WordLog

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Plugin to Restore Preview Post in Write Post Form

Filed under: — Carthik @ 6:05 pm

There are at least two people in the world who definitely will appreciate the plugins I mention in this post, and that, I think is reason enough to write here. Prior to WordPress 2.1 here was a neat little “Preview” link to the Top Right of the Write Post form. Clicking on that took you straight to the bottom of the Write Post page where you could preview the post as it would appear on the site in an IFrame. 2.1 took that away from us, annoying many. So someone filed a bug, which is now marked as Fixed. The Fix in 2.2 has been to include a link in the same place as before, but which opens the post in a new window/tab. If that does not fix it for you, here’s a plugin that surely will. This adds back the IFrame.

Read about and download the Preview Frame plugin.

I apologize for not being able to try it before mentioning it, but please do let me know how well it works for you, if you choose to use it.

Update: You may need the Preview Post Navigation plugin to add the “Preview” link on top. This will work for WordPress 2.1.3. For 2.2 you will have to edit the Preview Frame plugin to add a line “<a name=”preview-post”/>” just above the IFRAME line in the plugin source to make the “Preview” link work. I would have made the change and re-released the plugin, but the original plugin does not specify the license it is released under, so I desist.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Supplemental Results and WordPress

Filed under: — Carthik @ 7:46 am

I happened upon a curious trick to find out all your pages listed as “supplemental results” in google, and some other associated supplemental result tricks. A lot of you might already know these tricks, but I think reading the rest of this article might get you thinking about these supplemental results in a new way. I spent a good part of 1.5 hours playing with this stuff and reading up on it, which I try to summarize here.

To start off, let us look at the tricks.

Finding all supplemental results for your blog

The trick is to do a search for the string “site:wordlog.com *** -spght” in google. That gives you all the pages on your wordpress blog listed as supplemental results. The search result that google returns will have a “Supplemental Result” in the text that follows the url and the short excerpt, and as you can see, all the results for the string I refer to above have that after the results. The spghy can be changed to some other random characters – it doesn’t matter.

Finding all results that are not supplemental results

The following query will show all results that are not supplemental results:
site:wordlog.com -allinurl:wordlog.com“.

So, for wordlog.com, there are 227 non-supplemental results and 196 supplemental results. However, a search for “site:wordlog.com” returns 325 results, and 196+227 = 423. So I think some of the results returned for “site:wordlog.com” are supplemental results. At the time this article was written, page 25 of the results has two supplemental results right at the top.

What are Supplemental Results?

According to Google,

A supplemental result is just like a regular web result, except that it’s pulled from our supplemental index.

and, additionally, Google maintains that

…the index in which a site is included is completely automated; there’s no way to select or change the index in which a site appears. Please also be assured that the index in which a site is included doesn’t affect its PageRank.

So we know that there is no way to formally request supplemental index pages to be moved to the main results pages. However, one thing bothers me, sort of.

Most of the non-supplemental results for wordlog.com are the archive and category pages. I believe the individual posts should be there in stead. I have noticed, many times, that when I search for a term, I am most often led to the category or date-based archives of a blog, and then I have to manually search for the term again in Firefox, and then, since many themes display only excerpts in these pages, i have to click the article to read it to get the information I need. This is annoying, to say the least.

Fixing the supplemental results problems

There is a duplicate content cure plugin for wordpress that promises to reduce the duplicate content indexed by google by way of your archive and category pages. It does so by adding directives to google to not index archive and category pages by means of meta tags in the page headers. One would think this would cure the supplemental results problem too, and make all your blog posts preferred over the archive pages.

As a small experiment to test this theory that the duplicate content cure plugin will help alleviate the supplemental index problem, I did searches for supplemental and non-supplemental results for seologs.com, the site that published the plugin. Amazingly, seologs has 385 supplemental results and 243 non-supplemental results! So now it appears that the plugin is not the silver bullet for the problem. However, as promised by the plugin, the archive pages are missing from the pages indexed by google. Is this a good thing, though? If the number of indexed, non-supplemental pages are the metric, then it is not. Without the plugin, all of wordlog’s archives are indexed and probably will be returned as search results for some terms. The duplicate content cure plugin prevents some pages from being indexed, totally – it would be nice if it did not do that, really. It is better to have visitors find useful content via your archives if not via a direct link to the relevant article.

Ideally, I would love for the archives pages to be indexed too, with the blog posts being indexed in the main index. Heck, I would love to have all the pages in the supplemental index to be in the main index instead. There are lots of suggested tricks to avoid the supplemental index. The issue with archive pages in wordpress blogs being indexed more prominently is because all WordPress blogs have relative links to the archives pages that look like the following if you look into the source of the page:

"<link rel='archives' title='May 2007' href='http://wordlog.com/archives/2007/05/' />"

In addition to this, you also have links to the archives from the sidebar, which is probably displayed on all pages of your site. The indexing robots should think these pages are really important, since you seem to link to them from every page on your site.

