Cool, Geek, Software

Favorite new WordPress 3.9 feature

Copying and pasting from Microsoft Word directly into the Visual Editor is my new favorite thing in 3.9 beta. I just tried it on Lily’s store WordPress site and it worked alright. This is a fortunate side effect of 3.9 getting a new version of TinyMCE.

I know, that sounds anti-climatic even a little mundane given the great enhancements that 3.9 will be delivering. But I occasionally (once a month) have this conversation.

Them: How can I copy this Word document into WordPress?

Me: First select the text and paste that into notepad. I like notepad++ myself.

Me: Then you take the text you just copied into notepad select and copy it into the Visual Editor. Again.

Me: Make sure you copy from notepad. Bad things will happen if you paste that into the Visual Editor directly from Word.

Me: Then you apply the styling such as bold, underline, etc. To that text. For titles I like to use the <h3> tag myself.

Me: No, that layout thing you did in Word won’t work.

Me: Images? If you use the Snipping Tool then you can save that image to your hard disk.

Me: Once you’ve done that, upload that into the media library.

Me: Then you can insert it into the WordPress post. The image I mean, I usually go with centered and no link.

Them: Zzzzzz Wha-? What we’re we talking about??

I myself don’t like the idea of users creating content for WordPress outside of WordPress but I’m told I’m special. Apparently “regular” users (yes I’m doing the “air quotes”) such as my wife and some siblings use Word that way.

Lily creates flyers for wine tastings once a week. Right now she has to wait for me to create the event on the WordPress site (thank you Modern Tribe! that’s a great plugin) then cross post it to the company Facebook page. If I can show her how to just paste the content into WordPress to create the event then she can deliver the post sooner.

Also that means I’ll have one less thing to do each week.

Next I have got to test out dragging images into the Visual Editor to upload them that way. That’s got to improve “regular” users workflow too.

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Geek, Software

Still a sucker for WordPress beta

I took the plunge and once again used SVN to switch from running WordPress 3.1.3 to 3.2 beta. The betas are usually solid and I test my nightly backups on a different server from time to time.

Unless something really drastic happens to the WordPress repo, I’ll be fine with the beta.

The new fullscreen distraction free interface for composing posts? It’s unreal. The keyboard commands work fine, it’s just that the minimal GUI is hidden until you move the mouse. You “Just write” and that’s all there is to it. It’s just a blank page for you to type on.

The other improvements so far seem to be GUI based. I haven’t dug deeply into the documentation yet but my plugins work fine and I’m running a network of blogs from this installation. There is an oddity that when I load the post edit page, the TinyMCE does weird things during the load. Not a big deal and it sorts itself out in a second, just strange is all.

So far I like it. WordPress continues to improve and the beta keeps that record going strong.

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Geek, Software

Trying Firefox 4 beta again

Recently I gave Firefox 4 beta 4 a try but ended up removing it. As a beta it was not bad but I had some minor problems with Adobe Flash and the benefits were not enough to get me to keep it.

Firefox 4 beta 7 is another story. On a whim I installed it on my Windows 7 PC and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. It’s fast and I don’t seem to get any web page rendering issues. I use my browser for news reading, WordPress, Facebook (okay, almost ashamed to admit that one), etc. and some of the content is mixed and dynamic. With this new beta, the only thing that is different is the menu is hidden. Other than that, the experience is very smooth.

It’s definitely not for the casual user (I am not installing it on the shared iMac) but if you want to see what’s next then give it a try.

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Software

WordPress 3.0 beta looking good

I’ve been using WordPress 3.0 beta for about 2 weeks and I’ve only run into one odd behavior.

When I upload or upgrade a plugin, the old plugin gets deactivated and the new plugin version gets downloaded. What is not happening is that the page is not loading up the next steps of re-activating the new version (or just recently downloaded) plugin. I did not catch this and was running without the upgraded plugin for a day or two.

I’m keeping my copies current using SVN and I’m convinced it’s my wonky setup. This server is running NGINX and PHP-FPM. I have the NGINX running as www-data and PHP-FPM running as a separate userid (why? because I can). The NGINX and PHP5 are both installed using non-Ubuntu repos.

I don’t mind this situation and I’ll get it sorted out by running the beta on another box running Apache to get an understanding of what’s going on.

Over on Otto’s blog, he discusses the idea of holding off upgrading to 3.0 when it comes out. Given the hysteria on the support forum whenever a new version comes out, I think that’s an excellent idea. What would be fun is when the 3.0 version is released, and the automatic notification does not get triggered across the globe. Instead the blog gets updated and the notification does not get triggered until 3.1 comes out.

It’s wishful thinking on my part because too many people treat their self-hosted WordPress installation as a service and not as something they are responsible for. I think the majority of WordPress.ORG users are pretty savvy but the minority sure is vocal.

While talking about WordPress, the W3 Total Cache plugin is amazing. I’m playing with it while running the beta and it appears to be speeding up my site without using a disk cache. I have used WP Super Cache but this seems approach the problem from a different angle. Instead of creating HTML static pages, it has the option to use PHP’s opcache. I’m using APC and the speed looks like it’s working. It’s a very cool idea and the implementation looks really polished.

Once WordPress 3.0 is officially released, I’ll run two test blogs on two different boxes and compare the output with and without W3 Total Cache. This way I should be able to get almost scientific results for comparison.

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Geek, Software

Playing with WordPress 3.0, Beta 1

As I usually do, I switched this blog from WordPress 2.9.2 to the current 3.0 beta. I always run the beta versions and I have not yet gotten myself into a hole. It also helps that I have very good backups for the last 30 days.

I re-ran my overnight backup job one more time to make sure I’m up to date and used SVN to perform the switch.

$ cd /my/wordpress/web/directory
$ svn sw http://core.svn.wordpress.org/trunk/

When I went to the login page I had to upgrade my database. And that’s all there was to it. I’ll do a regular “svn up” and keep my install current with the beta.

I have been kicking around the idea of taking the sites I manage and making them one multi-site WordPress 3.0 install but that will be down the road for a while. For now I’ll continue to maintain them separately with the released version (2.9.2 as of right now).

As for the beta, there are not many visual differences (the color scheme is lighter and less “harsh”) and each of my plugins check out. I am hoping that when 3.0 is released, the usual forum drama will not happen. But I also know somewhere someone will upgrade without doing the work of a full backup.

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