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Advanced WordPress


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Workshop given at Software Freedom Day 19th September 2009 in Melbourne, Australia on the free and open source WordPress blogging tool.

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Advanced WordPress

  1. 1. Advanced WordPress Saturday 19 Sep 09 Software Freedom Day Melbourne Kathy Reid Kathy Reid
  2. 2. This workshop is for YOU Let me know if there's something you would like covered in more depth or in a different way If it's too technical, let me know Kathy Reid If it's not technical enough, let me know
  3. 3. What does this workshop assume? ● You are comfortable with creating posts and pages ● You are comfortable installing and changing themes, widgets and plugins Slide 3 ● Have used online or have installed your own WordPress on your server ● Installation page on Codex: Kathy Reid
  4. 4. Common installation issues - permissions ● wp-config.php has to be writable by the web server. This is the file that you enter your DB username and Slide 4 password details into ● Permissions can usually be changed via FTP ● Is everyone familiar with Kathy Reid Linux file system permissions?
  5. 5. Common installation issues - DB ● MySQL database has to be created, and the MySQL user has to be given permissions to the database Slide 5 ● This is best done through PhpMyAdmin (available through most hosting control panels) ● If MySQL is upgraded on your Kathy Reid host, you may need to recreate the user and permissions
  6. 6. Common installation issues - upgrades ● Since WordPress 2.7, there are tools that automate the process of upgrading ● Disable all plugins before Slide 6 upgrading ● Ensure you make a backup of your database ● This can also be done in Kathy Reid PhpMyAdmin ● Everyone familiar with PhpMyAdmin?
  7. 7. Common installation issues - timeout ● By default, WordPress has a timeout set to 30 seconds when downloading from FTP to do an automatic update ● This can result in an error like; Downloading update from  Slide 7­2.7.1 Download failed.: Operation  timed out after 30000  milliseconds with 351500 bytes  received     Installation Failed Kathy Reid
  8. 8. Timeout (cont'd) ● You need to do the following to fix this error ● In the file system where WordPress is installed, find the file called 'file.php' Slide 8 ● /wp­admin/includes/ ● Find the line; $response =  wp_remote_get($url,  array(’timeout’ => 30)); Kathy Reid ● Change the '30' to something like '500' and try the upgrade again
  9. 9. Themes – modifying or building your own ● Easier to modify an existing theme as the basic layout will already have been done for you Slide 9 ● (check licensing of theme) ● Modifying or building your own themes requires some knowledge of HTML and CSS Kathy Reid ● Themes intro page on Codex
  10. 10. Themes – File hierarchy ● When building themes, it is important to have an understanding of the file hierarchy – ie which 'pieces' Slide 10 of the theme get included where. This page on the WordPress codex covers this; ● Kathy Reid
  11. 11. Themes – styles.css ● This is the main file that needs to be edited ● The first block is used by WordPress to show style Slide 11 information in the Appearance menu in the Dashboard ● You will need CSS skills to Kathy Reid edit the Theme ●
  12. 12. Themes – Getting new ones ● There are literally tens of thousands of themes. High quality themes usually have; – Widget support Slide 12 – 'Fluid layouts' that fit to screen – Are standards compliant – Well tested or many installs Kathy Reid ● Good place to start is: ●
  13. 13. Exercise 1 – Modifying an existing theme ● Create a copy of one of the themes in the 'wp- content/themes' directory ● Edit the styles.css file so Slide 13 that the first block of information is changed ● Make some changes to the colours or CSS styling within Kathy Reid the file
  14. 14. Exercise 1 - contd ● Navigate to 'Appearance' in your Dashboard and change the chosen theme to the one you modified. Slide 14 ● Can you see the differences? ● What else would you like to change about your theme? Kathy Reid
  15. 15. Installing plugins ● A plugin is a piece of code written in PHP by a developer which can be added to WordPress to provide additional functionality Slide 15 ● The quality of plugins and their maturity varies – some are excellent, some are rubbish Kathy Reid ● Most are usually free, some are not.
  16. 16. Finding plugins ● The best place to start is: ● ● Each plugin has information on Slide 16 – Version – Compatibility – Author – Home page Kathy Reid – Screenshots – Documentation
  17. 17. Assessing a plugin ● What rating does it have? ● How comprehensive is the documentation or website? ● What version is the plugin Slide 17 (usually higher version, more mature) ● How active is the development (last version date) Kathy Reid ● How many other people have it installed (a good indicator of quality)
  18. 18. Exercise 2: Assessing and installing a plugin ● In your Dashboard, navigate to Plugins -> Add New ● You will be presented with a field where you can search for Slide 18 plugins. Try the keyword for a plugin you're interested in. In this example, we'll use 'twitter' (it's not case sensitive) ● WordPress will go and search Kathy Reid all the plugins that match this keyword and present them to you in a table
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  20. 20. Exercise 2: Assessing and installing a plugin ● Identify the plugin you wish to install (refer to 'assessing a plugin' earlier in this presentation) Slide 20 ● Click the 'install' link next to the plugin ● The plugin will install automatically Kathy Reid ● You may have to configure options for the plugin
  21. 21. Plugins – you MUST have ● Akismet is an anti-spam plugin; it is packaged by default with WordPress. It will identify which comments Slide 21 are spam and which are legitimate with a high rate of accuracy. ● Kathy Reid
  22. 22. Plugins - Forms ● Cforms is a plugin which provides a very robust and complete method to create forms for your website. Slide 22 ● It is overkill for basic contact forms, but has a lot of functionality such as captcha control and auto replies Kathy Reid ●
  23. 23. Other plugins you might like ● Sociable: Allows people to read your posts and flag them with tools such as Delicious, Digg, Twitter etc Slide 23 ● Similar posts: Automatically suggest posts your readers may also like from keywords and categories ● WordPress mobile edition: Kathy Reid Make sure your blog is readable on mobile devices
  24. 24. Keeping plugins updated ● It's important that you keep an eye out for plugins that need to be updated – for bugs and vulnerabilities but Slide 24 also for enhancements. ● WordPress automatically notifies you of plugins that have updates available; Kathy Reid
  25. 25. Keeping plugins updated ● It's important that you keep an eye out for plugins that need to be updated – for bugs and vulnerabilities but Slide 25 also for enhancements. ● WordPress automatically notifies you of plugins that have updates available; Kathy Reid
  26. 26. Writing your own plugin ● You will need to know PHP reasonably well ● Helps to have a knowledge of the WordPress code and Slide 26 components – and 'hooks' that are built in for plugin developers ● Has someone else already written the plugin Kathy Reid ● How will you support it? ●
  27. 27. Roles ● Roles and permissions in WordPress are basic; it is designed to be a blog used by a single person Slide 27 ● Blog owner can assign a role to a user which restricts what abilities that user has on the site – each role has different capabilities Kathy Reid ●
  28. 28. WordPress Multi User (WPMU) ● WPMU is a different form of WordPress that is designed to be installed in a multi-blogging environment Slide 28 ● For instance, you can run hundreds of blogs from one installation ● The administrator can set privilege levels and plugins site Kathy Reid wide or on certain sites only ●
  29. 29. Social networking: BuddyPress ● BuddyPress aims to add social networking functionality to WordPress to make it more suitable for Slide 29 community sites ● Still in its infancy; is quite immature – but one to watch ● Kathy Reid
  30. 30. Additional resources FLOSS Manual (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) Slide 30 WordPress – downloads, docs, themes Kathy Reid