Which WordPress Caching Plugin Is Right For You?

Most people can agree on one thing: they want their site to load faster. With a number of WordPress caching plugins now available – it is nice to see someone that did a comparison between the top contenders: http://www.tutorial9.net/web-tutorials/wordpress-caching-whats-the-best-caching-plugin/.

Remember – your results will vary based on your hosting environment, your theme, your plugins, etc.

Working With WordPress Shortcodes in Template Files

Ever need to include the functionality of a shortcode in a WordPress template file?

Awhile back I needed to create a template that auto changed some of the shortcode parameters depending on the URL it was accessed from. (Think single gallery page – that depending on the GET variables of the page – would show a specific and that gallery specific options. Instead of creating multiple gallery pages with the gallery shortcode hardcoded in – I decided to make one gallery page and then change the contents by simply modifying the URL using some GET variables which worked out great.

Example:
URL: http://www.example.com/gallery/?gallery-id=23

do_shortcode( '[jappler-gallery id=" '. intval( $_GET['gallery-id'] ).']' );

That code right there will then show the gallery with the ID 23 specified in the URL (?gallery-id=23).
This is just a quick way to utilize shortcodes inside the templates themselves while allowing you to make pages a bit more dynamic!

*Make sure to sanitize your GET variables.

Documentation on do_shortcode(): http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/do_shortcode

WordPress 3.0 (beta1)

I have been testing WordPRess 3.0 for a few weeks now and have been very happy with what I have seen so far. The merge of Standalone WordPress and WPMU code is huge for me as you then only have one code base to maintain and develop for.

As always – the developers continue to make WordPress easier and more robust with every release. There are some great new features which make WordPress more and more appealing to both small and large companies looking for an easy to use and maintain CMS.

With WordPress 3.0 – there are now “custom post types” which will allow people to better define their content. Example – you are a company that has a portfolio. Instead of using the traditional pages or posts for that, you can create your own “post type” of portfolio which would then keep it completely separate from the blog posts and site pages organizationally. The possibilities are endless.

Creating and maintaing your menus will be easier than ever too. No more custom menu ordering with numbers – you can now drag and drop menu items into place.

There are a number of other changes too which include a new default theme, improved child theme support, some nice new UI touches, improved revision comparison user interface, new template files for better control, and countless other goodies which I am sure I will cover in the coming weeks.

All in all – this is an exciting update which promises to deliver both to users and developers alike!

WordPress 2.9 – An Amazing Update

I have been working with WordPress 2.9 now for a few weeks and I cannot remember the last time I was so excited with the new features of WordPress. There are countless little improvements most users would not notice, but there are some killer new features that should not be overlooked.

  • First and foremost – working with images just got a lot cooler!
    • Thumbnails Finally after creating several custom plugins for this – there is now a simple way to select and then use a thumbnail for each post. Simply add a few lines of code into your theme’s functions.php file and you are ready to go.
      add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );
      set_post_thumbnail_size( 150, 150, true ); // Normal post thumbnails

      (more details)

    • Cropping Ever need to crop a photo for your post or page? You can now upload any image, use built in crop functions to select the part of the image you want, save the cropped photo, and then use it – all within WordPress. Say goodbye to opening up Photoshop, cropping, saving, uploading, etc. Say hello to an easy to use streamlined process.
  • We’ve got trash! No more “crap I just deleted that post”. Now you have the option to Edit, View, or Trash a post or several posts. Once the items are in the trash you can easily recover them or permanently delete them.
  • Repair those tables please.Now you can automatically optimization your database by adding this line to your wp-config.php file: define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true);

Some screenshots of interest

Use As Thumbnail

Crop, Scale, etc

If you have not updated to this version – please take some time and take a look. The cropping alone will save hours of time if you ever needed to manipulate your images! Overall, this update took things one step further to making a solid, feature rich content management system and I am excited to use some of these new features with each new site I create!

WordPress 2.9 RC 1

Well – it is that time again – another new version of WordPress is coming out in the next few days (WordPress 2.9). I am running WordPress 2.9 RC 1 here on jappler.com and only one issue so far. If you have not read anything about the newest version soon to be available and you use WordPress, check out: WordPress 2.9 New Features/Changes.

WordPress Wednesdays: Little WordPress Gems

Every once and awhile while looking through the WordPress documentation, I find little gems. Here are a few that I found particularly interesting:

  • wp_page_menu Easily create a menu with the home page appended onto the menu with a lot of parameters. Similar to the standard wp_list_pages, but with some different possibilities
  • the_search_query I have seen several ways to get this, but this is by far the easiest, quickest, and most secure.
  • wp_reset_query If you use conditional tags, you will end up going crazy at some point and then will realize this is needed. Note to self everyone.

WordPress Wednesdays: Custom Taxonomies

I recently worked on a project where we needed something sort of like tagging, and sort of like categorizing – but neither really worked as there would be way too many exclude this and only show that stuff involved. I needed a way to classify certain content, have easy access to it, and display it in a manner that be effective and quick.

After exhausting all ideas – someone pointed me towards using “Custom Taxonomies” and it was a perfect fit.

What is a taxonomy? Simple – a way to group things. Why not use categories and or tags?

An example to better your understanding:
Right now – on this blog I use tags for my post themes (WordPress Wednesdays, etc). This is not ideal, because I am trying to group together posts by a particular theme, not necessarily by tags. Even though WordPress Wednesday could be seen as a key word – it is more a description or a classification of the post. What I plan to do in the next few days is to go back, create custom taxonomies for all my post themes and then use that for classification of posts instead of using tags. With this, I can then query them using query_posts or even make a tag cloud.

 'wordpress-wednesdays', 'showposts' =>; 10 ) );
 'post_theme', 'number' => 15 ) );

Still confused? Check out the links below. Once you start thinking about organizing information, I think it will make sense.

References:

WordPress Wednesdays: Get the Current Page

I was writing some functions that are used in the admin for my commercial WordPress theme: Lucidity and stumbled upon a great variable in WordPress: $pagenow. This variable will return the current page you are on and is great form admin functions – especially those that you want to only make available on certain pages.

To use this – just add it to your functions as a global variable, then you can use it to load in specific js/functions:

global $pagenow;
if (($pagenow == 'admin.php') && ($_GET['page'] == 'sdac_appearance')) {}

This proved to be very helpful when dealing with some finicky JS.

WordPress Wednesdays: Jappler Category/Tag Feeds

Perhaps you come to this site because you personally know me or like some of the WordPress hints I like, or like my CSS posts, or just like my personal rants (which seem to happen less…hmm I need to get on that!).

If you are only interested in some of my posts but not others, you can easily subscribe to just certain “subjects” very easily.

For example, lately I have been posting on a certain subject each day. (WordPress Wednesdays, etc). If you are only interested in reading those posts, subscribe to this RSS feed: http://www.jappler.com/blog/archive/tag/wordpress-wednesdays/feed. Perhaps you only want to read about things I post in the “Serenity Now” category. You can subscribe to http://www.jappler.com/blog/archive/category/this-and-that/serenity-now/feed. Do you see what I am doing? This logic will work on any tag or category. Find the tag URL (click on a tag) or find the category URL (click on a category in the sidebar) and then add “/feed” to the end of the URL – and there you go. A custom filtered Jappler.com feed.

Just another way WordPress makes it easy to interact with content!

Linkfest Thursday: July 9, 2009

Here are some links that I have found interesting over the last week or two – and hopefully you will as well.