melts down.

One thing I hope this video does is give users confidence in updating WordPress. The most common reason I’ve read for not updating is the fear of the site or plugins breaking. This video proves something I’ve been saying for years, it’s not the number of plugins you use, it’s the quality. As Mika Epstein astutely points out, it only takes one plugin to crash a WordPress site. Are you surprised by the results of the experiment?

by Jeff Chandler at September 09, 2014 10:01 PM under updates

WordPress Planet

This is an aggregation of blogs talking about WordPress from around the world. If you think your blog should be part of this send an email to Matt.

Official Blog

For official WP news, check out the WordPress Dev Blog.


Last updated:

September 16, 2014 09:15 AM
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