Jonathan Soroko: 1958-2013

Jonathan Soroko, the lead author of this WordPress blog, passed away May 13, 2013. Details are at jonathansoroko.com.

This site will be up for awhile yet, but it will be quiet, we fear, until the remainder of us sort ourselves out. He will be missed, for sure.

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Periodic Table of WP Plugins

The Periodic Table of WordPress plugins is a representation of the 108 most popular plugins in the WordPress Plugin Repository.  A poster version is apparently in the works. Thanks to John Turner of SeedProd.com and his blog for pointing this out.

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SmashFreakz: a well-designed, easy-to-use cornucopia of WordPress (and other) resources

Smashfreakz logo

Came across Smashfreakz while I was looking for website design – and other software – to help a friend who’s running for office. The perfect software, of course, would have a blog front end but also have all the back-end stuff (tracking donations in a legally compliant way, etc.) -  but it’s a set of problems that I don’t have a lot of first-hand knowledge of. One of the first hits I got in my search was     17 Free and Premium Political WordPress Themes  on the aforementioned  Smashfreakz. The post itself turns out to be a very good starting point and benchmark for my research, but I think Smashfreakz is going to turn out to be one of those sites I refer to when I’m trying to solve problems. But while I felt that in just reading the introduction to the piece, reproduced below, I had an idea of what I  was getting, it occurred to me that the site design gave me four ways of navigating through the site content – without sacrificing white space, without crowding, all of which immediately made sense to me. Not sure what the design magic is here, but I think it’s a combination of using contrasting colors and three different layouts for each of the navigation paths. Here’s a screen shot of the beginning of the piece (the “introduction,” although perhaps there’s a better word):

Smashfreakz screenshot

So – in order of appearance, the three ways (other than “search) that present themselves as ways to navigate site content.

By Category – but listed twice, above and below. My one objection is that the lower reference, which uses an icon I associate with “tag” – is actually a reference to the category “WordPress.” I’ve crudely surrounded both references in red:

Navigation by Category (above) and by individual tag (below)

Navigation by Category (above) and by individual tag (below)

 

“WordPress” as a category, and “WordPress” as a tag, as we might expect, have a big overlap (the former yields 6 pages of results, the latter 5). Smashfreakz cleverly hedges its bets by providing a concise list of related posts at the introduction to the post – titles/links only:

"See also" text links only

“See also” text links only

Relatively modest, likely to be relevant, and not creating a big delay before getting to the body of the piece – itself quite substantial involving the comparison of 17 WordPress themes. At the bottom of the piece, there’s a more select – but visual – selection of only three likely-relevant pieces:

"Related Posts"  - with thumbnails, at end of post

“Related Posts” – with thumbnails, at end of post

Red Category Boxes

Red Category Boxes

 

Last, the Category navigation to the left of the post body. (The WP media uploader, normally reliable, isn’t saving my changes; my apologies for the awkward layout, and if anyone has a fix for this, please feel free to add it in the comments).  In any case, in comparison to sites in which redundant navigation plus lots of advertisement make the content hard to focus on and hard to navigate, I find the navigation at Smashfreakz mostly useful – and when it’s not – not in my way.

What might improve this would be using the “tag” icon to denote a tag or tags; but while it may not be perfect, it’s certainly closer than anything I’ve done. I hope to post more about Smashfreakz, and perhaps they’ll tell us how they’re generating these cool red category boxes – and their “see also” and “related posts” content.

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“WP List Plugins” – a plugin by H.-Peter Pfeufer

These are lists of plugins installed on this blog: some are installed but inactive, some are active. We’re able to do this quite easily because one of those plugins, called WP List Plugins, creates shortcodes which generate these lists. To add a shortcode to a post or page, using the Edit Post or Edit Page screen, just select “Text” rather than “Visual”  Visual and Text Tabs on the upper-right-hand corner of the edit window. If you’re not familiar with these two views, you should look at a few posts or pages in both views – it’ll give you an idea of how some of WordPress WordPress works – and a hint of the many people in the WordPress development community, and their immense efforts to make WordPress usable by people who would otherwise not have such easy access to such a sophisticated communications tool. WP List Plugins was created by H.-Peter Pfeufer (link to his profile page at the WorddPress.org plugins domain; he’s created at least 23 WordPress plugins). Mr. Pfeufer also has a personal page – http://ppfeufer.de/ – but it’s in German – and if there’s a English translation I haven’t been able to find it.

But – all of his entries in the WordPress Plugin Repository are in English – and we’ll look at more of them in upcoming posts.

