SDAC Recommends: WordPress Plugin: Update Manager

A number of bugs can easily be solved by making sure you have the latest version of a particular plugin. If you are like most people, you do not have time to go to each and every plugin’s web site and confirm you have the latest version, but the Update Manager plugin will. The plugin is relatively new and somewhat in beta, but it has already saved me countless hours – and hopefully will do the same for you.

bbPress Templates and Customization

Since we like to develop custom WordPress solutions, we are proud to now offer custom bbPress solutions and templates. bbPress is a light weight and fast forum solution from the makers of WordPress.

bbPressfeatures:

  • Fast and light
  • Simple interface
  • Customizable templates
  • Highly extensible
  • Spam protection
  • RSS Feeds
  • Easy integration with your WordPress web site

If you need a custom install of bbPress, contact us for a free quote.

SDAC Recommends: WordPress Plugin: iGSyntax Hiliter

After looking for a good code highlighting plugin, I can finally recommend iGSyntax Hiliter. This plugin allows you to “highlight” multiple languages within your WordPress web site.

PHP example:

 

CSS Example:

 .clear {clear:both;}

The plugin is easy to install and use, and if you still needs more information, a manual is provided.

SDAC Recommends: WordPress Plugin: WP Newsletter

I have been working with WordPress for multiple years now and I decided I needed to start reviewing some of my favorite plugins – as I receive a number of requests about what plugins I use/prefer. I am going to start with a newcomer: WP Newsletter. This plugin works great for WordPress sites allows you to:

  • create a customized newsletter for your readers or customers using the same theme based layout as you use for creating WordPress themes
  • offer a newsletter archive within WordPress
  • seamless integration with the WordPress Admin
  • use custom Newsletter WordPress template for easy integration into existing WordPress web site or blog
  • customize welcome email for new subscribers that can be modified within the WordPress Admin

The plugin developer is very responsive and open to new ideas and adding functionality to his plugin. There are also many other general newsletter functions you would expect and want

If you need a newsletter plugin for WordPess, check it out!

WordPress Widgets

I recently started looking into WordPress Widgets which allow people to customize their WordPress web site or blog without knowing any HTML. Widgets allow WordPress users to simply “drag and drop” features in their sidebars. Sound interesting?
A basic overview on how to get widgets working on your site:

  1. Download the Widgets plugin for WordPress
  2. Read the README file to figure out where to put the files that you just downloaded
  3. Within the WordPress Admin, activate the Widgets plugin
  4. If you are using a custom theme, make sure you have the functions.php file in your directory with the following code: , otherwise you should have moved over the functions.php file that was included with the widgets plugin download to use with the classic or default theme.
  5. Within your sidebar code (either in the sidebar.php file or within your template file) add: at the beginning of your sidebar code (assuming you are using sidebar.php) then at the end In between those two PHP statements, you can put any default code that you would like to display if you decide not to use the widgets for the sidebar.

That is it for the basic set up. You can then log into the WordPress admin and under “Presentation”, you will see “Sidebar Widgets” as an option to choose in the menu. If you want to add/delete/edit your sidebar, you can now just drag and drop widget “blocks” in the sidebar window. If you want the calendar at the top, followed by your link list, followed by an RSS feed, drag all those options in. If you decide that you really want the RSS feed at the top, just drag it to the top of the list. This is quite cool (and easy)!
Advanced Widget Customization:
In most sites that I have worked on, there are more than one sidebars…and ideally I would like to make all of them use widgets because it is so darn cool and easy. If I want two sidebars, I would go into the functions.php file and instead of using: I would use:

'Sidebar 1',
'before_widget' =&gt; '<div class="side-c %2$s">', // Removes <li>
'after_widget' =&gt; '</div>', // Removes </li>
'before_title' =&gt; '<h3>', // Replaces <h2>
'after_title' =&gt; '</h3>', // Replaces </h2>
));
register_sidebar(array('name'=&gt;'Sidebar 2',
'before_widget' =&gt; '<div class="side-c %2$s">', // Removes <li>
'after_widget' =&gt; ' </div>', // Removes </li>
'before_title' =&gt; '<h3>', // Replaces <h2>
'after_title' =&gt; '</h3>', // Replaces </h2>
));
?&gt;

Ok, that does a little more than just giving me the option to have two sidebars. The code above allows me to name the sidebars (I named mine “Sidebar 1” and “Sidebar 2”. The code also allows me to remove the list code that the sidebar generally uses (and I do not) as well as allows me to replace h2 tag with something else (in this case the h3 tag). You can also customize the div classes and IDs in the example above. Now in your Sidebar Widget Admin page, you can drag and drop widgets on both Sidebars. **If you would like more than two sidebars, just use the code above to duplicate new Sidebars…just make sure they are have unique names. The only thing you will need to do now is duplicate the sidebar.php file so you can call in the second sidebar. For example sake, I duplicated sidebar.php and named it sidebar2.php and the only code I changed in the sidebar files (when using more than one sidebar) is this line:

 to: <code> 

. Then, sidebar2.php would have that same line, except I would change the title from “Sidebar 1” to “Sidebar 2”. Finally, in the template, I would use the use the WordPress code to call in Sidebar 1 by using and then elsewhere in the template I would use to call in the second sidebar.

More information

**Please note that I have placed spaces between the opening “<" and the tag name so it would appear in the text.

WordPress Resources

I have been creating more CMS web site solutions using WordPress over the last year and and have collected some great resources along solid product right out of the box, it is highly configurable, there are endless plugins, and everything is well documented. So, if you are ever looking to build a web site using WordPress and want to do it for yourself I would recommend using:

  1. WordPress Documentation (Codex)
  2. WordPress Plugins Database
  3. My del.icio.us bookmarks (check out WordPress/Logic, WordPress/Plugins, WordPress/Templates). I will continue to add to these bookmarks so stay tuned.