I’ve been promising a new version of WP-Cumulus for a long time. I’ve tried working with more experienced PHP developers, but it’s been hard to find a really good one who’s able to devote time to the project. I still think a plugin like this should be a team effort, but for now I’m going to kick things back into motion again myself.
What’s ready at this point is a much cleaner rewrite of the plugin files, with the display logic in a neat little class that port authors will hopefully be able to reuse. I’ve also got a Flash movie that uses a user-defined system font, as a result is much smaller, and supports unicode tags.
More WP-Cumulus 2.0 is finally in development (again)
Over the last few months, I’ve not been able to dedicate as much time to the WP-Cumulus project as I’d hoped to. Freelance work has been keeping me pretty busy, and I’ve had to deal with acute issues rather than be able to focus on new features. That’s why I decided to look for help. Just around that time, Luke Morton launched a spin-off version of the plugin that implemented something I’d been meaning to work on too. I contacted Luke and I’m very happy he’s agreed to help develop WP-Cumulus from now on.
Some of the things we’ll be working on are pretty major. We’ll finally move to SWFObject 2.x, look into internationalization (both for the plugin and the Flash movie) and make improvements to the admin screen. We hope to be able to release a true 2.0 version sometime this year.
Yesterday, Thomas Scholz alerted me to a security weakness in WP-Cumulus. He noticed XSS hacking attempts targeted at wp-cumulus.php that could, in rare cases allow malicious code to be executed. This issue has been fixed in version 1.22, and I strongly recommend you upgrade straight away. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and the attack has already been seen ‘in the wild’.
WP-Cumulus can be downloaded here, but chances are your blog will notify you of the new version and allow you to upgrade automatically.
A while ago I was asked to do a Flex version of WP-Cumulus. Because I don’t know the first thing about Flex, I failed miserably :). But the fun thing about open source software is that anyone with the right skills can pick things up and create the version they need. Carlos Carvalha did just that and did a Flex version for use with Drupal. If Flex is your thing, you can download the files from Carlos’ page. Because this is a ‘modified version’ of my WordPress plugin, it is automatically licensed under GPL, and is thus free for you to use.
Carlos’ blog is pretty interesting btw. Definitely the first blog theme I’ve seen that’s built entirely in Flash.
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
Tagnetic Poetry is another experiment using Flash to display your blog’s tag cloud. It was Merel Zwart who came up with the brilliant idea to mimic magnetic poetry. Because it re-uses most of the code used in WP-Cumulus, the 0.8 version should already be pretty stable.
You can see it in action here.
More WordPress plugin: Tagnetic Poetry
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.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my WP-Cumulus WordPress plugin. Many people have asked my whether they can use the Flash movie in their own projects, and how to go about it. Well, here’s how.
More How to repurpose my tag cloud Flash movie