More Plugin Updates

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There have recently been a number of updated plugins released for WordPress. The plugins in question are as follows:

Akismet – Akistmet version 2.1.1 has been released. Some of the new features in this version include the ability to sort by comment type. This means you can search by ALL comments, Comments, or Pingbacks. There is also a new hook thats been added so other plugins can add tabs to the sub navigational scheme.

Later on, after I wrote this post, a newer version of Akismet has been released. Version 2.1.2 Fixes two small bugs, if you have 2.1.2 all errors (headers sent, etc) should be fixed.

Subscribe To Comments – Subscribe To Comments has released version 2.1.2 This update include a fix to a bug that was discovered by Donncha where bad notification emails would sometimes be sent out. The code within the plugin has been cleaned up and the author has moved to using proper WP escaping functions.

WP AJAX Edit Comments – Ronald has updated this plugin to 1.1.2.5 This update adds page detection for incompatibility issues with the Navigation List plugin.

WordPress Plugin Updates

Digging into my Plugin area today, I noticed a few plugins that required updating and figured I’d let you know about them in case you have update notification turned off.

First up is Google XML Sitemaps which is now up to version 3.0.2.1 The changes for this release are:

  • Fixed wrong XML Schema Location (Thanks to Emanuele Tessore)
  • Added Russian Language files by Sergey http://ryvkin.ru

Next up is WP AJAX Edit Comments WP Ajax Edit Comments is now up to version 1.1.2.1

  • Added Italian Language file. Thanks Piplos
  • Added Russian Language file. Thanks Sergey.

Simple Pie has also released update and is now up to version 2.1.2 SimplePie Plugin for WordPress

  • 2.1: Added support for feed post-processing, better error handling, and fixed issues with installing in the wrong location.

Live Comment Preview is now at version 1.8.2

  • The 1.8.1 release fixes a bug in 1.8 that affects those who have WordPress files setup in a different directory than their site url. If you have any problems with this release, please post a reply with a description of the problem and any error messages you are receiving.

Last but note least, QuickPost, the Tumblr like plugin for WordPress has been updated to version 0.6

  • 0.6 – Finished Safari Support; Added stripslashes for titles that have apostrophes; Minor Change to Blockquote formatting

ShareThis Classic 1.5.1 Released

Alex King and company has released Share This Classic 1.5.1 which promises to add functionality from the new Share This 2.0 widget.

For those of you who have had trouble positioning the new ShareThis widget or need internationalization features now1, you can use the ShareThis Classic plugin for WordPress. The ShareThis Classic plugin adds three often requested features from prior versions: 1. the ability to choose which tabs you want to display 2. which order you’d like the tabs to display in 3. Facebook as a Social Web option

ShareThis Classic 1.5.1 | alexking.org

Alex King and the Share This team have done a splendid job with this plugin. It’s packed with features yet, is all contained within a small package.

Visual Mashup Maker MashupMania Reviewed

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Not a code monkey? MashupMania tries to make it as easy as pie to create a mashup using visual elements that are more like puzzle pieces. No coding required. I’ll come right out and say that the first time I tried to load this site, FireFox almost vomited all over itself. Thankfully, it didn’t crash.

The Site Design:

One of the first things you should notice is the Web 1.0 design elements. White background, web 1.0 button links, scroll bars and weird design elements. However, I have to give these folks credit for adding the beta logo in the top left hand corner and the blue TRY NOW badge. Not to mention, the black content bars have rounded corners. Let’s call the design, Web 1.5.

Upon visiting the homepage, I was knocked to the floor by the WTF do I do feeling. After taking a few wild guesses, I found out that the link to the MashupMaker was called ‘Widgeteria‘. Either I’m dumb or that’s not the greatest piece of text you could use to label that section of the site.

The Nitty Gritty:

I did manage to check out the tutorial thats posted on the front page of the site. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any audio attached to it. It would of been much nicer if the tutorial was actually a walkthrough of the site and offered up audio that described what it was the Widgeteria did. You do however, get a taste of how the site works.

