The response to the new series, Behind the Site, has been great. A number of you have offered up a look behind the curtain of your sites, so there are plenty on the way.
This week’s Behind the Site is WP eBooks, a site run by Ron and Andrea Rennick. In this post they (well, Andrea) will tell you about the site, what plugins they are using, and what they’ve customized to make it work the way it does.
Ron and Andrea Rennick have had a busy spring building new plugins to rock your WordPress Multisite install. A few weeks ago they released a plugin called WPCurator, and just last week another called Custom Registration.
WPCurator is a plugin that mimmicks the functionality of sites like WordPress.com’s Freshly Pressed, EcoPressed, FoodPress, and PopPressed. A site administrator can push posts from across a network to the main blog to feature specific posts. The plugin automattically creates a post on the main blog that will redirect to the original url on click.
Custom Registration helps solve an issue in Multisite of registering users without redirecting to the parent site. Currently WordPress Multisite shares a singular userbase in networks, which makes managing users on subsites slightly more difficult. Custom Registration claims to help:
Easy to implement and customize to your situation, we’ve included page templates and some helper functions with our clear step-by-step instructions and plenty of screenshots. Registering new users on sub sites just got a whole lot easier.
Of course, being we’re talking about WP ebooks, each comes with a pdf with full instructions and resources. Both ebook / plugin combos are regularly $17.95.
As part of a summer promotion (or celebration of warmer Canadian weather?) Ron and Andrea are offering three discounts for any of their ebooks. You can get 10% off of two items, 15% off three, or 20% off four or more.
Have you tried either plugin? I personally gave WPCurator a kick of the tires with a review copy, and it appeared to work as advertised. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
I’m very pleased to say that I recently had the opportunity to interview Ron and Andrea Rennick. They are two very valuable contributors to the WordPress project. Their expertise is WordPress Multisite, and much of their business today is around Multisite plugins, WordPress ebooks, and development specifically for multisite.
If you’d like, jump straight into the interview:
The download link and information about the discount code are just after the jump.
WPeBooks was created and launched by Ron and Andrea Rennick in September of 2010 as a place for the couple to make and sell ebooks, plugins, and resources for WordPress Multisite users. Starting January 15th, this coming Saturday, all reports are that WPeBooks prices will be increasing across the board.
WPeBooks currently hosts five Multisite books at around $25 each. The books typically come with a plugin and additional support, if needed. Andrea Rennick also said that the two are hard at work updating all of their books and resources for WordPress 3.1, in preparation for the upcoming release.
GenesisBuddy was a BuddyPress add-on for the Genesis WordPress theme framework developed by Ron and Andrea Rennick. It allowed Genesis child themes to integrate with BuddyPress, the social network plugin for WordPress. The add-on has now been moved over to StudioPress and changed monikers to GenesisConnect. Brian Gardner of StudioPress explains the changeover:
One of the issues was that GenesisBuddy took the form of a child theme that had to be integrated with our Genesis child themes in order to work. While the process wasn’t difficult, it added an extra step which together, we felt was unnecessary.
Ron Rennick rebuilt the add-on as a plugin, which will now be a fully supported product of StudioPress. The plugin itself is not included in the StudioPress Pro Plus package, but will be sold separately for $49.95.
Do you use BuddyPress in your projects? Does this addition tempt you toward Genesis themes for your projects, particularly if you hadn’t considered it before?
WP eBooks, the WordPress (and largely multisite) product site of Ron and Andrea Rennick, whom I like to refer to as the unofficial godparents of WordPress networking, have released a new ebook called Aggregating Global Content. It is available for $17 and is delivered via download upon payment.
According to the product page, the book will:
…show you how to aggregate global content, set up sitewide tags, create a huge tags cloud like the one seen on WordPress.com, and also a bonus tutorial on how to make the default signup page its own specially named page to help stop spammers.
Additional “hidden gems” are promised in the description as well. Real, honest-to-god gems. Perhaps rupees? Diamonds?
Honestly there is just more useful multisite information in there. Which is nice too.
Donncha O Caoimh, WordPress Plugin developer and Automattic employee, updated his blog with fresh updates on his WordPress Plugins WP Super Cache, Domain Mapping, Sitewide Tags and Cookies for Comments.
Caoimh and Ron Rennick have updated Domain Mapping, the WordPress Multisite Plugin that allows for domains to be mapped to individual blogs on a network. In the most recent version, as Caoimh describes:
[The] new version … [includes] a new feature that allows you to ignore the “primary domain” on your blogs. It has the potential for duplicate content if a blog can be found at multiple domains but some people need this feature. With careful organisation of content this can be avoided.
The Multisite Plugin Sitewide Tags is almost ready for a new update, with added thumbnail support from Rennick, but Caoimh asks those who are able to test the development version.
WP Super Cache has been updated as well, with better preloading and more reliable homepage caching. Both Sitewide Tags and WP Super Cache will notify users through the Dashboard when the new versions are available.
Finally, Cookies for Comments has been updated by Caoimh as well. Cookies for Comments “sets a cookie on a random URL that is then checked when a comment is posted; if the cookie is missing the comment is marked as spam.” The new update, as described by Caoimh:
I added code that keeps an eye on how long a visitor reads a post before they post a comment. If the comment is made faster than a certain time the comment is automatically caught. I’ve used it over the weekend here and elsewhere and it’s catching a good number of “real looking” but spammy comments!
If you’ve read this far, you no doubt see how much Caoimh and Rennick contribute to WordPress via their Plugins. Consider checking out Caoimh’s Amazon Wishlist and donating a few dollars to the Rennicks.
I was honored to be invited to WordCamp Detroit this year to give a presentation on WordPress Multisite. The attendees were an interesting mix of beginners and advanced users, so I took the chance to hopefully encourage those who are close to trying Multisite out, and to give some useful tips to those working with it right now.
Ron and Andrea Rennick have launched WP eBooks, a new source of commercial Plugins, documentation, and support for users working with WordPress Multisite.
The site offers two products on launch:
- Networks + is a Plugin that allows the launching of child sites on top of child sites.
- WP Replicator is a Plugin that duplicates any site within a WordPress Multisite network.
A third product, a guide called Professional Domain Mapping, is listed as coming soon.
Andrea describes their plans for the site:
Our long term plans include not only more plugins, but a selection of ebooks to give full instructions for certain tasks. In the beginning, many will be directly related to the network feature. I’ve also been approached about collaborating on some ebooks with other authors, as well as hosting products for others. Ultimately, our goal is great documentation over a wide range of intermediate to developer-level projects.
You can learn more about the project, and the products available at WP eBooks.