So, a simple way to fix the problem, or at least try to get some pages in the main index might be to have a sitemap containing each and every post on every page in your blog. That would make the pages huge! An alternative would be to have an html sitemap and link to it from the the sidebar or footer. You could also link to posts you think are important from the sidebar. The important things to remember are that:
1) It’s better to have a page in the main index than the supplemental index.
2) It’s better to have a page in the supplemental index than to not have the page indexed at all!

I have a couple of ideas floating around in my brain that I will implement to accomplish item #1 above without violating item #2. I will try them out and let you know if the results are worth mentioning. Do you have any ideas that have worked, that can be verified in a straightforward manner? Blame it on what I do for a living, but I have come to trust verifiable results over speculation and hypothesis.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Download WordPress and Favorite Plugins in One Fell Swoop

Filed under: — Carthik @ 11:38 pm

WPZipper is one of those websites which I have thought of doing myself but never really got around to… Alright, well there is very little we all haven’t thought of and gone, “that would be so nifty!”.

What WPZipper does is pull your blog’s zipper to close shut.

Take 2: It is a service that provides a method for you to download one zip file with wordpress and all of your favorite plugins – plugins which you can select from a list. wpstar made it. I can think of a few small reasons I wouldn’t use it, based on the fact that unless you download it from wordpress.org, you can’t be sure it is the untainted, true, product, and that I might go over with the plugins I get. I manage my plugins, maintaining them at the bare minimum, and even for plugin-intensive blogs, it generally takes weeks to find the plugins I need and add them. But all this shouldn’t stop you from appreciating the effort behind the WPZipper service.

Did you know wordlog.com is using only the Akismet plugin at the moment? Now that’s what I mean by “bare minimum”. :)

Addendum: I must say I am also using the Automattic stats plugin now – so that makes it two plugins. D’oh.

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.

Friday, May 13, 2005

WP export plugin

Filed under: — Carthik @ 10:30 am

Eric Pierce, the guy behind the USF blogs has a plugin that helps you export your WordPress data in multiple formats — currently two, MovableType and SQL. The plugin add an option page to your admin interface to make the job easier.

Without much further ado, here is the WP Export plugin.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Registered Only Plugin Updated

Filed under: — Carthik @ 4:37 pm

I have updated the Registered-Only Plugin which provides an effective way to protect your blog from unregistered users, effectively making for a private blog, or a friends-only blog — you get the idea. So get the latest version, and I hope everything works fine.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Touched – a Useful Plugin

Filed under: — Carthik @ 12:53 pm

Touched is Gregory’s plugin that emulates Owen’s inline editing of posts, as a plugin.

You can edit posts and comments inline, a small editing box will appear when you click on “edit” links for the posts. If there is no javascript, the plugin degrades gracefully to give you a regular edit link.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Link Library – Display Links Beautifully

Filed under: — Carthik @ 9:08 am

Yannick writes in to inform WordLog readers of his new Link Library Plugin. The plugin creates a Links page with the links arranged by category. The set of links on the top of page that link to the sections is a nice touch. You can see what I am talking about at his links page.

Thanks for writing in, Yannick.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

DC’s Nicer Archives

Filed under: — Carthik @ 6:48 pm

David Clark has announced his “DC’s Nicer Archives” Plugin. The plugin helps you have archives which are a list of the posts, and an “Expand” link. Clicking the “Expand” link will give you a list of posts with the excerpt of each post on the same page. The archives pages at his blog are a good example of how it works. Nice work!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Will Old Plugins Work?

Filed under: — Carthik @ 2:12 pm

A common question in upgraders’ minds seems to be whether the old plugins will work with version 1.5

A lot of them will, some won’t. Here’s a brief overview of what might break. ‘Plugins’ that required you to edit source files other than index.php may be broken when you upgrade, overwriting the files. Some plugins might be affected by the restructuring of the index.php page, if you decide to use the new all-split-up index.php. The change involved in using the $wpdb class to access tables should not affect any plugins that use the old method (of using one variable for each table) since backward compatibility was maintained when the change was made. Plugins that use a menu page of their own might break. So would plugins that used or referenced files or options that are no longer a part of the core, like the geo-* functions, and the links-rating-images.

So good luck with getting the plugins working.

I urge plugin authors to upgrade their plugins, and check if everything still works, and user to urge plugin authors to do the same.

I know I have a couple of plugins of mine to review.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Weighted Flickr-like Tags for WP

Filed under: — Carthik @ 9:28 am

I missed the weighted-categories plugin when it came out. It is still an interesting project. The plugin creates weighted-text (text with different sizes, depending on the weight, or popularity), much like flickr, for your WordPress blog’s archives pages. Here’s an example.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Custom Posts Per Page Plugin

Filed under: — Carthik @ 11:59 pm

Jennifer of Scriptygoddess.com helps build and run Above The Fold, a small online shop selling Origami products. Above The Fold is powered by WordPress (and Paypal, I might add.) The site itself looks clean and very likeable.

She wanted to be able to display the eight most recent additions on the front page, and all items on her category pages, which essentially are those pages that list all the earrings, and all the cards etc. By setting the “posts per page” value to 8, she could accomplish the first objective, but to accomplish the second, which is to have a different number of posts on the category pages, she would have had to write a small plugin, or modify her category template. I am talking about v1.5beta here, of course.

