Introducing WordPress 3.0 “Thelonious”

WordPress 3.0 “Thelonious” has been released!   The new version includes a multitude of features and bug fixes.

Straight from the WordPress Announcement:

Major new features in this release include a sexy new default theme called Twenty Ten. Theme developers have new APIs that allow them to easily implement custom backgrounds, headers, shortlinks, menus (no more file editing), post types, and taxonomies. (Twenty Ten theme shows all of that off.) Developers and network admins will appreciate the long-awaited merge of MU and WordPress, creating the new multi-site functionality which makes it possible to run one blog or ten million from the same installation. As a user, you will love the new lighter interface, the contextual help on every screen, the 1,217 bug fixes and feature enhancements, bulk updates so you can upgrade 15 plugins at once with a single click, and blah blah blah just watch the video.

I have a few blogs that I will be setting up the multi-user capabilities as managing the splits between WordPressMU and WordPress have been a bit of a challenge.

Happy Blogging!

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Listing eBay Auctions

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series A More Capable Website

I have gone through a pretty lengthy process to set my wife’s new website up.  So far, I have upgraded her Gallery1 installation to Gallery2, setup and themed a WordPress install and moved her Gallery into Flickr so that it could be embedded into WordPress.

Since my wife is also planning on selling her artwork on eBay, I wanted to make sure she’d have some visibility into her auctions on her website as well.  Nothing like social marketing!

This was probably the easiest part of the whole process.  There are lots of eBay plugins, so I picked one with good ratings.  I finally picked eBaySalesLister, which installed in two easy steps.  Once set up, it will display eBay auctions for any given eBay username.

And that ends my work for this weekend, and starts my wife’s work.  With everything I’ve done, she now has a long list of artwork to update and auctions to list.  Once she’s gotten going, I’m sure there will be changes that need to be done.

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Gallery in WordPress

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series A More Capable Website

I have spent the past couple weekends setting up a new website for my wife.  Some of her requirements including moving her old artwork to the new site and being able to provide smooth experience for herself and anyone visiting her site.  My solution was to set the site up with WordPress and a multitude of plugins that would accomplish her goals.

This weekend, I focused on making her Gallery work.  I spent several hours playing with a few Gallery “wrappers” that take the current Gallery and embed it into the WordPress site.  Unfortunately, none of these gave the experience I knew my wife was expecting.  On one of my many Google searches, I chanced upon a module for Gallery2 called Gallery2Flickr.  Flickr, as I’m sure you know, is a photo sharing website.  Upon doing a little research, I found that this module can export Albums from Gallery2 into Flickr.  After setting my wife up with a Flickr account, I commenced with installing the module.

I’m not going to kid you here, the module’s documentation was terrible and most people that had posts about it did not feel the need to explain how to make it work.  I finally found the web page with much better documentation here:  http://gallery2flickr.sourceforge.net/

After getting it all set up, I still could not publish the pictures to Flickr.  More searching found that there is a bug in one of the php files.  The fix can be found here:  http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?func=detail&aid=2905503&group_id=199596&atid=970128

So, I now have the Gallery2 pictures importing into Flickr.  Now to get them out of Flickr and into WordPress.

I found the best possible Flickr integration in a plugin called Flickr Gallery.  The documentation was spot on and after installing and going through the setup, I now have the Artwork on the new website.

Next, I’ll be working on getting eBay information included in the website.

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A Perfect WordPress

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series A More Capable Website

My wife has asked me to set her up with a new website.  As part of this process, she’d like all of the images and artwork from her old website moved over.  Since she has not used the old website in quite some time, there is quite a bit of work to be done.  So far, I’ve upgraded the Gallery1 install to Gallery2 on her old website.  Now it’s time to set up the new website and start getting ready for the move.

I am quite familiar with WordPress.  I run several blogs using WordPress and WordPressMU, ideally using one of these applications for her site would make my life much easier.  I don’t mind learning new tools, but WordPress is still being actively developed and is widely supported by many developers.  Additionally, the population of WordPress sites means that Search Engines should have no issues indexing her site.

