Tag Archives: WordPress

New Series! Quickie: How to Find a Page or Post’s Number

A frequent question in the DIYthemes forums is how to find the number of a page or post. It’s really simple, but more or less hidden in the bowels of WordPress!

Quickie: How to Find a Page or Post’s Number” is an illustrated article showing you how to find the number in about 30 seconds! And it takes about 30 seconds to read!

This is the first of an ongoing series called “Quickies.” They will all be gathered in the “Tips” section under the grouping “Tips.”

Quickie: How to Find a Page or Post’s Number

It is often necessary to know the number of a page or post you have saved. How do you find it?

Finding the page or post number
Finding the page or post number

Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to the “Edit” screen for pages or posts
  • Find the page or post in the list
  • Hover your cursor over the name
  • Look in the status bar at the bottom of your browser screen
  • The page or post number will be displayed there

That’s it!

I hope this quickie is of help to you. As always, you are welcome to leave a comment below. If you want to contact me directly by email, just click on the “Contact” menu tab.

©2009 Michael L Nichols. All rights reserved.

What next?

Your comments are always welcome, and are important to this blog’s community! Leave a comment now, or read the comments.

You can find several related articles in the “Related Articles” list below. In the footer you will find a lists of Popular Posts, Recent Posts, and you may browse by Categories, or tags. There’s also a Google Custom Search box to help you find just what you want.

Get free updates by RSS or email!

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to article updates, using an RSS reader, or by email. It’s free and is a great way to make sure you don’t miss a single article! I also invite you to follow me on Twitter!

Why not share this article with others!

Share this article with your friends using your favorite social media service, such as StumbleUpon, or Digg. Check out the icons below under “Share This Article With Others” for other social media, including del.icio.us, Technorati, Sphinn, Friendfeed, FaceBook, MySpace andLinkedIn! You can also email or print the article, and even tweet it using Twitter!

New Tip! Upgrade-Proof Your Site with the bloginfo() Tag

Thesis has the reputation of being upgrade-proof. That is, you do not lose your work in the custom folder when you upgrade.

Running against this is the necessity of putting full URL paths to images and files in the custom_functions.php file. If you use a lot of images from your /custom/images folder, it can be a real pain going through the file updating the URLs.

But you really don’t have to do that — not if you use the WordPress bloginfo() tag!

The article Upgrade-Proof Your Site with the bloginfo() Tag in the “Tips” section shows you how to use the tag to automatically put your Thesis path into URLs. That means that no matter what your Thesis folder is named, your URLs will always be up-to-date!

If you do a lot of work in the custom_functions.php file, this article is for you!

New Articles About In-Page or -Post Highlight Boxes and the WordPress HTML Editor

Often you want to highlight a block of text in your post or page. Thesis provides two highlight boxes, Note and Alert, that can surround a single paragraph. The article “In-Post or -Page Highlight Boxes” shows you how to make your own colored highlight boxes that can not only highlight any amount of text you want, but can change the attributes of the text within it. Oh yes, it does show you how to use the Thesis boxes, too. This article is filed under the Tips > Posts & pages section.

Most of us start off using the WordPress visual editor. It’s reasonably WYSIWYG, and you never have to remember those codes to make things bold and stuff. Then comes the day when we have to use the HTML editor! Panic! A new article, “How and When to Use the WordPress HTML Editor,” tells you when and how to use the HTML editor, just as the title promises. No more mysteries! This is the first article in the Newbies > General Information section.

I have so many ideas for new articles, and so many half-written ones, that I don’t know what I’ll be offering you next. Let it be a surprise!

How and When to Use the WordPress HTML Editor

The WordPress post and page editor has two modes: visual and HTML. The visual mode is a relatively recent addition and shows the post or page in a mostly WYSIWYG fashion (it isn’t perfect). With the visual editor, you don’t have to know the HTML codes for headlines, bold text or lists. All you have to do is to highlight text and click a button.

The HTML editor is just that: it shows the page in all its HTML glory, and requires that you type the correct codes in to format the text or do other tasks that are handled by buttons in the visual editor. Many people use the HTML editor exclusively — I do. And the true “stick-shifters” go so far as to disable the visual editor entirely in their user settings, looking down their noses at anyone who uses the “crutch” of the visual editor.

