WordCamp is only a few weeks away! WordPress 2.2.1 update is available and a mandatory upgrade. Something exciting has happened on the WordPress Theme Viewer. Hot new WordPress Plugins are coming out of the Weblog Tools Collection Plugin Competition that you need to know about. There are some things you need to know about flaws and security issues regarding WordPress Plugins and WordPress in general. WordPress is getting more recognition as a CMS replacement. There’s now a short history of WordPressMU. I explore the international blogging fun on WordPress.com and challenge all WordPress bloggers to vote and have their say on upcoming WordPress features. And did you know that some WordPress nerds like to blog naked? Oh, my!
WordCamp 2007 – July 21-22: WordCamp 2007 is now rocking. July 21-22 in San Fransisco, California, registration is required and tickets are $25 USD through PayPal. The WordCamp Schedule and line up is awesome:
The cast of thousands includes Dan Kuykendall, author of PodPress, John Dvorak and Om Malik, Lorelle VanFossen, Jeremy Wright, Lloyd Budd and Mark Jaquith, Robert Hoekman, Jr., Matt Cutts, Barry Abrahamson and Matt Mullenweg, Rashmi Sinha, Andy Skelton, Dave Winer, Liz Danzico, Michael Adams, and Ryan Boren.
WordPress is also looking for WordCamp Sponsors to help make this a big bang party and conference. Interested? You’d be reaching the best of the best in blogging.
WordPress 2.2.1 Upgrade: The WordPress 2.2.1 upgrade has been released and Mark Jaquith has the upgrade files with the list of the changed files and a zip file containing all of them to speed your upgrade process. Several security issues were also addressed, which makes this a mandatory upgrade. It is highly recommended you upgrade immediately as some evil doers have exploited these recently. Other bug fixes included Atom feed validation fixes, XML-RPC, Widget backward compatibility, Widget layout, and Page and Text Widget improvements.
WordPress.com June News: As mentioned on the Blog Herald this week, the monthly WordPress.com summary news reveals WordPress.com bigger and better than before with a total of 1,148,977 on WordPress.com, this month 122,000 blogs were created and 135,000 new users joined. You think you got comment spam problems, 28.2 million spam comments were blocked.
WordPress Security: Matt Mullenweg recently responded to the issues of WordPress Security in light of recent revelations of security patches and issues. He sums it up with this:
Finally, I suppose we could act more like our proprietary competitors and try to downplay or hide security issues instead of trumpeting them loudly in our blog, but I think the benefit of having people well-informed outweighs the PR lumps we take for doing the right thing. I truly believe talking about these things in the open is the best way to address them.
Well said! Mark Jaquith added his twenty-five cents to the debate as well. One sure thing about such open debates is that we WordPress users will benefit from the growing interest and concern about protecting us from security issues.
WordPress Plugin Competition: The Weblog Tools Collection called “WordPress Competition 2.0” runs to July 31 with great prizes for inspired WordPress Plugin development and creation. See the Plugin Competition Blog and the announcement for more information.
Sandbox Theme Competition: The Sandbox Designs Competition is going strong with some very nice Themes. The Sandbox WordPress Theme is a “blank template” with a LOT of customization features and excellent CSS structuring. I use it on on my WordPress.com blog and put together a first draft of all the styles for the Sandbox Theme in a CSS stylesheet and Engtech of Internet Duct Tape offers some tips on designing with the Sandbox WordPress Theme, and adds tips on creating 3D buttons for the Sandbox Theme, showing you the versatility of the Theme and the power of CSS.
For more on the competition, see The Sandbox Designs Competition site.
If You Move Away From WordPress, You’ll Be Sorry: Those are the sentiments of a lesson well learned by Greg Balanko-Dickson in “My Mistakes Blogging”:
The biggest mistake I made was moving away from the WordPress platform. I spent a lot of time learning to use WordPress and overall was happy with it. Why did I stop using it? Good question, I am not sure I can come up with a good explanation.