WordPress, in a nutshell, is blogging software.  The basic functionality can be extended using plugins that are developed by WordPress themselves and/or third parties.  Many of the plugins I use are developed by a volunteer community.  These volunteers do not require you to pay for their plugins, many ask that if you use it you donate back to them .  The developers do sometimes stop development for very long periods, which can be a problem if a new version of WordPress comes out and their plugin doesn’t work.  Sometimes the volunteers have lives, lose interest or in some cases decide the time and effort they put into a plugin is not worth the return.  I personally feel that if you depend on a plugin for the operation of your site, make a donation and let the developer know how much you appreciate what they do.

So let’s get to the WordPress installation.  If you’re like me, you probably have someone else host your websites.  Most modern web hosts offer something like  “On-Click Installs” and frequently WordPress is included in the list of installations they offer.  This is, by far, the easiest way to get a clean install of WordPress up and running.  The “On-Click Installs” often allow you to automatically upgrade your installation if a new version comes out.  This makes life very easy.

Continue reading »

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Gallery1 Upgrade and Migration to Gallery2

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series A More Capable Website

In the previous article I outlined my plan for setting up my wife’s new website.  The end goal is a website that will be easy for her to work with and not require her to dig into the meat of the website to achieve her goals, and really… not require me to write a lot of code or troubleshoot weird integrations.

The first steps in the process are to upgrade Gallery1 to the latest version and then upgrade to Gallery2.

Gallery1

Upgrading Gallery1 to the latest version seemed like a pretty straight-forward process.  Download the most recent version and overwrite the old version.  But things are never that easy, are they.  Quite a bit of time has passed since I managed my wife’s site, and I did not remember her passwords.  In fact, I’ve gone through 3 computers since she stopped using it – which means the likelihood that I had the passwords saved somewhere was greatly diminished.  I know, from past experience, that Gallery1 has a password recovery feature.  I’ll be making use of that in this process.

Before I did anything, I performed a full backup of my wife’s entire site.  This ensured if something went wrong, I could start over with minimal brain damage.

First step is to download the most recent version of Gallery1.  For that, I went to http://codex.gallery2.org/Main_Page.  The site also provides excellent instructions for the upgrade.  Rather than retype the whole process, it is safe to say that I followed the directions provided to the letter.  The link to the instructions I followed is here:  http://codex.gallery2.org/Gallery1:Upgrading.

I did end up doing the password recovery, which the upgrade process was kind enough to provide instructions for.  (Fair warning, if you need to do this shell access is the easiest way)

The fact is, that I could have skipped this step.  However, the Gallery2 Migration instructions called out a couple of integrity tools that were not available in the version I had.

Gallery2

Once the upgrade was complete and I tested the gallery completely.  Every picture, every album.  The Gallery2 migration process requires moving everything around, so I backed it all up again.

Starting back at http://codex.gallery2.org/Main_Page we will now download the latest version of Gallery2.

I then read the migration instructions four or five times, just to be sure I understood it and have everything I needed.  Here’s the shortcut to them:  http://codex.gallery2.org/Gallery2:migration

The process involves moving your Gallery1 installation to a new folder, reconfiguring it then installing Gallery2 and finally importing the Gallery1 information.

Again, the instructions are complete and I feel that my retyping them would muddy the waters and cause confusion.  Should you be following them and run into issues, which I did, Google your issue.  I found answers to everything I ran into.

I did find the section under Preserving Gallery1 URLs to be a little confusing.  Here’s what it boiled down to.  Your Gallery1 install has probably been indexed by Search Engines.  In order to ensure that any incoming links are working you can have Gallery2 write an incredibly complex .htaccess file that will remap any of those links to the same images in your new Gallery2 install.

Post install, I did run into a few other issues with Themes on the new gallery.  This was mostly because I needed to add back into the site the web analytics software that I use.  While I understand the reasons, it bothers me when applications can’t seem to stay on one name for something.  In Gallery2, the Admin page has Themes.  Before you can use a Theme you have to activate it as a Module.  To edit it you have to modify a Template file.  On top of that, you have to clear the custom cache that Gallery2 has in order to see your Theme as well as every time you make a change.  Yes, I know – you can turn the cache off.

At any rate, Gallery2 is now up and running along side a moved Gallery1.  I kept them both, because the migration of data seemed to have problems translating the descriptions and titles over.  My wife will need the old gallery so that she can find the correct information when she comes across import errors.

Next, we move on to the new domain and install WordPress and configure the basics.

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