Browsing the archives for the Wordpress category

Brief Notes on Database Upgrades

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Administrativa, Technology, Wordpress

This blog is so old that the current version of WordPress wouldn’t even install on the version of MySQL that the blog was created using.

It took a bit of figuring out, but this is how I dealt with the situation. H/T Blogging Tips. This is mostly for my own future benefit but someone else may find this set of steps useful as well.

1. Backup Your Current Database

* Log into GoDaddy.com
* Go to My Account > Web Hosting
* Click on “Launch” Control Center under “My Accounts”
* In the Hosting Dashboard, Click on Databases > MySQL
* Find the Database Name you want to back up
* Click on Pencil Icon under “Action”
* Click “Backup” – This can take up to 2 hours.

2. Create a New Database

* You can start this while waiting for backup.
* Go back to “MySQL” and “Create Database”
* I recommend naming the description the same with a “2″ after it
* Make sure MySQL Version is clicked to 5.0 (default)
* This will now be “Pending Setup”
* You have time to go grab a latte or sometimes two or three.

3. Restore Backed-Up Database to New Database

* Refresh MySQL Database List
* If your new database is Setup, click Pencil Icon
* Click “Restore” Icon
* Click Old Database File Name
* Click “Restore”
* Click “OK” on pop-up confirming Database Restore
* This will now be “Pending Restore”
* Grab another latte (or use the restroom after the last ones)

4. Update wp-config.php file

* Use an FTP software – I use FileZilla (it’s free)
* Find the wp-config.php (you may want to copy/save just in case)
* View/Edit (right click in Filezilla)
* Change properties in file with the new MySQL database name, MySQL user name (usually the same), MySQL password and MySQL host name.
* Note that GoDaddy’s MySQL host name is never “localhost”, but an actual URL.
* Save/Upload.

Now to update the other blogs on here…

Site Design

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Technology, Wordpress

If you read the site semi-regularly you’ve probably noticed I’ve been switching themes a lot lately. On the whole I’m getting a little irritated with the site design. I began using Terracotta — It’s a nice design, but the colors are pretty strong and I prefer something a little less eye-catching on its own. I also wanted an easy trackback link on every post since I’ve been finding that I really get discouraged if I want to trackback from someone else’s post and such a link is not provided.

I moved to K2 after seeing a nice demonstration of it in action over at God of the Machine. Well, K2 unfortunately never worked out very well for me: The sidebar modules that come included with it, which were the primary reason I switched, would not work. Furthermore, I noticed that categories were not browseable in that theme. The categories issue is probably easily solved by adding the correct sidebar module, but sidebar modules were not working.

I then moved to the default WordPress theme. Simple, no frills, but functional, right? Well, I thought so too until I noticed that my images were extending from the main content area into the sidebar. I definitely need a content area with over 560 pixels, and I’d probably prefer 640 (though that may be a bit wide for easy reading, but then text can be padded on the sides).

For the time being I’m back to Terracotta. Hopefully soon I’ll have some more time to customize a theme.

Changing Things Up

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Administrativa, Technology, Wordpress

I’m going to be attempting to roll out some changes here in the next couple of days. For awhile now I’ve been unhappy with PopURLs‘ selection of websites to syndicate and been hoping to create a similar sort of aggregator of aggregators for myself. Mostly this is for my own convenience in being able to browse things I want to read with complete control over the layout and other elements, but I suspect other people may be interested in it as well so I’m going to try and make it publicly available.

At this point in time I haven’t decided how that is going to impact the design of this page (if at all), although I have been wanting to do some of my own theme work here for awhile now. A new theme may be forthcoming for the site as well, to fix nagging issues I’ve had with this particular theme as well as to personalize the site some more. If you see anything weird or unusual here in the next few days you know why.

Statistics and More

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Technology, Wordpress

So I see a link on Digg about 8 Invaluable WordPress Plugins. The first thing I see is WP-Shortstat. That sounds promising. To date I’ve tried three different WordPress statistics plugins and none of them have worked. I figured I’d give WP-Shortstat a go. No go.

I scrolled down a bit and looked through the comments. I saw that apparently the version of Shortstat linked from the original doesn’t work with WordPress 2.02. Well, I’m using 2.03, but I figured I’d try the updated version of Shortstat. Amazingly, this seems to be working. It’s not picking up Opera as a browser, but that could be simply because it’s not a unique hit. Will need to spend some time with this but at least it appears to work.