She found the Custom Posts Per Page plugin, which allows one to specify the number of posts on the different pages of a WordPress blog. I think this is a mighty useful plugin. I wish this were hosted at the Plugin Repository, just so it would be easier to find. I didn’t know of it before now. It would also be nice for this to have a administration page, so one could change the values without having to edit the source of the plugin.

Post Moderation Plugin for managing Multi-Author Blogs

Filed under: — Carthik @ 7:17 pm

If you have blog, like the WordPress Development Blog, where you have multiple authors, then you might want to take a look at the Post Moderation Plugin

Post Moderation is a plugin for Wordpress, allowing multiple authors on your site while still maintaining editorial controls.

Features

  • Moderated Author Level
    Posts from authors at or below this level will be set aside for approval.
  • Moderator Level
    Authors at or above this level can approve queued posts for publishing.
  • Notification
    Uses a javascript popup to notify a moderated author that their post has been queued for approval. A slight improvement to the way comments are handled until there is some form of error reporting system.
  • Database Modifications
    Uses minor database modifications that can be installed by the plugin or added manually with SQL generated by the script that can be copy-pasted.
  • Deactivated Plugin Options
    If the plugin is deactivated while there are posts waiting for approval, posts can be sent to draft/private/publish or be deleted.

It would be nice it it had the additional feature of the administrator or moderators being informed through email whenever a new draft is posted to the blog.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

TechnoTag – for Technorati

Filed under: — Carthik @ 2:13 pm

Technorati recently came out with a service related to “tags” which seem all the rage at flickr and at del.icio.us which is primarily to blame for tags’ popularity.

You can check out the Technorati WordPress tag page, for starters.

Now the way it works is you “tag” posts in your weblog so it appears in the right technorati tag page. If you assign a post to a category, then the post is tagged as belonging to a tag that is the same as the category. So in other words categories are automatic tags. But if you want to tag specific post, then you could use the TechnoTag Plugin to make life simpler.

Thanks BloggingPro

..and then there is theTechnorati Tags Plugin for WordPress

Thursday, January 13, 2005

LaTeX in WordPress

Filed under: — Carthik @ 9:30 am

Scientists, researchers and publishers who use LaTex might be interested in checking out this WordPress blog which serves to illustrate the use of LaTeX in WordPress.

The blog talks about LaTeX Render, a plugin for rendering LaTeX formatted text in WordPress, and that includes integral equations, tables and such! LaTeX is far superior to any WYSIWYG text editor, and produces beautiful papers. I have been using it for my research work, and it’s amazing to see that LaTeX elements can be embedded in blogs. Wow!

IllustRender is another plugin that weblog talks about, which aids in adding illustrations to WordPress weblogs.

WP-CC – A CreativeCommons plugin for WordPress.

Filed under: — Carthik @ 4:45 am

Firas took up Lawrence Lessig’s bait and whipped up WP-CC, a plugin for making it easy to use CC licenses for you WordPress posts.

It looks neat, with it’s own plugin management page, and is, overall, an admirable piece of work for a first-plugin. In fact this is the first time Firas has released any code! He has every right to go WOW!.

What is it about writing code for free that attracts people?

Lessig wrote about the plugin, but forgot to link to the plugin!

To end the post, I would like to thank Firas for documenting some parts of the procedure involved in creating a plugin. So go and get yourself the plugin and start using CC licenses!

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.

Spaminator update

Filed under: — Carthik @ 4:51 am

Some folks were having problems with Dr. Dave’s Spam Karma plugin eating honest-to-god innocent, genuine posts. Some others with some other plugins.

Well, the point is, Mookitty has announced an update to the Spaminator. Go get it.

I need to upgrade this blog to 1.5beta. Then again, I should not – beta software is not always the best for production blogs (and lazy people).

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Image Panorama Plugin

Filed under: — Carthik @ 9:26 pm

This is really cool. Taking the photographs and stitching them together might be painful. Creating panormas from images is something I’ve heard of, but never done. Now if you have panoramic images, and you want to display them on your WordPress blog, you can.

The IImage Panorama Plugin helps you display panoramas. Go ahead, click on that link and check out the panoramas.

While at the site, also see the IImage Browser Plugin, which aids in uploading and adding images or thumbnails to you post using some Javascript. The screencaps look neat.

I would love to try the IImage Browser plugin on my personal blog soon.

Neato.

LiveCalendar Plugin

Filed under: — Carthik @ 3:46 am

LiveCalendar is an implementation of Kae’s Calendar.

The normal calendar that can be seen on WordPress blogs is not “Live”. What this means is that if you click the link to the previous month in the calendar, the whole page is refreshed, and this takes time. With the LiveCalendar, only the Calendar will be refreshed, leaving the rest of the page as it is, and so the calendar is faster. You can see the LiveCalendar at work and decide for yourself.

The Plugin is hosted at dev.wp-plugins.org, which is a spanking new host for plugins set up for the use of WP plugin developers. I expect the service to the officially announced soon.

 

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