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Tiny MCE and BBPress bug

May 20, 2018 in bugs by Matthew Brown

I guess I spoke too soon. The update seems to have had a very strange side effect – BBPress’ WYSIWYG editor has stopped working.

I noticed a bug report from one of our members this evening. They were reporting that the forums were being squiffy. I was going to reply with a  “thanks but I have not seen any such bug” when the same thing happened for me too. It seemed that the visual editor was not passing anything to the text version (which is what is actually submitted).

As BBPress runs the forums and is part of all the user groups, this was a pretty big deal.

I wondered if perhaps it was a double JQuery include issue and wrote a filter to dequeue JQuery and then enqueue using the Google CDN. That was a good thing to do for speed but it did not solve my problem. Probably because JQuery was not the problem, to begin with.

As far as I can tell this was either the Tiny MCE update that got pushed with the last update or something equally stupid that I just have not been able to see.

The net result is that I had to take away the nice UI for adding content to the forums because it was broken.

I have no officially Googled every version of the console error messages, descriptions of the problem, and version numbers involved that I can think of. I’ve not found so much as a sniff of another person reporting this problem.

If you need me, I will be taking a nice relaxing break to headbutt a wall or something. Grrr…

Updates to WordPress

May 19, 2018 in progress by Matthew Brown

This is not going to be a particularly interesting late night blog post as all I did was back stuff up and run some updates.

Things updated

For anyone that cares, there were some updates and I applied them.

  • WordPress core updated to the latest version
  • 11 Themes updated

I can imagine that there will be plugins asking to be updated as authors realise that they need to acknowledge the latest version. Yay, late night updates…

Backing stuff up

In a rather boring move, I backed everything up prior to running the update. Nothing went wrong aside from the small fact that it took ages.

That was my fault. I just grabbed the public HTML folder and downloaded it via FTP. It was only after it stared that I realised I could have skipped the media folders and the cache files. Doh.

I also pulled a copy of the database but remembered to optimise the tables first. To be fair, the tables were fairly optimal so all that did was make the indexes a touch smaller. Hardly earth-shattering stuff.

Let me know if anything behaves oddly but I expect that you will not actually notice any difference.

Redesigning Author Buzz UK

April 9, 2018 in progress by Matthew Brown

Author Buzz UK is to get a whole new look.

I posted recently about creating a WordPress Theme Framework. The idea is that it should be something that can be used as a foundation to build author-centric themes for WordPress.

As I said in my last post, I am not a natural designer. This design lark is hard for me. However, let me talk you through what we have planned.

Community first approach.

Our current design, attractive though it is, presents the main blog first and hides the community on other pages. With our new design, the news feed will be front and centre. That means that the things you say and do and share will become our new front page content.

Hopefully, this will increase traffic and attention for our members. It will do this in two ways.

First, visitors to the site will see what you are sharing when they first arrive. That means it will be faster and easier to find things that interest you. If your content is interesting to the site’s visitors then your content is what they will go and look at. That was always what we wanted, so this is something we are quite excited about.

Second, by putting your content front and centre search engines, like Google, will find your content and your profile more easily. This should result in your profiles and your blog posts benefiting from search traffic. Of course, your content still needs to be interesting and relevant but we will have done our part by getting out of the way and letting your work speak for itself.

Built for reading.

We will be taking the best practices established by far smarter people than me and applying it to the readability of the site. That means focusing on the words per line, line height, font choices, and other factors that impact readability ion different screens.

If we get things right, and I am doing my best to make that happen, Author Buzz will be easy to read and easy to use.

Built for speed.

The new look will be crafted from our new framework to be as fast as humanly possible. That means creating a theme that is good only for the main site. By doing that we can reduce the amount of work the theme has to do to work out what it needs to know.

Normally, a theme starts by making no assumptions about the blog it will be presenting. What we can do in this case, is make a lot of safe assumptions because we know exactly what it is presenting and how. that simplifies a lot of the page presentation process which can be optimised for the cache system right out of the gate.

Furthermore, we can plan a lot more “static” content which, again, will be faster.

A bit of a headache for me.

If you were wondering why all of the blogs I write for have had fewer posts, this new update is why.

It turns out that designing a whole theme framework is hard enough but taking the responsibility for making sure so many moving parts move together, well, that is a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong, as a development geek I am enjoying this work but it is far from quick to get done.

I am sure our beta testers will report a whole new collection of fun bugs for me to squash when we are ready to transition over.

I better get back to it.

The AB Theme Framework

March 27, 2018 in wordpress-development by Matthew Brown

Author Buzz UK are working on a new WordPress Theme Framework specifically for authors.

One of the things to come out from the work we have been doing for Author Buzz UK is that many themes only mostly fit the needs of writers.

If you add in the need for a blog that responds speedily and presents author information well with a requirement that it integrate with our community features… Well, the themes available are good, but they could be better.

That’s why I have started working on a theme framework. It is built using Bootstrap to keep it mobile responsive and light.

Will this new theme framework be the greatest WordPress theme ever? Maybe, but probably not. What it will be is an option. If it does nothing else but inspire theme creators to focus on the needs of authors then it will have been worth it. It will pull in some of the plugin ideas we have been sharing.

Something of a drag factor is that I am not a natural designer. I am a developer that can design but that is not my area of expertise. My hope with this framework is that other designers will take it, create child themes and make it their own.

I’ll share more as soon as there is something more to see. Until then, Back to the grindstone for me.

New Plugin: AB Custom Post Meta

March 4, 2018 in progress by Matthew Brown

Author Buzz UK members can now get their hands on a new plugin – AB Custom Post Meta. For now, the plugin is exclusive to Author Buzz blogs.

AB Custom Post Meta is a simple plugin that adds a new widget to display custom post data.

chimp typingWhen you write a post on WordPress three is the option to define custom data. People often use it to add what they were reading, watching, feeling, etc. at the time they wrote the post. This sort of thing:

  • Reading: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
  • Listening to: AC/DC
  • Feeling: Happy but tired

Normally you need to make sure that you have a theme that supports custom fields. Otherwise, all that information remains hidden. Which is a pain because not so many themes do support custom field values.

Not anymore. Now if you want to add “Feeling: Happy” and “Reading: Good Omens” or whatever to your posts, then you can be sure that information will show up and be seen. Best of all, you get to decide where it will appear.

If you don’t define any fields then the AB Custom Post Meta widget is smart enough not to waste your readers time trying to show up. It will only produce something if (and only if) there is something to share from the post.

Additionally, because the custom field data is often used by other plugins, any data that starts with an underscore will be hidden. So “_my_secret” would be secret while “you should hear this” would be shown to everyone.

If you want to use the new widget, AB Custom Post Meta is available to install from your blog’s admin area.

If you have any questions about AB Custom Post Meta then you can get support on the Blogs and Blogging forum.

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