MashupMania Is A Mess

This is a small sample of what you’ll be greeted with once you enter the Widgeteria. In all honesty, it’s a mess, with draggable windows all over the place and no real starting point. Thank god their is a CLEAR button on the top options bar.

Once the area was cleared off, I decided to take a look at the Library. The library contains a list of pre-made widgets that can be customized to suit your needs without having to start from scratch. For the purpose of this review, I selected the RSS FEED 2 option.

Widget Library

After selecting RSS FEED 2, a box popped up which allowed me to type in an RSS feed URL. After putting in my FeedBurner address, the parser on the right hand side of the site was filled up with my blog posts. Not knowing what to do with the widget now, I choose to save it. Clicking the SAVE button opens up a new dialog box that gives me the options of giving the widget a name, and then a short description. After saving my Widget, I noticed it shows up in the library for anyone else to use.

When your finished tinkering around with your widget, click on the EXPORT button. The dialog box lets you know that before you can export your work, you have to save the widget. MashupMania then provides you a block of code which you then have to embed into your site. In my case, it was a block of javascript code within an Iframe.

I tried posting the code that MashupMania gave to me into the WordPress Text editor in CODE View and for whatever reason, everything in the WordPress text editor disappeared. I had to refresh the page a few times while constantly clicking on the CODE tab in order to delete the javascript. I did mange to see what the widget looked like on the page before it borked and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, I’m not even sure what it was I posted.

Final Thoughts:

This is one of those reviews that I couldn’t wait to get over with.

The Good:

  • Great Idea/Concept
  • For those that can figure it out, it could be one hell of a service for you
  • The FAQ section of the site

The Bad:

  • The site makes FireFox crap on itself
  • The site design is not user-friendly
  • Messing around in the widget area is a SLOW process
  • The video tutorial on the front page does little to help a noob.
  • Knowing what the hell your doing is almost impossible
  • The first visit to the Widgeteria greets you with a ton of crap you don’t need

At times, I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. Making the creation of a widget as a step by step process with an explanation as to what THIS or THAT does might of made for a better experience. I think the idea of being able to create a widget without touching any code is great, but doing it the way MashupMania has it setup is a painstaking process that made me wish I knew how to code. This is my opinion and your experience and opinions may vary. If you decide to give this site a try, let me know how it went.

Use WordPress Like Tumblr

QuickPost Plugin LogoWhile browsing around the WordPress.org plugin database for something completely different, I happen to stumble upon a plugin that was inspired by the Tumblr bookmarklet. It doesn’t have every feature of the Tumblr bookmarklet, but it doesn’t have to.

The plugin is called QuickPost and was developed by a company called Twelve Horses. After downloading, installing, then activating the plugin, you’ll have to go into the QuickPost options area and select a default category for each bookmarklet tab.

Setting Default Categories

The bookmarklet supports the following types of posts: Quotes, Text/Links, Photos, and Videos.

QuickPost Tabs

For those that are using FireFox, installing the bookmarklet is as simple as dragging a button to your bookmark toolbar. The process is a little more complicated if your using Internet Explorer.

Dear Internet Explorer Users: Yours is a harder path to walk.. Right click the bookmarklet below and select “Add to favourites”. Your IE will probably tell you that this is an “Unsafe bookmark to add”. Ignore your smart arse browser and click OK. The setup will thus be completed.

Although the bookmarklet doesn’t support every thing the Tumblr version does, I don’t feel as if it needs to. I think this bookmarklet covers the majority of content most people post to their Tumblr blog or regular blog. One thing about this plugin is that it does not allow you to preview the post before it’s published.

There is a checkbox that is part of the plugin options that allows you to use the WYSIWYG text editor but I ‘d rather see the option of choosing between both when making a post. The reason being is that, it’s pretty difficult to post YouTube Embed HTML codes into the WYSIWYG editor without it screwing up. I get around this by switching to the CODE view of the post and making sure that embedding the video is the last thing I do when creating the post.

