WordCamp UK 2010 Manchester

So it’s Sunday evening after a great weekend at WordCamp UK 2010 in Manchester. For £20 it’s a bargin and really entertaining two days, providing your interested in WordPress. There were some great examples of successful sites built in WordPress and plenty of help for all.

It looks like a list of presentation will be on the wiki http://wiki.wordcampuk.tonyscott.org.uk/2010_presentation_slides

Image juhasan

Last night I attended my first Manchester WordPress User Group Meeting (MWUG). Hosted at the MadLab in the Northern Quarter the group is a great way to learn a little more about WordPress. Below is a quick review of two points discussed with some useful references.


credit – Eric M Martin

1. Post Types

At the moment in the WordPress back end you have the option to add a new post or a new page. What post types allows you to do is add new types of posts, so add a new “movie”, “person” etc rather than adding a new post. This could be very useful if your blog / site is used as a CMS as you have different areas where new content needs adding e.g. a football team site could have several post types – player, match reports, fixtures, ticket information per match etc.

You can accomplish this already by using pages and assign them a different template, but this requires the creation of template files in your theme. Post types should allow you to create the majority from the back end.

The added benefit is that the new post type is added to the menu in the back end which is great for keeping things simple for non techy users.

Mike Little went over an example using some sample code from http://wpengineer.com/impressions-of-custom-post-type/, head over there to read more about post types. This will change the way you create CMS sites using WordPress.

2. Menus

Currently if you want to create a menu thats a mix of posts, categories, has children, but doesn’t show a particular page you would need to use wp_list_pages with various arguments and add the code to your theme. Menus allows the building of menus in the back end add and then the ability to display your menu using widgets.

This system has been taken from Woo Themes (this site runs on) and will be added into WordPress 3.0, you can get it now if you use the subversion access. Head over to http://wordpress.org/development/2010/02/menus-merge-patch-sprint/ for more information on menus in WordPress 3.0.

Get Involved

There was lots more discussed in the evening including a new WordPress driven site from Mike. If you want to get involved head over to the new MWUG blog and the MWUG Google Group.

After a post today about using Windows Live Writer I’ve looked for a Mac alternative for my home laptop, a MacBook.

After reading a few blog posts I’ve downloaded MarsEdit which is a paid solution with the a trial period.

On the looks it’s not as good as Live Writer but has a few nice features like a media manager for pictures which also plugins into flickr (Which is something that Live Writer can do with a plug in) and having an out put window to see what your post looks like (not in the theme like Live Writer).

It is missing a few points such as being able to edit the size of pictures once you have uploaded them, use of tags and view post in theme. Over all not a bad effort from MarsEdit but it seems for once Windows have managed to make a great user friendly product!

I’ve heard about Windows Live Writer and with a new Windows computer to hand I thought a test would be needed.

1. Setup

Really simple install of the program (it’s bundled up with MSN messenger download). To add in the blog all you have do is select the type of blog, e.g. WordPress and add in your log in details. It’s loads up settings, category and your theme and your ready to go in 30 seconds.

2. Ease of Use

The idea behind Live Writer is to make blog publishing easier to do this Live Writer is very similar to Word a program many people have managed to master. Lets test uploading pictures.

 windows-live-writer-wordpress-test

Very simple, just click insert, picture then brows the picture either on your computer or the web.

3. Speed

The install was quick and also the typing is quicker as you don’t have to wait few the milliseconds between pauses when WordPress autosaves. I’ll have to test out how fast it is to publish in a moment but over all it’s very quick.

Conclusion

A really nice program which I can see being very useful for when you want to blog but have no internet connection. If you have users that are unwilling to try to using WordPress this is a baby step to blogging as it’s very similar to Word.

Edit : The upload was very quick!

I’ve been looking for a way to import a csv into pages on WordPress. So far all I’ve found is plugins to import csv’s into posts. In the past I’ve ran mySQL inserts created from spreadsheets, which do work but are time consuming to create.

