Justin Tadlock has published ThemeHybrid 3.0. The site has been rebuilt from the ground up and sports a new coat of paint. Amongst the changes, one of the most notable if the restructuring of the documentation area. Previously, Justin was using around 150 different pages whereas now, he’s implemented custom post types. As an aside, congratulations to Justin for developing and releasing Retro-Fitted, a theme for WordPress.com.
By Jeffro on February 21, 2012
By Jeffro on February 20, 2012
Theme developers will now have access to a cool new starter theme that the WordPress.com theme team will be using on a routine basis when developing new themes. Not only is this great news for ALL theme developers, but how they are going about it makes me think they are also using this opportunity to experiment with GIT instead of working purely with SVN. I think some would argue that this is what the default theme should have been like within WordPress from the beginning but looking at how successful Twenty Ten has become, perhaps it was’nt such a bad idea.
By Jeffro on February 20, 2012
This is one of the largest WordPress giveaways I’ve seen in a long time with a total value of around $9,000.00. Adam Warner formerly of WPModder.com is now concentrating his efforts on WP Pro Business which is a website aimed at providing the tools and knowledge to help propel businesses and individuals to success using WordPress. Adam explains the giveaway in a little more detail via the following video.
Adam is a good guy and did a great job with WPModder.com but if you’re wondering how he’ll use the data obtained from the giveaway, the following text can be read on the bottom of the giveaway page:
Information is collected through the supplied Rafflecopter.com widgets and (an optional) email subscription form. Entry emails are collected in accordance with Rafflecopter.com and AWeber.com terms and conditions. By entering this giveaway you agree to receive email communications from giveaway sponsors including prize notifications and new product updates.
You’ll have to decide before you enter on whether you want to go through the hassle and delete your email address from each sponsors list if you don’t win. Hopefully, it’s as simple as deleting one email address from WP Pro Business and that will cover the gamut for all future communications. Then again, you might not mind receiving an email here and there from the people sponsoring this giveaway.
By Jeffro on February 17, 2012
Ryan Hellyer who has been a long time member of the WPTavern community has given me a heads up that Metronet is currently looking for a WordPress Code Poet. Sounds like any other typical WordPress job posting right? Well, that is until you read the following lines within the job posting: “The opportunity to live and work in Norway, the best country in the world according to many surveys. Assistance with relocation and accommodation.“. So if you’re a WordPress Code Poet looking for an opportunity to work in Oslo, Norway this may be the best chance you’ll get! I’ve also learned that Ronald Huereca who wrote the book, WordPress And Ajax and who is the author of the Ajax Edit Comments plugin is a part of this development company.
If you’re interested in the job opening, you should highly consider the fact that they are only looking for people who are willing to relocate to Oslo, Norway at this point.
By Jeffro on February 17, 2012
For recently joining the 700 club. That number represents the amount of themes he has reviewed since joining the WordPress theme review team! Thanks goes out to Emil for volunteering his time to make the theme repository a better place. Out of curiosity, after reviewing 700 themes, I wonder what sort of patterns or similarities exist between them all that Emil could share.
If you’re interested in joining the theme review team, read the following guide to get started.
By Jeffro on February 16, 2012
Reading through the WordPress Hackers Mailing list, Nuno Morgadinho wanted to know how to track user engagement with a commercial plugin that is being developed. The metrics that they were most interested in were the following:
- how much time has the user spent playing with my plugin since plugin activation ; - what is the normal usage of the plugin (once a month? once a week? once a day?) ; - while navigating through the plugin does the user go back and forth a lot of does he follow a certain pattern?; - etc.
While the developer would like to use this information to improve the experience of using the plugin, I can already see the people with pitchforks lining up to take this developer out if were not done correctly. Thankfully, Eric Mann has already chimed in with words of warning about how users do not like to find out about third party tracking, especially after it’s already occurred without knowing about it up front. Personally, I have no problem with what the plugin author is trying to achieve as long as I have the option to say no aka, Opt-Out or more preferably, Opt-In. I’m willing to bet that most WordPress website owners feel the same way. If not, feel free to tell me within the comments of this post.
However, I have to point out that according to the WordPress Plugin Repository Guidelines, plugins are not allowed to “phone home” without the user’s informed consent.
No “phoning home” without user’s informed consent. This seemingly simple rule actually covers several different aspects:
No unauthorized collection of user data. For example, sending the admin’s email address back to your own servers without permission of the user is not allowed; but asking the user for an email address and collecting if they choose to submit it is fine. All actions taken in this respect MUST be of the user’s doing, not automatically done by the plugin.
All images and scripts shown should be part of the plugin. These should be loaded locally. If the plugin does require that data is loaded from an external site (such as blocklists) this should be made clear in the plugin’s admin screens or description. The point is that the user must be informed of what information is being sent where.