Thanks to this plugin, I’m seriously considering disbanding my Tumblr account and using this blog as my Tumbelog and everything else blog. After all, lifestreaming seems to be where everything is headed so perhaps setting the site up this way allows me to get a head start on the trend.

P.S. The blog post before this one was actually me testing the QUOTE function of the QuickPost plugin. Apparently, it works.

AskApache And Google XML Updates

I finally got the chance to upgrade the AskApache Google 404 Ajax Search plugin along with the Google XML Sitemap plugin. I’m still trying to determine what is new in the Ajax plugin which I’m sure AskApache will probably stop by and let us know. As for the Google XML Sitemap plugin, here is a short list of changes that occurred.

  • Changed HTTP client for ping requests to Snoopy
  • Added “safemode” for SQL which doesn’t use unbuffered results
  • Added option to run the building process in background using wp-cron
  • Added links to test the ping if it failed

Make sure you head to AskApache Google 404 and Google XML Sitemaps to download the updated plugins and install them on your blog if you’re using them.

One special note for those who use the AskApache plugin. I noticed the directory that houses the plugin files had it’s name changed. When you upload this plugin, make sure to delete the old AskApache directory so they don’t conflict.

List Of WordPress Plugins I Use

Wordpress PluginsOver the past few weeks, I have had a number of individuals ask me questions regarding the plugins I use on this site. I thought I would take the time today to tell you every plugin installed and in use on this blog. This article took 2 hours to write and I hope it answers most of your questions. If not, ask away within the commenting section of the article. At the end of this list, let us know which plugins you suggest to use. Enjoy!

Plugin//Version//Description

AddThis Sidebar Widget 1.2 – AddThis is an awesome plugin that gives users the ability to bookmark a specific page to one of any number of bookmarking services such as Digg, Delicious, Technorati, ect. Instead of having a ton of icons or badges for each service, I can use one image which makes it easy to implement and use. You can see this plugin in action by clicking on addthis plugin at work

Akismet 2.02 – I don’t think enough can be said about Akismet. Akismet was created by Automattic as an anti spam application. It’s one of the best around and without it, I would of had to manually delete 2,500 entries which have been detected as spam. If you are running WordPress, make sure this plugin is activated.

AskApache Google 404 2.2 – This plugin has turned my WordPress 404 Page into something useful. I wrote a detailed review of this plugin here ( Add Google Ajax To Your WP 404 Page ) and it has become the second most viewed article on this blog. Google 404 adds an Ajax powered search into your 404 page. When someone ends up on a 404 page, the terms that generated the error are automatically plugged into the search bar which generates a Google search amongst your own blog, the internet, images ect. To see it in action, visit https://jeffc.me/blabla

Dagon Design Sitemap Generator 3.1.2 – This is one of two sitemap generator plugins that I use. This plugin is highly customizable and gives me the options of how I would like to display my sitemap to the public. When you visit https://jeffc.me/my-sitemap/ the output comes from this plugin. Works seamlessly in combination with my Google XML Sitemap generator.

Digg This 1.0.2 – There are many WordPress plugins that center around Digg but this one is still one of my favorites. When anyone submits one of my blog posts to Digg.com, I am notified by email and a Digg button is automatically placed on the right side of the post. The plugin works by detecting a referral url from Digg. You can customize where the digg button shows up within your post as well as a few other options. To see the plugin in action, visit ( Migratr – Backup And Migrate Your Online Photos )

Dofollow 2.1 – I covered this plugin more in depth here ( You Comment I Follow ) Essentially, this plugin strips the “REL=NoFollow” attribute from a commenter’s URL. This is good for Google juice to be applied to those that comment on your blog. It’s also a good showing of appreciation to those that engage in the conversation through comments.