…Not only does WordPress have the best protection against spam bots but the WordPress platform is much more battle proven and stable than the Joomla code base. Even with all the free WordPress templates available, getting a design for my website that satisfied my sense of design was a challenge. Plus I wanted to make it easy for users to find relevant content among my 438+ articles…So, I am back to using WordPress as my CMS for my Coaching website and podcasts. I could not be happier.
Have you tried switching away from WordPress and found it was a mistake. I’d love to hear from you.
Smashing Magazine Tackles WordPress Tips and Tutorials: With more WordPress goodness than you can imagine, Smashing Magazine offered “WordPress Plugins & Tutorials: Your Pick” recently, inviting readers to contribute their tips and tutorials for WordPress. I haven’t counted them all, but the list of fantastic Plugins, tips, tricks, hacks, tutorials, and more is incredible. Check it out.
NerdPress – I Blog Naked: Brandon Buttars has started NerdPress Gear, a line of t-shirts and a conversation group for WordPress nerds. The logo uses an “N” just like the WordPress logo and declares itself “NerdPress – i blog naked” with a few other “fun” slogans. Brandon claims that for each t-shirt sold, $1 will be donated to WordPress projects.
WordPress Traveling Buddies Teaming Up: Anyone from Washington, Oregon, or Northern California heading towards WordCamp and want a ride? I’m still debating about driving my small motor home to San Francisco, so if you are interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are You Involved With a WordPress Group? If you are involved with a WordPress group that meets regularly or as part of a special event, please let me know so I can promote the event here and elsewhere.If your group isn’t listed with Incoming.org or Meetup.com with WordPress as a keyword, I and others might not find you. Help us to help you promote your WordPress group.
Short History of WordPressMU: James Farmer of Incorporated Subversion and Edublogs has written A Short History of WordPress MultiUser (WPMU), telling the history of how WordPressMU got started and where it has gone from the early days in the fall of 2004. WordPressMU is the code under the hood that drives Edublogs and WordPress.com.
WordPress To WordPress Import: In Improved WordPress to WordPress Importer, Hefta-Gaub Development Blog tackles the issues many WordPress users face when they move from one full version of WordPress to another. Some good issues and tips are covered and included with the importer code supplied. This is great for WordPressMU bloggers moving to a full service blog, as well as full version WordPress users. If you are considering moving your WordPress blog to another, give this a try to hopefully make the process easier.
WordPress as a CMS: Recently, I pointed you to WordPress Makes Sense For Many Non-Blog Websites from Ifacethoughts, and now Leonid Mamchenkov has written “WordPress webapp framework. More than a blogging engine. More than a CMS”, another good look at how WordPress is giving CMS programs some fierce competition.
Can Anyone See Your WordPress Plugin’s Underwear? I’ve talked about this before, but Mark Ghosh of Weblog Tools Collection makes the point even more valid and asks if you are showing off your WordPress Plugins when you really shouldn’t.
…too many of them allow their plugin folder to be indexed. I performed this search because I noticed a crawler on a couple of my blogs that was indexing my plugins and that alarmed me a little. I do not allow my plugin folder to be indexed since I consider that too risky.
He offers some tips and advice to help you secure your WordPress Plugin’s folder, as does QuickRob.
Let Your WordPress Voice Be Heard: The WordPress Ideas section on WordPress is an open forum for you to have your say on the features you would like to see added or removed from WordPress. To help promote some of these interesting suggestions, I am adding a new feature to the WordPress Community section of this weekly WordPress news report to encourage your participation in what WordPress becomes.
Participation in the WordPress Ideas section is two-fold. You can rate the idea by clicking on the stars on the idea post, with more stars indicating you are in favor of the idea. And/or you can comment on the idea with your support, recommendation, or nay on the idea.
Here are some interesting ones to consider, vote, and have your say:
- Idea for improving WordPress registration protection from registration spam
- Theme and Plugins update or new install directly from blog admin
- Easy Updating of WordPress
- Thumbnail and image resizing
- Plugin Update Notification
- Integrate Role-Manger plugin with WP Core
- Pages/Categories/Posts Viewable Per User Level
- Better User Profile
- Get WordPress OfflineGet WordPress Offline
- Event Calendar standard in Admin and Post section
Honoring the Languages of WordPress.com Blogs and Bloggers: I’m always amazed at the international crowd of bloggers blogging on WordPress.com blogs. You can find many of them in the WordPress.com Blogs Of The Day. Interested in the top blogs and blog posts in Español, Italiano, Türkçe, Português do Brasil, Deutsch, Svenska, Nederlands, Rom’na, Polski, Dansk, Norsk (bokmål), Arabic, Català, Russian…so many languages!
