One of the downfalls of the recent Backup Buddy giveaway I held after my review of the plugin is that some people decided to play their luck in obtaining a free copy instead of purchasing out right using the special launch day coupon that gave buyers 10% off. I’m really happy to announce that I’ve been granted a special coupon code that is good until Midnight of March 13th that will save you 10% off any membership of the Backup Buddy Plugin. The coupon code is TAVERN10. Oh, and if you decide to take advantage of this 10% opportunity, do so through this link as I’ll receive a small amount from your purchase. In my opinion, the prices for Backup Buddy are already very affordable so saving an additional 10% is just icing on the cake.
By Jeffro on March 8, 2010
By Jeffro on March 5, 2010
Zen is a distraction free plugin that removes just about everything in order for you to concentrate on your words. Franky over at BloggingPro.com has a good writeup going into more details on how the plugin works.
If you’re a fan of ‘anti-clutter’ plugins such as simple email notifications, you’ll love Zen for WordPress. More even, if you would have been on the verge of switching to a more writing focused platform such as Habari but could not decide to ditch WP yet, Zen might be what you are looking for.
I’ve seen the screenshots and personally, I’m not a fan of taking away the very tools with which I use to generate content. In order to achieve my zen in WordPress, I use the icons only menu layout on the left hand side and if I’m really in the mood, I’ll hit F11 on my keyboard to take the writing pane to full screen. I’ve also adjusted my work-flow so that the meta details are covered first, then I concentrate on the content. I don’t often find myself distracted by the WordPress write panel but if you do, then Zen might be the plugin for you.
By Jeffro on March 4, 2010
It’s exciting times for the guys over at iThemes as they have finally launched their commercial plugin store, PluginBuddy. PluginBuddy is a seperate entity of iThemes whereas iThemes concentrates on themes while PluginBuddy is strictly commercial plugins. Just like iThemes, the plugins on PluginBuddy.com will be licensed under the GPL. The launch comprises of a few different plugins but the one I’m going to be focusing on is Backup Buddy.
Installation And Usage
Installation is the same process for every other plugin. However, in order to activate it, you need to have an active license key from iThemes.com. No problem, as BackupBuddy provides an easy way to generate and apply a new license from within the plugin itself. Once the plugin is activated, you’ll want to browse to the Getting Started with BackupBuddy page which explains what the plugin does and the steps needed to configure how it works. Here is how BackupBuddy Explains itself.
BackupBuddy is an all-in-one solution for backups, restoration, and migration. The single backup ZIP file created by the plugin can be used with the importer PHP script to quickly and easily restore your site on the same server or even migrate to a new host with different settings. Whether you’re an end user or a developer, this plugin is sure to bring you peace of mind and added safety in the event of data loss. Our goal is to keep the backup, restoration, and migration processes easy, fast, and reliable.
A full backup is required to restore your site or migrate. However, a Database Only backup may be created as a faster, more regular backup solution. When restoring your site or migrating, simply include the latest database backup ZIP in addition to the full backup. BackupBuddy will automatically check the full backup and database only backup to restore the latest database version.
Instead of diving deep into a review, I’ll cover things in a bullet point process.
In order for scheduled backups to occur, you’ll need to configure a password. This password is used for migration and restoration. When asked in the live chat today whether they plan on adding encryption support, they said it was one of the things that could possibly be added at some point down the road as another security precaution.
What does BackupBuddy backup? Unlike backup solutions that are part of cPanel, BackupBuddy is only concerned with WordPress and the things associated with it. So that means it backs up the database WordPress is installed in, plugins, themes, uploads, everything related to the WordPress install. This is for the full backup. Alternatively, you can tell BackupBuddy to only backup the database.
Where do the backups go? If no options are selected, the backups will be stored in a sub-folder within the uploads directory called backupbuddy_backups. Alternatively, you can send the backup file to a remote FTP server or have the backup emailed to you as an attachment. When asked about backing up to Amazon S3, the PluginBuddy team stated they will be working on that for an upcoming version of the plugin.
Scheduling of backups. BackupBuddy provides an easy way to configure when a backup should occur. This can be monthly, twice monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly. You can also specify the exact date and time for the first instance of the backup to occur which will then reoccur at the same time on the same day. You can not group multiple days into one scheduled backup. For example, if you wanted to create a weekly backup on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, you would need to setup three different backups and schedule them for weekly, on those days. Asides from not being able to group multiple backups into one schedule, you can not edit a scheduled backup. Instead, you need to delete the backup and reschedule it with the corresponding edits. I’ve been told though that in a future version, you’ll be able to edit scheduled backups.
