Performancing Metrics

Archive for December, 2009

Want to Improve Your Blogging? Improve Your Mood.

One of the most common tips top bloggers give to novice bloggers is to blog about something they are very passionate about. But as we all know, people’s interest level fluctuates and is rarely constant. Today, you may be so inspired you could write a new treatise on food blogging, tomorrow, you could barely even write a word about cupcake.

So how do you avoid that kind of inconsistency? The answer may be found outside your notebook computer.

It has been found that moods can affect work and an improvement in a person’s mood results in a positive outcome at work very often.  There have been studies from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business that strongly suggests that mood you bring to work sets the tone for the rest of day and affects productivity.

Mood improvement differs for person to person, but here are a few tips that may help bloggers:

  • Blog in a comfortable place – Blogging on the go can be exciting but really stressful. In order to come up with a quality post, try to find a place where you can site comfortably and has good lighting.
  • Take a little break – So you’re a blogging junkie, but that doesn’t mean you should be in front of your computer 24/7. Little breaks can be a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively.
  • Work in your own machine – Have you tried blogging in someone else’s notebook? It feels like you’re visiting a foreign country if you ask me. Try as much as possible to bring your own machine if you’re blogging actively and on the go.
  • Avoid blogging right off the bat – Athletes always warms up before competition and there’s wisdom in that. Some bloggers may find it refreshing to watchthat funny viral YouTube video before opening WordPress or Blogger.

Like I’ve said, ways of improving one’s mood vary. But one thing is clear: a better mood will result in better, more enjoyable blogging.

Categories: Blogging Sense, Blogging Tips, Interesting
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Movable Type Monday: MT5 Delayed, Media Manager, Page Listing Hack, and More

Happy Monday, folks! Disappointing news for those of us waiting for the official Movable Type 5 release: It’s been postponed till January 5. In the announcement, Six Apart only says that there are issues to resolve so they’re waiting till after the holidays to release. I believe this is the third official release date we’ve had, let’s hope it’s the last one.

Byrne Reese has announced a new version of the Media Manager plugin. The previous version was broken by a change to Amazon’s API. Rather than patch the problem, Byrne did a major rewrite of the software to take advantage of an existing Amazon API library. As a result, folks upgrading from a previous version will likely need to update their templates. Read More

Categories: Movable Type News
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Publish Your Blog In Multiple Languages With WPML Plugin For WordPress

wpmlMany people want to publish their blog in different languages or offer translations to their readers. Often a translation plugin is used offering automated translation via Google Translate or Babelfish. But if you speak/write several languages you can use the WPML plugin to publish your blog in several languages, and if you want to have each language on a separate (sub)domain.

The great thing about WPML is the ease to set the plugin up and stat using it, contrarily to other plugins. All you need to do is upload the plugin and fill in the settings.

Configuring WPML

WPML Settings 1

The first settings panel after activating the plugin allows you to set the main language, this is the language an entry will be published in if you do not select an other language for that post. Note that this setting will not change the language of your WordPress admin backend, you still need to localize your WP install for this (more info on localization at the WordPress codex).

wpml-2

When using the basic settings, you now only have to opt what other languages you want to add to your site. Once you have selected the additional languages you only have to decide where you want the widget with the language switcher. If your theme does not use widgets, use <?php do_action('icl_language_selector'); ?> in your theme. You can customize the display/colors of the language selector in the advanced settings.

Now your site is prepared to deal with multi-lingual content. Read More

Categories: WordPress Plugins, WordPress Tutorials
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Sunday Morning SEO: 3 Reasons to Read Books About Your Niche

old-booksOne of the underrated strategies in SEO is reading good books in your niche. You don’t hear a lot about this tactic. Many SEO specialists will talk about keeping up with the top blogs in your niche, but there are great benefits to reading books. Here are three of the biggest ones.
Read More

Categories: Blogging Resources, Blogging Tips
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Display Upcoming Entries In Your Post With A WordPress Shortcode

Since some days several contacts have been considering the option to display upcoming posts on their site. WordPress offers a really simple solution for this in the form of the attribute post_status. The post_status is stored in the wp_post table and has generally the attributes: draft, private, publish or static for pages. There is one more attribute which we will use in this example: future.

It is now simple to create a list of the 5 upcoming entries and display this in your theme, fe. in your sidebar.