I also checked out a few of these other plugins that were made available. PageNavi and RelatedPosts looked like they might be useful. Some of the others are questionable — Do we really need this site to tell us about Akismet considering it comes with every new WordPress install? Oh well.

Bigger Thumbnails

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Technology, Wordpress

I figured I’d make a note of this here, since it’s something I ran into with WordPress 2.03, and likely a WordPress 2.04 is going to be released soon enough. By default when you upload an image via WordPress’ posting interface, it will create a thumbnail image if the image is larger than a certain size (128×128). This default size is quite small, and WordPress will, by default, insert the thumbnailed version of the image into your posts rather than the full-size version. Images that small are barely even distinguishable, but at the same time I figured that I might sometimes be using source images that are huge (1024×768+) and thus require resizing. Even if an image is being visually sized to fit my layout, such large images would still have to be loaded in full for any people viewing the page, and editing the image’s visible proportions individually can be a hassle.

To resolve these issues I made some changes to my inline-uploading.php file so that thumbnail images are twice as large — Assured to fit virtually any layout, and yet large enough to be distinguishable. It cuts down on work for me on a number of fronts, and cuts down on loading times as the thumbnails are being displayed at actual-size.

$id = wp_insert_attachment($attachment, $file, $post);

if ( preg_match('!^image/!', $attachment['post_mime_type']) ) {
// Generate the attachment's postmeta.
$imagesize = getimagesize($file);
$imagedata['width'] = $imagesize['0'];
$imagedata['height'] = $imagesize['1'];
list($uwidth, $uheight) = get_udims($imagedata['width'], $imagedata['height']);
$imagedata['hwstring_small'] = "height='$uheight' width='$uwidth'";
$imagedata['file'] = $file;

add_post_meta($id, '_wp_attachment_metadata', $imagedata);

if ( $imagedata['width'] * $imagedata['height'] < 3 * 1024 * 1024 ) {
if ( $imagedata['width'] > 256 && $imagedata['width'] >= $imagedata['height'] * 4 / 3 )
$thumb = wp_create_thumbnail($file, 256);
elseif ( $imagedata['height'] > 256 )
$thumb = wp_create_thumbnail($file, 256);

WordPress 2.03 Update

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Technology, Wordpress

Testing out this installation of WordPress 2.03 to see if it is going to continue eating my posts, or if that was merely a one-time snack.

Update: It seems it’s working now. I guess I’ll just have to suck it up and reconstruct the post I lost from memory.

Thematic Insufficiency

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Administrativa, Technology, Wordpress

One thing that has always amazed me about WordPress is simply how many bad themes exist for it. If you’re interested, mosey on over to the Theme Browser and take a look for yourself. In a basic browsing themes I find about 1% of these themes visually interesting. That said, visually interesting themes usually mean somewhat overbearing themes. On further inspection I found a number of more generic themes that I thought could work well.

I downloaded a few and had at it. Strange how you won’t notice the immediate flaws of a design until it is already on your site.

  • ChaoticSoul — This design looked nice until I loaded it up on my site and I realized that it was overriding the blog’s title with the theme name. How rude. After a few seconds I also noticed that it had no categories, no archives, truncated every post after the first… Definitely needs work.
  • Anthurium — I don’t know why I downloaded this theme at all. I must have misclicked, I swear.
  • Kurtina — A nice design that I downloaded despite knowing it didn’t fit this blog. I thought it might be nice to look at and possibly modify. On loading it up my eyes can barely stand to look at it, it is so bright. It also has the truncated posts after the first, a stylish but ultimately bad decision. I don’t want people to have to click any more than they must in order to navigate the site.
  • SlatyStain — Theme broken by ir2ImageSnag.
  • SG/Dark — I downloaded this design mainly because it is unique, putting most of the navigational elements in the footer of the page. Upon actually loading it up here I can see that its functionality is really very bad though. It displays a maximum of two posts and displays them side-by-side in two columns. It’s a pain to read and it’s obvious why, for usability’s sake, this sort of innovative layout doesn’t work. Good try though.
  • Manji2 — The two main problems I have with this design are that the sidebar is on the left rather than the right and that the site name is not included in the header area. The only other issue is the way that it clutters up the blogroll with my descriptions of the URLs contained therein.
  • Terracotta — A nice theme with some problems. Main issues that I want to resolve are potentially moving the sidebar to the right side of the layout and improving the distinctiveness of post headings. It also needs borders around image tags to blend images more fluidly into the layout.

