Scott Reilly, also known as Coffee2Code has been busy as of late churning out plugin updates. This guy some how continues to find a way to maintain about 60 plugins. Some are simple while others provide awesome functionality. To hear more insight in to how Scott does it, check out this interview I did with him back in August of 2009. Also keep an eye on Coffe2Code.com to see if any of the plugins you use by Scott have been updated.
By Jeffro on January 7, 2010
By Jeffro on December 24, 2009
I’ve been a fan of Ajax Edit Comments ever since its creation. Ajax Edit Comments enables anonymous users to easily edit their own comments in a Digg like interface using Ajax. Since its creation, Ronald Huereca and Ajay D’ Souza have done a fantastic job continuously improving the plugin. For example, in one of the most recent updates, comment authors now have a way to request that their comment be deleted for one reason or another.
I was a bit surprised when Ronald got in touch with me to let me know that Ajax Edit Comments would now be a commercial plugin. Intrigued, I sent Ronald a few questions to find out what his plans are.
I noticed you now have an entire site dedicated to this awesome plugin. What are your plans to take AEC to the next level?
As far as front-end features, several users have asked for do-follow to be added. Although it seems out of scope for the plugin, it wouldn’t be all that difficult to implement. I’d like to look at other comment plugins out there as well and see if it would make sense to implement those features into Ajax Edit Comments.
We just added a two-column drop-down in version 3.2, which makes the options even more less cluttered. I also plan on improving the e-mail feature introduced in 3.2, and add a “whitelist” feature, which will enable admin to select certain trusted users who can skip the spam and moderation queue.
Another future enhancement is allowing admin to select which advanced editing options are enabled, and to make better use of CSS sprites to handle all of the icon effects.
I also plan on re-organizing the admin options page to provide better help messages and to make it less cluttered.
Are there plans to simultaneously develop a free version with the paid version or will the free version be discontinued in favor of the paid one?
I do plan to more-or-less discontinue the free version as far as features. However, I will continue to check the WP Extend version to make sure it works with the latest WordPress version.
Will the plugin continue to be licensed under the GPL?
Absolutely. What we’re trying to do with the new site is provide automatic upgrades (very similar to Gravity Forms), priority support, and affiliate opportunities.
We offer a 7-day free trial for all initial subscriptions, and those that choose to cancel are more than welcome to keep and tinker with the plugin.
With regards to the subscription plans, what are people paying for?
I would say priority support, automatic upgrades, and our affiliate program.
With version 3.1 (the last free release), there are four options in the Ajax Edit Comments settings that allow anybody using the plugin to become an affiliate, as long as they are a paying subscriber of the new Ajax Edit Comments plugin.
Affiliates can enable an option that will show a message below any anonymous commenter posted. If that person gets a lot of comments, there is a potential to make some money here through referrals.
All affiliates will earn 50% of any net sales via referrals. And just to re-iterate, all paying subscribers are automatically affiliates since the plugin has the affiliate options built-in by default.
What prompted you to start a subscription service around this plugin?
It’s probably the same-old story: donations were few if rare.
I tried to do periodic e-mails with the 3.0 version, but even then, the donations still weren’t coming.
At the same time, support requests were exploding, both on WP Extend and the official forums that Ajay D’souza was running.
In an effort to capitalize on the plugin’s large user base, we (Ajay D’souza and I) decided to centralize the support and set up a subscription based service for support and upgrades.
Who makes up the team behind Ajax Edit Comments?
We are both co-authors of the plugin. Ajay is the lead on support matters, translator interface, and forum maintenance. I am the lead on overall site maintenance and feature additions to the plugin.
I understand that this plugin will have an affiliate program attached to it, how will this work?
Once a user is subscribed, he is automatically an affiliate. The user can access an authentication key and affiliate ID by accessing his member’s section.
Once he installs 3.1 or above, he can enter the key and ID into the plugin settings. If he enables the option to show affiliate text to his users, all anonymous commenters will see the affiliate text below their comment.
