Testing a new plugin suite – Shortcake Bakery

Shortcake Bakery uses the Shortcake plugin and extends use of WordPress shortcodes. Makes embedding content in my blog pretty easy.

 

[facebook url=”https://www.facebook.com/RHCPChad/videos/904042432993659/”]

The above video link from Facebook via the Shortcake Bakery.

Last week, Daniel Bachhuber and the engineering team at Fusion releasedShortcake Bakery, a plugin that extends the Shortcake project to supply a suite of handy shortcodes for publishers. The plugin currently includes the following:

  • Image Comparison (powered by JuxtaposeJS)
  • Facebook embeds
  • iFrames (require whitelisted hostnames)
  • Infogram embeds
  • PDF’s (powered by PDF.js)
  • Playbuzz embeds
  • Rap Genius annotations
  • Scribd embeds
  • Scripts (require whitelisted hostnames)

Plugin writeup and detail found here.

WordPress blogging on an iPad just got easier

Earlier today, WordPress released version 2.7 of their iOS blogging client. And I’m happy to say it works well so far, though I’ve only given it a very simple workout.

Previously I’d tried the WordPress app but had a number of problems publishing from it, random crashing etc. So I nuked it from orbit — the only way to be sure.

And then I replaced it with BlogPress, a paid app.

BlogPress is clean, works well, and has some nice features such as HTML shortcuts and TextExpander integration (a must for any iOS writing platform). But BlogPress is really designed to connect to more than just WordPress blogs, including:

– Blogger / BlogSpot
– MSN Live Spaces
– WordPress
– Movable Type
– TypePad
– LiveJournal
– Drupal
– Joomla
– Tumblr
– Squarespace
– My Opera

WordPress for iOS is pretty single-minded — it’s designed to talk to WordPress blogs (both hosted and self-hosted). And the blogging functionality is still pretty basic, but the one feature I really appreciate in the WordPress app (that’s missing from BlogPress) is the ability moderate comments.

As well, developers say they’ve killed over 100 bugs and reduced crash conditions, and cleaned up the user interface to make it easier to manage blogs.

So, actually now, I’m using both apps to manage my WordPress blogging — the free universal WordPress app, and the paid BlogPress app, mostly for writing and HTML work.

Here’s hoping that the WordPress app continues to grow up 🙂

Full details at the developers blog.

Saving the Internet, one plugin at a time

Well, a few posts ago I mentioned that I’d taken steps to speed up this blog.

Here’s a Pingdom response time graph showing how fast slow this blog was, before I pulled a few plugins.

And here’s what it looks like today.

So, according to these results, the blog is faster.

And what I’d done wasn’t all that extreme either; just removed a few plugins that were requesting data from external sources — such as the 3rd party font I used to use to layout this blog.

Now, the increased speed hasn’t changed my page position in the search engines, nor caused hair to start filling in my bald spot.

But it is nice to know that by making this minor change, I’m improving the user experience for anyone visiting my blog, and maybe helping to save the Internet by cutting down on the bandwidth usage, just a bit.

Your thoughts? Did you notice the snappy speed at which this blog loads?

How to make your WordPress blog mobile friendly

Earlier this week WordPress.com (the free blog hosting site) announced that they’re including two new mobile friendly templates in their offering.

This is absolutely awesome. I say this from the perspective of a iPod Touch owner who often surfs blogs on the device.

The more mobile friendly websites get, the more people will be able to find what they’re looking for, when they need it, wherever they are.

In fact you’ll find that this blog (yes the one you’re reading now) is mobile enabled (has been for months) using the same theme. – WPTouch by Brave New Code.

As a stand-alone mobile theme, it’s quite powerful:

  • User-selected theme toggle
    (between WPtouch view and your site’s regular look)
  • iPhone-like application appearance, functions
  • AJAX, jQuery & effects in only 56kb
  • The ability to turn advanced javascript effects & ajax on/off
  • Full WordPress search, pages, archives, categories, tags and links support
  • Theme native social bookmarking support
  • iPhone/iPod touch native post e-mailing support
  • Ajax comments, posted in real time
  • Ajaxed pagination (users can browse posts like YouTube videos)
  • Admin selectable custom icons for pages, logo, bookmark icon
  • Manually edit your site’s title to fit WPtouch
  • Show / Hide post excerpts, customize style in different ways
  • Easily add your own icons to customize menu appearance
  • Admin inclusion/exclusion of site pages shown in the theme’s menu
  • Compatibility suite in admin to inform of add-ons, WordPress version support
  • Favicon fetch & conversion to .png for links displayed using the WP blogroll
  • Support for FlickrRSS plugin, Blip.it video plugin
  • Automatic Archives page layout (if you have or create a page called ‘Archives’)
  • Automatic Photo page layout with Flickr (if you have or create a page called ‘Photos’ and have the FlickrRSS plugin installed)
  • Automatic Links page layout with your blogroll links listed with their favicons (if you have or create a page called ‘Links’)

So, if you’ve got a WordPress standalone blog, browse on over to BraveNewCode’s site and grab this theme. If you’ve got a WordPress.com blog, do nothing, mobile themes are automatically enabled, though depending on the device the mobile user is using, you’ll either get the WPTouch theme, or a more general mobile theme:

When readers visit a WP.com blog from a “modern [mobile] web browser” (i.e. with a iPhone / Android device), they will now “get easy access to posts, pages, and archives” along with “fancy AJAX commenting and post loading.” Visitors accessing WP.com sites with other/older mobile phones will be greeted by the WordPress Mobile Edition, which aims to load the site quickly and in a mobile-friendly format.

In a future post I’ll take a look at some of the features of WPTouch that I use here.

Simple update adds iPhone style to your blog

Yesterday I installed the WPTouch plugin on this blog. Basically it’s a WordPress theme that reformats your blog so it’s much more readable on mobile devices (Android, iPhone, iPod Touch). Full list of features here.

More than just a plugin, WPtouch is an entire theme package for your WordPress website. Modeled after Apple’s app store design specs, WPtouch makes your WordPress website load lightning fast on touch mobile devices, show your content beautifully, all while not interfering with your regular theme.

In practice, it’ll take a blog laid out like this (thanks to Thesis):

And make it look like this:

Bonus: WPTouch also includes hooks for website traffic analytic packages, as well as Adsense mobile accounts, so you won’t miss out monetizing your mobile website traffic.

In Transition — as the page says

Due to a monumental FUBAR between my website host, server restrictions, and some resource-heavy wordpress plugins, Bradgrier.com is currently without a home.

All is not lost:

  • I have a backup of the site, content, posts, comments etc
  • I retain my domain names etc
  • I have a boat-load of work ahead of me as I research and rebuild

Lessons learned:

  1. Backups are essential
  2. You get what you pay for
  3. Sometimes you get burned

Things to do:

  • point existing domain names to this wordpress-hosted blog
  • Reasearch robust hosts (I prefer a hosted solution as I do use some 3rd party plugins)
  • Take a deep breath 🙂

So, what have I missed. Any advice for me as I make this rather unscheduled transition? Comments are welcome!