FeedBurner FeedSmith 2.3 – This plugin finds all the ways to subscribe to your blog and consolidates them into one feed using FeedBurner. This ensures accurate feed reader statistics. It’s one of the first plugins you should install when you begin a WordPress blog so that it’s as accurate as possible.

Get Recent Comments 2.0.2 – This displays the most recent comments/trackbacks on the sidebar. I have implemented this plugin near the top center of the page called MOST RECENT COMMENTs by adding the hook into it’s own div container. There are a number of different formatting options to display this plugin which make it highly customizable for your situation.

Google XML Sitemaps 3.0 – This is purely a Google only sitemap plugin. What I like most about this plugin is that it creates sitemap.org compatible sitemaps which are supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN and Yahoo. This plugin combined with my other sitemap plugin covers my blog at all angles.

JS Toggle Boxes 1.4 – Js Toggle Boxes provides a means to add a plus symbol or a minus symbol to a div element that contains an unordered list. Using a combination of Javascript, CSS and cookies, readers of this site can now show or hide at least 6 different content blocks.

Live 0.4.1 – Wrote about here ( WordPress Real Time Browsing Stats ) Live gives WordPress admins the chance to see who is browsing what in real-time. The plugin provides information such as IP address, whether the user is on a page, comment, or a hit from an RSS aggregator, and referral URL. This is probably one of the most used plugins I have installed to monitor what’s going on. I’ve been anxiously awaiting a new version which promises additional functionality.

Live Comment Preview 1.7 – I came across this plugin while reading a blog post on how to make your WordPress blog Web 2.0ish. Powered by Ajax, this plugin gives readers a chance to preview their comment in real-time before it’s published. You can use the provided preview function to add a PREVIEW area anywhere on your site. It’s nice to know what your comment will look like before it’s published.

Most Viewed Widget 1.0 – This is an addon for another plugin called WP-Postviews which I’ll get to later. This widget will take the posts with the most number of views and display them as a widget or wherever you place the hook. You can modify the plugin code to determine how many articles are shown in the widget.

MyAvatars 0.2b – I covered MyAvatars here ( MyBlogLog And Gravatar Support ) in light of the recent Gravatar acquisition. MyAvatars displays avatars from both MyBlogLog and Gravatar. The best of both worlds it would seem.

MyBlogLog Widget 2.0 – In order to use a MyBlogLog widget, you first have to visit MyBlogLog.com and create one. Once you get the code for the widget, paste it into a TEXT based widget. This is essentially how you add any 3rd party widget to your site.

Optimal Title 3.0 – One of the first plugins I’ve ever installed, Optimal Title mirrors the function of wp_title() exactly, but moves the position of the ’separator’ to after the title rather than before. This is what enables me to have links within the title bar of your browser that look like this

Optimal Title

Notice how the name of the post comes before the actual title of my page. I read this was supposed to help with SEO but I’m not sure if it has or not.

Related Posts 2.04 – This plugin returns a list of related entries based on active/passive keyword matches. The relation happens automatically and so far, it has worked out pretty well. This plugin becomes more accurate as you publish more posts. Not a good plugin to use if you have under 30-50 posts.

SezWho WP1.2 – SezWho is a comment rating/reputation based service. Users rate on comments for a given post which can in turn, leverage ratings of a commenter on other blogs. Replace the concepts of Gravatar with comment rating and user reputation and you should get the idea behind the service.

Share This 1.4 – Another awesome plugin that consolidates what would be a number of different images or badges into one easy to access control panel. ShareThis gives your users the oppurtunity to share a post with others through social bookmarking or by email. This is one of my favorite plugins as it provides so much functionality in such a tidy, neat package.

Subscribe To Comments 2.1.1 – This plugin adds a check box to a comment form which gives users the chance to subscribe to a particular page and it’s comments. After you subscribe to a post, each time a user comments on that blog entry, an email will be sent to your account letting you know someone has carried on the conversation. In my opinion, this is a function that should be supported out of the box.