Something that I think many will consider a killer feature of BackupBuddy is its ability to easily be used to migrate WordPress installations from a local development server to a live public server. This is how it works.
- Upload the resulting backup zip file and importbuddy.php to the root web directory of the destination server. You do not need to install WordPress or any other files on the destination server. The backup will handle this.
- Also upload the latest database backup ZIP file if one exists.
- Navigate to importbuddy.php in your webbrowser on the destination server.
- Follow the importing instructions on screen. You will be given the option to change settings on import.
- After completing the restore / migration, repeat the process, selecting the database backup zip on import.
As you can see, you don’t need to actually install WordPress on the live site. Instead, all you have to do is upload the extracted backup file and run the importbuddy.php script which will handle everything. One of the biggest pains is having to manually go into phpMyAdmin to change the SiteURL and Blog URL from localhost to the live site. The importbuddy.php script provides options to configure these settings before the migration is set in stone. A real time save if you ask me.
If you decide to keep a set of backup files within a sub-folder in your WordPress installation, BackupBuddy gives you easy access to those files, including a way to send that backup via FTP or through email. Alternatively, you can download the zip file from within this interface so you don’t have to muck around with your FTP client.
BackupBuddy Is Awesome
The first public version of BackupBuddy is impressive. The problems I mentioned earlier with schedule editing and the likes are definitely not showstoppers from using the plugin. Considering those will be addressed in a future version, BackupBuddy can only improve from their initial offering.
Now here is something I found to be really impressive. Their pricing.
For the personal package which covers support for two websites, includes automatic upgrades for two sites and is good for one year, at $25.00, that is exceptional value for the price. I was expecting this plugin to be around $50.00 or more so was thoroughly pleased at the personal site price point. Their business membership plan is $75.00 while the developer version is ONLY $150.00. Prices have since changed so that the personal license is $45.00, Business $75.00 and Developer $150.00.
I purchased my personal site membership during the live Q and A today and had it performing a back-up in no time. Highly recommended by me as this is truly a great backup solution that is WordPress centric, no third party services involved.
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of BackupBuddy, please use the following link as I’ll receive a cutback from your purchase. Also, today is a great day to purchase your membership package with the coupon code BACKUP10 which will be good until midnight tonight. This coupon will save you 10% on the already cheap prices.
Update Cory has given me the go ahead to give away one single membership package and one development membership package of BackupBuddy. All you have to do is leave a comment. Pretty simple right? I’ll choose the winners tomorrow.
By Jeffro on February 22, 2010
A few days ago, I mentioned that the readme file for repository hosted plugins was updated so that authors could provide a short explanation as to why a user should upgrade to the newest version. The readme file has been updated again to include support for videos. According to Michael Adams who is responsible for this enhancement, plugin authors can add a YouTube, Vimeo or VideoPress.com video into their readme file via a shortcode. The plugin repository readme validator has also been updated to show videos if they have been included. Dre Armeda asked what measures would be taken to combat spam or advertisements within the videos. Matt replied with:
I’m most worried about Youtube, seeing a lot more spammy stuff on there with the ability to put links and popups in videos. If the feature is abused, we’ll just turn it off.
A lot of plugins are beginning to have screencasts attached to them so that users can get a better idea on how the plugin actually works. Building this type of support into the plugin repository just makes sense.
By Jeffro on February 19, 2010
GravityForms just scored a deluge of new fans thanks to their FreshBooks Add-On available for those who own developer licenses. This add on integrates seamlessly with the FreshBooks service making it easy to use data from forms to create FreshBooks clients, invoices and estimates. WordPress consultants have to love that.
If that weren’t enough, the RocketGenius team also released a Campaign Monitor add-on.
The Gravity Forms Campaign Monitor Add-On makes it quick and easy to add mailing list subscribers from any of your Gravity Forms. When a visitor submits their information on your form, the user is instantly added to the Campaign Monitor mailing list(s) that you have configured for that form. You can even integrate with Campaign Monitor custom fields to customize your mailing list data.
To top things off for February even though it’s not the end of the month yet, GravityForms now has a MailChimp add-on that ties into the MailChimp service. Another way to create great email campaigns while measuring their progress.
All of these add-ons are free for those who own the GravityForms developer license. Buying a developer license through that link will provide a 20% kickback to me which is much appreciated. The developers license covers both current and future add-ons. The best thing abut GravityForms is just when you think the plugin couldn’t get any better, it does. Which is why the dev license provides the best bang for the buck.
