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 :).
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
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 just released Footer Stuff through wordpress.org. Even though it’s a very simple (and lightweight) plugin, it’s not very easy to describe what it does. It offers you a way to add code to your blog’s footer an header sections, without having to edit your theme’s PHP files. Located under WordPress’ design tab it offers easy way of maintaining things like Google Analytics code, without being limited to just that one analytics system.
It’s here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/footer-stuff.
Get Recent Comments is probably the WordPress plugin that I’ve used for the longest time. If I remember correctly, it’s been displaying recent comments over on Choking on Popcorn since 2004. Back then it took template editing to put those on your sidebar, and even then they didn’t look very nice. But even the current ‘recent comments’ widget falls far short of what ‘get Recent Comments’ can do.
More “Get Recent Comments” makes your comments look so much better
Ever since I released the first version of WP-Cumulus, people have been asking me for color support. While I agreed that multi-colored tags would probably help make Cumulus look even better, there were a few obstacles to overcome.
More WP-Cumulus 1.15: Color!
I just checked the download stats on the WP-Cumulus page at wordpress.org, and saw that the plugin has been downloaded over ten thousand times. Unfortunately, I have no idea how many people downloaded it from this blog before I moved it to the WordPress server, but the total number of users is probably even higher.
10,000 downloads is insignificant when compared to the hundreds of thousands downloads registered for some other plugins, but i’m pretty excited that so many people have taken the time to give WP-Cumulus a try.
This is a first for me. Even though I’ve always been a firm believer in the open source licensing model, I’ve never actually released anything as free software. Up until now. As of ten minutes ago, WP-Cumulus is open source. From now on the plugin will be hosted on WordPress.org, and I will no longer offer it for download here on my own website. But that’s just the start of it.
Because it’s now open source, the source files for the Flash movie are also available for download for you to tinker with. This means you’ll be able to change the font, embed your language’s character set and change anything else you feel beneficial for your blog. If you improve on the plugin’s functionality, please let me know so I can consider adding your changes.
I’ve just uploaded a new version of WP-Cumulus. Version 1.03 attemps to fix compatibility issues, adds a widget, speed control and several other little things. See here for the changelog.
With the help of Mujahid (and several others), I’ve been able to track down the cause of the “it kills my blog” error. I turns out I was closing PHP’s output buffer once too often, which PHP version 5.2 and newer does not like very much. All should be well for these users with version 1.04. Can’t tell you how relieved I am.