WordLog

A weblog authored by Carthik about the latest in the WordPress world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What’s Right with WordPress 2.3

Filed under: — Carthik @ 8:10 pm

So WordPress 2.3 is out, and the release announcement is exciting to read.

First off, in 2.3, WordPress gives us real Tags. Tags are not categories. I was really disappointed when WordPress.com started confusing categories for tags, and wrote about why Tags are not Categories. WordPress has finally come clean, and seen the light, and explained what’s what over at the Tags and Categories article at WordPress.com blog. Now to take it a step further in the right direction, it would help if everyone thought about how tags add value to a blog. Tag Clouds are cool, but they’re not the be-all and end-all of tagging. Here’s some great ways to use the tags you painstaking created by tagging individual posts:

  1. Improve search results on blogs by searching for articles containing the search term(s) as tags.
  2. Provide an easy way to navigate the blog using Tag intersections, unions, and other common operations on sets. This would make it possible to find articles where your favorite blogger talks about two of your favorite things, or one thing and not another. The focus is on making information easier to find.

The above should replace the “site search tags” found under almost all of Lorelle’s articles, and then some.

The second step in the right direction is the removal of the links to developers’ blogs from the default blogroll. A lot of the old developers and volunteers have been inactive and non-contributing members for a long time now. Indeed, it was good to have a PageRank of 8 for my own blog, but I had the link to my blog removed about a year and a half ago when I decided to stop scaling down on my WordPress volunteer work. I did that because I thought that was a part of stepping down gracefully, and wasn’t too comfortable with going, “So who the heck is this ‘Carthik’ in my blogroll?,” long after I stopped contributing. Also, I wasn’t sure my contributions were at-par with those of some of the others who put in way more effort. It’s hard to decide where to draw the line with recognizing contributions to open source projects anyways. It’s better now since no one can point at finger at some old contributor profiting without contributing by means of selling text links on their blog now. Good job!

The MovableType importer is no longer as memory hungry as it used to be. You can also add new importers by installing importer plugins. Very cool.

A lot of the changes were from the most wanted changes/ideas proposed by users, and that is good news in itself. Now if only some of the other ideas are implemented, like searching in both “Posts” and “Pages” by default, instead of just in Posts.

So, on a personal level, these are my thoughts about the changes in 2.3. The only small thing that irritates me are the new names in the db:

Three new terms tables (schema) term_relationships, term_taxonomy, and terms support combined post categories, link categories, and the new tags. The tables, categories, link2cat, and link2post, are gone!

I am yet to understand what “terms” are, what “taxonomy” is and what kind of relationships “term_relationships” describes. If these tables deal with categories, tags, and I assume, blogroll links, wouldn’t it better to have those terms in the db table name, instead of the term “term”? I wonder. The new db table names give away nothing about their intended purpose in the database. All three terms are brand new, never before seen in the WordPress world. I am sure there must have a good reason to name them thus, which I’d love to know more about.

So, in your opinion, what’s wrong about WordPress 2.3?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

MovableType: 3 Years Too Late?

Filed under: — Carthik @ 11:43 am

Movable Type is going open source. Yup. MovableType 4 Beta has been announced and the plans are to make it a fully GPL-ed, open source product. The announcement says:

…we wanted to explain why we’ve made this massive investment in Movable Type and its community. The truth is, Movable Type is how Six Apart got started, and one of those ideas that motivated us from the very beginning is that we’ve got a mission.

And then the rest of the post does nothing to explain clearly why they’ve made this massive investment. The rest of post explains how blogging empowers ordinary people, and that their mission is to get blogging to the masses. It also explains the role of Vox, LiveJournal and TypePad in the Six Apart world. A free version of MT was always available for personal use. So why make it open source? That’s the answer I was looking for, and did not find.

I still clearly remember the day Mena announced the new pricing structure for MovableType. A day later, I wrote up a post on how to move from Movable Type to WordPress. Then, the exodus began – with famous users, like Mark Pilgrim, Molly, and so many others shifting to WordPress. Those were busy days on the #wordpress IRC channel. The number of opinion-leading bloggers who used MT started declining, and most of the new bloggers who came after chose WordPress. While there is no reliable count of the number of WordPress Vs. Movable Type users, I dare say more folks use WordPress than MT.

