Liked a post by David ShanskeDavid Shanske (david.shanske.com)
For IndieWebCamp Berlin 2 2019, I built this proof of concept feature in the WordPress Admin. It does actually work, but the functionality that enables the posting needs a lot more backend work before it will work properly. Problem is that the WordPress post endpoint does not allow you to set a t...

I can’t wait to see this in action!

I’ve been going through a number of broken links on my website and slowly, but surely, bringing many of them back to life. Thanks Broken Link Checker! Apparently there were 429 broken links, but I’m able to quickly fix many of them because as I made my posts, I backed up the original links automatically using Post Archival in the Internet Archive. (Somehow this plugin has violated one of WordPress’ guidelines and can’t be downloaded, though I haven’t seen any details about why or been notified about it.)

I’ve only come across one or two which archive.org didn’t crawl or didn’t have. Many of the broken links I’m able to link directly to archive copies on the same day I made them and my archive snapshots were the only ones ever made.

Read Automatic Featured Image Posts by Jeremy Felt (jeremyfelt.com)
This is an information and discussion page for the WordPress plugin, Automatic Featured Image Posts. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions about the plugin below or download Automatic Featured Image Posts through the WordPress repository. You can also fork and/or contribute to Automatic Feature...

Cool idea here for those who want to own and display all of their photos.

I slept my way through most of IndieWebCamp Berlin2 this weekend (mostly due to the time zone differential), but in the spirit of the event, I did want to work on a few small hack projects.

I started some research and work into creating a plugin to effectuate making “vias” and “hat-tips” easier to create on my site since I often use them to credit some of my sources. I was a bit surprised not to see any prior art in the WordPress repository. Sadly, there’s nothing concrete to show off just yet. I think I’ve got a clear concept of how I want it to look and what will go into the first simple iteration. It will be my first “real” WordPress plugin, so there’s some interesting learning curve along the way. 

On a more concrete front, I made a handful of CSS tweaks and fixes to the site, and particularly to some of my annotation/highlighting related posts, that I’ve been meaning to take care of for a while.  Now on read posts where I’ve aggregated some annotations/highlights, the highlighted portions should appear in yellow to better differentiate them in portions of text and represent them as highlights. This prevents me from creating a read post for the content and one or dozens of related, but completely separate, follow-up annotation posts. Now they’re combined, and I think they provide a bit more contextualization for the original, but still include the timestamps for the annotations. I’m sure there’s some more I can do to tweak these, but I like the result a bit better than before. Today’s post about a research paper I read on food is a good example of to highlight (pun intended) some of the changes. Ideas for further improvements are most welcome.

I also slightly tweaked and then further experimented with some of the CSS for my reply contexts. I’ve been considering reformatting them a tad to try to highlight the fact that the content within them is context for my responses. In some sense I’m looking at making the context look more card-like or perhaps oEmbed-esque. I still haven’t gotten it the way I’d ultimately like it, but perhaps one day soon? I played around with changing the size of the context with respect to my content as well as adding some outlines and shadows to make the context look more like cards, but I haven’t gotten things just right. Perhaps some more research looking at others’ sites will help? Which sites do you think do reply contexts incredibly well?

I’m glad there’s a holiday coming up so I can spend a bit of time catching up on some of the sessionsand  notes and hopefully see some of the demos from the camp.

Filed an Issue [Narwhal Microblog] Support (wordpress.org)

Using v2.1 of Narwhal Microblog on WordPress 5.2.4 and PHP v7.2 I get the following error:

Warning: Use of undefined constant posthasteForm - assumed 'posthasteForm' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/public_html/wp-content/plugins/narwhal-microblog/narwhal-microblog.php on line 265

Knowing that Posthaste was the underlying code, I suspect it’s an issue with php and the version in use. Apparently we’ve gotten to the version where posthasteForm is throwing the expected errors. 🙂

I’m not seeing any specific funcionality issues with the plugin, but it is throwing this error on the pages where Narwhal appears.

