Troubleshooting WordPress

This is an attempt to explain a pattern of troubleshooting WordPress through a specific event and perhaps reinforce the need for me to be humble in all interactions with people. So even if you never have this problem this might be useful. Symptoms An admin for one of our sites using FeedWordPress and suddenly can’t see any feeds in her syndicated sites view for that plugin. She sends me an email. I drop into the site and check. All looks good to me. Sadly. Sadly. Sadly. I respond to her and say it seems to be working on my end . . . has she tried another browser, computer, login/logout/restart etc. It’s easy to end up assuming the person reporting the problem is wrong by default. I get a fair number of emails. Many of them, probably most of them, report problems that are more human than mechanical. It’s easy to fall into a trap of assuming it’s a human issue, especially if a superficial inspection confirms that suspicion. It’s also called a trap for a reason. Avoid it if at all possible and if you fall into it please attempt to climb out.1 A bit later she indicates that she has done these things and the problem persists. I go back to the site. It still works for me. […]

Let the Birds Sing (Feed WordPress Filter)

Sometimes it’s the tiny, little bitty things. This is one of those times.1 Issue: Lesley Bullock is an awesome ornithology instructor who has all her students doing field work and they’re aggregating their work to a main mother blog hub. She is even having them record and upload bird songs which is entirely awesome. The problem was that when aggregated, the built in WordPress player wouldn’t show up. Oddly, it’s there in the code. I could see it there taunting me (below). However, the visibility was set to hidden. Once I realized the content was coming in, I tried the least invasive response- that is I just tried to override the CSS using the custom CSS option in Jetpack. No dice. Given that this is hardcoded into the post at the element level that wasn’t a huge surprise but it was worth a shot.2 I considered a few other options- Feed WordPress advanced filters, altering the core WordPress files . . . and they either wouldn’t do what I wanted or they felt too dramatic given the limited use case. I eventually got to the wonderful site for Feed WordPress (far superior to the WP plugin support page). There’s all sorts of good information on creating plugins/filters for Feed WordPress. What I ended up making is incredibly trivial but it […]

Sociological Theorists WordPress Site

Our Sociology Department Chair, Jennifer Johnson, is out there leading the way for the Sociology Department at VCU. She’s not only thinking through how syndication will impact the design of their entire program and curriculum (online and off), she’s also teaching a course on Sociological Theory in a way that shows how student work can interweave in interesting ways. There is a real focus on interaction between undergraduate and graduate students and the idea that the student work will be centered around the theorists themselves. The site reflects a number of those choices and it’s going to be fun to watch it grow. They’ve already got upwards of 90 posts and we haven’t even finished the second full week of classes. The site is a basic mother blog setup with a few tweaks. You’ll notice the landing page is a basic grid layout with the theorists images linking to the categories. So the Max image links to http://rampages.us/sociologicaltheory/category/marx/.1 Most themes don’t really encourage this particular layout. There are plugins that will allow you to give categories “Featured Images” like posts have. In this case that felt like more trouble than it was worth as I’d also have to do some extra work to make the categories display the way I wanted. I figured someone smart had done a decent grid […]

Some FeedWordPress Advanced Filters Details

Here are a few things that have come up recently that might be of value to others wandering the FeedWordPress/FeedWordPress Advanced Filters Syndication highway. Same Name, Different Pictures I ran into this with the Field Botany page. A variety of factors came into play here. We now have over 1300 posts with at least one image, usually more per post. This ups our chances for conflict. A lot of these images were taken on mobile device, in particular Apple devices, which have a very unimaginative naming structure (essentially Picture 1, Picture 2 etc.). This doubles down on our chances for conflicts. We are using Advanced Filter for FeedWordPress to pull those images into the mother blog. What would happen is that a post would come in on Blackberries. It would have a few images named Picture 11, Picture 14 etc. Later on a post would come in on Poison Ivy and it would have some pictures. One of them might be named Picture 14. As a result, the original Picture 14 would appear and it’d look like the wrong label/picture had been given. It’d all be correct when you traced it back to the source blog. You can see how this might happen in the example below. The cure (no known hiccups at this point) is to use the developer […]

Catharsis – WP Child Theme Evolution

It is always a wonderful feeling to figure something out, especially after having struggled with it. The following is a continued progression from one idea in 2011 to this idea in February of 2014 and then merged with this tangential idea from February 2014. The new child theme is here. So at this point, I have a workflow that starts with a bookmarklet that adds the page to Diigo (maintains my normal workflow) auto creates the WordPress Snap code then FeedWordPress takes the Diigo posts and adds it to a blog The blog now also generates a sortable visual interface of screenshots To business . . . Bookmarklet Modifications I made an addition here, wrapping the comment field in a div I named “show”. I did this because Diigo puts the tags in the body of what becomes the post. So it looks like below. It was irritating because the tags weren’t in any particular div and there was no other easy way to address the pieces I wanted to vanish. I didn’t like that and since this site was purely set for this workflow I went the other route (a fairly nuclear one). I set .entry-content p to display: none. That vanishes it. Since I’d added the additional div piece for the Diigo comments, that stuff was safe from […]

27

Diigo + FeedWordPress & WordPress Snap Workflow

These last few posts are an attempt to document both how things I post on this blog come back up and help me do new things and an attempt to document how I come to solutions for things that I don’t understand how to do. Then there’s an attempt to explain what I did in case anyone else wants to do the same. I hope that it’s a narrative on my learning process as much as it is a tutorial on the particular topic. The Past So I’m fairly focused on making things easier for myself for the simple fact that if they don’t make sense/work with my current life then I tend not to keep them up. A good examples is that way back in 20111 I modified the WordPress “Press This” bookmarklet in combination with the WordPress Snap plugin to allow me to auto generate screenshots of pages. I used it a few times after that but it didn’t fit my workflow. It solved one problem- I wanted visuals of these websites to make the posts more engaging but I didn’t want to take screenshots, upload them etc.2 So one problem solved but the fact remained that I didn’t use “Press This” to bookmark pages. I used Diigo for that kind of thing so despite solving one workflow […]