<?php
$my_query = new WP_Query('post_status=future&showposts=5');
?>
<div class="sidebar-box">
    <?php
    if ($my_query->have_posts()) : while ($my_query->have_posts()) :
        $my_query->the_post();
        ?>
        <ul>
          <li>
           <?php the_title(); ?>
          </li>
        </ul>
    <?php endwhile; else: ?>
        <div>
        <ul>
          <li><?php _e('No upcoming Posts'); ?></li>
        </ul>
        </div>
    <?php endif; ?>
</div>

You can now easily style this in your CSS.

Use A Shortcode To Display Upcoming Entries In A Post

First, what are shortcodes? I wrote a small intro to shortcodes on Devlounge yesterday with some examples of how to build a shortcode.

Why would you want to display a list of upcoming posts within an entry? You could be writing a series and want to use your upcoming entries as an additional teaser in the hope that the reader will subscribe or return to your site. You could use a post template for this but it is very simple to create a shortcode. Once you have created this shortcode it is then very simple to add the list of upcoming posts anywhere in an entry.

Building the shortcode

For this example we are going to build a shortcode [upcoming] and will use the tag series as selector. Doing this, it will avoid that scheduled entries not tagged Series will not be displayed. This can be handy on multi-authored blogs with a regular, scheduled posting rhythm.

Add the following code to your functions.php.

function upcom($atts, $content = null) {
       extract(shortcode_atts(array(
               "num" => '5'
               "tag" => 'series'
       ), $atts));
       global $post;
       $myposts = get_posts('numberposts='.$num.'&post_status=future&order=DESC&orderby=date&tag='.$tag);
       $retour='<ul class="upcoming">';
       foreach($myposts as $post) :
               setup_postdata($post);
            $retour.='<li><a href="'.get_permalink().'">'.the_title("","",false).'</a></li>';
       endforeach;
       $retour.='</ul> ';
       return $retour;
}
add_shortcode('upcoming', 'upcom');

All you have to do now to display this list in an entry is use the shortcode [upcoming] in the editor.

In this example I used <ul class="upcoming"> to easily style the output in your CSS.

Modifying The Shortcode Function

The shortcode function above can easily be modified.

- The example returns 5 posts, change the value in line 3 to display more or less entries
- Change the tag you want to use in the same way as you would change the number of displayed entries (line 4).

Categories: WordPress Tips, WordPress Tutorials
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bbPress To Become Canonical WordPress Plugin?

bbpressMatt Mullenweg dropped the bombshell yesterday in IRC: bbPress, the often forgotten forum option, could become a WordPress plugin in the near future.

Anyone who has ever looked at integrating forums with their WordPress blog knows that right at the moment bbPress an underpowered option is. Integrating other forums can be a real headache (Vanilla 2 Beta has a one way integration add-on, from WP to Vanilla) and bridges can break when changes to the database are made with new releases.

The first reaction of several people in IRC and on Twitter was that they prefer bbPress to be a standalone option but possible advantages of bbPress as a plugin largely outweigh here:

  • User database integration;
  • The possibility of an improved role management system to deal with the roles for integrated boards (extra admins, moderators)
  • Site wide plugin interoperability;
  • Site wide theme interoperability;
  • Easy media upload and the new image editor in WP2.9;

Most of al I liked the possible [bbpress] shortcodes Matt hinted at:

[13:11] <Ryan_> There’s a lot of stuff in WordPress which would automatically become available with no effort if the two were combined.
[13:11] <photomatt_sf> that’s more along the lines of my [bbpress] shortcode idea
[13:11] <hajii> shortcodes for bbpress would be great
[13:11] <photomatt_sf> [bbpress tag="akismet-plugin"]
[13:11] <benhuson> @hajii – Yes, I think being able to benefit from existing wordpress theme would be a huge asset
[13:11] <photomatt_sf> [bbpress forum="newbies"]

The WordPress Shortcode API is very powerful and can be used to eliminate many plugins (related posts, Adsense in posts, send to Twitter, image galleries, image captions to mention only a few) and there is no doubt that this shortcode integration could lead to new possibilities, both for developers/designers and users. It would also be very nice to be able to post to your forum from the regular post page in the dashboard.

For those who prefer bbPress to be used as a standalone option, you could always set your forums as home page while still benefitting all the advantages which come with the WP integration.

One last thought: could it be that Matt’s motivation to convert bbPress to a plugin would make bbPress the first canonical plugin?

Categories: WordPress News, WordPress Plugins
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Featured WP Plugin: Let It Snow!

Want to put a little Christmas touch on your blog to commemorate the upcoming winter holiday? “Let It Snow!” might be the plugin that you’re looking for!

Once installed, your blog will be adorned with falling flakes of snow similar to the one seen on WordPress.com and its blogs. The falling snowflakes look great as they are rendered realistically and come in different sizes.

sc1
It looks even better in action. Check it out here.