So I’ve decided to attempt to list the top 10 posts from many of the different languages on this WordPress Wednesday News post over the next few months, highlighting the international nature of blogging and hopefully pointing you to some interesting blogs along the way.
WordPress.com Spanish Blogs: This week, the top ten blogs in Spanish (Español) on WordPress.com are as follows. To translate these into another language, you can use Google’s Translate Tools by copying and pasting in the link into the “translate web page” option.
- Going My Own Way
- Entre tuxes y pepinos
- La lectora provisoria
- Ratones Coloraos
- Soy donde no pienso
- Mr F1
- Super Goles
- arregla tu Hi5, Myspace, blogs y paginas webs!
Avatars Action: WordPress.com has now added Avatars to those using the Recent Comments Widget to their WordPress.com blogs. Avatars for WordPress.com bloggers have been around for a while and appear in WordPress.com forums, comments, and top blog posts and blogs, as well as on WordPress.com blog comments.
People Magazine on WordPress.com: People Magazine has a WordPress.com blog called “Off the Rack”.
Breaking Records: CNN’s Political Ticker, hosted on WordPress.com, broke the single-day traffic record after the recent Democratic presidential debates. Wonder how the WordPress.com servers will hold up for the next two years of presidential publicity and politicking? :D
Do You Have a WordPress.com Blogger in Your Life? Did you know that you can give a gift of love and appreciation to a WordPress.com blogger by buying them WordPress.com Credits. You can send any amount of credit to a fellow WordPress.com blogger or even someone without a WordPress.com account, as long as you have their valid email address. To give a gift of WordPress.com Credit, go to Upgrades > Gifts. WordPress Credit can be used to add storage space, add the CSS Extra allowing the blogger to customize their WordPress.com blog’s design, purchase and/or map a domain name, add an unlimited number of private blogs, and do much more with new upgrades and bonus features coming out all the time. This is a great way to say thank you, you are appreciated, or I love you to a WordPress.com blogger.
What Do You Use to WordPress? According to the recent WordPress.com news announcement, Windows Live Writer and Ecto are the two most popular desktop clients for accessing and posting to WordPress.com blogs. What are you using other than the WordPress Administration Panels web interface?
What’s Hot on WordPress.com? The hottest blogs on WordPress.com were:
- I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?
- A Hot Mess!
- Susan Loone
- Web Worker Daily
- Scholars and Rogues
- Mehmet Fatih Akbulut
- 38 Pitches
The hottest blog posts on WordPress.com were:
- Tommy Chong drinks the FOX News bongwater
- De juerga en Madrid
- Don’t Ask Me to Read Your Holy Book
- 5 Reasons why I think I will not use Spring.
- Money Talks
- UR NOZE
- A Case for Erlang
- Kwik-E-Mart, Las Vegas
- Why Emails Should be Short Instead of Nice
- Python Magazine Lives
WordPress Plugins and Themes News
Is Your WordPress Plugin Hurting Bloggers? Not all WordPress Plugins are bad. Some go a little bad when there is a major upgrade to WordPress. And some break a blog because they aren’t used correctly. Still, it pays to check. So discovered Search Engine Journal and Red Cardinal when they found the Mobile WordPress Plugin was causing redirect errors to Google’s webcrawler. The patch that fixes this issue is available now, but it brings up an important issue:
How do we track which WordPress Plugins are working and which aren’t?
There is an idea on the Ideas section of WordPress for Plugin Update Notification, which would allow Plugin authors to easily announce flaws, fixes, patches, and updates to those using those Plugins. It’s a complicated coding effort, but in the long run, other than paying attention to this WordPress news report every week, and the other sources of WordPress news, information on individual Plugins is scarce.