Narwhal Microblog Plugin for WordPress: Quickly Posting Notes to your IndieWeb Site

This morning, after reading a brief, but interesting snippet in the IndieWeb WordPress chat from last night, David Shanske made me think about an old itch I had to have a quicker and more stripped down posting interface for notes on my website. I immediately thought of WordPress’s P2 and 02 themes/products which had a built-in simple posting interface reminiscent of Twitter’s UI. 

Screencapture of Twitter's simple posting interface

Not wanting to wait to see what David might come up with before the next couple of IndieWebCamps, I thought I’d at least do some research to see what was hiding in the good old WordPress repository. I found a few old plugins that were roughly the sort of idea I was looking for, but they were last maintained about 8-10 years ago. 

Then I came across the Narwhal Microblogging plugin from Billy Wilcosky, which is being actively developed/maintained and has almost exactly what I’m looking for!

Screencapture of the Narwhal microblogging plugin user interface

Apparently the plugin itself had an early simple start before the developer came across Jon Smajda’s plugin Posthaste which was apparently repurposed for the Prologue/P2 code that WordPress used for that product/theme. He’s since rewritten a large chunk of it based on Posthaste’s original code and added in some basic formatting options and the ability to add media, so one can post a quick note along with a photo.

Settings for the plugin are hiding in Settings << Writing admin interface (or at the path /wp-admin/options-writing.php on your website) which includes the ability to choose which pages to display the “widget” and allowing one to hide the title, tags, categories, draft seclector, one’s Gravatar, and the Greeting and Links. I’d personally pare my version down to just provide tags, categories, and the draft options to keep the interface as clean as possible.

Screencapture of the settings for the Narwhal plugin

Finally the developer notes that within the user interface “if you leave the ‘Category:’ box at its default setting it posts to your default category. However… If you have a category named ‘asides’, it will put posts with empty titles into the ‘asides’ category even if you do not explicitly specify the ‘asides’ category in the dropdown. You can then style them as asides.”

This is the view of the posting interface on my site after paring it down to my personal bare minimum.

Benefits

I’ve already discussed some of the immediate benefits for easily and quickly posting directly from my own website. Just below I’ll add a few others.

Most importantly for me at the moment, the plugin works with the Classic Editor in WordPress. The interface also only shows up when one is logged into their website, so visitors won’t ever see it.

Titleless posts

The plugin automatically takes the first 40 characters of your note and posts that into the title field, so you don’t have to bother with it. Sadly, this means that feed readers and other services will take your status updates and give them a title. (Though in the wild, most feed readers do something like this anyway. I am hearing strong rumors that Inoreader is about to have better support for social media-like posts soon.) For those using the plugin for IndieWeb use and prefer to keep their notes/asides/status updates titleless, you can spelunk into the code pretty easily and make a quick change which the developer kindly documents in his support page:

But, if you want to modify the title character limit it is easy to do.

  1. Go to this plugin’s folder and open the narwhal-microblog.php file.
  2. In this file you will see a line for this max character limit and you will see the number 40. You could just increase it to something like 100, 3500, or 999999. Depending on how long you are willing to let your titles get.

In my case, I think I’ll just decrease the character limit to 0 and then rely on the Post Kinds plugin to add it’s customary pseudo-title to the admin interface on my back end so that I can distinguish my posts in the posts pages.

UI suggestions

The category chooser could be a little cleaner and provide a dropdown of all my pre-existing categories with the ability to select multiple ones. I suspect that somewhere in the WordPress universe there’s a way to do this even if it means swiping a snippet of code from core’s editor.

The basic text box for entering text could be a bit smaller on the page to accept 2-4 lines of text since it’s meant for short posts. As it stands now, it defaults to 10, but it also smartly already has a slider that appears when you type more than the available number of lines and it also has a handle in the corner to allow you to increase the boxes size.

I’ve mentioned doing natively titleless notes above, but to make things a bit more user friendly, it would be nice to have the ability in the settings page to enter a number for the text excerpt, so that users could configure it without needing code. I suspect that most in the IndieWeb space would set the title excerpt to zero so as to not have titles on their notes.

