DBS Interactive which is an interactive agency has released their version of a WordPress 3.0+ theme reference guide. The guide is a reworked version of the information you would find in the Codex around template tags. So if the Codex presentation of this data is not your cup of tea, perhaps this reference guide will be easier to follow.
By Jeffro on January 31, 2012
By Jeffro on January 30, 2012
Joost de Valk was one of the first to start the trend and now, he’s on pace to reverse it. Joost announced that he has decided to remove the dashboard widget which shows the most recent posts on his site from his SEO plugin.
Joost provided some interesting statistics that show where most of his visitors are coming from. As it turns out, the dashboard news are did provide additional traffic but very little in the way of conversions which is one of the reasons for the removal. Looking at the reactions of those that use the plugin, some applaud Joost for this action while others wanted the ability to choose whether to hide or display the news widget. While not mentioned, I think it’s a little humorous as well that within the Plugin UI Guide published by WPCandy recently, they featured the Dashboard News Widget of Joost De Valks SEO Plugin as what not to do.
Do You Want To See Plugin Specific Dashboard Widgets Disappear?
- I'd Rather Have An Option To Disable/Enable It (49%, 97 Votes)
- Yes (45%, 89 Votes)
- No (6%, 14 Votes)
Total Voters: 200
While I want to see the results of the poll question I asked, I’ll pose a few more questions for you to answer. When is it ok to have a dashboard widget such as the one that used to be within the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast? Is the dashboard considered sacred real estate reserved for only the most important information?
Personally, I like the trend of removing dashboard widgets generated by plugins. In this case, I think less is more.
By Jeffro on January 30, 2012
The Theme Review Team tried something new this past weekend. Members of the review team that could make it, spent all day in IRC to review themes stuck in the Priority 2 queue which lists themes that have been stuck in the review process for more than two weeks. While the goal was to clear the queue, the last time I checked the number of themes was around 81. Some of the themes have been in the review process for over 6 weeks. Browsing through the queue, I even noticed two themes submitted by Automattic. One was called Duotone which has been in the queue for 5 weeks with Bouquet coming in at 6 weeks. Just goes to show that Automattic doesn’t receive preferential treatment when it comes to the review process.
If you would like to see themes get through the review process faster, please consider joining the theme review team. As a theme author, you can also help make the review process go faster by ensuring that your theme meets the following guidelines.
By Jeffro on January 28, 2012
In what I believe to be an excellent use of the WordPress Foundation, Jane Wells has shared news that the foundation plans on footing the bill for Meetup.com Organizer dues that need to be paid by the founder of the meetup group. Considering the amount of these dues range from $12-19/month it’s not exactly cheap.
We’re setting up an official WordPress account on Meetup.com right now, and over the next couple of weeks will be working with existing meetup group organizers, people who want to start a new meetup group, and the helpful folks at Meetup.com to put this program in place. WordPress meetup groups that choose to have their group become part of the WordPress account will no longer pay organizer dues for that group, as the WordPress Foundation will be footing the bill.
This is exciting for several reasons. First, it means local organizers who are giving something back to the project by way of their time won’t also have shell out $12-19/month for the privilege. That alone is a big step. Second, it will open the door to more events and leaders within a community, since leadership and event planning won’t need to be tied to “owning” the meetup group. Third, more active meetup groups means more WordCamps, yay!
This is great news considering how many people use Meetup.com to control all aspects of their local WordPress meetups. Reading through the post, it looks like there are no strings attached but I wonder if by joining the official WordPress Meetup Group if at some point in the future, there will be some sort of Meetup guidelines published that those users will need to follow. If there are any guidelines that will need to be followed, I would hope that they are no where near as stringent as the WordCamp guidelines.
If you’re already a Meetup.com WordPress group organizer or looking to get started, be sure to take the survey so it gives the foundation a good starting point.
By Jeffro on January 28, 2012
A brand new plugin released by GreenHost aims to make censoring the web next to impossible. It’s called RePress and turns any WordPress powered website it’s installed on into a proxy server. The plugin was created in response to piratebay.org being blocked within the Netherlands due to a court ruling.
RePress uses phpproxyimproved as its HTML parser which is another piece of open source code that allows the proxy magic to happen. After installing the plugin, you’ll need to give it a unique URL that will be used when going through the proxy to the blocked website. I received the following message after trying to view one of the default websites that are added to the proxy list:
In order to protect your blog from cross-site scripting attacks, please log out of your WordPress administration backend before accessing any of the proxied site urls.
Please log out of WordPress by clicking on this logout link.
Afterwards you will be directly redirected to the proxied website.
For security reasons. This will also delete all cookies for this domain (your remembered settings will be lost).
So if there is a particular website that you visit often using your site as a proxy, you’ll need to bookmark the URL and visit it only when you’re logged out of WordPress.
If you decide to give RePress a try, please give GreenHost some feedback on it via the following forum thread.
By Jeffro on January 26, 2012
ManageWP is a new service that aims to make managing multiple websites as easy as possible. They’ve recently opened their doors to the public and Vladimir Prelovac was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule to answer a few questions I had. Enjoy!
Is ManageWP a webhosting company or simply a means of managing websites that are hosted elsewhere?
We are not a webhosting company, as ManageWP provides an efficient way to manage any number of websites that are hosted on your own servers, but we do offer something new and unique to the WordPress community: one dashboard for all their websites no matter where they are hosted. This ensures that our users maintain total control over their websites while also ensuring that they can continue to expand, without restriction, far into the future.
What was the idea or inspiration behind creating ManageWP?
As with all plugins I have developed, ManageWP was created out of the pure need to solve a problem. The problem here was having to do repetitive tasks — like updating and maintaining your sites (something computers and Internet services are supposed to be good at).
As you surely know, managing numerous WordPress sites can be somewhat time consuming. Add several WordPress sites into the mix, and you quickly become a slave to your CMS. I wanted to simplify the process, so that was when ManageWP became reality.
What are some of the things going on behind the scenes to make ManageWP function like a well oiled machine?
It requires a tremendous amount of effort by all of our team members. That’s the first thing that springs to mind. It’s not easy to create and maintain a service this complex, one which also remains in sync with the WordPress development cycle, all while having it work with thousands of different WordPress setups and with thousands of different server/hosting configurations.
It’s not an easy job. But we also have no intention of stopping anytime soon!
What are some of the benefits of using ManageWP versus using WordPress Multisite?
The most notable benefit is ManageWP’s ease of us. While being a good idea on paper, WordPress Multisite demands a certain level of technical knowledge to install, manage, and maintain. It also takes time, time which many people find valuable. And while Multisite might be good enough for some people, we always want to offer our users so much more value and time-saving functionality.
And we differentiate ourselves by providing many awesome features:
- you can set up and monitor fully automated backups for all of your websites from one location, along with being able to specify exactly where you want those backups stored;
- you can use ManageWP to monitor your website’s up-time;
- you can use ManageWP to monitor crucial SEO performance metrics;
- you can take advantage of incredible third-party services like Google Analytics and DropBox;
- you can change passwords for your admin user on all of your WordPress sites from within ManageWP;
- and the list goes on and on.
As for the similarities between ManageWP and WordPress Multisite — it ends with the ability to update plugins. ManageWP goes far beyond that. However, if you’re already setup with WordPress Multisite, that’s no problem. ManageWP fully integrates with that too!
What types of security practices have been put into place to protect customers?
We know that the success of our business depends a lot on security; this has been our focus since day one. To ensure that our user’s data is secure, we dropped the built-in XML RPC protocol — it’s inherently insecure to work with as it exposes sensitive data. We replaced it with OpenSSL encryption. Because of this, the transmission of your data remains completely secure.
We also never ask users to enter their admin passwords for any websites they are managing with us. We do not have access to your site’s credentials and other crucial information. Our technology is innovative in that it allows ManageWP to talk directly to your WordPress sites through our ManageWP Worker plugin. So by utilizing WordPress’ built-in plugin architecture, we are able to do amazing things to help you manage all of your sites.
As for protecting your ManageWP account, we utilize multiple layers of protection: restricting the login by IP address and two-factor authentication (wherein a security code is sent to user’s email or phone via SMS). This is far beyond industry standards, and it’s only a handful of the things we do to ensure that our users’ sites are safe.
We take great pride in this.
Are there any differences between the self-hosted product of ManageWP and the ManageWP website?
The Enterprise (self-hosted) version of ManageWP is essentially the same as our hosted version. But we offer this to companies and organizations that want all of the benefits of ManageWP in the privacy of their own hosting environment. For example, this can be (and usually is) important for data compliance within larger organizations.
Our Enterprise users also enjoy our full attention and dedicated support. We often work with our Enterprise customers to provide them with the special features that they need. We always make the extra effort to ensure that our customers’ needs are served.
How has your experience in developing plugins and working with sites such as Mashable contribute to what you’ve accomplished with ManageWP?
I started making WordPress plugins almost five years ago, so getting to know WordPress inside-out helped me tremendously in understanding the needs of the average WordPress user — if such user exists at all, as there are so many uses for WordPress today. After that, it was then only a matter of coordinating with our team to develop a high-quality solution that works on almost any number of different WordPress setups.
And now that we have launched ManageWP, I can direct my focus my attention on improving it further and adding new and amazing functionality. That makes me very happy. I hope it will continue to make our incredible customers happy as well.
By Jeffro on January 26, 2012
Apparently, this site has been around for a little while but I’ve just now seen it being shared across WordPress folks on Twitter. It’s the WordPress Honey Badger who has a bad attitude and does things the way it wants to do them which is not always the right way. I’ve been reading some of the recent posts and honey badger is a pretty funny animal. Crude language aside, there is some educational value in the website in that you shouldn’t accomplish tasks the same way Honey Badger does. For example, Honey Badger edits the core files to get things done which is not necessarily the best way to get things accomplished. I personally like Honey Badgers stance on the Capital P filter.
By Jeffro on January 25, 2012
It’s been a long time since I published any episodes of WordPress Weekly and it’s not without good reason. I am still in the middle of transitioning from one dwelling to another and this is the primary reason why I haven’t been able to produce an episode. During the past few months, I’ve not been able to spend as much time behind the PC as I’d like which also explains why I’ve been publishing more short form content versus long form. I’d like to explain everything I’ve personally been through during 2011 and now going into 2012 but it would take up a novels worth of space. Lets just say that in 2011, we had to purchase a new roof for our home, new vinyl soffits, other home improvements and some of them were forced on us thanks to the appraiser who told us some items needed to be repaired or renewed before he would approve of the home in order for us to transfer the mortgage.
Putting all that personal stuff aside, I’ve been making strides and within the next 2-3 months, I expect to be moved into a new home as well as have my new office put together. Once this happens, I’ll be able to concentrate on producing the show on a weekly basis again. Regarding the show, I’ve decided not to produce it live on a weekly basis. Instead, the majority of episodes will be pre-recorded via Skype which is not only a benefit in terms of audio quality, but makes it much more convenient for both myself and the people I’ll be interviewing. There are plenty of people that I want to talk to throughout the course of the year and I look forward to being able to engage in spirited conversations with the people that are doing great things with WordPress.