Update your Plugins regularly, and the ones you depend upon, check in with their authors frequently. And monitor your blog statistics and reports to keep an eye on potential problems that may arise influenced by a WordPress Plugin.
Popularity Contest WordPress Plugin Hacked to Feature Most Popular in 30 Days: Evil Genius Chronicles offers a hacked version of Alex King’s Popularity Contest WordPress Plugin. The original Plugin lists the most popular posts on your blog. The hack changes the number to the most popular posts within the last 30 days. I’d love to see one that mixed this in with some algorithm that also included your overall most popular posts, mixing things up and giving your readers more variety to choose from.
WordPress Custom Admin Menu Plugin Updated: The WordPress Custom Admin Menu Plugin has been updated recently. It allows you to change the order of your Administration Panel menus, change the text label of a menu item, create submenus, and make any panel a top-level panel or move it to a child-level, allowing you the ease of rearranging your Administration Panels to meet your needs.
Turn Your WordPress Blog Into a Review Blog: The WordPress Review Site Plugin turns your WordPress blog into a review blog, featuring categories sorted by ratings, ratings collected and displayed with comments by readers, average ratings for the review, number of positive or negative ratings for a review post, average ratings, and a wide variety of other features that help you rate your review subject and readers to rate and review the subject and/or your blog post review.
Bad Behavior has a New Permalink: One of my favorite comment spam fighters is Bad Behavior and it has a new URL, http://www.bad-behavior.ioerror.us/, so if you have promoted it to your readers, you might want to update the link.
Are You a Theme Tweaker? Ryan Ambrose asks “Are You a WordPress Blog Theme Tweaker?”, giving you a system to rate yourself as to how much you tweak or maul a WordPress Theme.
Magazine Style WordPress Themes: Chick Tech offers the “Best Non-Blog/Magazine Style WordPress Themes”, an interesting list of WordPress Themes which don’t look like blogs and resemble more of a magazine/editorial look. These Themes do some interesting things with content that might be worth investigating.
Interesting WordPress Plugins: I’m hunting for reviews of WordPress Plugins and will post them here. If you have used and reviewed a WordPress Plugin, please let me know so I can add them here. Until then, here are a few new and interesting WordPress Plugins – try them to see if they will work for you and your blog.
- Sniplets WordPress Plugin allows you to insert “generic text” into your WordPress blog such as inserting files, parts of external web pages (HTML), run PHP code, syntax highlight code, and display data from a database.
- Category Access WordPress Plugin protects posts and categories according to individual user permissions in WordPress 2+.
- Featured Posts WordPress Plugin Your old posts still have value. You can bring them to light in the new Featured Posts WordPress Plugin which works with custom fields to “weight” articles for displaying in the sidebar. You can also group featured posts together to feature them in a list. This is an interesting complement to the only other similar Plugin I’ve found, Archivist WordPress Plugin.
- Themed Login WordPress Plugin allows customization of the WordPress blog login and registration screens.
- WordPress Contact Form with Spam Protection Plugin Project Page is a popular WordPress Plugin that incorporates Ryan Duff’s original Contact Form with new spam protection elements.
- Who Sees Ads WordPress Plugin is a very hot new WordPress Plugin getting a lot of notice. It allows easy insertion of advertising in your blog, control over who sees which ads when, visual interface, wizards, and a whole lot more.
Professional WordPress Themes: Bloggerholic offers “Top 10 Professional WordPress Themes” in a list with images. While most WordPress Themes can work for businesses, they explain:
A key component of all Professional themes is their look. When you see one of these themes you will notice how well the sites are structured in terms of it’s layout, colours and content. The non-cluttered designs makes the professional themes a great choice for any professional or business site and most of the themes you see, come accompanied with widget-ready sidebars and stylish graphic elements.
Most Popular WordPress Themes: Something new and exciting has happened on the WordPress Theme Viewer. The list of the top ten most downloaded WordPress Themes has changed dramatically. They now feature 3,780 Themes and 5,439,603 Themes downloads and the top WordPress Plugins I’ve been listing for the past six months are off the list. Wow!
