RVArts – Dealing with Dates in WordPress

We have an awesome general education course starting this semester called Cultural Passport (aka RVArts). The goal is to get students involved with the community’s cultural events – participating, promoting, reviewing them. The web side of this ends up being pretty interesting. See their video below for more details on the course. When we started this conversation last year, I thought I was going to go the Gravity Form submission route1 and use a js library to make it possible to add the events to various calendars. Like most projects, particulars shifted and we started changing things pretty radically right before winter break. We ended up shooting for full WordPress editor access for students to create events and the desire to write three different types of responses (interviews, reviews, and features) that would be associated with a specific event. Also, like most projects, this was all a bit beyond what I’d ever done before. I started off thinking I’d create a custom post type for events. I was trying to make up my mind between using Advanced Custom Fields and CMB to help do that when I realized I hadn’t really thought about repeat events. The complexities involved there really made me rethink my decision to do this from scratch. After that I started trying various plugins and eventually decided […]

#openupTRU – Simpler WordPress Writing POC

I’ve had a number of requests to simplify WordPress, to make it more Tumblr like. I get that. It was mentioned again while I was at Thompson Rivers University and that inspired me to get it done. WordPress has a lot more complexity than Tumblr and that allows you to do a lot more. Doing complex things often requires tools with some complexity. The thing that interests me is when and how you make that complexity visible.1 So could we do something more Tumblr like in WordPress? There are certainly ways to completely re-write the dashboard and to set up user roles that only have limited kinds of access. That seems a bit heavy-handed to me and I don’t want to wall this stuff off. I simply want to make things very accessible to inexperienced users. The full re-write is also somewhat beyond what I have the time to do. I could take the time but in “innovation” land time is energy lost and I must ride the mixed-metaphor wave of getting stuff done fast. So in the time honored spirit of throwing stuff together with duct tape, I offer this for consideration. WordPress does have a simplified authoring view. Really. You can activate it using the ‘Press This’ bookmarklet and despite a slick revamp in WP 4.2 virtually no […]

WordPress Reflection Plugin – Step 1 – Counting Links

The idea that technology ought to help students reflect on their use of technology seems to make sense. As we have more and more students engaging in online writing little things come to light. Take the humble/magical hyperlink for example. We often look at the use of hyperlinks as a marker for progress in digital fluency. Are students using the thing that makes the web so webby? Can we help make that a point of reflection for them?1 I had a conversation with Laura a while back about pulling out URLs and looking at the their use over time by students.2 Clearly, these aren’t pure quantitative things. You’ll never say “Six links? Failure!” or even “Seventy four links? That’s an A+.” Not that I would ever think that about you but this is on the Internet and I don’t want anyone tying hyperlink numbers to Bloom’s levels and then linking to me. But it would be interesting to look back over your writing and see when you use lots of links and when you don’t. So, at the moment, that’s what this plugin does. It’ll do some more tricks in the future but these are early days. The plugin as it sits now (below) will do three things. It’ll run a regex on the post and store all the URLs […]


Working My Sites Filter

So previously I was struggling with stripping out the Participants blogs that the bbPress/BuddyPress combo was adding to the My Sites list. I got it working and added a bit to deal with it kicking out blogs a little too aggressively. First to get the actual name of the Participant slug, I made a page template for a theme that only did one thing- listed the user roles array. It is dead simple and looks like so . . . Throwing that in a theme let me know that the slug for participant was actually bbp_participant. I spent a lot of time thinking I was doing something else wrong. I’m also not a huge fan of doing things this way in PHP. I wish I had the a console log option like in javascript.

