Category Archive for ‘Plugin’

Ultimate Category Cloud 3.0


Ultimate Category Cloud 3.0

Finally, I found found the time to do some much needed work on some of my plugins. the first to receive an update is Ultimate Category Cloud (UCC) which now moves to version 3 and is fully Wordpress 2.3 compatible among other things.


  • Now WP2.3 compatible, thanks to Mephisto, Jason Ellis and Jan Weinschenker for their suggestions.
  • Now displays weight and coloured categories as default behaviour
  • Default ‘largest’ size is now 200% not 250%
  • Removed the get_all_cats function, it is no longer needed
  • New function for better conversion of hex colours to decimal values
  • Font size weight should now more accurately reflect the largest and smallest font sizes that you specify
  • Reworked weighted colouring, now only requires you to specify one colour.

Installation and Usage

To install UCC simply download the zip file below, extract the contents and upload to the wp-content/plugins directory on your server.

The display a ‘cloud’ on your site simply modify your theme to insert one of these snippets of code where you would like the ‘cloud’ to appear.

Default Weighted and Colored

<?php weighted_categories(); ?>

Weighted but not Colored

<?php weighted_categories(1,0); ?>

Colored but not Weighted

<?php weighted_categories(0,1); ?>

Neither Weighted nor Colored

<?php weighted_categories(0,0); ?>

To choose your own color add the third parameter

<?php weighted_categories(1,1,$basecolor="#ff0000"); ?>

Advanced usage

You can also specify how large or how small the weighted text should appear, if needed you can also exclude specific categories from the cloud, and by changing the $method option to ‘0′ you can reverse the coloring of the categories (ie. the lightest becomes the darkest and vice versa
<?php weighted_categories($weighted=1, $colored=1, $basecolor="#CCCCCC", $smallest=70, $largest=200, $unit="%", $exclude='', $method=1); ?>


modMunch 1.0 Plugin for Wordpress


modMunch Released

Last night I was working on my redesign, and I noticed a tweet from Matt Brett, he was looking for something that would replace the comment moderation email notification with a feed of some sort.

An idea popped into my head and I thought I’d give it a stab and see if I could come up with something to do the job. This is the end result of a couple of hours work, and I think it should suit nicely.

I’m surprised something like this isn’t already part of the Wordpress core, because I can imagine that some site that have lots and lots of traffic would be receiving dozens of emails each day. A single feed would be much nicer.

Theres not really much to modMunch.

  • Gives you an RSS feed with the comments that are awaiting moderation.
  • Access is restricted through the use of a personalised access code.
  • Privdes all the same information that the standard email notifications provide.
  • Removes the need for you to receive constant emails telling you to moderate comments. Multiple emails replaced by a single feed.

Here is an example of the modMunch feed being viewed in NewsFire.

Comment moderation rss style

For more details, and installation tips visit the modMunch homepage.

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modMunch Support Forum


No more wp-cache


I’ve had it with wp-cache. Everytime I enable it on this blog bad things happen. When I released Redoable 1.1, it got posted on, and on Smashing Magazine and I got mountains of traffic very quickly. I didn’t have wp-cache installed at the time, an despite receiving about 10 times more traffic than a normal day my blog was relatively ok. Despite this I followed a couple of peoples advice and installed wp-cache….you know….just in case.

Over the next week or so my site crashed a couple of times, according to Dreamhost some was my fault ( ? ) and some was due to downtime of their servers. Then things got really bad. The first week of March my site was gone. Nothing I did would bring it back. I disabled every plugin, and then I deleted them, and then I went back to the default theme….nothing, Dreamhost couldn’t help, and I was lost for ideas. After being down for almost a week I had a brain snap, “what if I delete the cache files produced by wp-cache“, and guess what….my site came back. It would appear that something was corrupted and was killing my site. Goodbye wp-cache (attempt 1).

So I de-activated wp-cache, afterall that “should” be all you need to do to stop a plugin, right? Wrong. It was still caching files (and periodically killing my blog, wtf?). Apparently you have to disable it AND then deactivate it. Stupid…oh how stupid.

Skip forward about 6 or so weeks and it was time for me to released Redoable 1.2. I did that on the night of the 25th, and about an hour after I posted the update, I thought I’d give wp-cache another go (afterall, surely my experience last time was random, and wouldn’t be repeated). I went to the wp-cache site and downloaded the lastest version, then I installed it….everythine was ok, or so it seemed.

So last night almost exactly 24 hours after I installed, activated and configured wp-cache, guess what happened. Yes, my blog shat itself again. Thing was I was asleep and didn’t find out about it until this morning, so my site was down for 8 hours, really quite pissed off about that.

Instead of the usual disable plugins one by one routine, I went straight to the cache folder thats used by wp-cache and blew the files away….guess what. My site instantly came back. Damn you wp-cache thats the last chance. I will never be using it again, I don’t care what people say about it, but quite obviously something about my site just doesn’t like it.