Each editor mode has its place and use. You are not a wimp for using the visual editor, nor are you a true geek for using the HTML editor. It’s mostly a matter of personal preference, except in one case:

In order to enter HTML code into a post or page, you must use the HTML editor. If you enter the code in the visual mode, it will just appear like any other text entered and not be interpreted when the page is displayed.

Figure 1: The HTML editor tab
Figure 1: The HTML editor tab

Switching to the HTML editor is easy. In the upper right corner of the edit screen are two tabs: visual and HTML. Click on the HTML tab to enter HTML editor mode. That’s it.

It’s generally ok to switch back to the visual mode once you are done entering your HTML code. According to the nature of the code, you may not be able to tell that you’ve entered it. Some code, such as an HTML form, may show up in their intended visual state. Most others will not. You will see neither the code you entered, nor the way it will appear in your post or page when it’s published (that’s one of the imperfections of the visual editor). You have to click the preview button to see if what you entered will do what it was intended to do.

When is it not good to switch back and forth between the visual and HTML editors? There is no rule for this — it’s on a case-by-case basis. Generally, HTML forms, drop-caps, alert and highlighting boxes, and similar code that sets spans, paragraphs, or divs will do ok when switched to the visual mode.

But some code doesn’t like the visual editor at all and will disappear or be corrupted by anything but the HTML editor. It’s mostly very complex code that will be affected this way, but there’s no way to know if the code you just entered will be squashed by the visual editor until you try it. I wish I could be less vague, but I can’t.

So, bottom line, except for when you’re entering HTML code, use the editor you are most comfortable with. If you don’t want to be bothered by HTML formatting code, use the visual editor. If you know the codes, don’t mind typing them in, and can “visualize” the way an HTML page will look, use the HTML editor.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief guide to using the visual and HTML editors in WordPress. Remember that your comments are always welcome, and that you can email me directly by clicking the “Contact” button in the button bar.

©2009 Michael L Nichols. All rights reserved.

What next?

Your comments are always welcome, and are important to this blog’s community! Leave a comment now, or read the comments.

You can find several related articles in the “Related Articles” list below. In the footer you will find a lists of Popular Posts, Recent Posts, and you may browse by Categories, or tags. There’s also a Google Custom Search box to help you find just what you want.

Get free updates by RSS or email!

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to article updates, using an RSS reader, or by email. It’s free and is a great way to make sure you don’t miss a single article! I also invite you to follow me on Twitter!

Why not share this article with others!

Share this article with your friends using your favorite social media service, such as StumbleUpon, or Digg. Check out the icons below under “Share This Article With Others” for other social media, including del.icio.us, Technorati, Sphinn, Friendfeed, FaceBook, MySpace andLinkedIn! You can also email or print the article, and even tweet it using Twitter!

New Articles for Oldies and Newbies: Installing WordPress & Adding a Sidebar Image

Today’s articles are at both ends of the Thesis experience spectrum.

For people who are installing new Thesis domains or subdomains is an article entitled “Installing WordPress Using Fantastico.” Fantastico is a utility for installing software systems that is widely used by hosting companies. The article describes step-by-step with many illustrations how to use Fantastico to install the WordPress software. Even people whose hosts use different installation software can benefit from this tutorial, since the steps likely will be similar.

One of the first customization projects newbies want to undertake is to add images to the sidebar. The article “Adding a Sidebar Image” is a complete guide to setting up both non-clickable and clickable images in the sidebar. It is the first of a new series for newbies, “Simple Projects.” Other articles in the series will follow soon, including how to set up a header image, putting several images and text areas into one widget, and making colored boxes for use in posts and pages.

Articles on tap for the near future include controlling spam with the .htaccess file, moving search to your Thesis header or nav bar, and an overview of tools for developing your color scheme and using colors.

If you haven’t signed up to get our posts by RSS reader or email, now’s the time to do it! It’s free, and it’s the only way you can be notified of the frequent new articles in Thesis Theme Tools. Don’t delay… click on the RSS or email button in the sidebar right now to get started!

Installing WordPress Using Fantastico

Among the tasks required for setting up a new blog is installing the WordPress software. You can do this one of two ways: manually, which is the subject for another article, and by using a server script. The most popular server script system among hosting companies is Fantastico. Besides installing WordPress, it can install many other software packages.

This guide takes you step-by-step through using Fantastico to install WordPress on your new blog. It is a very easy process, though you can mess up the installation if you enter wrong information. If your hosting company uses another scripting system, its steps will be similar. The only prerequisite to installation is that you have already set up a domain or subdomain to install WordPress into.