By Jeffro on February 19, 2010
I’ve finally had the chance to upgrade Ajax Edit Comments to 4.0 beta. This new version offers two new cool features. The first is that After The Deadline support is built right into the plugin. So regardless of whether site visitors are using the AtD FireFox extension, commenters will have the chance to spell and grammar check their comments before publishing. The other feature is the ability to pop open the commenting text area into a lightbox which has big text and provides ample space for writing the comment. This is especially useful for those that have a hard time reading the smaller text in the normal sized comment box. The only thing I’m not liking right now are the two icons that represent the features I discussed earlier. Here is how they make the comment form look which in my opinion, is a bit ugly.
This might me one of those things where the display of the icons and where they show up is dependent on the theme. I wonder if the icons can look like the QuickTag buttons which are pretty much the same as the buttons in the HTML editor. ABC could be replaced with Proofread and the expander could be replaced with expand or some other piece of text that signifies increasing the size of the comment box.
One of the other cool features of 4.0 is the drag and drop interface to configure how editing links are displayed. You can also quickly disable the links you won’t use to keep the list tidy.
You can find more information about 4.0 in this sneak peek post published on the AEC blog. 4.0 Beta is running on this website so please, feel free to edit your comments and play around with the options. If something breaks, notify me and I’ll pass it along to Ronald.
I think Ronald is undercharging for this plugin but if you want the same comment editing experience on your website, you can purchase it for only $10.00 a year for a single site. This gives you access to upgrades, automatic upgrading, and the support forums. Also, if you purchase the plugin through that link, I’ll receive a 50% kickback.
If you’d like to get a taste of what Ajax Edit comments has to offer, try version 3.1 which is available on the plugin repository although it probably won’t be for long. AEC 4.0 is expected to be released sometime in March pending a good beta cycle.
By Jeffro on February 19, 2010
The readme file that is used by all plugin authors in order to be hosted on the plugin repository has been updated to include a new section called Upgrade Notice. This section gives plugin authors the opportunity to tell users why they should upgrade to the newest version. While a change-log provides the changes between versions, this extra addition provides the chance to go into more detail concerning those changes. One thing to keep in mind is that these messages should not be more than 300 characters.
Hat tip to Brad Williams.
By Jeffro on February 15, 2010
Not only has Michael Torbert taken some heat with the commercial version of All In One SEO Pro but I’ve also taken some myself thanks to the podcast advertisement and the banner in the sidebar. The biggest argument I hear from everyone is that it does exactly the same thing the free version does except it has no ads. So where is the value? Why is it worth paying for? The answer is easy. To remove the ads and donate link, the support is only part of the package. But I’ve been thinking, what is the difference between software that is ad-supported which provides an option to pay to have the ads removed and AIOSEP Pro? I did this with FeedDemon and the program is exactly the same before I paid to have the ads removed. I don’t see anyone lining up with pitchforks to go after them. If what FeedDemon does is acceptable, why is a WordPress plugin so different?
I think that the switch from being free to commercial is what has people in a fit but that’s just the nature of plugins this year. It’s his choice to make as it is for all plugin authors. There are two easy ways of solving this problem. Pay to have the ads removed or use the ad-supported version.
The other complaint I’ve heard is that the $39.00 (sale price) is a monthly fee. I can not verify if this is true but if it is, I would complain as well. I think that has to do with the system WPPlugins.com has setup and hopefully, they build in a way for plugin authors to be more flexible with the types of models/payments that can be received.
By Jeffro on February 12, 2010
Mark Jaquith has published his tongue in cheek version of guidelines that plugin authors should NOT DO or else the plugin would end up being removed. The list is not comprehensive and does not include all situations in which a plugin would be removed but the advice Mark gives at the end of the post should be heeded.
Be cool, think of how your plugin benefits its users, and write awesome plugins.
Also read through the comments, especially for Mark’s take on #5.
By Jeffro on February 8, 2010
It’s become evident that a large portion of the WPTavern readership is made up of consultants. This next plugin should be right up their alley. It’s called Technical Support and is authored by Konstantin Kovshenin. The plugin provides a dashboard widget that after configuration, gives clients an easy way to contact you for support. After install and activation, you’ll need to configure a couple of fields such as provider name, provider email address (this is where the support queries will go), provider logo and provider URL.
The next step is to customize the technical support widget. From here, you can add or delete topics such as General Support, etc. You can also customize the default E-Mail Subject line which is nice since you can then add that subject line to a filter within your favorite e-mail client. Last but not least is the configuration of the message format. You can reword the default text while also rearranging the shortcodes available.
After I saved the configuration, I added the widget to my dashboard.
The email I received provided all of the necessary information I configured. Worked just as expected. Note that if the site this is installed on can not send email, neither can the plugin. As for the other side of the equation, I don’t know how to respond back to the ticket author. Therefor, this is not a good means of two way communication. However, this is a great way to notify the person in charge of issues that have sprung up such as an error.