The Web Provides – All Tab URLs to HTML

I gave a quick talk to University Seminar on General Education this morning. As is my want, I did it live from the browser with many, many tabs open. At the end of the presentation I was asked if I could give those tabs to the other humans in attendance. I could have gone the long route and cut/pasted my way to the answer but I was pretty sure someone had already figured out a better way.1 Sure enough, a quick search for chrome grab open tabs and I ended up with the lovely Chrome extension Copy All URLs. I used the HTML option and then did a quick find/replace to make it in list format although you could do it all in the “custom” option. Update >>> I like Jon’s alternate plugin better if you’re not going to craft your own structures. It has a bit more flexibility in terms of saving the session etc. Here’s the list of URLs for anyone interested. University Seminar on General Education Motherblog Get Involved Flickr – Photo Sharing! Rethink Your Space Passenger Pigeons Bones in 3D Submit a marker | Hollywood Cemetery Ram Pages | An online community for VCU Dashboard ‹ Network Admin: Rampages.us — WordPress Site-Wide Activity | Ram Pages Mother Blog | Items of Interest augmenting.me/trials/inequality2.html augmenting.me/trials/before_after/phpindex.php PSY 323: […]

Improved Google Folder Shortcode Plugin

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Steve Snodgrass In December I wrote a tiny shortcode plugin that would let you embed Google Folders in WordPress. It was mainly to get around the iframe embed issues in WordPress Multisite. This interaction seems to make a number of faculty members pretty happy. So tonight when I got a comment asking how you’d get the plugin to display a grid view instead of the list view I decided to take another look at things. The short answer is that you could not do that with the old plugin. Now that I’m pretending to write code and stuff I thought I might be able to fix that and it turned out to be fairly simple. While I was in there I also added the ability to manually set height and width parameters. The new plugin is here. It doesn’t like it when I run both on the same blog (I assume because of the shared shortcode name) so this demo required that I turn off the older plugin. To make the changes I followed the Codex advice on handling attributes. This stuff still feels like magic to me. I realize how little actual skill and knowledge I posses in the scheme of things but it is amazing fun to be […]

More Dates in WordPress

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by peacay As I continue to mess around with time/calendaring in WordPress I thought it’d be helpful to be able to allow users to add specific events1 to the calendar service of their choice. That led me to the addthisevent.com javascript. It allows the user to choose the calendar format of their choice from a variety of options plus it’s free for non-profits and schools. Initially, I just threw a script link in the footer of my Time child theme but that’s not really how you’re supposed to do things in WordPress Land and it meant that a pretty useful action would be restricted to that single theme. There are also some people in the AddThisEvent comments requesting WordPress plugins. Since I’m wandering around the borders of Programistan anyway, I figured I’d write a plugin. This may be beating a dead horse in terms of detail but I’m hoping it might help other people who aren’t programmers get things done. Version 1 The first version was as barebones as you can get. It does via plugin what I did previously via the theme – stick the addthisevent script in the footer. I referenced the WP wp_enqueue_script2 page in the codex to do this. You can see it commented up below. Version […]

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 […]

Embed Google Drive Folder in WordPress

>>>>>You can find an updated version here. As WordPress and Google Drive continue to blend in a variety of ways the desire to embed the contents of Google Drive folders has come up a few times. I found this Stack Overflow post a while back and had been using it myself. But in an attempt to get around iframe issues and make it a little friendlier I wrote a quick and dead simple plugin today. It seems to do the trick . . . Directions Assuming the plugin is installed and activated . . . Go to Google Docs. Get the unique ID for the folder you want to embed- seen in the highlighted portion of the URL in the image below. Then paste it between the shortcodes like so . . . and you get a nice little window that acts as a live interactive portal to the folder.

FacetWP – a semi-tutorial

I don’t usually usually pay for WordPress plugins but this is one I’ve come to like1 quite a bit. To start off, I have a historic interest in facet based searching. It is one of the main things that continues to appeal to me about Exhibit (one of the earlier javascript based tool libraries aimed at non-developers). I’ve looked at a lot of different options to make that kind of thing work for WordPress over the last 5 to 7 years.2 This is by far the best option I’ve found. Why I Like It You can see all the bells and whistles on the demo page. The brass tacks version is that it allows you create a variety of guided search options and create custom page templates with or without the search pieces. I’ve used it personally and on rampages in a few slightly different ways. Here it is just using the custom display (no search) to show 3rd Space related images and I’ve used it to do something similar on this page with posts from my blog in the ‘Photography’ category.3 On this site, it’s allowing faceted searching based on tags created by students through a Gravity Form. Another example that’s using two facets (date and work type) based on parent/child category relationships to sort out my work. Given […]