So let’s get started:

Step 1: Open up your host’s control panel program and find Fantastico

Figure 1: Finding Fantastico on your host's control panel
Figure 1: Finding Fantastico on your host's control panel

You will see a number of panels displayed. Look for the one that says something like “Software/Services.” Find the button for Fantastico and click it.

Step 2: Locate WordPress in the left column and click it

Figure 2: Locate WordPress in the left column
Figure 2: Locate WordPress in the left column

Step 3: Click on the “New Installation” link

Figure 3: The New Installation link
Figure 3: The New Installation link

Step 4: Fill out the required information

Figure 4: Filling out the required information
Figure 4: Filling out the required information

1. Choose the domain or subdomain in which to install WordPress from the pulldown.

2. Leave the “Install in directory” box blank, which will install WordPress into the root of the directory. If you enter anything into this box, Fantastico will create a subdirectory with that name and install WordPress there! This is the most frequent error people make. Unless you have reason not to do so, leave the box blank!

3. Enter your Administrator username and password. You will not be able to change the username later, so choose carefully. If you make a mistake here, you can always set up a new user with the username and permissions you desire.

4. Enter your Administrator nickname, email address, blog title, and tagline. All of these can be changed later in Settings or Users if you wish.

5. Click the button to install WordPress.

Step 5: Click on “Finish Installation” to start the installation.

Figure 5: Start the installation
Figure 5: Start the installation

Step 6: WordPress has been installed!

Figure 6: WordPress has been installed
Figure 6: WordPress has been installed

Note that Fantastico can uninstall WordPress, too, in case you entered wrong information or it was installed badly. Just start up Fantastico, choose WordPress, find the installation you want to delete, and click delete.

I hope this short guide is useful to you, if for nothing else than avoiding errors in WordPress installation. Remember that your comments are always welcome, and that you can email me using the “Contact” button in the button bar.

©2009 Michael L Nichols. All rights reserved.

What next?

Your comments are always welcome, and are important to this blog’s community! Leave a comment now, or read the comments.

You can find several related articles in the “Related Articles” list below. In the footer you will find a lists of Popular Posts, Recent Posts, and you may browse by Categories, or tags. There’s also a Google Custom Search box to help you find just what you want.

Get free updates by RSS or email!

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to article updates, using an RSS reader, or by email. It’s free and is a great way to make sure you don’t miss a single article! I also invite you to follow me on Twitter!

Why not share this article with others!

Share this article with your friends using your favorite social media service, such as StumbleUpon, or Digg. Check out the icons below under “Share This Article With Others” for other social media, including del.icio.us, Technorati, Sphinn, Friendfeed, FaceBook, MySpace andLinkedIn! You can also email or print the article, and even tweet it using Twitter!

New Article! WordPress: Change Editor Backups

WordPress introduced a new “feature” in a recent revision that is well-intended. It automatically makes backups of drafts while you are editing a post or page in the WordPress editor. This is intended to allow you to go back to previous drafts. It is most useful if you write your pages and posts directly in the editor and need to backtrack from time to time.

However, if you write your posts and pages in an external program on your computer, as I do, this feature is useless.

And it’s worse than useless: It creates backup draft after draft, swelling your WordPress database enormously.

There’s a way to prevent all this, and a new article, “WordPress: Change Editor Backups” tells you how. With just two lines inserted into your “wp-config.php” file, you can either specify the number of backups to be made or eliminate them entirely.

Masters of the Universe: Take control of your WordPress editor backups!

WordPress: Change Editor Backups

WordPress will make a backup of each change made to a post or page in the editor by default. This is to allow you to revert to a previous version of your entry should something go wrong.

This is a wonderful thing, with one exception: Your database will grow huge in a short matter of time! Daily database backups emailed to you by a plugin such as WP-DBManager become larger and larger day by day as WordPress saves virtual duplicates of your posts and pages.

If you write your posts and articles in a separate program on your computer, as I do, you do not need these backups, however well-intended. Or maybe you just want to control when you save a draft rather than letting WordPress decide for you. And it is possible to keep the automatic backups, but limit the number saved.