At the time of the announcement of the new pricing structure, the rationale was:

In preventing web hosts from offering Movable Type for a fee, we had to put a pretty strict blanket clause on our licenses to cover all cases when compensation was earned. Buying a commercial license to perform services was a bit backwards, but at the time, it was the only way we felt we could control the situation.

So the new pricing structure intended to let personal users continue to use MT while stifling other commercial entities from “profiting” from their product. How has this changed today? Today, not many commercial entities offer MT installations, I suppose. There is no evident mass-interest, and so they probably are no longer a significant threat.

Some answers can be found at the Movable Type open source page. They say the reason for an open source release is as simple as that the users asked for it. They asked for it en-masse just about 3 years ago. So though it sounds like a valid reason, I suspect that is not all there is to it. Whatever the reasons behind the change of mind, I welcome it. WordPress needs competition. I just wish the MT 4 Beta announcement wasn’t so wishy-washy. Did they make a mistake in announcing their pricing structure earlier? Did they realize that releasing their flagship product as an open source product will revitalize their mind share? Did they do this for business reasons – if so, what is the rationale behind that move? The MT back-and-forth would make for a very interesting case study of open source products vs. products with a variable price structure. It’s a case study in the making, and I can’t wait for the results. Time will tell which worked better for them – I hope Six Apart will share the numbers and the experience in a transparent fashion.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

WordPress 2.2 “Getz” Security Upgrade

Filed under: — Carthik @ 6:13 pm

I had written in the post describing 2.2’s arrival that there was no mention, and it wasn’t clear from the WordPress bug tracker whether 2.2 included any security updates.

The recently married Mark has left us a comment saying WordPress 2.2 Getz includes some security fixes. As with all upgrades that include security fixes, you are encouraged to upgrade to this release as soon as you can. You don’t want any holes, big or small in your WordPress blog. The reason I upgraded WordLog and resumed posting is because someone used a hole in the old, un-upgraded version to upload copies of movies, including Hannibal Returns to my VPS. Yes, it can get that ugly! So upgrade now.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Go Get Getz – WordPress 2.2 Arrives

Filed under: — Carthik @ 2:09 am

WordPress 2.2 codenamed “Getz” has been released. Read the official announcement for details.

This is all part of the new experiment to release often, and release regularly. Finally Matt’s 2005 resolution seems to be kicking in :)

Widgets in the core, that annoying bug where marking comments as spam in the admin page causes the number of displayed comments to keep decreasing has been fixed, and loads of cookies for developers, and lots of bugs including some “Highest OMG BBQ” bugs fixed.

What’s unclear is if this is just a feature-upgrade release or if it includes any security fixes? Do we all have to upgrade to be secure? It would be nice if a small note were added regarding security in the official release blog posts.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Get WordPress.com Stats for Your Self-Hosted Blog

Filed under: — Carthik @ 6:39 pm

A blog statistics plugin has been announced at wordpress.com that allows you to have wordpress.com style stats on your own, self-hosted WordPress blog. Before we go any further, he’s a glance at the simple, efficient stats that await you:
Blog Stats - Flash

The Automattic stats plugin available at wordpress.org is real easy to install. You download it, upload the stats.php file to your “plugins” directory on your WordPress blog, and activate it. The plugin will then tell you that you need an API key for it to function. If you have an API key for akismet on your blog, you can use the same key for the automattic stats plugin. If you don’t have an API key, you can get one here. You just sign up as a user at wordpress.com and when you activate the account you get an email with the API key.

Once the plugin is installed, you get an extra tab on your blog’s Dashboard, and a half hour later, you can see the wonderful stats, the same way you see it on WordPress.com blogs. Besides the graph showing the number of visitors for the past month, there is also details regarding referrers, popular posts, popular exit links and incoming links – that’s about all the stats I care to know about my blog. Here’s the full screen of stats, for the Ubuntu Blog:
WordPress.com Stats Plugin Screenie

Now here’s the irony in all this: The day after I rekindled this blog, I decided that the first time-intensive article I will do would be one comparing different free blog/website statistics tools available out there. So I installed OneStat Free, Statisfy, Add Free Stats, HitTail, 103 bees, Extreme Stats, GoStats, ActiveMeter, StatCounter, Google Analytics, and Reinvigorate. I thought I’d let them run for a month or so and then compare them, all for your benefit. I left out mint, which seems to be popular among bloggers since I don’t have an expendable $30 to plunk down for fancy stats. I also left out sitemeter since they seem to add 3rd party tracking cookies that may violate browsers’ privacy.