If a user clicks on the affiliate link and subscribes, the affiliate is given 50% of the net sale, no matter what amount it is. So if an affiliate purchases a subscription at $10 a year, then that affiliate will only need two-three of his users to make up for his purchase.
For those interested in the affiliate program, there are more details here: http://www.ajaxeditcomments.com/affiliates/
If I use AEC, will I still be able to receive automatic upgrades from the WordPress.org plugin repository, or will they come from somewhere else?
With version 3.1 or above, all automatic upgrades will come through the
The automatic upgrade mechanism is very similar to the way Gravity Forms’ works (probably because I used some of their code :P).
Once you enter in the authentication key, you are good to go with automatic upgrades. All our plugin files are hosted on Amazon S3, so there shouldn’t be an issue with upgrade speed.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Sure. The cheapest subscription starts at only $10 a year, and for anybody who’s used the plugin, they will tell you that’s a steal. The discounted price will last until January 31st.
There’s a 7-day free trial involved for new subscribers, so if you aren’t satisfied with the plugin or the way things work at the site, you can cancel your subscription and not be charged.
For subscribers who cancel after the 7-day trial, the subscription will remain valid for a year after the initial subscription purchase.
By Jeffro on November 23, 2009
About a week ago, GravityForms version 1.3 was released to paying customers. This new version includes a number of additional features such as:
- Email Notification Routing – Now you can set up notifications to route to different email addresses based on rules that you define. Use one form to route form submissions to sales, marketing, customer service department or wherever you would like.
- Enhanced Address Field – We’ve pumped up the address field for 1.3 with several new options and configurations. You can choose from US, Canadian or International address types, set the default state, province or country, and even toggle the country and 2nd line address fields.
- Enhanced Post Custom Fields – We’ve enhanced the post custom fields to let you choose from various field types. Custom fields can now be email, website, phone, multiple choice, drop down lists, hidden fields and more.
- Validation for Multiple Forms – We’ve retooled the form markup here and there so multiple forms on the same page will correctly validate as XHTML 1.0 transitional. We know you want nice valid markup and we’ve got your back.
If you have yet to purchase GravityForms, be sure to use the coupon code GFDEV50 when checking out to receive $50.00 off the developer license. As an additional perk to purchasing or upgrading to the developers license by November 30th, you put yourself in the running to win a ASUS EEE PC 1005HA Netbook. Last but not least, if you decide to purchase GForms, I’d appreciate it if you go through the following link as I’ll receive a little kickback. Thanks!
By Jeffro on November 8, 2009
Ajax Edit Comments was first released for WordPress in April of 2007 in response to a reader’s frustration in leaving a typo in a comment. For the first time, anonymous users could edit their comments.
While sticking true to its humble roots to help out the anonymous user, Ajax Edit Comments has evolved into the most powerful comment manager for WordPress; for the first time, admin users could edit and moderate comments from a post.
Ajax Edit Comments 3.0 introduces lots of fixes and new features. This post will give a brief overview of what Ajax Edit Comments 3.0 has to offer from an admin user’s perspective. Alternatively, watch this YouTube video for a brief walkthrough.
Can Edit All Comments
Ajax Edit Comments 3.0 introduces a new pop-up box called Colorbox. The previous pop-up box we used was called Thickbox. Since Thickbox is no longer being maintained, I figured it was best to search for alternatives. The result? Colorbox is more elegant and loads way faster.
The screenshot above shows the common editing box for Ajax Edit Comments. You can edit the common comment fields, or you can switch to the “Advanced” tab to edit the comment time and the comment approval status.
The Ability to Move Comments
It happens once in a blue moon, but it’s a pain in the rear when it does: someone makes a comment on the wrong post. The old way of dealing with this is to delete the user’s comment, and then re-post it to the correct post. Rather time consuming.
