Reply to Brad Enslen about Blogrolls in WordPress

Replied to No Good WordPress Blogroll Plugins by Brad EnslenBrad Enslen (Brad Enslen)

Feh. Apparently there are no good blogroll plugins for WordPress.   I did look extensively through the WP plugins directory but didn’t find anything interesting. Most plugins were way out of date for my version of WP.

Might be an opportunity there for the Indieweb movement to aid discovery.

Apologies Brad. I just saw your follow up post and had meant to reply to your earlier one when I saw it last week, I just didn’t have the time to write a quick response. I had hoped you might have found something even better than what I’ve put together previously or perhaps started building a newer and shinier edifice.

There is actually an excellent and solid “plugin” for creating a blogroll, but it’s actually been hiding in WordPress core for ages: the original Link Manager. Use of it declined so much it was programatically “removed”, but all the code is still in core, it still works wonderfully, and it only requires a single line of code (or the simplest plugin ever written) to re-enable it.

It was very solid and didn’t need much iteration, so it should work fine with current versions of WordPress–it certainly does on mine.

I’ve written up a bunch of details on how and what I did (as well as why), so hopefully it’ll give you a solid start including some custom code snippets and reasonably explicit directions to make some small improvements for those that may be a bit code-averse. Hint: I changed it from being a sidebar widget to making it a full page. Let us know if you need help making some of the small code related changes to get yourself sorted.

Even if you just want a plug and play plugin, there are details for that in the post as well, you’ll just be stuck with putting the blogroll into a traditional sidebar position. (With conditional statements in the sidebar widget, you  could restrict the blogroll widget to only displaying on a “Following” page, for example.)

I do think there is still a more IndieWeb way of doing this, potentially by making follow posts with mark up that could be parsed by microsub readers perhaps? Certainly dovetailing something with microsub seems to be a laudable goal. I would like to eventually dive into the Link Manager code and add some additional microformats as well as update the OPML to v2, but there’s enough back compatibility that the older version is fine for most use cases I’ve run across. I know David Shanske has some ideas about some changes he’d like to see in the future as well. You could always also go super low tech the way Greg did and have a blogroll post that you update over time, though perhaps a page is a better way to go? Updating things to be more automated is certainly a reasonable goal though.

Give it a spin and see what you think. Here’s my Following page (aka blogroll) with details at the very bottom for subcategories of OPML subscription. I’ll try to update the IndieWeb blogroll page with some of these details to make them more imminently findable as well.

Pasadena, California, United States of America

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

3 thoughts on “Reply to Brad Enslen about Blogrolls in WordPress”

  1. Chris, I actually owe you two thank yous: 1. OPML subscriptions, in my hunt I ran across your reference to OPML subscriptions. Since I already use Inoreader I subscribed to your Indieweb sub. I’m probably now set for life for reading! Thanks for making those available they do aid discovery. 2. Thanks for taking the time for such a thoughtful and detailed reply.
    I’m currently doing maintaining a blogroll ala Greg McVerry’s manual way but that means it’s going to grow real slow. I think I’m going to take your advice and resurrect the WP Links function. I think I saw some plugin to make shortcodes for Links so I can create pages.
    The hunt for blogroll plugins was not a waste of time since it led me to a plugin for a small directory. I didn’t like that directory plugin for a blogroll but it works for other things.
    Last, I like the idea of creating an automated list of, perhaps everyone who comments via webmention or just approved comments of any sort. Something not quite a blogroll but a recognition or reward for people who take the time to comment. I don’t have the skills to make something like that, or to hack php, but it seems like something an Indieweb programmer could turn into a very useful WordPress plugin.
    Thanks again.

  2. I have been wondering about your following page / blogroll lately. I looked into Colin Walker’s plugin, but really did not want to rewrite all my links.
    I have also been looking into archive page templates and assume that just as an archive can be incorporated into a widget or within a template, you have done the same thing with your ‘blogroll’, therefore when you add somebody new (seemingly weekly, if not daily) then your page automatically updates?

    Syndicated copies:

    1. I looked at Colin’s version too, but ran into some issues with it displaying almost EVERYTHING and needing to hand prune things down to a more manageable level.

      My Following Page uses the Links Manager functionality, but instead of embedding the blogroll into a widget it allows me to use a shortcode to embed it into a page. So really it’s not an archive, but when I update with new links, the page runs the shortcode and updates it all (pending some page caching on the back end).

      I do wish I had a browser bookmarklet that would allow me to click on a site I want to follow to parse the page and return all the relevant data automatically, but alas my javascript skills for attempting such a thing are rubbish.

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