Sparkling is a popuplar free WordPress theme on wordpress.org right now. It’s nice an clean, and I recently recommended it to a client. The one thing both my client and I didn’t really like about the theme is how it handles static front pages. There’s a specific template file for them with a full-width layout, that also hides the page’s title. This is probably great for some users, but my client preferred to keep the sidebar and display the page’s title.
To work around this in a way that didn’t require a child theme or modyfications to the original theme, I wrote a little plugin. All it does is call the regular page template instead of front-page.php, when a page is set as the front page.
If you’re using Sparkling, and would like to try the plugin, you can download it from Github. The plugin will work for other themes as well, but I’ve not tested this.
RT Bypass Sparkling Front Page Template
I love WordPress. It’s the easiest Content Management System to use, and it’s also very easy to develop for. Out of the box, WordPress is so intuitive that most of my clients require little to no training in order to use their new website. But there’s one thing that I find hard to explain to novice users. The concept of a “posts page”.
More New WordPress plugin: RT Hide Posts Page Editor
Last weekend, Björn and I spoke at WordCamp Netherlands, and while preparing the presentation I figured that one of the things I was going talk about would probably work as a WordPress plugin. It’s been ages since I last released a plugin, mostly because there’s a solution out there for almost everything you can possibly run into. This specific little fix however proved to be an exception to that rule.
More New WordPress plugin: RT Filter Page List
When I decided to no longer maintain my WP-Cumulus plugin a while ago, one of the reasons was that the project was in disarray. I wanted to improve so many things at once, that I ended up finishing none. One of the plugin’s parts however, the actual Flash movie, was 99% done. That’s why I’ve decided to put it on Github.
Note that this is “Cumulus”, without the “WP-“. It’s a new version of the movie, that uses a different, more generic XML format, and supports new things like unicode and device fonts. It’s not a WordPress plugin. If you’re looking to revive WP-Cumulus or incorporate the effect into other projects, it’s the ideal start. It’s the best incarnation of the effect, and I invite you to write stuff around it.
It’s been well over a year since I last blogged about WP-Cumulus. In the mean time, there have been all sorts of developments. I’ve been in serious talks with a potential buyer. That didn’t work out. I’ve tried, a number of times, to do a rewrite. That didn’t work out either. But most importantly, I gradually lost interest. Which is why I’ve decided I’ll no longer dedicate any time to Cumulus.
More I’ll no longer be developing WP-Cumulus
Ever since tags were introduced in WordPress 2.3, people have wanted to add tags to pages, not just to posts. For years now, Page Tagger has allowed you to do so. It’s a great plugin, and I’ve used it often. However, since it was created, WordPress has made it a lot easier to add tags to pages, and that new approach has some significant advantages.
I’ve been working with Bjorn Wijers on a project that uses Page Tagger, and we’ve found it to have some small – but pesky – issues. Bjorn gradually improved and simplified the code, and sent patches to the plugin’s author. Most of those changes are now part of Page Tagger, but Bjorn has decided to also release his own plugin.
More New WordPress plugin: Tag Pages
Noel Tock, who’s at WP On Tour with me, just released a brand new WordPress plugin that lets you accept Stripe payments. Stripe is a new, highly developer-friendly payment solution. They have low rates for processing and a great API. Right now, you can only use Stripe to accept payments if you’re in the US, but if you are, you can accept money from all over the world.
More Easily accept credit card donations with WP-Stripe
Because WP-Cumulus is open source software, the source files are available online. I didn’t package them with the regular plugin download, but you can download the Flash files from wordpress.org and my blog. Included in those downloads is a file called “tagcloud.xml”, which is mainly used to test the Flash movie locally, within Flash’s IDE. Unfortunately, that file sometimes ends up online. And, in most cases, it shouldn’t.
More Using Cumulus? Please check your tagcloud.xml!
A few days ago, @bakkel tweeted about WP Time Machine. This WordPress backup solution turned out to be exactly what I’d been looking for. It gathers all the relevant bits (like your blog’s database, uploaded images, etc) and uploads them to Dropbox, Amazon’s S3 or FTP. It even adds a file with comprehensive restore instructions. I’ve argued before that backups need to be absolutely painless, and with this plugin they are.
More WP Time Machine – free off-site backups for WordPress
When I first started using WPMU, the now-integrated multisite version of WordPress, I found it strange that there were no built-in tools to aggregate content onto the main blog. It seemed to me that that was something plenty of people would want to do. Sure, there were plugins and hacks, but none of them were as polished as I’d like them to be.
Fortunately, things have changed. WordPress 3.0 now has multisite capabilities built right into it, and Bjorn Wijers, a friend of mine and one of Holland’s top WordPress developers, has created a really cool plugin to handle content aggregation. Called bbAggregate, this plugin doesn’t just collect posts from blogs to be displayed on the home page, it allows you to display aggregated content on any of your network’s blogs. And to do this it introduces the concept of streams.
More bbAggregate lets you mix and match WordPress content