There are plenty of way to have “automated” newsletters sent out based on your WordPress blog’s RSS feed. Feedburner and MailChimp, among other do this, and there’s nothing wrong with those services.
However, if you’d want to write content specifically for your weekly e-mail, RSS is not ideal. High quality e-mailings usually don’t simply copy blog posts, they’re carefullt crafted by copywriters to get as much response as possible. That’s why the idea of a newsletter-theme has been floating around in my head. Here’s what I’m thinking might work…
More Idea: A WordPress theme for e-mail newsletters?
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
For a project I’m working on, I needed to create a split menu, where the top level navigation was in a horizontal menu in the header, with all underlying content listed elsewhere on the page. This turned out to be a little harder than I had anticipated, but I managed to get it working. Here’s how I did it. Feel free to add suggestions in the comments if you see room for improvement.
More Creating a split menu in WordPress 3.0
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)
The great thing about WordPress is that there’s a huge, active and helpful community of users and developers. There have been WordCamps organized all of the world, as well as many smaller meetups. Last week, Kaj Rietberg and I put together just such a meetup in the Dutch city of Amersfoort.
The event was sponsored by open source development company 4WORX and hosted at the neighboring Dara restaurant (recommended!). Kaj and I were happy to welcome around 25 WordPress enthusiasts, a couple of whom had been tricked beforehand into preparing presentations. Kaj has written a more detailed account over at the WordCampNL website (in Dutch) which includes the slides from two speakers.
More WordPress meetup Amersfoort
I hate having to do this, but I’m going to be closing the comments on most of the WP-Cumulus related posts on this blog. Because some have several hundred comments, they’ve become impossible to read and I find that the same questions keep getting asked over and over again. I’ve tried to patiently answer all of them, but I’m no longer able to keep up. Blog comments just aren’t a very good support mechanism.
If your question is about WP-Cumulus, the original WordPress plugin, not one of its ports or variations, please post it in the WordPress forums. This allows others to find the answers, and chances are your question has been discussed already. The forums are an invaluable resource, and offer a much better platform for WP-Cumulus support. If you add the “wp-cumulus” tag to your thread, I’ll almost certainly see it.
I’ll also try to update the FAQ more often. It’s a little out of date, but definitely still a good place to start. Oh, and for more info, see my support page.
The templating system in WordPress is very flexible, and there’s rarely something you can’t do or that doesn’t work as you’d expect. A notable exception however is
the_date. Its purpose is simple enough. It displays the current post’s date of creation. But on pages with more than one post (such as on many blog home pages), something weird happens. If a number of posts on any given page were created on the same date,
the_date will only show that date for the first of those posts.
In the early days of blogging, posts were usually listed by date, much like a regular, paper diary. In the old default theme that comes with WordPress a big date title is used to separate posts into days. That’s what
the_date was created to do, and so it makes sense it only displays the same date once. In most modern themes however, people like the date to be among the meta data for each article, so
the_date falls short.
More How to show each post’s date in WordPress
Please update your copy of WP-Cumulus to 1.23 asap. For most users it should only take two clicks.
The should not affect how WP-Cumulus works on WordPress blogs. But there have been a number of ports and other projects that use the Flash movie. I urge the authors of those projects to examine the new Flash movie, and see if it still works in/with their product. The exploit is not unique to WordPress, and they may need to modify the security check to fit their project.
Back in early 2003, a friend and I started a blog called Choking on Popcorn. This was the blog that introduced me to Pivot, Movable Type and later WordPress. My personal blogs (the first on was on Blogger, started in May of 2002) have come and gone, but CoP is still around, and now has almost a thousand movie reviews.
I did a post there yesterday that I could just as easily have posted here. It’s about how new technology is changing the way movies are consumed. About how downloading a movie is often significantly easier than going to see it at the cinema (at least in my case). I’d ove to hear your thoughts on this, so please place your comments over there: Why do you pirate movies?
It’s getting hard to keep track of all the projects that are based on my little WordPress plugin. The most recent two are ports to MediaWiki and ReloadCMS. The latter is documented (in Russian) on opensoft.110mb.com and maintained by Victor Nabatov. My Russian is pretty poor, but I can see Cumulus tumbling about on the sidebar, so I guess it works
The MediaWiki port is listed as being beta, but the demonstration works beautifully. If I understand correctly it displays the categories on your wiki using ‘my’ Flash movie. Now if only they’d install it on Wikipedia… that would be so cool .