I might as well go ahead and do it – in spite of the wordpress.com automattic stats plugin being available – I think there will be some merit in comparing these alternatives. I want to decide which stat tools to use and stick with them. Now I can compare these, and the wordpress.com stats, and find the best.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Congratulations Mark!

Filed under: — Carthik @ 8:20 am

Please join me in wishing Mark and Sarah a happy married life. Mark has been a strong pillar of the WordPress community, with his Covered Web Services being the least of the ways he’s involved in the WordPress world.

Here’s wishing them joy and happiness, and a happy married life.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Frontal View of Matt’s Stuff

Filed under: — Carthik @ 11:40 pm

Yes, the Matt in question is our good old photomatt.

The title shocked me.

Matt seems pretty excited about his new stuff.

Monday, August 22, 2005

In the News, indeed

Filed under: — Carthik @ 8:37 pm

There was time when I knew most of the active WordPress blogs out there, by url. Then there was a time, not so long ago, when searching for WordPress in Google News would yield nothing, though I expected it to show up something, when I thought WordPress had “matured”.

The system has come of age, and the signs are showing up.

State of WordPress.com

Filed under: — Carthik @ 9:57 am

WordPress.com is a new venture aimed at bringing blogging to the millions. For starters, it will grow in a very linear fashion, since each invitee (yes, you need an invite) can only invite one other person. Powered by WordPress Mu, and much like Blogsome, WordPress.com promises to be interesting. May Matt’s baby steps to ensure the self-sustainability of the WordPress effort succeed. It is still not clear how WordPress.com, which, I hear, is not a non-profit, or voluntary organization, will make it’s money, but Matt has made it clear that most of the money generated will be used to fuel development and developers. Having known him for about two years, I trust him to not hurt his own baby, and what seems like a big part of his life – personal and professional – WordPress.

Alright, now to the juicy stuff – Lorelle has written about what one can and cannot do with a wordpress.com blog. For all of you who are still wondering what a wordpress.com entails, and what it’s all about, this extensive article tells the story.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Participate in the Backup Week

Filed under: — Carthik @ 7:45 am

The kind folks at WordPress are organizing a backup week to encourage the practise of regularly backing up your WordPress blog. The press release from Lorelle is below :

Backing Up is Not Just for Cars

Your WordPress database contains every post, every comment and every link you have on your blog. If your database gets erased or corrupted, you stand to lose everything you have written. There are many reasons
why this could happen and not all are things you can control. But what you can do is backup your data. After all, it is important isn’t it?

WordPress Backup Week July 23-30 aims to help you become more familiar with the process of backing up and protecting your data.

Step-by-step backup instructions will be available in the online manual, the WordPress Codex, and support provided online in the WordPress Support Forum to help you through the process.

Guides will be available to help you backup your WordPress site and database for a variety of systems and server software such as cPanel, DirectAdmin, Plesk and vDeck. Consider using this Backup Week as an incentive to backup all your valuable documents and software, too.

These guides will assist you in determining:

  • When and how to make backups.
  • How to make things right after an unexpected data loss befalls your
    WordPress database.

Making backups is essential because problems inevitably occur and you need to be in a position to take action when disaster strikes. Spending a few minutes to make an easy, convenient backup of your database will
allow you to spend even more time being creative and productive with your website.

For more information or to help volunteer on this WordPress Community Event, see WordPress Backup Week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ease of Use

Filed under: — Carthik @ 9:51 pm

The Tampa Bay news ran a story about the WordPress blogs at USF. My favorite part of the story? The very last line, that reads:

“I was surprised at how easy it was to use.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Joe Clark needs help

Filed under: — Carthik @ 5:51 pm

Joe Clark, a Toronto based accessibility consultant is requesting help with WordPress. You can read the details in the post requesting help at Fawny. The effort might prove productive for you, since he’s offering to look at your wishlist.

Monday, February 21, 2005

WP now in SVN

Filed under: — Carthik @ 4:07 am

WordPress now uses a Subversion Repository! Subversion is smooth, creamy and topped with a cherry.

Matt says everyone should do the following to use it anonymously (everyone except the devs can use the following instructions) :

svn co http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress/trunk/
…HACK HACK HACK…
svn status
svn diff > patch.txt
GOTO http://mosquito.wordpress.org and file that patch/bug!
svn update

Right now let’s put all code changes through mosquito. Something cool
about `svn diff` is it’s an offline operation, ie you can do it on a plane.