The new list of the top ten most downloaded WordPress Themes are:
- 04 Fresh Apple 1.0
- Tech9 3.17
- SunsetFade 1.0
- Mikozv-01 1.20070619
- Emporium Grass
- Fresh Orange 1.0
- WordPress Default 1.6
- Blue Space 1.0
- Simplistic 1.0
WordPress Plugin Directory: The new WordPress Plugin Directory is has a ton of new WordPress Plugins. According to their list, the most popular WordPress Plugins downloaded are:
- Sidebar Widgets
- Google Sitemap Generator for WordPress
- Subscribe to Comments
- Automattic Stats
More WordPress Plugins can be found on the WordPress Plugins Database.
Is Your Theme and Plugin Compatible with WordPress 2.2? As should be the normal protocol, if your WordPress Theme and/or Plugin is compatible with WordPress 2.2 or upgraded accordingly, make sure it is on the WordPress 2.2 Plugin Compatibility List and WordPress 2.2 Theme Compatibility List.
WordPress Techniques and Tips
Here are some featured articles from the WordPress Codex, the online manual for WordPress Users, the source you need to turn to first for your WordPress help. There have been some recent discussions on blogs and in the support forums about customizing template files and rearranging how WordPress handles posts, so I thought you’d enjoy a list of articles about manipulating your blog posts, including using the WordPress Loop.
- The Loop in Action
- Template Tags
- Template Hierarchy
- Category Templates
- Creating a Static Front Page
- Conditional Tags
- Query Overview
- Custom Queries
WordPress Community News
Are You Coming to WordCamp? A few people are coming a few days earlier and staying longer in San Francisco to explore the town and get together with WordPress users. It would be great to put together a tour package or some fun outside of the conference for those who will be there longer. Anyone interested in being the tour guide or event planner?
WordPress Community Podcast: The latest WordPress Community Podcast covers Dennis Kennedy covering copyrights, GPL and Creative Commons, WordPress is looking for translators, and a lot more WordPress news and tips.
WordPress Installed For Free: If you have problems installing the full version of WordPress, visit Installing WordPress for Free (aka Install4Free WordPress). This free, volunteer-driven service is limited to personal blogs only, and they help only with installations, not upgrades.
Looking for a WordPress Expert? Do you want a custom WordPress blog? Want to convert your website into a WordPress blog or use WordPress as a CMS? If you are looking for an expert in WordPress Themes, WordPress development, WordPress Plugins, or other WordPress-related expertise, check out the list of WordPress Consultants on Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, and the WP-Pro mailing list.
The following are upcoming WordPress group meetings and meetups, and a few special blogging events you may want to attend. If you know of any I’ve missed, please post them or contact me on my WordPress Events Page or via email.
- WordCamp 2007 – San Fransisco – July 21-22
- The New York City WordPress July Meetup – July 28
- The San Francisco WordPress July Meetup – July 28
- BlogHer Conference ’07: A World of Difference – Chicago – July 27-28
- Blog Business Summit – Chicago – September 17-19
For a WordPress Meetup near you and other blogging events, check out the WordPress Meetup Group List.
Extra Tip of the Week
WordPress not WordPress and Plugin not plug-in: Some of you who author WordPress Plugins and Themes, as well as those of you who want the WordPress juice links to encourage visitors to your blogs by talking about WordPress subjects need to know:
It’s WordPress not WordPress. It’s Plugin not plug-in.
WordPress is the officially trademarked name of WordPress. Spelling it otherwise is wrong.
Oh, and a plug-in is what you use to get electricity for your computer. :D
Even More WordPress News?
For more news on WordPress, see:
- WordPress Planet
- WordPress Development Blog
- WordPress.com Blog
- Weblog Tools Collection
- BloggingPro’s WordPress News and Tips
- The WordPress Community Podcast
- Lorelle on WordPress
- Planet WordPress from Planet Ozh
Each Wednesday on Blog Herald is WordPress Wednesday, featuring the news around the WordPress Community. If you have a WordPress news item or tip to suggest, please contact me at this special email address: email@example.com