Here’s a list of active plugins used on this site – this is a screenshot – an actual, list, complete with links to plugin pages and plugin author pages, follows after the jump:

WP List Plugins Screenshot_1
Read more »

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Missing Metaboxes and how to find them

Have you had a MetaBox go missing, or fail to appear in the first place? A Meta Box is one of the user interface components which, according to the Codex (Function Reference/add meta box « WordPress Codex) -appear on these pages:

  • Add/Edit Post,
  • Add/Edit Page,
  • and Add/Edit Link

Here are examples of meta boxes, which should be familiar  to most WordPress users.

future-posts-calendar-meta-box

Picture 1 of 9

What I’m used to seeing, immediately underneath the editing window, is the Meta Box for Vladimir Prelovac’s Insights Plugin, which is on my “always-install” list of plugins, and which I use in nearly every post or page. And it gets better with every release. We’ll show you some of Insight’s powerful uses after we show you how to find the Insights Meta Box (and other Meta Boxes) when it goes missing.

And because of Otto on WordPress, who seems to know every idiosyncrasy of and indirect menu route of WordPress, here’s the simple solution for restoring Meta Boxes:  in the upper-right hand corner of every back-end page of WordPress is the screen options tab:

screen-options-tab-closed

Click on “screen options” and the following menu appears, with a check box boxes adjacent to the names of each Meta Box:

 

So if you’ve installed and activated Insights, for instance, but it’s not appearing in the Add/Edit Post window, check the box, close the “Screen Options” dialog window, and the “Insights” Meta Box will appear, after which you can drag and drop it to where it’s most convenient.

We’d still be looking for the missing Insights Meta Box if it hadn’t been for this post: WP Quickie: Metaboxes, from the invaluable Otto on WordPress (“You have to use an Ottopress to get fresh squeezed Otto”).

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“Host Like Toast” dedicated WordPress hosting

We stumbled across “Host Like Toast,”  an Irish firm which specializes in WordPress hosting for small groups, individuals, single-celled organisms, but not, presumably, world-devouring alien armies or multinational conglomerates.  Their own home page runs the Thesis Theme, and among other things on their blog, they’ve got a tutorial on How-to: Easily create a child-theme for WordPress (using Thesis Theme as an example)

They’ve also released a WP/Twitter plugin whose exact function escapes me, but Twitter and social-media-literate persons may wish to check it out. WordPress Twitter Bootstrap CSS. Plus a proprietary backup system – WorpDrive WordPress Backup.  The name alone suggests mad scientists – benevolent, to be sure, but mad nonetheless.

So if you’re shopping for WordPress hosting – I’m not going to end this sentence in a rhyme – check these guys out.

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WordPress and EXIF: for advanced users

Thesography displays EXIF data for images uploaded with WordPress. It utilises WordPress’ own feature of storing EXIF fields in the database, and also enables import of latitude and longitude EXIF to the database upon image upload.Thesography was originally meant for use with the Thesis theme from DIYthemes, thus the name, but I decided to make it useful for all WordPress themes.I’ve been using EXIF display on my photoblog for some time. I’ve also written a couple of posts about EXIF with WordPress; Geo EXIF data in WordPress and Add image EXIF metadata to WordPress. Some people expressed a desire to see this functionality in a plugin without modifying WordPress files: this is it.The purpose of this plugin is to make dislaying EXIF data as convenient as possible, while using as much of WordPress’ native image handling as possible — for convenience, forward compatability and because WP image handling has come a long way in recent years.

via Thesography: an EXIF data WordPress plugin — kristarella.com.

Add image EXIF metadata to WordPress — kristarella.com – Add image EXIF metadata to WordPress 3 April 2009 · 10 comments · tagged with Geek, Tutorials, WordPress In December I wrote about adding EXIF fields for geo locations to the image features already in WordPress. The first part of that post involved making changes to the WordPress file controlling image handling. They were simple changes, but annoying to have to change with every WP upgrade.

 

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The 40 best WordPress plugins, ever   By categor…

The 40 best WordPress plugins, ever   By category:

Backup / Optimize

SEO / Traffic

Social

Core Functionality

Photos / Galleries

E-Commerce

From the very useful people at MakeUseOf.

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GregRickaby.com: fine-tuning Frameworks

Greg Rickaby, a man of many talents, does customization work, among other things, on several WordPress theme frameworks. You can learn about the Genesis Framework on his blog, for example, as well as the Thesis theme. And his own site, GregRickaby.com, is running the very cool eleven40 child themeon the Genesis framework.

eleven40 Theme for Genesis Framework

It therefore occurred to me that it might be useful to have, within our blogroll, recommended WordPress wizards who have experience with particular frameworks. Sometimes a WP theme framework takes you 90% of the way – but the last 10% isn’t part of what the framework designer has placed in the control panel and needs a bit of CSS tweakin. If you’re certain about what you want, using a commercial framework and going the last bit with a designer is still much cheaper than starting from scratch, and only a bit more expensive than purchasing the framework. (One of my current frustrations is making the new “post formats” theme work the way I envision it working, although Imy  guess is that, within a release or two, framework designers will be more caught up on the post-formats feature).

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