I’ve found one import scrip which with a simple change will upload csv files into pages. You can download the plugin (well it’t not technically a plug in but an import script which goes in /wp-admin/import) from Zack Preble’s blog.

All you need to do is change line 292 from

= "post";

To

= "page";

That sets the new entry as a page rather than a post. Get your csv ready and upload. This is great for building new sites or transferring sites in to WordPress as you can get the client to prepare all the data in excel first. The other useful tip is for affiliates …… product feeds……

The Manchester WordPress User Group (MWUG) pretty much does what it says on the tin, it’s a group for WordPress users based in Manchester. As a platform WordPress is pretty much everywhere so it makes sense that a group should be started. There’s already a WordPress UK North group but that does include members from Yorkshire.

manchester wordpress user group

The group has sprouted from the MDDA and (MWUG) have site over at http://mwug.info/ which is currently been worked on. There’s a Google Group too over at http://groups.google.com/group/manchester-wordpress-user-group and they are on twitter too @mwug. So if you like WordPress and your based in Manchester get signed up to the group and down to a meeting!

It’s a new year and a good New Years Resolution is to upgrade any software running on your site. Before Christmas WordPress 2.7 was released with a lot of hype due to the major changes to the administration section. Although many have been happy with the upgrade many WordPress users have had problems with the new release.

The general chat and forum posts (e.g. tin68) seemed to pin point the problem not with WordPress but with web host or plugins not compatible with 2.7.

So if your planning an upgrade or have upgraded here are a few tips.

    Before doing anything take a backup of your entire MySql database and all files that WordPress uses.
    If you have done the installation and WordPress 2.7 is running slow switch off all your plug ins and try the back end.
    If it’s still not working install a second version of WordPress 2.7 add some posts into the blog. Try the backend, if it works the problem might be corrupt database on your original blog, try exporting articles from the old blog into the new installation. If the second installation doesn’t work at all then it looks like your host is the problem. Your now going to have to get in contact with your hosting company, but before that open a thread at http://wordpress.org/support with a link to a php info file uploaded on your site.
    If your still not having any luck after a post on WordPress you might want to get in contact with your host to ask if they are running the latest version of PHP.

So if you are planning on a upgrade, Good luck, and if you have upgraded and your having problems then you might want to check out the old versions of WordPress.

All the news at the moment is about tonights election in American but I’ve seen a much more exciting piece of news, WordPress 2.7 is on it’s way and with it they are making a massive change to the admin section!

The main visable change is the layout of the back end. Navigation now moves the left side bar and the top will become a breadcrumb navigation with a search box. On the writing pages the media uploader moves to the right side, as does the tags and categories. From the screenshot releases in the wireframe PDF it certainly looks good and far more organised.

There are other neat feature, like the ability to search, download and install plugins from the admin. Navigation expands / collapses in two directions, automatic upgrade of the blog, sticky post etc etc.

A release date was set for the 10th of Novemeber but this will be missed. Instead a Beta 1 version has been released and a final version will most likely come later in the month.

If you need to 301 re-direct one page to another in WordPress Blog you can start playing around with the .htaccess file adding in re-directs or you could use Redirection a WordPress plugin.

A simple install as ever with WordPress plugins, the re-directs are all managed in the manage section of the WordPress back end. Just add in the old URL and the new URL and your done.

There are further options to re-direct to a 404 page, to a random post, import from csv etc. So head over to the WordPress plugin page to download Redirection.

Something that I’ve only done on this site today is setting up Google Analytics Site Search for this blog. WordPress has a search function as default. Some themes don’t include the search boxes which is crazy when you see how many people use the search function.

Click edit next to the analytics account you want to add site search.

On the profile settings page click edit in the first box called “Main Website Profile Information”.

Tick “Do Track Site Search” and then add in just “s” as the Query Parameter.

Click save and then your off. Do some test searches, then check that it’s working in 24 hours by going to the reports – Content – Site Search.