Series Options Page: Series Meta Template

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Organize Series Usage Tips

This series is no longer available on UnfoldingNeurons.com because I’ve moved all posts related to this plugin to the new home at OrganizeSeries.com. You can read about the move here and here.

Unfolding Neurons will be down this weekend

Source: WikipediaApparently my webhost is opening a brand new datacenter and is moving all my websites onto the new servers there. I’ve been told that the move will begin at midnight on Friday, March 28th (i.e. early Saturday morning) and so everything will go black for up to 48 hours.

So if you get this before things happen you’ll know not to panic when you can’t access UnfoldingNeurons.com 😉 (not that anybody would panic anyway…)

Series Options Page: Series Navigation Template

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Organize Series Usage Tips

This series is no longer available on UnfoldingNeurons.com because I’ve moved all posts related to this plugin to the new home at OrganizeSeries.com. You can read about the move here and here.

Series Options Page: Tokens

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Organize Series Usage Tips

This series is no longer available on UnfoldingNeurons.com because I’ve moved all posts related to this plugin to the new home at OrganizeSeries.com. You can read about the move here and here.

Organize Series 2.0 Final Release

It’s out. I decided I’m happy enough with the current codebase to put a final release of Organize Series 2.0 out. Thanks to all the people who gave feedback on the Organize Series 2.0 Beta forums:

With their help I was able to address some things I might have missed. As it is, there is still the possibility that I may miss some bugs so if you come across any please post here.

With the release of Organize Series 2.0 I’ve decided to stop supporting all earlier versions (I just don’t have the time). I’ve completely rewritten the Organize Series Page and have also started a Organize Series Usage Tips series.

Oh, one more thing…OrgSeries 2.0 is all spiffed and ready for WordPress 2.5 too 🙂

Happy Easter!

Be careful using the Automatic Plugins upgrades in WordPress 2.5

Well the long awaited sequel to the 2.3 branch of WordPress is almost out the door. Release Candidate 1 of WordPress 2.5 is now available for those brave souls who want to do some testing before the final release. WordPress 2.5 has been covered pretty well on the blogosphere so I’m not going to go into all the details here but I did want to write a post about one new feature that could cause some problems with users upgrading.

WordPress 2.5 comes with the ability for blog owners to upgrade their plugins automatically via the Plugins Page. “Automatic Upgrade” means that instead of having to download the plugin and then ftp it to your server, you can simply click the “upgrade automatically” link and WordPress will take care of everything for you. (click the picture below to see what it looks like)

Example of Upgrade Automatically Link

It’s a great idea and definitely one that will work okay with most basic plugins but here’s the problem(s):

  • The automatic upgrade does not deactivate your plugin first and then reactivate it after upgrading. If the plugin requires activation to run any checks for WordPress version, or do any db fixes, or “activate” any new features then it won’t do this and the plugin won’t work as expected. In most cases this can be simply remedied by remembering to deactivate and then reactivate the plugin after the upgrade is complete.
  • There’s no way for plugin authors to give you special upgrade instructions ahead of your upgrade. Sometimes these instructions might be important for keeping existing data or getting things to work properly. I know of at least one plugin that uses a file to store data rather than the database (bad design imho but still – a reality).
  • If the plugin is in the plugins root directory instead of it’s own directory then the automatic upgrade will change it’s location. For example say you have a plugin named myfunplugin.php and it’s located at ../wp-content/plugins/myfunplugin.php – after automatic upgrade does it stuff the plugin will now be located at ../wp-content/plugins/myfunplugin/myfunplugin.php. This could be a breaker for any plugin that has functions referencing the original location of the plugin.
  • There are other scenarios I haven’t tested yet like, what happens when a plugin changes directory structure from one version to the next?

This is a potentially a serious problem for both plugin authors and users of WordPress 2.5 and I’m posting this because I think people should be aware of it. I have posted a ticket in the WordPress Trac and I’m confident the devs are looking into it but in the meantime I recommend that blog owners use the automatic upgrade feature only if they are confident in fixing things if something goes wrong AND have checked the plugin author’s page first to see if there are any upgrade instructions.

Other than that, I’m really excited about the impending WordPress 2.5 release!

UPDATE: DD32, who is one of the contributors to the automatic upgrade feature going into WordPress 2.5 has been working on the ticket I’ve filed and a patch he created has been applied to the trunk files.  Changes brought with the patch include plugin deactivation before uploading the plugin upgrade and then attempting a reactivation after the upload.  This goes along way to addressing the issues I’ve raised in this post.  Great work DD32!

Organize Series 2.0 Beta 1 Release

UPDATE: Organize Series 2.0 Final has been released. You can get it here.

Finally, I’ve reached the point where I can release a beta version of the Organize Series 2.0! It’s been a long time in the making and I’m glad to finally have reached this stage. UnfoldingNeurons.com is now running on WordPress 2.3.3 and I’ve installed OrgSeries and all seems well.