The plugin has an options page where you can change the speed and the number of falling flakes that appear on screen. You can have the snow fall lazily across your blog or even simulate a blizzard if you fancy.

sc3

As an added visual effect, you can have the snowfall follow the movement of your mouse and have the snow remain on the bottom of your screen. No need to worry about the snow piling up though, as the plugin automatically limits the number of flakes that appear on screen.

“Let it snow!” is compatible up to WordPress version 2.8.6 (Editor’s note: Also works with most recent 2.9 nightly build and 2.9 Beta2). Created by Aen Tan of COMA blog. You can download this really “cool” plugin by going here.

Categories: WordPress Plugins
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Could WordPress.org Benefit From A GitHub Similar Platform?

githubWhen ‘canonical plugins’ for WordPress were announced the post also mentioned that these plugins might have to move to a new structure, setup:

In order to have a system like this, each canonical plugin’s development community would probably need similar infrastructure to WordPress itself, including things like Trac, mailing lists, support forums, etc. These things will be worked out within the development community over the coming months…

If the community decides to open up the platform more this could have great advantages for these plugins but it would only restrict the damage done daily elsewhere. The inconvenience of being a popular open source platform with extensions and themes directory: popular plugins become orphans, themes aren’t updated with the newest features and could break a standard WordPress setup with new releases.

All themes and plugins hosted on WordPress.org are required to be GPL licensed so it would be simple for developers, designers to re-release ‘updated abandoned’ plugins and themes but users would not receive updates in the plugin and themes installer.

Enter GitHub. GitHub is a popular distributed platform used for many opensource software projects. Rails uses it, scriptaculous and Lussumo garden are other popular projects using GitHub. The SourceForge of the modern internet.

Git is a fast, efficient, distributed version control system ideal for the collaborative development of software.

GitHub is the easiest (and prettiest) way to participate in that collaboration: fork projects, send pull requests, monitor development, all with ease.

Where GitHub excels is the possibility to follow projects and also to fork a project, all while keeping the project leader informed of contributions.

lussumo-github-network-graph

I am not saying that GitHub the future of the themes and plugin directory is, but GitHub does offer an easy platform to overview many different projects. If a plugin or theme becomes orphaned, chances that someone else has created a fork are big and ‘repository moderators’ could opt to replace the main, original plugin with an updated commit.
A GitHub similar platform would also offer an easy platform for theme designers and child-theme designers to keep ‘connected’. It literally becomes easy to follow a plugin’s or theme’s history (themeline?) and to download new commits.

Could WordPress.org benefit from a similar setup?

Categories: General, WordPress News
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Interview with ‘Digging into WordPress’ and ‘CSS-Tricks’ Rockstar Extraordinaire Chris Coyier

chris-coyier-interview

Chris Coyier has been rocking the design scene since a while now with his very popular CSS-Tricks design community but recently Chris made a well noticed intro to the blogging scene with Digging into WordPress which he co-authors with Jeff Starr (Perishable Press).

Only 6 months after starting Digging into WordPress, the duo released the wonderful Digging into WordPress book, 400 pages of useful information for the most popular blog platform, WordPress. Check out the Table of Contents and a sample chapter here (PDF link). Time for an interview we thought.

Chris, thanks for taking time to participate to our interview here on BloggingPro. You are rather new to the design and development scene but are already one of the rockstars. Tell us a little why you decided on web development as a career.

I think this field is just a perfect match for me. It’s art, it’s problem solving, it’s technology, it’s all the stuff I find fascinating. As I kid I was way into computers. In high school I was really into my programming classes and then later into ceramics. When I went to college I ended up going with computer science, and gave up on it right before graduating and switched to ceramics. I always gone back and forth between art and technology. Now I can do design and development, and it’s like doing both at the same time!

You have been working around a year with Jeff Starr on ‘Digging into WordPress’. Congratulations on releasing the book. 400 Pages is no small feat!
Why did you guys decide on WordPress?
Read More

Categories: Interview
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What features do you want to appear on TypePad in 2010?

typepad-logo

2009 has been a very great year for TypePad. The developers have worked really hard in making the TypePad experience better. Some of the best features they’ve released so far are listed below:

Now that the year is almost at an end, the developers are once again asking the community: What new features do you want to see on TypePad for next year?

If you’re a TypePad user who has something in mind that could improve the platform, then go ahead and leave your comment on their blog by going here. Who knows, your idea might get picked and appear on the next update of TypePad!

Categories: General
Tags: