WordPress Wednesday: Hot 2.1 Plugins and Themes, Contests, Challenges, and NoFollow

Filed as Features on February 21, 2007 9:29 am

The news around the WordPress Community is still buzzing about WordPress 2.1. Posts are popping up all over announcing successful upgrades and pointing out a few bugs along the way. For the most part, the problems continue to be around WordPress Themes and WordPress Plugins which are still not compatible with the new version.

The good side is that WordPress Theme and Plugin authors are now updating, rereleasing, and releasing new Themes and Plugins so fast, it’s hard to keep up.

WordPress News

New WordPress Releases: WordPress 2.1.1 and 2.0.9 are out with bug fixes and security patches. Download the full version of 2.1.1 or choose 2.0.9, which includes a security patch only and not the WordPress 2.1 major updates and changes. A list of file changes are on the announcement, and Techtites offers two file sets of only the changed files for the two different versions for those who just want to “patch” not redo.

Custom Fields Contest Still On: Aaron Brazell is sponsoring a “WP Custom Fields Contest” for full version WordPress users. It is designed to showcase what is possible using the Custom Fields feature. While researching my WordPress Plugin series, I’ve found a lot of Plugins which take advantage of the custom fields as well as articles like WordPress How-to: Custom Fields by The Undersigned. I’m eager to see what the brilliant minds of WordPress fans come up with.

Sandboxing in WordPress Plugin’s Future: According to Mark Jaquith, future versions of WordPress will feature a sandbox for Plugins to protect them from breaking a WordPress Theme. The Sandbox feature will “test” a WordPress Plugin before it is permanently activated to make sure it will work in your WordPress Theme. If it doesn’t’ pass the test, it will deactivate it and pass on a note telling you what happened. You can then take action to fix it or find another WordPress Plugin that will work. Very cool.

Installing WordPress With SVN: A new article on the , the online manual for WordPress users, offers tips and instructions for Installing/Updating WordPress with SVN. This is not an easy, anyone-can-do-it installation guide. Only use this if you know what it is.

Profiting by Installing WordPress 2.1: WPThemesPlugins.com offers “Profiting And Benefiting From WordPress Ella”, an interesting list of the profitable benefits from installing or upgrading to WordPress 2.1. Benefits include the autosave which keeps you from losing your work due to a glitch in the system, the import and export for fast migration, ability to set a specific post or Page as the static front page, and better control over pings and indexing by specific search engines.

Future Posts Help You Work Ahead: There are a lot of blog posts going around over the past week talking about the capability of WordPress to publish posts that will release in the future, and using the draft feature to stockpile a collection of post “just in case” life gets in the way of your blogging. The future posts feature and drafts have been around for along time. For more information on working with future posts, see Working Ahead – Future Posts with WordPress.

Challenge to WordPress Developers – Make WordPress Blogs Feature Comments in Their Feeds: I have a lot of things to recommend to the WordPress developers about the weak way comments are handled in WordPress blogs, but Alister Cameron takes this further and challenges all blog developers to get comments, and the ability to easily reply, into feed readers. Who would need to visit a blog anymore? It does make you think, doesn’t it?

WordPress Plugins and Themes News

WordPress Plugins and Themes are coming out very fast, with many of the popular ones being updated for the new version of WordPress. For more information on WordPress Plugins and Themes compatibility with WordPress 2.1, see the WordPress Plugin Compatibility List and WordPress 2.1 Theme Compatibility List.

The Popular Subscribe to Comments Updated: The very popular Subscribe to Comments WordPress Plugin has been updated to work better with WordPress 2.1 and includes a viewable list of subscribers including a list of the most subscribed posts, and quick modification of the information by the administrator. This version now also includes localization code for easy translation.

Turn Off NoFollow: The hottest news in the blogosphere is the final declaration that rel="nofollow" is dead. It started out as a good idea to take the fun out of comment spam, but it didn’t work. Currently, WordPress automatically turns on nofollow on every link side of a comment. There are several hacks to remove the nofollow directly from the core programming. Or you can remove it with the following WordPress Plugins:

Andy Beard offers some others, including some nofollow WordPress Plugins.

Ultimate Tag Warrior WordPress 2.1 Release and Tips: Ultimate Tag Warrior 3.14159265 was released February 4 and includes most of the fixes many UTW fans have been having with WordPress 2.1. Fans of Ultimate Tag Warrior should also meet Add Related Posts to Your Feed, a new WordPress Plugin that adds a list of related posts to your full text feeds as set by Ultimate Tag Warrior.This can easily increase your post content coverage from your feeds. UTW can do this for you, but a Plugin makes the process more fun. For more information on UTW, see Ultimate Tag Warrior WordPress Plugin for Dummies.

WordPress Database Backup Plugin Updated: It started with Skippy and a merry band of helpers, and then incorporation into WordPress 2.0. Now, it’s out of WordPress 2.1 and ilFilosofo is offering a major updated version of the WordPress Database Backup Plugin. This new version allows scheduling automatic database backups hourly, daily, or weekly. It still includes the option of emailing the backup file to you, but now it’s automatic. It’s designed to work with WordPress 2.1. Great work!

How to Convert a Non-Widget to Widget Ready WordPress Theme: Alpesh Nakars offers a great guide on converting your non-Widget enabled WordPress Theme to one that will work with WordPress Widgets, the next generation in WordPress Plugins. The WordPress Codex hosts a list of WordPress Widget-enabled Themes, and the official guide on widgetization is Automattic’s Guide to Widgetizing WordPress Themes.

Global Translator Plugin Fixes: For those having some trouble with the Global Translator WordPress Plugin, a comment in the Plugin page offers a solution for the 404 or blank page problem: Turn off the Gzip function in WordPress. It’s under Options > Reading.

It also seems that people who want to use both of these two WordPress Plugins are encountering conflicts and page errors due to these Plugins using the same variable. Jason offers a solution to get WordPress Global Translator and FireStats working together and playing nice again.

WordPress Themes You Haven’t Seen: 83 Beautiful WordPress Themes You (Probably) Haven’t Seen from Smashing Magazine offers a lovely selection of interesting and diverse WordPress Themes. If you are really looking for WordPress Themes you can be sure few people have seen, check out the WordPress Theme Viewer for the least downloaded WordPress Themes. Unfortunately, these may be fabulous Themes but the Theme author didn’t include a thumbnail or other information to showcase the Theme properly, so all you will see are blank black thumbnail previews. These are definitely WordPress Themes few people have seen. ;-)

Most Popular WordPress Themes: The most popular WordPress Themes from the WordPress Theme Viewer this week are (with the downloads counter):

  1. Vistered Little 1.6 (40,944)
  2. MistyLook 3.1 (32,486)
  3. WP-Andreas01 1.5 (26,585)
  4. Water 1.1 (21,591)
  5. ChaoticSoul 1.0 (18,895)

Widgets Plugin Input Wanted: Andy Skelton is asking for input on improving the Widgets Plugin, which enables the use of Widgets on WordPress blogs. Your help is needed to improve this great Plugin tool.

Turn Off Smilies For The Day: While not a Plugin, but could easily become a WordPress Plugin, Pure Essence offers a hack on how to disable wordpress smilies on a per post basis. Smilies, also known as emoticons, are the smiling faces and pitiful little yellow faces you see all over blogs created by a combination of keystrokes. For example, ;-) would create a winking smiling yellow face, if smilies were enabled on this blog. You can enabled them globally on or off, but this hack allows you to choose the on/off on each post. If you create or showcase ASCII art once in a while, this would be the way to do it.

Prevent WP_Cache From Changing Feed Content Type: Reiner Saddey noticed the latest version of WP-Cache was changing a Feed’s Content-Type to text/html instead of text/xml. Check out his discovery and solution if this is happening to you.

Preventing Email Spam from Blog Contact Forms: Weblog Tools Collection offers PXSMail Plugin with Akismet, a great tip for helping you avoid nasty email spam from emails generated with contact forms on your WordPress blog using the PSXMail Plugin contact form with the Akismet API.

Volunteers Taking Over Support of Popular WordPress Plugins: In the past year, a lot of the authors of some of the most popular WordPress Plugins have grown tired of supporting their Plugins and have offered up their work to anyone who wants to take over responsibility and breath new life into them. WASABI of the very popular Related Entries WordPress Plugin continues to look for someone to take over that Plugin and others. Several of Skippy’s popular Plugins have found new homes including Subscribe2 WordPress Plugin for subscribing to comments, the In-Series WordPress Plugin for supporting article series, and the very popular WordPress Database Backup Plugin taken over by ilFilosofo. If you know of any WordPress Plugins which have been taken over by someone else, please let me know so I can post the updated information here and get it changed elsewhere. For those supporting WordPress Plugins and Themes, consider reading When the Burden of Support is Too Great for tips on how to end or transfer support for your WordPress tools.

Month of WordPress Plugins Series Continues: I’m a little over half way through my month long series on WordPress Plugins. There is a guide on How to Install, Configure, and Use WordPress Plugins, and another guide for finding Plugins, Where to Find WordPress Plugins. Lists of Your Favorite WordPress Plugins lists many WordPress fans who showcased their favorite WordPress Plugins they use. What Are Your Favorite WordPress Plugins explores the most popular WordPress Plugins most people recommend. I’ve got 10 days left, and there are still a lot of WordPress Plugins to cover.

WordPress.com News

WordPress.com W logoLaTeX Hits WordPress.com Blogs: No, not the rubber glove kind of latex. This is LaTeX, a mathematical equation “typesetting” technique which converts code into complex equations. WordPress.com bloggers can now use LaTeX on their blogs to present mathematical and scientific equations and formulas. For details, see Math for the Masses.

Feed Stats Going Bonkers: The feed statistics on blogs all over the blogosphere are going bonkers as statistics are shifting and changing due to recent changes in Feedburner and Google feeds. For more information on how this is impacting WordPress.com bloggers, including changes to the feed information, see Feed Stats Spike: Feedburner and Google Reader Strikes and Google Feedfetcher Takes Control. Where is Bloglines?

WordPress.com Servers Do a Little Opps: For about 20 minutes (felt like forever), WordPress.com was done last Friday due to a little human error. Damn those humans. It’s fixed and running and the announcement that followed had some interesting information. First, this is the first down time they’ve had in 9 months, and the service is ten times bigger now. Second, here are the new figures for what is running WordPress.com and related services: 152 physical processors, 511 gigabytes of memory (RAM), 174 hard disks with several terabytes of storage, with new servers coming in constantly. Wow!

WordPress Community News

Another WordPress Song – This Time a Rap: Devin Reams is still enjoying the fame from the last “It’s Called WordPress” song and now features a rap number called the WordPress 2.1 Rap, dedicated to WordPress 2.1. Here is a sneak preview:

I said give me WordPress
’cause I need WordPress
So I could get upgradin’ version 2.1
Upgradin’ to version 2.1

I liked the old one, stable and quickest that they could make it
But now with AJAX, tabs, and so much new stuff I could rake it…

You throw in privacy options and you and you never get a ping
Sittin on auto save means I’ll never a lose a thing
The brand new login screen is so fresh and so clean…

Automattic is Hiring: Automattic is looking for some new computer techs and engineers to work in their virtual office, supporting all things WordPress and WordPress.com.

Automattic Sponsors the Philippine Blog Awards: Automattic will sponsor the Philippine Blog Awards this year.

Weblog Tools Collecton looking for translators: Weblog Tools Collection isn’t happy with machine translations and is seeking bloggers fluent in English and another language to contribute to the blog as well as translate all new posts into their language. And two have been found. Weblog Tools Collection is available in two new languages, duplicating post content and adding new in Deutsch and Español. This is quite the experiment, and if you are looking to expand your guest blogging experiences and language skills, this might be an interesting project. Oh, money is involved. ;-)

WordPress Techniques and Tips

Know of a great WordPress tips and techniques article? Let me know and it may end up on our weekly list. Here are a few to wet your WordPress whistle.