I’m still going through the code and cleaning it up, adding internal documentation, and structuring the files so it’s a bit more intuitive. I also want to get OrgSeries 2.0 ready for WordPress 2.5 before I do a final release. However, since I know so many people have been patiently waiting for me to get this version out the door I decided to release the Beta for those brave souls who want to give it a go. REMEMBER though, that this is a BETA release and I take no responsibility for any problems you may have with it. I’m hoping that releasing this BETA will also lead to some great feedback from users, helping me to improve it in time for the big release.

What’s New?

Since this is a beta release, I haven’t had time to do in detail documentation but here’s an overview of all the features found in orgSeries 2.0 (with the final release I’ll flesh things out a bit):

Integration with WordPress taxonomy structure:
This is a biggy. I’ve stuck to using the hooks into the WordPress core as much as possible to take advantage of the built in goodness (security and efficient db queries).

New “Manage Series” page and integration with the “Manage Posts” page.
OrgSeries 2.0 takes the “organize” in Organize Series to a whole new level. It is much easier to edit series information and edit posts that are part of a series. With a new column on the manage->posts page indicating the series a post belongs to (if it belongs to a series) and the ability to filter the listing of posts by series, users can now more efficiently work with their series of posts.

Integration of “Series Icon”.
No longer do you need a separate plugin to manage images associated with your series. Everything is integrated and manageable via the new series interfaces. Groovy 🙂

Add series on the fly in the Write/Edit Posts page.
There is a new Series box that enables you to add posts to series and even add new series on the fly while writing your posts. No longer do you have to navigate to a different page when starting a new series! You can also now choose to order your posts in a series in whatever order you want (the default will append posts to the end of a series). If you change your mind and want to make a post a different part in the series you can edit it and all the other posts will automatically be re-distributed when you save.

More options and a new %token% system for choosing how OrgSeries will be displayed.
Among many new options to choose from are choosing how you want your series posts to be ordered on the series archive page; what url will direct to your series table of contents; what size you want your series-icons to be on various pages they are displayed… But the thing I’m most excited about is the ability for users to use the new token template system to fine tune the way series related information will be displayed on your blog!

Import from earlier versions
Built in to Organize Series 2.0 is an import routine to pull all your series information from older versions of OrgSeries and bring it into the new system. This definitely cuts down on the time it takes to setup all your series that you’ve been writing with older versions of the plugin. I’ve run the import on my series and it works beautifully! (note: because this is a beta…your mileage may vary which is why it’s so important to back up your blog before giving this a go.)

WIDGET!!
One of the most requested features I received from users was a Organize Series Widget. Organize Series 2.0 actually now has two widgets – both customizable. The first widget is for displaying all the series you’ve written. It also provides the (toggable) option to display others posts in a series when your site is displaying a post that belongs to a series.

The other widget will display the latest series you have written.

Other new features:

  • next/previous posts in series links (by popular demand – and completely customizable)
  • lots of new tags for theme authors and for those who like tweaking their site.
  • seriestoc.php – default template file for the Table of Contents of all your series.
  • series.php – Template file for the display of series archive pages (if you don’t use it the plugin will default to the category archive template for your theme)

Installation instructions:
Well if you’ve read this far then you are probably interested in the download link and want to get on with the installation. First, please take the time to read the following guidelines – it could save you some grief should something go wrong.

  1. Backup your database (Have I stated that enough yet?)
  2. If it isn’t already – deactivate the OrgSeries plugin (if you are upgrading, else this step won’t apply)
  3. If you haven’t already, upgrade your blog to WordPress 2.3.3
  4. Make sure your other plugins are up-to-date. IF you are using Category-Icons, DO-NOT upgrade it to the latest version – leave version 1.5 activated. If you haven’t used Category-icons don’t worry about this step.
  5. If you are upgrading: Delete the old OrgSeries plugin from your server and then copy over the new files (keeping the same directory structure).
  6. Activate OrgSeries 2.0 beta-1
  7. Go to Options->Series Options. If you are upgrading the import form should show up on that page. If so, follow the instructions for importing all your series from previous version(s) of OrgSeries.
  8. Go to Options->Permalinks page. Click on the “Update Permalink Structure” button. This is an important step if you want the series table of contents to work properly.
  9. That’s it! Explore and have fun (you’ll probably want to make sure all the new templates in “Series Options” are displaying things the way you want – if you were using the default css with earlier versions replace all “cat” with “series” [i.e. catlist becomes serieslist])

Support
I’ve opened a thread in the Unfolding Neurons Forums for this version of Organize Series. Please post any bugs or problems you encounter in that thread. I’m going to be pretty active in fixing bugs and/or any problems prior to the final release. When I release an updated version I will replace the download file so the link on this page (and in that thread) will always remain current.

Final words:
My goal is to have the final release of Organize Series 2.0 timed for the release of WordPress 2.5. I’m hoping by then to have all the idiosyncrasies of WP2.5 accounted for by then. I also still plan on implementing a “uninstall” option for completely clearing the WordPress db of all files related to Organize Series if a user ever decided they wish to get rid of the plugin (now who would ever want to do that?).

The Link:

Organize Series 2.0 – Beta 1