It’s been a while since I released the last version of WP-Cumulus. I’ve been very busy with client work, but there were a few important little fixes and features I wanted to release. The most requested of those probably is that the Flash movie now supports the ‘target’ attribute. I’ve also made the XML path (from which the XML file is loaded) configurable. Both these features are of use only to people not using WordPress, but they were requested so frequently that I decided to add them in.
More Finally, a new WP-Cumulus update
Justin Tadlock just released a brilliant WordPress plugin that lets you call template tags (the stuff theme developers use to display things) inside posts and pages as shortcodes. This allows you to do things like displaying your blogroll on a page instead of the sidebar. Or add a list of authors inside that post you just wrote to thank them. By installing this plugin you get 40 new shortcodes that should keep you occupied for a long time :).
I’d been meaning to do a proper redesign of this blog for some time. The content part was reshuffled a couple of months ago, and I was pretty pleased with how that turned out. But the header was a watered down version of the old Papertrail theme and far too boring. That’s why I asked Blondmonster to help me out.
Suzanne‘s a former colleague, and a fabulous designer. I really like the stuff she does, and ‘boring’ is simply not in her vocabulary. She came up with the underwater theme, did all the drawing and all I had to do was put it all together. Hope you like the result. The theme was tailor-made for this blog, so don’t expect it to become available for download any time soon.
Every once in a while a user asks me how to change something in WP-Cumulus that fits his or her specific needs. If enough people ask for the same thing (*), it’ll probably be in the next release, but sometimes the modification is so specific to a certain website or project that it makes sense to simply hack it in. Here are the five most common of those, in no particular order.
More The top 5 WP-Cumulus hacks
Flash sucks. There, I’ve said it. Or to be more precise, using Flash in a web page sucks. Just about everyone has the plugin, but actually embedding a movie into a web page isn’t quite as easy as it could be. There are a number of options, all of which have pros and cons. And in most cases you’ll need to pass parameters to your little RIA and/or have it communicate with the outside world too, adding to the complexity.
About 90% of the email I get about WP-Cumulus is from people where the movie isn’t displaying as it should. In most cases, this is caused by relatively minor markup errors in their blog. I find it hard to explain why Flash can sometimes break if you forget to close a single tag.
More About WP-Cumulus 1.20’s compatibility mode
Contrary to what I originally thought when I released WP-Cumulus, it seems most people prefer to use it on their blog’s sidebar. I estimate that at least 80% of users use the widget. But the plugin still has two other ways to embed the movie into your blog, and version 1.20 greatly improves the most important of those. Shortcodes can be incredibly useful, and version 1.20 of my plugin now properly supports them.
More How to use WP-Cumulus shortcodes
This distracted me from client work yesterday. I tried modifying WP-Cumulus to load thumbnail images from a Flickr RSS feed instead of passing it WordPress tags. The results surprised me, because I was expecting to see all sorts of depth sorting weirdness. However, because of the limited number of images and the way I distributed them over the sphere, you can hardly spot any quirks.
More WP-Cumulus for Flickr anyone?
I promised to donate to five of my favorite WordPress plugins a little while ago, and offered to let you help decide how the money should be divided. Unfortunately, that post didn’t yield enough comments to truly determine which of my picks you liked best. That’s why I decided to simply split the money five ways.
I made the payments yesterday, and I must say that felt good. I’ve been using some of these plugins for ages, and it seemed only fair I made a little donation in return. Please see the original post for the nominated plugins. Now if only I’d known Matt was going to introduce a ‘Thank a plugin developer day‘ so I could have timed this to match that. I’m pretty sure Joost, Arne, Krischan, Mitcho and Michael aren’t going to mind though :).
There’s been a lot going on in what is becoming the WP-Cumulus ‘universe’. For one thing, the original WordPress plugin has been downloaded well over 60.000 times now. The increase in popularity has pretty much made my inbox explode. I try my very best to at least reply to everyone but it’s getting to the point where I won’t be able to. So please be patient if it takes a while and excuse me if your message slips through.
More Assorted WP-Cumulus news
With the recent success of this blog, I’ve been thinking about making a donation to some of my favorite WordPress plugins. Being a plugin developer myself, I know how even a small donation can be a real pat on the back.
Open Source software isn’t about money, but many developers spend countless hours perfecting their software and answering support emails. I’d like to thank some of them, and I thought I’d let you help me decide which ones. Please read on for my ‘nominations’, and post a comment to let me know which ones you think I should support.
More Which WordPress plugins should I donate to?