WordPress 2.9 Usability Fail

This isn’t a tutorial on how to bulk-update/upgrade plugins in WordPress 2.9, just a tip in case many users are confused as to where this much sought-after feature is. It’s under Tools -> Upgrade. Seriously, this has to be one of WP’s dumbest decisions yet. Why in the world would you put the bulk update for plugins under Tools -> Upgrade? It should be a button or an action from the bulk action dropdown. Usability Fail!

PhoenixBlue Widgetized

Thanks to Kris Britt at Silente.com the PhoenixBlue theme has been widgetized.  I’ve also made a few other minor tweaks to a theme that seems to still be very popular even though I’ve not had time to update it in over a year.  Post meta information now includes what tags are used in the post and the theme now supports WordPress image captions that came out in WordPress 2.6.  You can check out a demo of PhoenixBlue Widgetized here. You can download the PhoenixBlue Widgetized theme here.

Thanks again to Kris for widgetizing the theme.  If time permits I may add support for threaded comments, but I’m not entirely sure I will yet.  If anyone else wants to add the functionality, feel free, just let me know.  Also if you find issues with the theme and want to help fix them let me know.  The theme isn’t exactly my main priority right now so if any help is greatly appreciated.  I know one area that needs some work is the tag cloud styling so if you want to take a crack at that feel free.

Why Habari isn’t Ready for Me

I’m writing this post so I don’t have to constantly explain my reasoning to everyone in #habari. This is not a post describing how bad Habari is, it is a fine product. It’s just not ready for me and I’ll explain why.

Everyone who visits my site knows that I like to change themes. The lack of quality themes on Habari is one thing that is keeping me from changing. Themes aren’t a make or break deal, but I do like to change things up and not having the ability to do so with a variety of different themes is something that will weigh heavily on my decision. If there was nothing else that made me hesitant about switching, I’d do it. But there are other things.

Lack of widgets or modules built in are something I really want. Because I like to change themes often, not having a widget system for sidebars and whatnot makes things difficult. I like to rearrange the contents of sidebars, footers, etc. without having to edit code. It’s not that I don’t know how to edit the code, it’s just that, these days, I shouldn’t have to.

Lack of documentation makes it hard to do the things I want to do. Back in the pre-widgets WP days this page was my Bible. When editing themes, I still use this page quite often. Habari’s documentation is seriously lacking and it’s difficult to find what it is I need to accomplish certain things. WordPress’s codex spells it out in a great way. This isn’t Habari’s fault, they are young. It took a long time for WordPress’s Codex to get to where it is now. Even a lot of the plugins that are released for Habari have come without clear documentation.

There are also other things that aren’t as big, but I wonder why they aren’t included. For example, Habari uses tags instead of categories. So why isn’t there a template tag to display a tag cloud? You have to use a plugin in order to display it if you want one. I’m sure there are other things like that but I’ve not dealt with it enough to see what they might be. Also, since the codebase is ever changing at this early stage, it takes a lot to keep up with themes and plugins as they are changed quite often and, well, WordPress is much easier to do with the introduction of the automatic plugin upgrading. I can’t tell you when the last time I had to edit a theme because of a WordPress upgrade.

So, there are a few of my reasons why I’m not switching to Habari…. yet. Hopefully, once they mature a little, these things will be introduced and worked on and it will make the transition from WordPress to Habari easier.

WordPress 2.5 Widget Interface

I would like to state that who ever designed the widget interface in WordPress 2.5 is a complete moron. A retarded monkey could have done better. Gone are the days where you just drag and drop widgets. Have more than one sidebar or widgetized area? No problem, just drag the widgets to the corresponding widgetized area. No, in 2.5, you have to select which sidebar you want to edit from a dropdown, then add the widgets to that sidebar. Then you have to click save and choose the next sidebar from the dropdown. Oh wait, you want to move something from sidebar 2 to sidebar 1? Ok, instead of dragging and dropping like you did before you have to go to sidebar 2, remove it, save, go to sidebar one, add it, save. What a pain in the ass. EDIT: Also, if you go to a theme that has less sidebars than your previous, the widgets mess up. It’ll display whatever widgets you have in sidebar 1 from the previous theme, but when you change it and hit save, it removes them all and puts widgets from sidebar 2, making you do the whole process over again.

A Disappearing Community

One of the things that has bugged me over the past year or so with WordPress is that the community seems to be disappearing. Some of the developers have left to create other software and some have just left. It seems the passionate group of volunteers that helped support WordPress have moved on as well. The WordPress IRC channel was once a place I enjoyed hanging out in and helping whenever I could. Now, I never speak in there. I hardly look at what’s being said in there at all. Some of the volunteers that helped out in the forums have even been asked to leave by Matt and company. Matt seems to be doing a great job at driving a wedge in the community. His way, or leave. Or as he once put it, you don’t like it, fork it.

Themes.wordpress.net is pretty much a graveyard. I used to go there several times a week to check out all the nice new designs that people were making. Even if I wasn’t ever going to download the themes it was nice to see what was being produced. Now the only place that publishes new WordPress themes on a regular basis seems Weblogtoolscollection.com, and that has even seemed to slow down a bit. I don’t know if that’s because passionate theme developers aren’t producing themes anymore or what. Now your choice is to use Google and hope you don’t find a site that puts malicious links and/or code into the theme you download.

The latest thing that Wank pointed out is that the Plugins page on the Codex no longer exists. It was a fairly complete list of plugins for WordPress. It’s no longer there. So if Matt chooses to tell you your plugin isn’t good enough for the official repository, there’s no place to notify users that your plugin exists. That page on the Codex was a great page. Also absent from Extend is the link for themes. It was there before 2.5 came out. So, Matt takes away the theme repository, has the plugins page deleted, drives away developers and volunteers and this is supposed to be a community? Yeah, right.

New Theme and New Version

As you probably know by now if you’re a WordPress user, WordPress 2.5 came out today.  Along with that, WordPress.org received a redesign.  I won’t say much about the new version, as it seems to be the same, except an ugly admin redesign.  I will however point out that I have a new theme up here.  It probably won’t stay up too long, but I figured it’s a great theme for the season.  Cardinals opening day is Monday and the baseball season will be underway.  Just wanted to throw up a theme that celebrated the season a bit and this theme I thought was very elegant looking.  Anyway, let the baseball commence!

Traffic Spike

These past few days I’ve had a huge influx of traffic. The reason behind it is someone stumbled upon an article I posted back in 2005 and liked it and thus it was shared with thousands upon thousands of people around the internet. On Tuesday I had about 900 visits, Wednesday went up to 7,110, and today so far I’m at 2,243 and it’s not even 9 am. WordPress is known for not handling large traffic spikes, especially on shared hosting (which is what I’m on). Luckily, after Tuesday’s small influx to 900 visits I decided to download and enable WP Super Cache. It has worked quite well and my site has been loading fast and the server seems to be handling all the traffic quite well. So, we shall see how long this traffic spike will last and how the shared hosting of HostGator handles it.