If you’re worried about paying for Akismet in the future or are curious as to what some of the alternatives are, check out this plugin roundup via Themergency where Bradvin takes a look at six alternatives. ∞
By Jeffro on March 25, 2011
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen an upgrade notice for Gravity Forms but alas, 1.5 is here. This new version incorporates a ton of new features and enhancements. Among the new features are:
Multi-Page Forms – Using the new Page Break field you now have the ability split longer forms into multiple pages or steps. We have also integrated a visual paging status bar that can be used to show a progress bar or the steps involved in completing the form.
Pricing Fields – Pricing Fields allow you to create quotes and order forms. It features integrated pricing calculations and is compatible with the Gravity Forms PayPal Add-On. Pricing Fields consist of a Product Field, Option Field, Quantity Field, Shipping Field, Donation Field and Total Field. They allow you to easily turn your form into an order form and collect payments when combined with the PayPal Add-On.
Text Counter – A visual cue to show visitors the number of characters available for use on a text area.
CSS Ready Classes – Easily create multi-column layouts using built in CSS classes. These keywords are custom CSS classes you add to the CSS Class Name option under the Advanced tab for each field.
Default Notification – One of my favorite new additions will now automatically setup an admin notification that uses the WordPress Admin email as the Send To and includes all submitted form fields when a new form is created.
There are a couple of other things added as well but you can check those out on the spiffy new GravityForms Website. I’ve been using Gravity Forms on WPTavern.com to handle my contact form for a few months now and I’m happy to say that it’s some of the best money I’ve spent. While I only use it for a contact form, the UI enables me to quickly and easily create a post submission form or edit my existing forms. So far, I’ve yet to see an alternate form solution that’s as elegant and easy to use as Gravity Forms.
Kudos to the team on their newly designed website. One of the pain points regarding their old design was that it was difficult to locate the blog part of the site. Thankfully, they’ve fixed that by adding the blog link to the top of the new design.
By Jeffro on March 24, 2011
Over the past few days, I’ve had a couple of people ask me what plugins I use to accomplish my commenting system here on WPTavern.com. I’m not a fan of using a third party system so in no particular order, here are the plugins I use.
Akismet – I’ve had no problems with Akismet taking care of spam comments on this site.
Comment Quicktags Reloaded – This plugin provides the formatting buttons to the comment form.
Filosofo Comments Preview – This plugin enables a live preview of the comment before it’s published.
Subscribe To Comments – Enables users to checkmark a box to receive notifications of new comments
WP Ajax Edit Comments – This is one of my favorite plugins because it provides a very easy way for visitors to edit their own comments. It also has built in support for After The Deadline meaning commenters can spell check before submission. It’s a commercial plugin but well worth the price.
There is one particular feature of the WPTavern comment form that makes it a little unique. For each comment, there is a Reply link. When a visitor clicks this link, something like the following shows up: @Jeffro – The @ symbol as used by Twitter means you’re replying to someone specifically. The comment number is the unique comment ID and will link to the comment being replied to so the conversation is coherent. Last but not least the comment authors name is bolded.
I have Kaspars Dambis to thank for adding this functionality to the site which was originally part of the WP Comment Remix plugin that won the WeblogToolsCollection plugin competition in 2008.
Now here is where it gets tricky. This functionality is not part of a plugin but is code that has been added to my child themes functions.php file. I don’t know where you would add this code in your own theme to achieve the same functionality but if someone could use it as a starting point and create a plugin that just does this, that would be cool.
By Jeffro on March 22, 2011
Earlier today, I received an email asking me what plugin I was using that allowed for the quicktags to be displayed within the comment form of the site. I love these quick tags as they provide similar functionality as you’ll find within the post writing panel within WordPress. Unfortunately, the original creator of the plugin is now involved with the Habari project and is no longer maintaining it. I did manage to find Comment Form Quicktags on the plugin repository but I’m unsure as to why I’m not using that one as opposed to my current setup. After browsing the plugin repository, it looks like there are quite a few Quicktag plugins available but the one I’m using has been rock steady and still works, even with WordPress 3.1. You can’t find it on the repository though and it’s not available from the plugin authors site so I’m putting the download link here just in case someone would like to take the plugin, fork it, and maintain it on the repository.
Download Comment Quicktags Reloaded
By Jeffro on February 9, 2011
WordPress 3.0.5 was released the other day to address a couple of issues dealing with security and untrusted user accounts. While those issues were addressed, it was soon discovered that one of the security fixes for 3.0.5 created another problem of stripping HTML on display from people with the unfiltered_html capability. Instead of fixing that minor problem and releasing 3.0.6 which would have been embarrassing to say the least, a hot fix was applied to the latest version of Akismet which was also due for an upgrade. This solved the problem for at least a few users but not everyone.
Mark Jaquith then created a plug in which contains the hot-fix but also mentioned that the plug in could be used in the future to fix selected bugs as well. If a number of WordPress powered sites would have this plug in installed, it would be a handy way of pushing out fixes.
I’m not quite sure I understand the reasoning behind this. 3.1 is right around the corner and that branch already has the fix applied while those who know how can simply update their sites via SVN through the nightly builds. In the comments, Ozh also raises a good point in that how do you explain the difference between a hot fix versus an update for WordPress? It’s an unnecessary process that I don’t want to go through. There was also the suggestion of perhaps bundling the Hotfix plug in with WordPress like Hello Dolly or Akismet which is a bad idea. There is a strong contingent of people (I’m one of them) working hard to try and de-couple Hello Dolly and Akismet from the core package of WordPress and the last thing we need is yet another bundled plug in with core.
The best recommendation came from Andrew Nacin in the comments of strengthening the update procedures of WordPress. By the way, one tidbit of information to keep in mind throughout all of this is that somewhere around WordPress 3.2, the goal is to stop updating over the wp-content directory which I know will make some people happy.
By Jeffro on October 27, 2010
This post is an FYI to plugin developers. According to Scribu who posted on the WordPress development update blog, If you were using register_activation_hook() to also handle updates from older versions of your plugins, you will not be able to do so any more in WP 3.1: The activation hook is now fired only when the user activates the plugin and not when an automatic plugin update occurs. This is consistent with how the deactivation hook works.. There is a proposal for a register_update_hook instead within ticket 14912.
All plugin authors should read the post and the associated tickets to make sure your plugin will check for updates properly after WordPress 3.1 is released.
By Jeffro on September 27, 2010
Dion Hulse also known as DD32 recently celebrated his birthday (happy belated birthday!) and in a recent blog post announced that he is looking for additional contributors to his plugins. According to Dion, his plugins are about to reach the 110,000 download mark in total and is concerned that if a security issue comes up with any of his plugins, it would end up leaving a lot of users out in the cold. There are a few caveats to those interested in becoming contributors as outlined by DD32:
- You need to run it by me before you make a new Release of the plugin (that’ll be relaxed if you show you know what you’re doing, and I trust your judgement)
- You need to retain the current naming, licence, and Commit-often strategy to the Plugin’s repo.
- You need to respect the code and functionalities offered, as well as the users of the plugin, Upgrades to new versions MUST work nicely with users existing data, re-writing the plugin from scratch will not be taken nicely (But refactoring is fine, and there will be exceptions of course)
- You MUST follow the WordPress coding standards
- You cant just work on new features and ignore any present bugs, Sorry, but both need your attention.
According to the list of plugins Dion currently maintains, Add From Server is one of the more recent ones with close to 39,000 downloads and worked perfectly for me when I needed to move media items from an FTP folder on a server into the media library of WordPress. Earlier this year, DD32 was granted committ access to the core of WordPress and recently, has not had time to dedicate to either his plugins or the WordPress core. Dion is in the process of changing that by getting back in the groove starting with WordPress 3.1. For those that don’t know, Dion Hulse is primarily responsible for the WordPress installation process.
I’m only following the SVN Commits mailing list, and Trac tickets which I have personally commented on, So if you’ve got a ticket related to Upgrades, Filesystem, HTTP, Taxonomy, or something else I might be interested in, Please leave a comment pointing it out, If its up my alley, I’ll look at it, It’s going to take some time to go through the 2,000 open tickets on Trac.
Will be interesting to hear from him on what he plans on doing with WordPress QI.
By Jeffro on September 11, 2010
As the first official “WordPress Crash Test Dummy,” Lorelle has long worshiped the ground WordPress Plugin authors walk over. Join her as she explores the world of WordPress Plugins that are pushing the barriers that many feel limit WordPress, changing site navigation, connecting with the social web, expanding WordPress Theme capabilities, unique solutions to tasks you might not have considered for your website, and even some Plugins which help Plugins do even more.
Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe
Length Of Episode: 56 Minutes
Download The Show: OpenCamp – Lorelle VanFossen – Plugins That Blow Your Mind.mp3
Listen To OpenCamp – Lorelle VanFossen – Plugins That Blow Your Mind
By Jeffro on September 6, 2010
I don’t know about you, but I have a widescreen monitor and I’ve enjoyed having the WordPress administration menus collapsed versus extended. The extra real estate is nice to have with less for me to look at. However, this collapsed menu comes at a price whereas, this menu option does not allow me to see updates for plugins, themes, nor can I see if any comments are being held in the moderation queue. While I think this is a WordPress shortcoming, Scott Reilly has once again created a simple plugin that solves a simple problem. It’s called Notifications For Collapsed Admin Menu. This plugin shows a visual notification by providing a background color on the comment and plugin icons. As a bonus, if you hover the mouse cursor over the icons, a tooltip will show the number of comments or plugins that need to be taken cared of. The following image provided by Scott is a good explanation as to how this plugin works.
If you choose to use this plugin, keep the following note in mind:
Also refer to the plugin page for directions on how to change the color that is used for the visual notification.