More Face-lifting

Two site updates in as many days. I’ve been busy.

I’m continuing to get to know WordPress, delving into the guts of the system to understand how widgets, themes and plug-ins work. The more I see, the more I’m impressed.

Sarah wasn’t wild about the new look. I liked it, but she’s probably more representative of the public at large, so I’ve heeded her advice and moved to something that’s less of a departure from the look of the old Movable Type site.

The link to allow subscriptions by e-mail, courtesy of FeedBurner, disappeared with the move to the new theme, so I’ve had to add some code to put it back. In any case, I don’t recommend you use it. FeedBurner updates are but daily, so you could be up to 24 hours behind a posting, if you’re unlucky. You should really be using the RSS feed instead. If you don’t know what that is, go to Google Reader and find out what a news aggregator can do for your browsing experience. I set up Sarah today on Google Reader and she’s quite impressed.

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9 Responses to More Face-lifting

  1. Bas Scheffers says:

    I’ve been using WordPress also for though I do need to find some more time to fine-tune things.

    A nice plugin to add is “Subscribe To Comments”. When you post a comment, you can tick the box and be notified of subsequent comments from others.

  2. ianmacd says:

    Thanks for the tip.

    I’m happy to oblige, so I’ve just downloaded and installed said plug-in. It appears to do what it claims to do, but I’ve unfortunately had to deactivate it.

    A big problem is that subscriptions made via this plug-in appear not to have to be confirmed, so it’s easy for someone to comment under a fake e-mail address and subscribe another person — or worse, a large number of people — to a posting. As such, it’s a big security hazard.

    It’s a pity, because something like this would be useful. I can’t immediately locate a better alternative, either.

    For now, people leaving comments will have to subscribe to the individual posting’s RSS feed, which, in my opinion, is a better option, anyway.

  3. Bas Scheffers says:

    Ah yes. Not a problem for my site as it is a closed site. But that doesn’t make sense for this one. I’ll add the comments thread to my reader!

    Not being able to locate a better alternative is a big problem with WordPress; most of the plugins are quite poor quality. I ended up doing a fair bit of hacking on the ones I do use.

  4. ianmacd says:

    Yes, I agree that many of the available plug-ins are poor. Some don’t work with the latest version of WordPress and others hard-code paths instead of querying for them, which means they break when you’ve moved the content directory outside of the WordPress root.

    On another matter, what software are you using for the images in your postings? When you click on a thumbnail, it zooms out and slides across the screen. Clicking the photo advances you to the next one in the series.

    I recognise the software, as I’m seeing it on more and more sites these days, but I don’t know what it’s called. Can you tell me? It works very well and looks great.

    A bit of research leads me to believe that it’s called Lightbox. If so, which plug-in did you choose to work with it?

  5. Bas Scheffers says:

    Yes, it is lightbox. No plugin, though. Couldn’t find one. I hacked it into the core because I was in a hurry. I put it in the gallery_shortcode function in wp-includes/media.php.

    I do plan to make it a plugin in the next lot of development. One of the issues is that the JS will need to be served by a PHP page as there are paths in there that, it being JS, are relative to the page the JS is included. (which could be anywhere) So you need to create an absolute path based on siteurl.

    See and search for “lightbox”.

  6. ianmacd says:

    It turns out there are a lot of Lightbox plug-ins available. I’ve kicked off my tests with this one.

    By the way, when making a plug-in, don’t make references to the plug-in directory relative to siteurl. WordPress now allows the wp-content to be outside the WordPress root — which is how I’ve configured mine — and this breaks many plug-ins, including the Lightbox one I installed last night. I keep having to go in and manually fix things.

    • ianmacd says:

      After reporting the issue in the Lightbox plug-in to the author, I’m happy to report that he has already released a new version that takes WP_PLUGIN_URL into account when the version of WordPress being used is >= 2.6.

  7. Jules says:

    Hee, Ian. Eindelijk een wordpress blog, je wordt nog eens hip 😉 WorPress gebruik ik nu bijna exclusief, ik heb er al veel klanten blij mee gemaakt.

    Ontopic, in English: Never call javascript directly in a plugin. Use a built-in function, see

    As you’ll see, there is no need to include your own copy of jquery.

    Furthermore, by using this enqueue function, cache plugins (like w3 total cache) will be able to speed up your website even more.

    And Bas: Hacking WP core is almost never needed; You can override virtually everything using a plugin or the (custom_)functions.php of your theme.

  8. Bas Scheffers says:

    Ah yes, lots of plugins, none I could find that did what I wanted, with is kick in when you use the [gallery] short code. That’s so I didn’t have to edit dozens of posts and change tags.

    Jules, how ya been? Thanks for the tip. I’ve done precious little WP development; nothing beyond a few tweaks to templates and existing plugins, so I had not looked into all the options for it.

    I am still debating whether to go on with WP for this site, or move it to something like Drupal or Joomla.

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