With Ajax Edit Comments, select “Move” and you can move the comment by browsing posts, or by searching by post title or ID.
Say you’ve received a spammy comment. This guy’s persistent and somehow he is escaping your spam filter. With Ajax Edit Comments, you can select the “Blacklist” option and add the commenter to your WordPress blacklist (found under Settings->Discussion).
The blacklist option can add the commenters name, e-mail address, URL, and IP address to the blacklist.
In addition, the Advanced tab allows you to mark as spam any comments that match your search criteria. For example, you can spam any comments that match a commenter’s e-mail and IP address. This is useful if your blog is under attack and you need to take some quick action.
One Click De-link
You’ve received a genuine comment. But the link the commenter provides is rather spammy, or isn’t work safe.
The de-link feature allows you to keep the comment, but remove the link the commenter used with just one click.
Hooray for Undo!
Previous versions of Ajax Edit Comments used confirmation boxes when you clicked on any of the approval options (e.g., approve, moderate, delete).
Ajax Edit Comments 3.0 gets rid of the annoying confirmation boxes and instead displays an undo option.
More Icon Choices
Ajax Edit Comments 3.0 introduces icon themes. Ever since 2.0 came out, users have nagged me about the default icon set (which I personally liked of course). With 3.0, I found several icon sets that would fit, and decided to build in a “theme” feature.
Within the Ajax Edit Comments admin options, you can select from six different icon sets.
I will be the first to say that the Ajax Edit Comments interface is getting cluttered. Up to seven options could be displaying for the admin for each comment.
With Ajax Edit Comments 3.0, I decided a dropdown display would work best to conceal the remaining options. For those that don’t like the dropdown, it can be easily removed in the Ajax Edit Comments admin page.
Ajax Edit Comments 3.0 is a major upgrade over the 2.0 version. The interface has been tweaked, it now includes themes and a dropdown, and there are numerous power tools for admin users.
If you haven’t already, give Ajax Edit Comments 3.0 a try.
By Jeffro on October 6, 2009
Today, I decided to fire up the local server to test and review the grand prize winner of the 2009 plugin competition. The plugin is called Section Widget and was developed by Godfrey Chan.
In a nutshell, this plugin makes it very easy to create a tabbed widget. Section widgets not only support text and HTML but you can also use shortcodes in them which makes it that much more extensible. Unfortunately, the shortcodes consist of separate plugins. For example, in order to use the Amazon shortcode, you would need to install the Amazon Shortcode plugin. However, these shortcode plugins come with a slew of features of their own so it’s not all bad.
After installation, a new administration menu is created called Section Widget that is located under the Appearance menu. This is where users get the chance to configure the look of the tabbed widget. There are 25 different jQuery UI themes to choose from. You can also specify the scope of the theme to ensure that it won’t affect other areas of the site.
Once the section widget is configured, you can start adding widgets to your sidebar. There are two different widgets to choose from. Section which displays section specific content and Section Tabbed which displays tabbed items within the widget. One of the reasons why it makes sense for the word Section to be added to the plugin title is because the widget gives you the options to specify where it will be displayed. For instance, you can choose to show the content on the Front Page, the Posts Page, selected category pages, selected tag archive pages, etc. Depending on the display options, you can then choose which specific pages, categories, or tags via selection boxes that the widget will display on. This interface is a prettier version of what I accomplish with Widget Logic but without having to know template tags.
The tabbed widget contains the same options but with the addition of being able to create new tabs. Rearrangement of these tabs is easy since you can click on a tab and drag it into another position.
The more I use this plugin, the more I realize how flexible it is. One of the downsides that I mentioned earlier is that each shortcode is a separate plugin. Depending on what you want to accomplish with your section widgets, you might have 3-5 additional plugins installed just to use the shortcode. One thing I was hoping for was the ability to take widgets I already have such as Recent Comments, Recent Posts, etc and put those widgets into a tabbed section widget but it doesn’t look like I can do that unless I turned those widgets into shortcodes. Kaspars Tabbed Widgets accomplishes this but it doesn’t work on all blogs due to theme issues and their use of jQuery which causes conflicts.