More details on using SVN here

There’s a mailing list with commit messages, in case you are interested. If you are subscribed to the old wp-cvs list, you do not need to subscribe again. This is a cool way to stay up to date with changes to WordPress.
So go ahead and subvert!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

WordPress 1.5 “Strayhorn” is Out.

Filed under: — Carthik @ 1:46 pm

Get ready to upgrade to “Strayhorn“, WordPress 1.5. Released at around 01:24 (UTC) on Feb 15th, Strayhorn is named after the legendary Billy Strayhorn.

There are changes too numerous to list in a sentence, and you have to upgrade to see the beauty, elegance and simplicity. Change is challenging, but very rewarding.

Let the word spread!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Shuttle

Filed under: — Carthik @ 3:48 pm

So What Exactly is “Shuttle” ?

Work in Progress…

P.S. Don’t you hate it when someone links to pages the way I have above – where the anchors to the links tell you nothing about the words? I do, but I couldn’t resist posting a bunch of links real fast.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

WP1.5 now Gamma

Filed under: — Carthik @ 8:47 pm

Yes folks, it’s that time in the cycle when the version is bumped up to 1.5-gamma. Watch out, intense radioactivity ahead!

There a bunch of bugs, and a few kinks with recently added features that need to be ironed out yet. It’s work in progress, and it will get done one of these days. Kudos and thanks to Matt, Ryan, Michel, Dougal and all the other developers who have been bug-fixin’ lately.

Friday, January 21, 2005

rel = nofollow now standard in WordPress

Filed under: — Carthik @ 3:08 pm

Looks like Matt just added rel=nofollow to all the comment author URLs as well as the URLs in comments. So thus nofollow finds it’s way to the WordPress source code.
To be honest, I am sick of everyone talking about this nofollow thing. Move on, folks. This is the last I’ll talk about it (unless there is a neat plugin or two).

Monday, January 17, 2005

Finally, a registration page for WordPress MultiUser

Filed under: — Carthik @ 2:05 pm

WordPress MultiUser, or WPMU for short, is primarily Donncha’s initiative to provide a method to create multiple wordpress blogs, one for each user. You can install it and use it to enable the easy setting up of blogs for a lot of users, for example. This still not a multi-blog solution, since you do not yet have a page, or set of pages from where you can manage all the weblogs you set up.

WPMU did not have a page to setup new blogs, the process involved some command line work, until now. Donncha announces a Registration Page (still alpha) for WPMU. This is a good development, making it easier for you to setup new blogs using WPMU. Thanks Donncha!

Monday, January 10, 2005

WordPress Plugin Repository

Filed under: — Carthik @ 8:59 pm

The WordPress plugin repository has been officially announced.

Plugins authors should really check in their plugins at the repository. This is a superb service being offered for free, and more importantly it is a neat way of coordinating the development of plugins, and themes for WordPress. You can take developing extensions to WordPress to a wonderful new level, with Subversion – based revision control, and an issue tracker.

End users have the benefit of being able to browse and obtain the plugins they need in one place.

Michael Heilemann refers Kubrick-related support requests to the Kubrick Forum. He wouldn’t have to, if his theme were hosted at the repository. If you are a plugin author, you know what I am talking about when I talk about comments posted to the post announcing the plugin. They grow ultra-long and are a pain to manage. With the repository you get a issue-tracker for your plugin, and so your blog doesn’t get messed up, and everyone can see and share feedback.

I don’t want to unneccasarily repeat what’s at the devblog, so plugin and theme authors – please check in your plugin or theme at the repository today! Its ultra-simple and easy. It took me exactly 2 minutes to check in my plugins.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Nominations and Recognition

Filed under: — Carthik @ 12:36 pm

WordLog has been nominated for best science/technology indiblog. Thanks are due to Arvind of MovaLog for writing in to let me know. Mark’s WLTC also finds a place in the category. None of us have even the slightest chance, I am afraid to say, since there are some heavyweights in the fray, like GigaOm. Good luck to everyone – not that these awards are the ultimate goal for a blogger – but these things help blogs get noticed.

Which reminds me that WordLog was blogstreet India’s blog of the day on 16th December 2004. Now this might be a case of a website getting noticed due to the blog posts – like this one right here.

 

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