2011 In Review

According to WordPress, I wrote a total of 190 posts in 2011. To see all the articles written in 2011, simply access:

http://ulyssesonline.com/2011/

This feature is possible using one of the nicest features in WordPress called permalinks, which is short for permanent links. With permalinks, you can customize your own URL structure the way you want it. I happen to use this format:

http://ulyssesonline.com/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/

which makes it easier for me to display articles by year, month and day. To access all articles written in 2011, I just provide the year and all articles written in 2011 will be displayed. Most WordPress users already use permalinks.

If you are not, do it early. Over the years, you’ll see the benefit of using such a structure.

Add Tweet Box To Your Blog

Tweet Box allows Twitter users to tweet directly from your website or your blog. To add Tweet Box to your website or blog, simply add this little piece of code to your WordPress single.php theme file. You can place it anywhere you like. I have it installed at the bottom of this single.php page. See below.

<div id="tbox"></div>
<script type="text/javascript">
  twttr.anywhere(function (T) {
    T("#tbox").tweetBox();
  });
</script>

You can modify Tweet Box by passing parameters to the script.

<div id="tweet-box"><h3>Twitter</h3></div>
<script type="text/javascript">
    twttr.anywhere(function (T) {
      T("#tweet-box").tweetBox({
        'counter' : true,
        'height'  : 50,
        'width'   : 440,
        'label'   : "I made it easier for you to tweet this:",
        'defaultContent' : "Just read: <?php the_title(); ?>
        @ulyssesonline",
      });
    });
</script>

In this example, I’m displaying the counter, which counts the number of characters left in the tweet box. You can set the height and the width of the Tweet Box. I have it set to 440px x 50px to match the content area of my blog. I’m also displaying the label, as well as the default content. The default content includes the title of the blog. I’m calling the WordPress’s the_title() function to display the post title.

I hope you find this helpful. Send a tweet.

Google to Rename Picasa and Blogger

Google plans to rename Picasa and Blogger. Picasa will become Google Photos. Blogger will become Google Blogs. This is all part of an effort to rebrand some of the older Google products with a Google name on them. Picasa was acquired by Google in 2004, while Blogger was acquired back in 2003. I still think Google made a mistake by buying Blogger, albeit WordPress was first released on May 27, 2003. Clearly, WordPress is the better blog platform now. Read more about the rebranding of Picasa and Blogger from Mashable.

Vintage Wine

It’s 2011. It’s time for a change. What are the hot colors of 2011? Vintage Wine. The deep burgundy color is back after two decades. It’s popular in fashion runways, store racks and on sidewalks. Makeup, accessories and magazine typesettings have all used the deep burgundy color.

So, I decided to use it for my blog as well. Here are the main colors on this site. The main background color is #1CC007. The active links are #4C0007. The hover links are #12244A. The text is #222222. The background color for the page is white or #FFFFFF.

There you have it, the new colors of my blog.

Upgrade To WordPress 3.0.3

I upgraded to WordPress 3.0.2 just the other day. Now WordPress 3.0.3 is out. This particular upgrade is not critical by any means, but it fixes a bug in the remote publishing interface that allowed authors and contributors to have improper access to certain posts.

As mentioned in the WordPress.org blog, the remote publishing feature is disabled by default. You have to turn it on to enable the feature. You can access remote publishing from the Settings – Writing in the Dashboard.

If you’ve never heard of the remote publishing feature in WordPress, you are most likely not using this feature. So, the question is, is it worth upgrading to WordPress 3.0.3? Probably not, but WordPress upgrades are relatively painless nowadays.

All it takes is a click of a button. It’s as simple as it can get. In any case, I suspect most WordPress users will probably upgrade to 3.0.3.

If you don’t upgrade, no harm will be done, except for the incessant Please update now messages in the WordPress Dashboard. If you can ignore the hounding, you’re a better man or a woman. In my case, I’m upgrading just for this purpose.

It’s good enough reason for me to update to WordPress 3.0.3.

Details for WordPress 3.1

The WordPress development team met last week and laid out the plans for WordPress 3.1 scheduled for release on December 15. Here are the details:

The finalized goals for WordPress 3.1 are “to have a very short dev cycle, a decent amount of testing time, and a release in mid-December. Low on new features, heavy on ui and code cleanup, and avoidance of schema changes. Save the big ideas for 3.2 where we’ll have the liberty to implement those ideas in PHP5. No schema changes and no big new APIs.”

Besides bug fixes and code cleanup, users can look forward to a new WordPress.com inspired admin bar and theme browser, as well as post templates and styles, and a separate network dashboard.

The team plans to halt new feature submissions on October 15th, followed by a primary code freeze on November 1st, and a string freeze on December 1st. The beta period will begin November 15th until the estimated final release date of December 15th.

There is not a lot of cosmetic changes, but I’m looking forward to the new Admin pages that’s similar to WordPress.com.

Display Latest Twitter Status On Your Blog

Here’s a short little script that will display the latest Twitter status on your blog. I pulled the code from CSS-Tricks and modified it a bit. This little piece of code will pull-up the user’s latest Twitter status, time and source. You can also pull up the user’s name, screen name, location, url, followers, friends, favorites and more.

Here’s the snippet of code:

<?php
function getTwitterStatus($userid) {
  $url = “http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/$userid.xml?count=1?;
  $xml = simplexml_load_file($url) or die(“could not connect”);
 
  foreach($xml->status as $status){
    echo $status->text;
    echo $status->created_at;
    echo $status->source;
    echo $status->user->name;
    echo date(“F j, Y, g:i a”,strtotime($status->user->created_at));
    echo $status->user->statuses_count;
    echo $status->user->followers_count;
    echo $status->user->friends_count;
    echo $status->user->favourites_count;
    echo $status->user->location;
    echo $status->user->time_zone;
    echo $status->user->url;
  }
}
?>

You can format the output anyway you want it. For readability purposes, I formatted the $status->user->created_at field with the date function. All the other variables are pretty much self-explanatory.

Add the function in ‘functions.php,’ then insert this code anywhere in your WordPress template.

getTwitterStatus("user");

WordPress 3.0 Upgrade Complete

I was able to perform a WordPress 3.0 upgrade yesterday. It went without a hitch. Making a single blog into a multi-site blog was a bit more involved. It wasn’t entirely a smooth transition because WordPress somehow detected that I already had a network running, which was simply not true. I ended up cutting and pasting several pieces of code to configure wp-config.php and .htaccess. In the end, the upgrade was a success.

Just a couple of minor things that I want to mention. The current version of of the Google Sitemaps plugin no longer works with WordPress 3.0. I’m not sure why. I also ended up removing the ‘blog’ slug from the permalink, so that it didn’t break my old permalinks. I also had to reconfigure the plugin called ‘Download Manager’ because it didn’t work after the upgrade.

This is probably the most involved WordPress upgrade I have done. It’s was involved because there were a large amount of features and enhancements in this version as well as merging WordPress and WordPress Mu. Congratulations to the WordPress Development team for making this release a huge success.

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