Vegard Skjefstad

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Tag: WordPress (page 2 of 5)

Ghost Writing

During its 16-ish years long life, this site has been powered by a few different content management systems. First, it was Greymatter, then a simple one I wrote myself in PHP, called Bugger as an homage to Blogger, and for the last 7 years, WordPress has been in control.

WordPress is great for blogging, and it can be used for a lot of other things as well. It can, for instance, be turned into a complete e-commerce platform without too much effort. A lot of options and features can often lead to a piece of software becoming bloated and confusing, but thanks to its plugin architecture, WordPress has not fallen into that particular trap. For me, the only real drawback with WordPress is that it’s written in PHP. It’s not that PHP is bad per se. Contrary to what you usually hear, it is possible to write beautiful code in that programming language – but it’s also incredibly easy to write crappy code.

The problem with WordPress being written in PHP is that when I modify themes, play around with plugins, and write site features like A Picture A Day, PHP is the natural path to take. Being fluent in PHP is great, but it’s not something that helps me build knowledge I can use professionally. The programming language is more or less dead and forgotten in my line of work, these days it’s all about JavaScript – both on the client and server side.

Just a couple of days ago, I came across a blogging platform that might enable me to continue to feed you people with average quality writing, and the same time make me more comfortable with JavaScript: Ghost.

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How To Secure WordPress. Again

I’ve been using WordPress to power this site for many years now, and I’m not the only one doing that: According to the WordPress Wikipedia article, the Content Management System (CMS) was used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015. That number makes it a prime target for hackers and script kiddies around the world.

WordPress’ security record isn’t exactly great. There are many reasons for that, among them WordPress’ support for extensions like plugins and themes. Many of these plugins and themes are slapped together by developers who have no clue about the importance of securing their code against known vulnerabilities. This has often resulted in many popular extensions being wide open gates into the inner workings of WordPress, making it very easy for bad guys to ruin everyone’s day. WordPress itself also hasn’t been a stranger to having major security vulnerabilities. That it’s written in PHP hasn’t exactly helped, and security wasn’t really something the core developers put much effort into until recent years. But the latter is, thankfully, getting better. The WordPress core is now updating itself automatically, and this feature will be enabled for plugins as well soon.

But even though security has become a focus, both for the core WordPress team and at least some plugin and theme developers, you should still make a bit of an effort to enable additional layers of security to your WordPress site. Most of the work is done, rather ironically, with the help of plugins.

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wp-days-ago v3.2

This plugin is no longer supported. You’re still free to use it of course, but I will not fix bugs or reply to support forum threads. There are other plugins that provide the same functionality that you might want to try instead, like Meks Time Ago and The Time Ago.

My WordPress plugin, wp-days-ago, has been updated to version 3.2. The plugin displays the number of years, months, days, hours and minutes since a post or a page was published or modified, or a comment was published, in the same format as Facebook, Twitter etc. Examples are “Just now” (less than a minute ago), “47 minutes ago” (less than an hour ago), “3 hours ago” (less than a day ago), “Yesterday”, “3 days ago”, “One week ago”, “3 months ago”, “3 months, 4 days ago”, “2 years, 13 days ago” and so on. It’s also possible to configure wp-days-ago to fall back to displaying the actual date and time when a post or page was published when a certain number of seconds after publishing time has been reached.

Cache plugins, like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache, are supported through the use of AJAX. This means that the plugin will show correct information even if the page is cached.

Changelog from 3.1.1 to 3.2 (many of these changes have been done in minor releases between 3.1.1 and 3.2, but the releases has not been announced on this site, only on the plugins page in the WordPress plugin repository) :

  • New feature: The plugin can now also be used to show posts/pages modified dates, and comments published dates.
  • New feature: Added support for not displaying the “ago” appender for translations that do not use it (for instance German).
  • Added Ukranian translation (thanks to Alexander Avramenko).
  • Added Kurdish (Central Kurdish) translation.
  • Added German translation (thanks to WordPress.org user ezkay).

If you already have wp-days-ago installed you will be notified about an update when you log into the WordPress administration console. If you don’t have it installed you can download it from the WordPress plugin repository or from the WordPress plugin manager.

wp-days-ago v3.1.1

Please note that the plugin has now been updated to version 3.2.

My WordPress plugin, wp-days-ago, has been updated to version 3.1.1. The plugin displays the number of years, months, days, hours and minutes since a post or a page was published in the same format as Facebook, Twitter etc. Examples are “Just now” (less than a minute ago), “47 minutes ago” (less than an hour ago), “3 hours ago” (less than a day ago), “Yesterday”, “3 days ago”, “One week ago”, “3 months ago”, “3 months, 4 days ago”, “2 years, 13 days ago” and so on. It’s also possible to configure wp-days-ago to fall back to displaying the actual date and time when a post or page was published when a certain number of seconds after publishing time has been reached.

Cache plugins, like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache, are supported through the use of AJAX. This means that the plugin will show correct information even if the page is cached.

Changelog from 3.0.0 to 3.1.1 (many of these changes have been done in minor releases between 3.0.0 and 3.1.1, but the releases has not been announced on this site, only on the plugins page in the WordPress plugin repository) :

  • Bugfix: Fixed an unfortunate bug where the number of days would be wrong in some cases if “yesterday” was configured not to be shown.
  • Bugfix: Remove hard coded “cet” string that was showed when waiting for AJAX call to finish.
  • New feature: Option to show number of hours instead of “yesterday” before 24 has passed. “Yesterday” don’t always make sense if you’re having an international audience. The default value is to show “yesterday”, so there is no need to change anything unless you want to use the new option. See the installation instructions for details.
  • Added Persian (Farsi) translation (thanks to WordPress.org user famarini).
  • Added Bengali translation (thanks to Mahmud, C.E.O, S. M. Foundation).
  • Added French translation (thanks to Alondi Commanda, Alondi Consulting)
  • Added Dutch translation (thanks to Marjolein Boer, Pixelein).
  • Added Russian translation (thanks to Yuri from http://www.coinside.ru).
  • Added Spanish (thanks to Andrew Kurtis, WebHostingHub), Turkish, Swedish and Norwegian (nynorsk) translations.

If you already have wp-days-ago installed you will be notified about an update when you log into the WordPress administration console. If you don’t have it installed you can download it from the WordPress plugin repository or from the WordPress plugin manager.

Redecorate dot net

It’s time to wake up and realize the facts as they are laid out for you every time to visit this site: The current design is going stale. It’s nothing wrong with it, but when you’re looking at the same thing all the time1, even the most exciting things will eventually start to feel boring and mundane. The current design, a somewhat modified version of North by Okay Themes, has been with us for almost two years now. With a design rotation of roughly one year, an overhaul is long overdue.

I’ve been searching the internet for a new WordPress theme for the good part of the last four months, and it’s proven very hard to find the right theme. I’m looking at both free and “premium” themes, and I’ve paid for the two previous themes I used. But the price has been increasing steadily since I purchased North, and a premium theme will now typically set me back somewhere in between $38 and $68. I guess I could sit down and create a theme myself, I’ve done that before, but it usually turns in to a massive time sink. With that in mind, $68 is a relatively small amount to pay for something that will last for at least a year and save me weeks of intense fiddling to get everything to look right in every major browser.

The theme I’m looking for has to be responsive, contain a footer and a right-hand sidebar, or, at least make it easy to move a left-hand sidebar to the right of the main content. But perhaps more important than what the theme has to be, is what it must not be.

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