Throwing Hot Coals

WordPress Twitter Hash Tag Widget and the New Widget API

Recently I attended WordCamp Mid-Atlantic, and took notice of the area of the site that listed all of the Twitter status updates that included the #wordcampmidatl hash tag. In fact a number of people took notice of this feature and thought it was a great idea. Yesterday, Brad from WebDevStudios asked me what plugin was used on the WordCamp Mid-Atlantic site so it could be used on the WordCamp Chicago site, and without knowing of such a plugin I recommended several approaches to achieve the same thing.

I ended up, out of curiosity, writing the functional code to do it and handed it off to WebDevStudios so they could get it over to the WordCamp Chicago site owner. After handing off the code apparently both I and WebDevStudios began wrapping the code into a widget. I chose to take the route of using the new Widgets API that will be introduced into WordPress 2.8.

This gave me some quality time with the new Widget API which, I personally feel, is a great improvement for widgets in WordPress.

I have not yet requested hosting for this plugin on in the WordPress Plugin Repo. So for now the download will remain hosted on this site. For anyone curious about the new Widgets API feel free to download the plugin and poke around. If you have and comments or suggestions for this plugin please let me know! I have just recently started into the world of Twitter and know that with as popular as the service is that this could become a very useful plugin.

On a side note I have added some caching capabilities to the plugin so that in the event that the connection to Twitter fails, as it so often does, it will simply serve the cache from the last successful attempt.

Please note that as this plugin uses the new Widgets API introduced in WordPress 2.8 that it will require WordPress 2.8 to function.

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CoolStuff News Plugins WordPress

Fast WordPress Function and Template Tag Lookups

If you are like me, then you are often referring to the function and template tag documentation on the WordPress Codex. My friend, Andy Stratton, got tired of having to open google, typing in the function name and then clicking on the link to the codex returned in the search results. To make his life easier he wrote WPLookup. WPLookup gives you a simple search box that will redirect you to the documentation for the function or if it doesn’t exist, redirect you to the search where you can see documents containing the function or text you are looking for.

To make the service even better you can integrate it into your web browsers search bar for even faster lookups.

I have taken his service one step further and written an IRC bot that is currelty sitting in the WordPress IRC Channel. To use this bot type something in the form of .codex get_pages and it will query WPLookup and return the resulting URL back to the channel.

See the following links for his release announcements about this new service:

  1. Find WordPress Function and Template Tag Documentation - Fast
  2. New WPLookup Features - Set WPLookup as a browser search engine
CoolStuff News Technology WordPress

Shadowbox JS WordPress Plugin v2.0.3 Released

The Shadowbox JS WordPress Plugin has been updated to version 2.0.3. Don’t be fooled by the version number. This is a big update. New to this update, by popular request, is an admin interface among other updates. See the Change Log for all changes. Enjoy!

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WordPress 2.7 Released

WordPress 2.7 has been released! No blog post yet from Automattic on the WordPress blog yet, but should be soon.

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WordPress 2.7 Just Released on

WordPress 2.7 was just released on! Congratulations Automattic!

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Themes Added to Gmail

I just logged into Gmail for the eight thousandth time today and just got a notice that Google had added themes to the Gmail settings. The Gmail Blog has some more information about this as well as screenshots of the various themes.

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Changes Coming for Shadowbox JS

With the last release of Shadowbox JS I added the functionality to add Shadowbox to all image links automatically.

With the next release the following features will be added:

  • Admin settings page for configuration.
  • Advanced configuration options to tweak most Shadowbox initialization options.
  • Automatically add Shadowbox to movie links.
  • Automatically add Shadowbox to audio links.
  • Automatically add Shadowbox to YouTube and Google Video links.
  • WordPress 2.7 uninstall compatibility.
  • Enqueue JavaScript and CSS files
  • Move Initialization JavaScript to the footer

The admin page is something I have been debating for a while. And with the list of configuration options growing, I figured it best to give users an easier way to configure the plugin, rather than having to edit the variables in the source. The admin page will match the styling of the other pages by using the WordPress admin CSS which isn’t something many plugins do.

As for the additional automation, I had already written the code to add the rel attribute to image links so figured why not re-use it and give users an easy way to show all of their media using Shadowbox.

Anyway…I have some testing to do. Hopefully should be releasing within the next several weeks.

Anyone wishing to test out the development version can download it from the WordPress Plugins Repository.

CoolStuff News Plugins WordPress

Apache to nginx in 90 seconds

I spent about 30 minutes last night and switched all of my personal sites over to nginx, including the one you are on now and FreeMyFeed. Okay, so I know 30 minutes does not equal 90 seconds, but the title sounded more catching. The configuration for a secured, working nginx instance is quite small. On top of that, configuring virtual hosts is really easy.

The largest amount of time it took to get this finished was recreating the rewrite rules for Zenphoto. The rewrite rules can be found here. I haven’t tested all of the rewrite rules yet, but from quickly browsing through my gallery everything appears to be working well. Keep in mind that these rewrite rules were designed for a site where Zenphoto lives in the root. If it lives in a subfolder the rewrite rules will need to be modified accordingly. I can probably help if you ask nicely.

I have also moved over numerous WordPress sites to nginx. I won’t post their rewrite configurations here because you can find them easily using Google.

You can find the nginx rpms for EL4/EL5 in the Fedora Project’s EPEL repo.

If you have any nginx related configuration questions feel free to ask, I’m getting pretty familiar with the app.

CoolStuff Linux Technology

Dedicated Haiku Follower

A few weeks ago I posted that I would be going out to the LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco. Yesterday I made my appearance, and took the time to talk to the guys at Haiku for a good while. They seemed to get the idea that I flew out here just to see their booth…Perhaps I may have actually said that.

Anyway, they took a picture and claimed that it would be on the Haiku website by the following day (today). And not really to my surprise, but I’ll say that I am, my picture is indeed there.

Check it out

See the section titled “Interest still strong”.

CoolStuff Linux

LinuxWorld Expo 2008 San Francisco

I’ll be attending the LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco at the beginning of August. I’ll be arriving mid way through the conference so that I can attend to my sons first birthday and celebrations.

I’ll be attending the exhibit hall and keynote addresses on Wednesday and Thursday (Aug 6 + 7), as well as Ubucon and flying back out on Friday. To those reading this who will be out there for the conference, maybe we will run into each other.

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