Wp-cache is gone, disabled, deactivated, deleted. Good riddance.

Note: Yes I deliberately linked to just about every site that was related EXCEPT the wp-cache site. It just doesn’t deserve the link. Yes I am bitter.


Twitt-Twoo v1.1 released


As mentioned a couple of days ago I’ve been working on an update to Twitt-Twoo. Its nothing ground-breaking, but hopefully some of the changes that I’ve made will make it a little more ‘friendly’ to use.

First up there have been a few changes to the code, mainly to incorporate some of the recent changes to the Twitter API, including the deprecation of ‘relative_created_at’ from the feeds. To overcome this I’ve used a modified combination of a couplef of the scripts posted in the Twitter fan wiki. There wasn’t a php version listed, so I adapted the javascript one. Works nicely.

The other big change is the addition of “caching”. Its not like Alex King’s Twitter Tools, in that it doesn’t store a record for all your tweets, all I’m doing it simply storing the latest tweet and its time in the wp options table. For more details about this have a read of my previous post.

The last lot of changes were to remove the need for you to manually enter your twitter id number, and the url for your twitter profile image. Both are now sucked out of the feed the first time that you update. I have also incorporated a request to add and option to allow you to turn your Twitter image on or off.

As always, if you have any troubles, or if you’ve got any suggestions then just leave a comment here, or swing by the support forum and leave a message there.

For more details, and installation tips visit the Twitt-Twoo homepage.

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Twitt-Twoo Support Forum


Caching my tweets


Originally I had planned (and hoped) that the simplistic nature of Twitt-Twoo would be a good thing. But due to the rising poularity of Twitter in general it seems that going off and requesting my current status everytime a page loads is not particularly good.

Sure its fine when the Twitter service is ok, but it is frequently “delayed. And due to the position I have Twitt-Twoo in, this “delay” stops the rest of my sidebar loading until it finishes doing it magic. I had a suggestion just after I first launched Twitt-Twoo, to perhaps implement some sort of cahcing to reduce the need for the Twitter feed to be access every time a page is loaded.

So over the past few days (well, when I wasn’t spending stupid amounts of time at work over the weekend) I have been working on implementing this ‘caching’ idea. I think its almost there, but I will hold off releasing it until I’m happy with it, which hopefully should be too long.

The method I am using involves storing the latest ‘tweet’, the time for that tweet, and the last time twitter was checked. Now when the plugin loads, it checks the ‘last checked’ time and if it was less than 10 minutes ago it just pulls out the status and time from my Wordpress db. If its been longer than 10 minutes, then it goes off (server side) and updates the latest tweet in the database etc.

I’m using the updated version right now, so I would like any feedback regarding load times, andwhether or not you still notice that the sidebar “freezes” because its waiting forTwitt-Twoo. Providing I don’t come accross any major problems, and the general feedback is good I will try and get Twitt-Twoo 1.1 released by the end of the week.


Twitt-Twoo 1.0 plugin for Wordpress


Twitt-Twoo Released

Twitt-Twoo v1.1 has now been released, it is recommened that you download the latest version which you can find here: Twitt-Twoo v1.1 Released

As I’ve talked about in the past couple of weeks, I have been working on my latest Wordpress plugin. Twitt-Twoo is essentially a very simple little plugin to allow you to do a very simple thing, update your Twitter status directly from your blog’s sidebar.

There was already at least one plugin available which added similar functionality to the Wordpress admin. While this was good I wanted to be able to change my status without having to go into the admin area first. Plus I wanted to add a couple of other things. There was also a plugin available that would place a widget with your current status in you sidebar. It displays your status and when it was last updated. Again I liked this, but I wanted more.

Twitt-Twoo brings together both these functions into one easy to use plugin. AJAX is used to update your status so that no page load is required. Just click the ‘edit’ link, enter your new status and click ‘update’. Easy as that. And don’t worry about that little edit button, because it will only be available when you are logged in, just like a normal post edit link. Users of Facebook will be very familiar with this style of status updating. I guess Facebook’s status was the true inspiration for this plugin.

You even get three ways to add Twitt-Twoo to your blog. If you are using Wordpress Widgets, once you activate the plugin you will have new Twitt-Twoo widget available to you. If you are using K2, or a K2-derivative such as my own Redoable, then there is a sidebar module available. Or if you prefer to manually change the code of your sidebar, then you can do that too.

So what does it do? Twitt-Twoo is pretty simple.

  • Displays your latest Twitter status, and when it was last updated.
  • Displays your Twitter icon/avatar next your status.
  • Allows for easy updating of your status from the sidebar.
  • Updates using AJAX, so no page reload is required.
  • Provides a link to your personal Twitter page. eg.
  • Provides a link to your Twitter RSS feed.
  • Simple options page located in admin Options->Twitt-Twoo
  • Provides a ready-to-use widget/module.
  • Comes with a new Twitt-Twoo icon, inspired by the Feed and Share Icon projects.