All in all, a great plugin that enables you to easily create multiple text widgets and have them easily accessible via tabs at the expense of having the tabbed content hidden on initial display. It might be a good idea in the future if this plugin incorporated some way to animate the tabs so that they cycle instead of requiring user interaction.
By Jeffro on September 29, 2009
The long wait is over as WeblogToolsCollection.com has finally announced the winner of this years plugin competition. Honestly, I had no idea this would be the plugin that claimed victory but it’s Section Widget by Godfrey Chan.
Godfrey’s plugin provides a way to display section specific content on your WordPress sidebar with an easy to use interface. This new version comes with tabs support, so creating your tabbed section widget is just a few clicks away. Plus, with shortcode support, the possibilities are limitless! This plugin is well rounded, consistently preferred by all of our judges and reviewers and was well liked by the audience as well.
It’s actually a nifty plugin that can easily turn a page that has 10 widgets displayed on it into a page with three widgets with three tabs to clean up the page at the expense of hiding the content initially. I was rooting for the advanced exporter but alas, there is still a chance to have it implemented into the core of WordPress which is what I will be pushing for.
Congrats to Godfrey Chan for winning all that cash! Hopefully, he continues to develop the plugin as last years winner Comment Remix ceased development after the author won the grand prize. Expect a review of Section Widget soon.
By Jeffro on September 29, 2009
Last night, Matt Martz who is also known as Sivel in the WordPress IRC Channel and on Twitter announced that he was going to stop development and support on several of his WordPress plugins. Out of curiosity, I decided to check in with Matt to figure out what was going on and what prompted this move.
The other day, you announced that you would be stopping development on several of your WordPress plugins. Why is that?
I decided back when I made the decision to enter the plugin competition that if I didn’t win a prize (in the form of money) that I would be unable to justify the amount of time I spent on maintaining my plugins. This did not have anything to do with the plugin competition. That was however, perhaps, the best opportunity to make some money that would allow me to justify the time I spend.
You mentioned that you were not receiving enough contributions back to continue development. Are these contributions donations?
That is correct. Over the several years of developing plugins I had gotten only several donations. Maybe totaling $50 or so. Early on I refunded those donations. That was when I was only maintaining a couple of plugins and didn’t need to justify my time with my wife. Now that I had around 20 plugins or so the time I put in was quite large.
Many would argue that if one of the desires was to make money through donations, that it would have been better to charge out right. So why not go that route instead?
I’ll put it this way, first I don’t use pay for software. If I did, and WordPress was free, which it is, I would feel like I am betraying the community by charging for a plugin that sits on top of the software. I would feel like a hypocrite if I were to suggest to others that they should pay for software when I wouldn’t do the same. I write open source software to distribute it for free. I would rather give away a few plugins to developers who could maintain them for free than start charging money.
That is a unique perspective I don’t hear very often.
Any word yet on which of the plugins you will cease development for? Any way folks interested in continuing development could contact you to take them over?
I’ll first say that giving away some of my plugins benefits the community more than you may think. Not just the fact that users will perhaps get better support and more frequent bug fixes and updates, but because I am targeting developers, who will take over maintaining these plugins, who are a part of the WordPress community but just haven’t been able to make a name for themselves, or figured out how to really get involved by giving to the community. A few weeks ago I already handed off a plugin “Gallery Shortcode Style to Head” which I announced on my blog. I chose 6 other plugins which I am going to offload to other developers. 3 already have new owners, I’m just waiting for those developers to write blog posts/pages about them before I make the announcements. Those 6 plugins are, page restrict, moderate selected posts, ajaxify faq-tastic, possibly related recent posts, dynamic favorites and display name author permalink, page restrict, possibly related recent posts and dynamic favorites already have new owners.