It will take me some time to dig into it, but it would be nice if the developer had some notes about the CSS classes used in the plugin so that one might more easily style the display of the output on one’s website. Fortunately the defaults to match one’s current theme seem relatively solid.

At present, there isn’t any UI for including syndication targets to external services like Twitter, Mastodon, etc. It would be nice if there was some tie into syndication services or functionality like that provided with Syndication Links plugin and brid.gy publish or brid.gy fed if those pieces are present.

The last dovetail that would be nice to have, particularly within an IndieWeb framing, would be to have better direct integration of this plugin with the Post Kinds plugin. This could extend to auto-setting the post kind to “note”, which should in turn allow the automatic setting of Post Formats to either “status” or “aside”.

Summary

In sum, this plugin is really fantastic for allowing a simple and lightweight means of posting quick status updates or notes to one’s WordPress website! It’s the next best thing to using any of the variety of Micropub clients, particularly when you already happen to be at your own site.

I suspect this plugin is the sort of thing that many within the IndieWeb and WordPress communities will love using–and at least one person in the chat has already said they think it’s a great find. There are currently less than 10 active installations of the plugin, but I think it deserves a magnitude or more. Let’s see what we can do about that!

Have you tried it? What do you think of the idea?

Read Narwhal Microblog: How to remove max characters limit ? (wordpress.org)

The limit is for the post title. After you post, the plugin takes your post and creates a title using the first 40 characters of your post. This is for speed, so you don’t have to create a title. But, the content of your post does not have a character limit.

But, if you want to modify the title character limit it is easy to do.

  1. Go to this plugin’s folder and open the narwhal-microblog.php file.
  2. In this file you will see a line for this max character limit and you will see the number 40. You could just increase it to something like 100, 3500, or 999999. Depending on how long you are willing to let your titles get.
Read Taming a River Theme by Tom Woodward (bionicteaching.com)
Origin Story
Matt worked long hours making an incredible theme for Footprints on the James course.1 It’s in WordPress but a large portion of the site ended up being built by hand as complexity increased and time dwindled.2 That means it’s hard-coded HTML/PHP.
Now because the site was so great, w...
Liked WordPress Webmentions Plugin Version 4.0.0 Released by David ShanskeDavid Shanske (david.shanske.com)
It has been a long while since a major release of webmentions, and it is not the end of the plans we have. It is merely the first step. In the lastest version, several useful features were added. Instead of an option to enable webmention support for pages, the plugin now let’s you select the optio...

👓 Yarns Microsub Server: Getting started guide | Jack Jamieson

Read Yarns Microsub Server: Getting started guide by Jack JamiesonJack Jamieson (jackjamieson.net)
This is a quick getting started guide for Yarns Microsub Server. This post will be updated and expanded. Yarns is a Microsub server that runs on your WordPress site. This means it can help you follow feeds from blogs, websites, and social media all in place, running on your own server. You tell Yarn...

 

Bookmarked WordPress OER Plugin: Free Open Educational Resources For Your WordPress Website (www.wp-oer.com)
WP OER is a free plugin which allows you to create your own open educational resource repository on any WordPress website. Why pay for a proprietary system with limited options? WP OER is customizable, easy to use, and free. Try the WP OER demo here or download WP OER plugin for free today!

👓 This Is Gonna Be Emotional, We’re Setting over 90% of Our Premium Plugins Free! | WPMU DEV

Read This Is Gonna Be Emotional, We’re Setting over 90% of Our Premium Plugins Free! (WPMU DEV Blog)
WordPress is evolving, and so are we, even though it’s hard to see the kids leave home. It’s almost 12 years since Andrew and I launched WPMU DEV Premium as ‘a subscription-based service that offers advanced plugins for WordPress Multi-User’ and I reckon it’s fair to say that, well, it’s been quite the ride. And as of today, we’re taking another corner, guided by you, our members, and bringing all of our focus and efforts to the core services and functionality you care most about when it comes to running a great WordPress site, or two, or a few thousand.

This is awesome and sad at the same time. They’ve got an interesting reader hiding in here as well as the backbone of the edublogs platform. This latter could be used to create a platform for a WordPress-based IndieWeb platform.