For more details, and installation tips visit the Twitt-Twoo homepage.

Twitt-Twoo v1.1 has now been released, it is recommened that you download the latest version which you can find here: Twitt-Twoo v1.1 Released

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Twitt-Twoo Support Forum


Download manager plugin experiences


If you run a site like mine, where you provied files for download and you want to be able to accurately track the number of times a particular file is downloaded, then you will probably use some sort of download manager plugin. Note the keyword there is “accurately”…

Since around the middle of January I’ve been using the iMP Download plugin (I would provide a link but the site seems to be broken at the moment), and while it is compact and has all the features I want, its not particularly reliable as many of my visitors have experienced.

For starters there is something very wrong with the way it is counting downloads. I have almost reach 6000 downloads of Redoable 1.1, but if you look at the iMP download count it says 2,300-odd. This can be partially explained by the addtional download links I’ve provided and the various sites that are directly linking to the download. But even when the iMP Download links were the only ones around the count was still way off.

Another problem was that if a user clicked the iMP download link, and for some reason cancelled the download, or the download didn’t work, the next time they clicked on a download link it would just redirect them to the homepage. Very annoying, I tested this out myself as well.

To counteract the problem I put additional direct links to the download files, and thats been ok while I’ve been searching for another download manager.  After a bit of searching this afternoon I came across the Wordpress Download Monitor Plugin, it seems like a good alternative and I’ll bee testing it out over the coming week or so. If all goes well I will be removing support for iMP Download from Redoable and recommending this new plugin.

If you use a plugin other than these two that I have mentioned, and want to share your thoughts about what you like and dislike about download manager plugins and which one you think is best.




A couple of weeks ago I signed up for a twitter account, and since then I have been trying to work out the best way that I could utilise it with my blog, and more specifically with Redoable.

Having just read Alex King’s plans for his own twitter plugin, there doesn’t seem to be much that his plugin won’t be able to do once it is released. There are also a few other plugins out there that interact with twitter in various ways.

Twitter Updater will update your twitter to reflect any changes you make to your blog when you make them. Twitter Update Status lets you update twitter from within your Wordpress admin area. And there are couple of different plugin that let you display your current twitter comment.

But as yet I haven’t found one to do what I want in a twitter plugin. So today I started work on combining features from a couple of exisiting plugins, and adding a bit of ajax to allow updating directly from your sidebar wehn you are logged into your blog.

This is something that Alex King has said he might include with his plugin, but instead of waiting I’m going to have a crack at it myself. I don’t need all the archiving, auto updating stuff, I just was to display my twitter and update it easily.

For those who have used Facebook, they should be able to understand the concept behind my thinking. In Facebook you can set your current ’status’, sort of like your status in Jabber or MSN, and you can do it just by clicking a little edit button, typing your status and hitting enter. Done, easy as that. And thats what I want to bring to Wordpress with ‘Twitt-twoo’, my twitter plugin.


Redo-Recent-Links 1.0-beta now available


Many people have left comments regarding the way that the wp-recent-links plugin works, and about some strange behaviour with Redoable 1.1. There is one main difference between wp-recent-links and my modified version, and that is the way links are displayed and counted in the loop.

The default behaviour of wp-recent-links was such that if you had set your blog to display 10 posts per page, and you then post 3 links, you page would only display 7 posts (plus the 3 links). This was because the links were being included in the post count.

I didn’t really like this, so I started looking at a way to modify it to display the links without affecting the loop post count. At the moment, I’ve achieved this with an additional function in the plugin which effectively stops the post counter in the loop increasing when displaying a link.

It is currently in a working state, I’ve been using it on my blog for a couple of weeks without any problems. But if you find any problems with it please leave a message in the support forum.

At this stage I would recommend that you only test this with Redoable 1.1, and not with other themes (unless, of course, you are up to the challenge). Redoable has builti in support, and once you have uploaded the files and activated the plugin it should be ready to use.

Installation instructions are included with the download package. For any support questions please leave a message in the support forum

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Ultimate Category Cloud 2.0 Released!


No this isn’t a fandangle Web 2.0 thingamy…oh, yeah it is actually. Bring the bloggy goodness of a “coloured and weighted” cloud of your categories. You can add either a ‘weighted’ cloud, ie. the more posts in a category the bigger the text link, or a ‘coloured’ cloud, ie. the more posts the lighter in colour the text link becomes. But thats not all, should you want to you can turn both options on for the full Web 2.0 effect of a weighted and coloured cloud.

UCC has been re-written since version 1 and is now compatible witht the recently released Wordpress 2.1. You can see a living example of the ‘coloured’ cloud in action in my sidebar on the right, and an example of the ‘weighted and coloured’ cloud can be found on my Archives page.

For further details and installation instructions visit my Plugins page

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