In general, things like banner or text link advertising should not be anywhere in a plugin, including on its settings screen. Advertising on settings screens is generally ineffective anyway, as ideally users rarely visit these screens, and the advertising is low quality because the advertising systems cannot see the page content to determine good ads. So they’re best just left off entirely. Putting links back to your own site or to your social-network of choice is fine. If the plugin does include advertising from a third party service, then it must default to completely disabled, in order to prevent tracking information from being collected from the user without their consent. This is the method commonly known as “opt-in”.
Note that if you do include what we consider to be “advertising spam”, or attempt to game somebody else’s advertising system, then we will not only remove your plugin, but also report your code to the advertising system’s abuse mechanism as well. We do not react kindly to spam. Don’t try it.
After reading those guidelines concerning phoning home, consider that WordPress itself phones home data without the user ever having a chance to make an informed decision on whether to allow it or not. If you have time and want to read a passionate and heated discussion centered around this very topic, I encourage you to read the following forum thread – WordPress And Phone Home, started in 2009 by Elpie. Within the thread are arguments on what should and shouldn’t be collected, how disclosure should be handled, what is and is not publicly available information, last but not least, reasons as to why what WordPress does and how it does it is ok. While I’m a big fan of the repository guidelines, I don’t understand why plugin authors have to phone home with informed user consent while WordPress can phone home without informed user consent. What’s the difference between the two?
If you’re interested in knowing what data is sent back from a WordPress installation back to the mothership, Eplie has laid out a detailed post showing exactly what is sent.
*UPDATE* According to Otto, Core, Theme, and Plugin update checks do not phone home to WordPress.org.
By Jeffro on February 16, 2012
Are you one of those folks who can’t get enough WordPress in your RSS FeedReader? If so, WPMU.org has published their list of 99 different WordPress related websites. The list was comprised via publicly available data and is completely objective. It was cool to see WPTavern come in at number 14 but I would have been happy to see the site make it anywhere on the list. Out of those sites that have made the top ten, the only one I don’t recognize is http://bavotasan.com/. In fact, I’ve never heard of the site until reviewing this list. The only thing missing from the post is the ability to take an OPML file and import the sites directly into a FeedReader. At any rate, I’ll have a good time visiting each one of the sites that I don’t already know about and manually adding them to my list. I could always use more great articles to link to for those days where it looks like nothing is going on.
By Jeffro on February 15, 2012
I discovered Pinterest through Twitter as a number of the people I follow have been chatting about it as well as linking to content on the site. It seems that Pinterest has quickly become the new “cool” way to bookmark things across the web. One of those items that people pin to their virtual bulletin board could be a post from your website. If you want to make it easy for Pinterest users to pin your articles, consider using the Pin-It button plugin from PDerksen. The plugin provides most of the options necessary to configure where and when the Pin-It button will show up.
How many of you are using Pinterest for WordPress related content? I’ve signed up but I don’t have time to bookmark things or visit the Pinterest website on a regular basis.
By Jeffro on February 15, 2012
Dave Clements of DoItWithWP.com shared his experience with a plugin that’s new to me called P3 Plugin Performance Profiler. After performing an automatic scan on the WPTavern website, the profiler provided me a pie chart along with other metrics that allowed me to easily tell which plugins were capable of slowing the site down. Here are some of the metrics after running the scan on WPTavern.com:
The scan consisted of 15 random page visits. I have 25 Active Plugins. Those plugins accounted for 51% of the page load time. There was an average of 38 MySQL queries per visit. The plugin load time was 0.233 seconds per visit. Within this scan, Ajax Edit Comments was the slowest plugin out of the bunch at 21% and 0.0491 seconds while Yet Another Related Posts Plugin took second place with 17% and 0.0408 seconds. Meanwhile, Woopra consistently was within the top three for slowest performers.
After the scan is completed, you have a few different options of drilling into the data. The detailed breakdown tab will show you a bar chart that displays the worst offenders. There are other means of figuring out the data as well such as viewing the simple timeline tab or the advanced metrics tab.
Here are the advanced metrics for the scan I performed at 6 A.M. this morning.
At the time this scan was conducted, it took less than 1 second to load the entire website. Plugins only accounted for 0.2331 seconds on average. I’m sure I could figure out how to decrease that amount of time but when the numbers are this small, is it worth the trouble to shrink them anymore? Perhaps on a grand scale but for the average website? Also, what do you think of the number for “Number of plugin function calls: 4,835 average“. Does that seem like a lot to you?
I couldn’t help but notice the GoDaddy image at the bottom of the plugin screen. Sure enough, they were one of the contributors behind this plugin so I give them props for doing something legitimately cool with WordPress. I recommend running a number of auto scans during a 7 day period at different times of the day to get a good feel for which plugins are really the culprits for slowing down your site. After that, it’s your call on whether you want a faster website, or the functionality that the plugin provides.
Thanks Dave for the hat tip.