Currently I’m going with Terracotta, although by tomorrow I may have either changed it to Manji2 or back to the default theme. I do like the play of Terracotta with the title, which is primarily why I chose it. At least it has full functionality, unlike most of the others. I’m not sure when I’ll have time to get around to working on my own theme, I suspect it’ll be one of those projects that stays on the backburner for awhile. I’m pleased though, got something substantial accomplished that I can check off my list.

Moving in to WordPress

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Personal, Technology, Wordpress

So now the blog is a little over a week old, I figure I may as well detail some of the things surrounding the process behind the scenes.

There seem to be a few major platforms for blogging. Discounting the obvious Blogger / LiveJournal / TypePad / Xanga / MySpace style of blog it seems you have a choice between Movable Type, WordPress, and other. I’ve never used Movable Type myself, but I have heard bad things about it. In the past I’ve worked on setting up a few WordPress installations for friends, so naturally I went with what I was familiar with. Since that time WordPress has upgraded from 1.5 to 2.0, though so the process wasn’t entirely smooth.

According to press-release-style reports about WordPress 2.0, it features an improved administration panel. The only improvements I see in the administration panel are that it has a few new graphical features, but is otherwise unchanged. This is a shame, particularly since I’ve always considered the administration panel counterintuitively designed. Maybe it’s on-par for other blogging software solutions, but it seems to me like WordPress could benefit from having some more sensible organization of its administrative features. For example, the default administration panel is called the Dashboard — It’s one of the main divisions on the administration end, but it’s essentially useless — Just a way for you to get news about WordPress. Another example: There is a section called “Links” which manages the Sidebar / Blogroll. It’s rather counterintuitive considering that when I think of “Links” I think of… links, those things that ideally I intersperse throughout posts, not the things on the side of the page.

Moving on, the first thing I noticed is that WordPress 2.0 has an “improved” (by which I mean inferior) writing panel. Apparently it’s a “rich-text” writing panel and it has given me no end of grief even in only some 14-odd postings. Pressing the Return/Enter key does not insert a break tag but instead inserts a paragraph tag. Not to mention that it seems to have trouble deciding whether or not to close your tag or not, leading to misaligned paragraph blocks and general annoyance. Not to mention the text-box into which I type posts frequently jumps up to the top, forcing me to scroll back down to where my text is while I am editing it. Fortunately I was able to turn this feature off.

The issue of images is another thing that I have been having a bit of trouble with. Largely I’m a text person, but I’m making an effort to spice things up a bit. Resizing images though is a pain, yet at the same time I don’t want to make people download huge images off the front page, nor to waste my bandwidth unnecessarily. With the help of some people in the WordPress support chats I’ve managed to find out where the default thumbnail size is, so I may be able to change the thumbnail images to be much more visible, probably two or three times larger.

Tracking is the last and probably least important issue. I’ve installed several tracking plugins thus far and yet none of them really seem to be working. Counterize was only tracking my activity on the site, Site Meter’s WP plugin wanted me to sign up for Site Meter’s service, and Popularity Contest doesn’t seem to be working at all. I suppose I’ll find a way to get this working when I can get a chance.

lr2ImageSnag

2 Comments
Technology, Wordpress

Trying out this new WordPress plugin here. I’m fairly certain it’s working, but not sure if it’s working entirely properly. From what I’ve seen in my testing it seems to embed images at the bottom of the post, something it should not be doing.

Tomorrow I am going to try and figure out why all of these pictures show up in WordPress so small, too. I’ve done a check for some sort of image size but can’t seem to find it. If anyone has any information on (a) easing the process of getting images into posts or (b) making posts display larger-than-thumbnail sized images feel free to leave a comment. Hopefully I can get these things sorted out, as once I’m done with the backend issues of getting images to work correctly I’ll be free to work on getting a theme going.

Update: Well, it seems to place the picture to the right of the first paragraph. Interesting. That is better than at the end of the post, and at least it works.

Update 2: Since I didn’t describe it before, what lr2ImageSnag does is allows me to post a URL to an image hosted elsewhere online. What the plugin does is it copies the image, scales it down, and hosts it locally. This is an amazing tool to ease the pain of having to download images, resize them in PhotoShop (I don’t seem to have any other software that will do it), and then upload them. All I need to do is figure out how to customize the sizes images are displayed at and I’ll be happy.