This is a little more personal of a question but I’m curious, how many times have you had to explain to your significant other the reasoning you were spending so much time at the computer without making any money.
Oh goodness…literally once a week if I had to guess, maybe more. To be honest I get more donations from helping out in the WordPress IRC channel than I have from developing plugins and that isn’t a whole lot. My wife understands that I love doing it, and that I help the community and people are thankful, but that isn’t good enough reason to not spend time with the family. I have a 2-year-old son, who is becoming more and more active every day. I need to spend as much time with him as I can. As it is with my day job, I see him after work for maybe 1.5-2 hours a day, sometimes less.
For a long time I was able to justify that the amount of time I was spending on WordPress was ok, but at some point I think the amount of time becomes so high, that if you have other obligations that are more important than monetary compensation is the only way to really justify it, whether that is taking a job that gives you the freedom to dedicate your time to WordPress, or using your own free personal time.
Also, don’t expect me to become dormant, while I am giving away a total of 7 plugins I think I had somewhere around 20 plugins that I have written, 17 of which were active and I actually have 2 or 3 plugins that have been waiting in the background because I haven’t had enough time to work on them.
By Jeffro on September 16, 2009
GravityForms version 1.1 has been released to the public. This new version includes two new post specific fields. One for categories where users can select which category to place the post in and post images which enable users to upload images that go along with their post. Two really cool features that should help out anyone wanting to create a slick post submission form. Among some of the other improvements include UI enhancements, query string builder, select all functionality on the export page, last but not least, new hooks and filters. There is also a slew of fixes as well.
Unfortunately, their demo site only contains two different forms, neither of which show off the cool functionality of post submissions. Since new forms can’t be saved in the demo, I’m hoping that create a third form showcasing how easy it is to create a cool post submission form, including the image uploader as I’m interested in seeing that in action.
By Jeffro on September 14, 2009
Earlier today, I checked out what’s been going on with my favorite comment editing plugin, Ajax Edit Comments and was pleased to see the addition of a particular new feature called Request Deletion. As of version 188.8.131.52, Ajax Edit Comments now provides the ability to allow or disallow anonymous users to click on a link to request a deletion of their comment. Upon request, the comment is placed in the moderation queue and the blog’s admin is sent an e-mail of the request. This feature can be turned off in the admin panel options.
There are a couple of other nice additions as well. Oh, also glad to see that despite his WordPress Weekly absence, Ronald is still hanging around the land of WordPress as he is repsonible for these three plugin updates.
By Jeffro on September 14, 2009
Amidst all the fuss about what it takes to find out when there is an upgrade available for WordPress, Konrad Karpieszuk took advantage of the situation and created a plugin that provides email notifications on when an upgrade is available. The plugin sends a check to WordPress.org every day to see if the version installed is different from the version available although Donncha has informed the plugin author that he could use the wp_version_check() function instead. This would cut down on the one request a day to WordPress.org. Amazingly, there is nothing to configure. Just install the plugin and once a new version of WordPress is released, it will send you an email.
Now you might be wondering, didn’t WordPress itself have some sort of mailing list that would be used for announcements such as this? The answer is yes, but they have done a terrible job utilizing the list for that function. The last time that list was used was around the release of WordPress 2.7. I know a few people chimed in on Twitter that because of the mailing list, there was no need for this plugin but since we know the mailing list isn’t being used, this plugin ‘plugs‘ the gap.
Even though I don’t need to use a plugin like this, I’ve decided to install it just to see if it works. As someone mentioned on Twitter, if you maintain a large number of sites, this could be used as a reminder tool that a particular site needs upgrading. Personally, I’m waiting for the plugin that calls me on my cell phone using a robotic voice to tell me that a new version is available and that if I don’t upgrade the site, I will be terminated.
Let me know in the comments if you have installed this plugin on all of the sites you operate.