What Would Seth Godin Do 1.3 – This plugin gives me the chance to configure a default welcome message to brand new visitors of the site. It uses cookies so that after a configured amount of times, the welcome message disappears. The welcome message contains the text “Welcome to my blog, if you enjoyed reading this, perhaps you would like to subscribe for more RSSLINK” Not sure if this has contributed to my RSS subscriber count but I haven’t had any complaints.

wp-cache 2.1.2 – The oh so infamous Wp-Cache. You almost have to use this plugin if your using WordPress. Wp-Cache is a very fast caching module that is actually modules within modules. This plugin has been known to withstand the Digg effect as well as the Slashdot effect. How’s that for noteworthy. I have quite a few issues with WP-Cache that I can’t seem to figure out but I’ll post about those some other day.

WP-PageNavi 2.20 – If you scroll to the bottom of this blog’s home page, you should see the numbers 1, 2, 3, ect in little squares. That is actually the PageNavi plugin in action. This plugin is just an advanced version of pagination which gives users more control over the navigation of the blog.

WP-Polls 2.21 – What good is a blog or website without a poll? This plugin is pretty much the defacto standard for polls within WordPress based sites. The poll is powered by Ajax, can be customized to match your template, supports multiple selections for answers, and the ability to use more than one poll at a time. There is also a Poll Archive page that be added to your site if you so choose.

WP-Polls Widget 2.21 – This widget works along side WP-Polls and displays the actual polls as a widget within your WordPress Template.

WP-PostViews 1.20 – This plugin provides a way for you to see how many views a particular blog post has. You can configure this plugin to show guest views, registered member views or both. I use this plugin just to provide me with “at a glance” statistics for posts. It’s a good feeling to be reassured that people are reading what I write.

WP-Print 2.20 – WP-Print adds the ability for users to print specific articles. The plugin contains options to allow users to print comments, posts, pages, or a combination of everything. I’ve added this functionality to my blog just in case someone feels to the need to print out a tutorial or something.

WP-Stats 2.20 – Displays your WordPress blog statistics. This plugin ranges from general blog statistics to plugin statistics. The plugin statistics are actually stats from a number of other plugins created by Lester Chan that you may have installed on your blog.

WP-UserOnline 2.20 – This plugin gives you and your user’s a chance to see who is currently browsing your blog. The plugin shows which registered members, guests and search engine bots are on your site and which URL they are currently browsing. It also provides a referral url to see where that user came from.

WP AJAX Edit Comments 1.1.1.4 – Reviewed here ( Digg Like Comment Editor For WordPress ) is a plugin written by Ronald Huereca of the Readers Appreciation Project. This plugin gives administrators and regular users the ability to edit their own comments within a given time frame. The plugin pretty much works in the same way that the Digg commenting system works. As I have always said, every blog should provide some sort of way for a user to edit their comments. This plugin is a nice solution to that problem.

WP_EasyReply 1.0 – It becomes tiring typing out something like @whoever each time you want to reply to someones comment. This plugin does that task for you, albeit with a little bit of help. Out of the box, EasyReply provides a link which automatically puts each user account name that has commented since your last reply into the comment box. With a little bit of hacking, I was able to get this plugin to perform the mundane task of typing out @username which is a time saver and a blessing for my fingers. To read how I hacked this plugin for my own purpose, please read ( WordPress Comment Reply Plugin )

Conclusion:

Wow. Can’t believe I’m finally finished with this article, 2 hours later. At any rate, I hope this article answers everyone’s questions as to which plugins I’m using. Installing and configuring the plugin is one thing, how you implement the plugin into your template is a different ballgame. I’ve used a bit of creativity on my blog but it shouldn’t be too hard to discover which content blocks are using which plugin.

Please share your experiences and or implementations of the plugins above if you use them. If not, please tell us which plugins you use and why.