More WordPress News

For more news on WordPress, see:


Each Wednesday on will be WordPress Wednesday where I will be featuring the news around the WordPress Community. Put it on your calendar!

Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on .

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  1. By Santosh posted on February 21, 2007 at 2:46 pm
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    Gr8! What a find, I was going through the websites that were linking to my blog and I found this! I’m really happy I found it, you helped me out providing so many links!

    Thanks especially for the subscribe-to plugin – the darn thing had been causing a LOT of mischief with my Ajax inline comments.

    -Santosh

  2. By Devin posted on February 21, 2007 at 3:22 pm
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    * Tips his hat.

  3. By robwatts posted on February 21, 2007 at 3:44 pm
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    Hi Lorelle nice write up. Always good to read soemone talking about nofollow in the right vein :D

    Do you guys intend to remove it too?

  4. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on February 21, 2007 at 4:49 pm
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    I’m not one of “you guys” ;-) , but I do know that there is a lot of discussion around this issue and I, like you, wait to see what they will do with the next version of WordPress.

    Remember, this was put in originally at Google request. It didn’t work. It didn’t work on two fronts. First, it didn’t stop comment spammers. Second, it didn’t stop search engines from following the links. People are wanting their “comment link juice” back, but folks, you’ve had it for a long time even with the nofollow. Google ain’t the only search engine out there.

  5. By robwatts posted on February 21, 2007 at 5:35 pm
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    Hey Lorelle no offence intended! Its very clear to see you are not one of us guys ;) Was just speaking in the vernacular :D.

    Ive carped and dissented in various places on this very topic intermitently here and there for some time. Funny thing is, it wasn’t really until I started blogging that I thought ‘hang on a minute’ this sucks! Hence the subsequent removal. its good to see the ground reverting though, people are armed with a whole bunch of tools they never had prior, akismet, captchas, trackback mod options etc.

    Fingers crossed we shall eventually see a WP rollout with nofollow off by default. :)

  6. By Alpesh Nakar posted on February 21, 2007 at 10:41 pm
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    Hi Lorelle,

    Thanks for the honour and mention. How to Convert a Non-Widget to Widget Ready WordPress Theme”.

    On a side note, I did have a great article on how to fight spam on a WordPress blog.
    My spam moderation is down to ZERO!

    I would love to hear Mark’s comment on the new plugin.

    Thank you so much!

  7. By HART (1-800-HART) posted on February 22, 2007 at 8:37 am
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    I think my head exploded when I read that there is a new upgrade version 2.1.1 available. I thought I was safe until April. I’ve still only managed to update 27 of my 40 blogs .. I hate to upgrade those 27 all over again. Geesh. They need an automatic installer of updated files.

  8. By engtech posted on February 22, 2007 at 9:36 pm
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    I love this weekly series, Lorelle.

  9. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on February 23, 2007 at 12:56 am
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    Glad to know I have a fan. ;-)

    Don’t forget, engtech, you write up good stuff on how you did the goodies on WordPress.com (step-by-step like for a seven year old – me), and you’ll be included here. I’ve been begging! Do I have to slobber, too. ;-)

  10. By Michael Vu posted on February 23, 2007 at 9:44 am
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    what a great post!

  11. What Will Stop Comment Spam? at The Blog HeraldMarch 5, 2007 at 10:51 am
  12. Should Do You Announce Upgrades On Your Blog? at The Blog HeraldMarch 12, 2007 at 9:04 pm
  13. Ultimate List of DoFollow Plugins - Banish Nofollow From Comments and Trackbacks | Andy Beard - Niche MarketingMarch 23, 2007 at 3:14 pm
  14. Digital Slices from My Life » Bye bye to NOFOLLOW on this Blog!November 4, 2007 at 2:44 am