WPCandy’s Completely Unofficial Guide to Plugin UI

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On the 29th episode of the WPCandy Podcast we talked about the sometimes poor state of plugin user interfaces. Many WordPress plugins are inconsistent with the native WordPress user interface in how they implement settings in the administration area for users.

I’m writing this guide to outline a (completely unofficial) set of best practices for implementing settings pages that is consistent and current with the native WordPress administration user interface. I’ve based these guidelines on my observations and experiences with using plugins in WordPress. They’re also totally a work in progress—if you have suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments section.

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Orman Clark is a job creator

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Orman for president! He might be a little late announcing his candidacy, but he’d probably be a strong competitor. It looks like Orman Clark is hiring a UI/web designer for a full time position to help him create WordPress themes and design resources. From the listing:

Working alongside myself (as well as keeping developers in check), you’ll be responsible for producing some of the most pixel-perfect, trend-setting, awe-inspiring, ridiculously-pretty-yet-functional designs this industry is yet to see. Roughly translated, you’ll be working on WordPress themes, web applications and other cool stuff. 2012 will be awesome.

This sounds like an awesome job for a freelancer looking for some stability. I’d be tempted to apply myself if I had forty hours each week to commit. Hit up his post for more details and to submit your application.

Jonathan Christopher offers up a new custom post type concept with Hierarchy

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Jonathan Christopher over at Monday by Noon has released a new plugin called Hierarchy. It provides a way to view all content on a WordPress site by removing custom post types from the admin menu and placing them into a hierarchical view, shown above. He has written a lengthy post about it over at his site. From the post:

In an ideal world, CPT editing would be directly integrated within your Pages structure (as Pages are the basis of your URL structure) and not need a dedicated sidebar menu entry. That’s the short version of exactly what Hierarchy does.

Hats off to Jonathan for seeing a problem and devoting time to fix it. Check out his full post and grab the plugin.

Every time a plugin gets released that seems to approach a common problem in a thoughtful and elegant way there are calls to integrate into core. My feelings on this are no different: onward to core! Perhaps not as a default, but definitely something that can be turned on with a function. What do you think about this plugin? Is it a step in the right direction or should it remain strictly plugin territory?

Akismet outage shows bloggers just how bad spam could be

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Did you notice your comments being overrun by a tsunami of spam today, leaving you powerless in the face of a wall of Cialis ads? No? Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. Akismet, everybody’s favorite anti-spam service, experienced two partial outages earlier today. From the blog post:

The first [problem] was a network configuration problem that caused some servers to be unresponsive. Some users may have noticed problems during a 15 minute window starting around 12.30pm PST.

The second was caused by some spurious code that was inadvertently deployed to our production servers. The majority of API calls resulted in an invalid response for a 30 minute period starting around 11.00pm PST.

Servers were unresponsive and unable to process potentially spammy comments. Hopefully they can avoid any problems in the future. But hey, if you were seriously inconvenienced by this that means your blog is getting a lot of comments. Good problem, right? If anything this should remind everybody what a vital role Akismet and other spam blockers play in maintaining manageable comment systems on WordPress blogs.

Did you notice the outage or is this news to you?

WordCamp Birmingham firms up schedule for incoming excellence

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The folks over at WordCamp Birmingham, also affectionately called WPY’all (I love that, by the way), have posted a firmed up schedule for the event which will take place next weekend on the 14th and 15th of January. They’ve got three different difficulty tracks, ranging from absolute beginner to developer with some big name speakers like Otto and Tammy Hart.

This is a very special WordCamp too because our very own Brian Krogsgard and Ryan Imel will be hosting sessions in the beginner track. With all these excellent speakers, this definitely sounds like the WordCamp to be at.

As a small side note, one cool thing I noticed is that they have a student registration option  that is only $20. Not only do you get full access to the conference, but a t-shirt and lunch too. If you are a student who lives around Birmingham and loves WordPress, buy this now.

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Page.ly gets a facelift, goes responsive with their design

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The managed WordPress hosting service Page.ly has adopted a new design. I’ve been playing around with it, and the design is very responsive, in that many of the elements scale but there isn’t a lot of rearranging going on. Interesting.

If you don’t remember what it used to look like, you can see some earlier versions on archive.org (though I don’t think they have every version.) To be honest, I’m not sure I like this design better than their previous one from an aesthetic point of view. But I think it does a better job of communicating information, which is always important. What do you guys think?

Gilles Vauvarin teases new theme shop Kattagami Themes

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WPCandy editor Ryan Imel prophesied in the last podcast that I would be the one writing every theme shop announcement from now on, and it looks like this divination has come to pass. I am like the Greek king Sisyphus, forced to roll the boulder up the hill for eternity.

Okay, enough whining and on to the news.

It looks like French designer Gilles Vauvarin is starting his own theme shop, titled Kattagami Themes. If you have an insatiable appetite for new WordPress themes, you can put in your email to get more details for when it is launching.

Twitter Tools 3.0 hits beta 1, extends Social plugin

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Alex King’s Twitter Tools plugin has entered beta for the 3.0 version. For this release King has reworked the plugin to extend his Social plugin to improve the user experience issues his users have had since Twitter switched to oAuth. We’ve written about troubles users have had with Twitter and oAuth, so perhaps this will be useful for them.

This is a beta, so it hasn’t been tested extensively. Install it at your own risk. You can read more about it at his blog post or grab the code directly from GitHub.

It’s always nice to have diversity in plugin selection. What about you guys, do you have a favorite Twitter plugin to use?

AdSanity goes insane, hits version 1.0

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There’s so much going on in the WordPress arena lately. We reported back in early November that banner ad managing plugin AdSanity had entered Alpha and was gearing up for release. Well as of December 8th it has officially come out of Alpha and been released as version 1.0!

Check out their official launch post. That’s a pretty quick time from alpha to launch. Kudos to the AdSanity team for keeping things on track. It will be interesting to see how easy this is to use compared with services like BuySellAds or free plugins. I’m sure there are a slew of people who would be willing to pay for a solid plugin that would remove the commission that BSA takes. Perhaps WPCandy can do a First Taste on this soon!

AdSanity is available starting at $29, the lowest support level, with $129 the highest cost at their “developer” level. Does AdSanity interest you for your ad management needs? Do you think you’ll try it out?

iThemes’ Builder turns 2 years old this week

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It looks like iThemes’ Builder is turning 2 years old this week. The product allows users to mix and match elements to create their own theme and it was first introduced back in December of 2009. They’re celebrating the birthday with a contest, where you can Photoshop the Builder hat onto pictures of your friends and family. They’ll be blogging their favorites as well as announcing the winners of each day on Friday.

If you’re feeling festive, you can view the celebration stream or actually go to the event on Friday the 16th at the div (which is in Oklahoma City, of course) from 3-5p.m. CST. Looks like a fun time—congrats to the iThemes team!