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
I really should ‘egosurf‘ more. It was only because I was testing a seach engine yesterday that I stumbled across this post on ZDNet’s Linux and Open Source blog. In it, Dana Blankenhorn argues that social media make this recession different from previous ones, and that releasing open source software can help advertise your abilities as a media professional. And he does so by taking me as an example.
While it is true that WP-Cumulus has brought me some modest fame in the WordPress community, I wonder why Dana didn’t contact me to confirm some of the details in the story.
More On ZDNet, the recession and optimism
Lots of people have contacted me, asking for a version of my Flickr widget that they could use on their website, without having to use Flickr (or Picasa). Doing such a version was easy enough, but I was hesitant to release it. The DIY version of WP-Cumulus has yielded more support requests than the actual WordPress plugin, and answering all the email has been taking a lot of my time.
One thing I could have done was to simply release the sources for the Flickr widget. But there’s a lot of Flickr/Picasa specific stuff in there that you would need to take out before being able to hook the movie up to another data source. So that would have made things harder for everyone.
More Introducing Photo widget, floating thumbnails for your website
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.
I’ve been working on yet another upgrade to my WP-Cumulus plugin. It looks like it’s become a pretty major update with a couple of exciting new features, but as a result it will probably no longer support versions of WordPress prior to 2.5. One of the things I want to introduce is proper shortcode support, and that API was introduced in 2.5.
Does anyone still use 2.3.x? Or even older versions even? I’ve not been able to find any statistics on this, but I assume most people keep their installs up to date, right?
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 :).
I don’t like ‘re-blogging’. I try and write original stuff and not point to other people’s posts. This video however is essential if you’re serious about SEO and WordPress, and you haven’t seen it already you really should. My fellow countryman Joost de Valk talks about SEO and shares some great tips. The video is after the break.
More Joost de Valk on WordPress SEO