The fix is very simple. Here’s how to do it:

1. Open the file “wp-config.php” in your text editor. It is found in the root of your WordPress installation.

2. Go down past the initial material to find a place to insert the required statement. I suggest placing it after the “WordPress Localized Language” block of code that looks like this:

/**
 * WordPress Localized Language, defaults to English.
 *
 * Change this to localize WordPress.  A corresponding MO file for the chosen
 * language must be installed to wp-content/languages. For example, install
 * de.mo to wp-content/languages and set WPLANG to 'de' to enable German
 * language support.
 */
define ('WPLANG', '');

3. To prevent WordPress from making any backups of edited posts and pages at all, insert this code:

/* PREVENT WORDPRESS FROM MAKING BACKUPS OF POSTS AND PAGES. */
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', false);

4. If you want to limit the number of backups rather than eliminate them, insert this code. Change the number to the number of backups you want to allow. In the example below, the number of backups allowed is 3.

/* SPECIFY THE NUMBER OF BACKUPS OF POSTS AND PAGES. */
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3);

5. Double-check that you have not done anything to the wp-config.php file except insert the code above, then save.

I hope this short article has been useful to you! Please feel free to leave a comment below, or you can email me directly using the “Contact” button at the top of the page.

©2009 Michael L Nichols. All rights reserved.

What next?

Your comments are always welcome, and are important to this blog’s community! Leave a comment now, or read the comments.

You can find several related articles in the “Related Articles” list below. In the footer you will find a lists of Popular Posts, Recent Posts, and you may browse by Categories, or tags. There’s also a Google Custom Search box to help you find just what you want.

Get free updates by RSS or email!

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to article updates, using an RSS reader, or by email. It’s free and is a great way to make sure you don’t miss a single article! I also invite you to follow me on Twitter!

Why not share this article with others!

Share this article with your friends using your favorite social media service, such as StumbleUpon, or Digg. Check out the icons below under “Share This Article With Others” for other social media, including del.icio.us, Technorati, Sphinn, Friendfeed, FaceBook, MySpace andLinkedIn! You can also email or print the article, and even tweet it using Twitter!

New Article! WordPress Plugins I Use

I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve been asked which WordPress plugins I use on my sites, or which plugin I would recommend for a particular function! It’s a kind of shoptalk, like discussing sauces between chefs. And it’s a great area of mystery for newbies.

A new article, “WordPress Plugins I Use,” lists the plugins I use on my sites. It has a short description of why I use each, along with a link to a place where it is being used, if relevant. To finish it off, I rate each plugin according to its usefulness to a site.

Now all I have to do is to point people to the article and save my voice — or my fingers!

WordPress Plugins I Use

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A constant question on the DIYthemes Forums, and I one that I often get, is what plugins are recommended for a Thesis site. This article lists the plugins I use on my sites and tells why I use them.

Though I can’t claim to have tried every plugin available for a given purpose, I’ve investigated most of them, and have settled on the ones listed here. They all play nice with Thesis, obviously. Note that I’ve labeled most of them “Nice to have,” which is not damning them with faint praise, but means that if you want a particular feature, this is the plugin I recommend.

Akismet comes with your WordPress installation. It keeps spam off your blog, period. Essential

cformsII — For your contact page and other forms, I believe that cformsII can’t be beat. It’s highly configurable, you can change the styling of the forms using css, and custom work is saved when the plugin is upgraded. Click on the “Contact” button in the button bar to see it in action. Highly recommended

CommentLuv — Shows the last post of commenters, rewarding your readers and encouraging more comments. It’s easy to set up and use. Check out this comment in Anxiety, Panic & Health to see it in action. Nice to have

CyStats — Provides very detailed real-time statistics for your blog from the Admin panel. See more information about CyStats in the article Statistics Plugins and Services I Use. If you’re interested in your stats and can have only one plugin, this is the one to get. Highly recommended

Dagon Design Sitemap Generator — Generates a fully customizable sitemap based on categories. I use it in Anxiety, Panic & Health in the “Categories” tab of the nav bar. Not used on this site because all of the articles are pages, which don’t have categories. Nice to have

Google Analytics for WordPress — Not really an SEO plugin, its sole purpose is to assist in using Google Analytics on your site. It does things like blocking the administrator from being counted in statistics, something that would have to be coded otherwise. Nice to have

Google XML Sitemaps — The only SEO plugin I use, since Thesis does the rest. Generates a sitemap just for Google ‘bots, which can then be told to use it in Google Webmaster Tools. Highly recommended

My Tag Cloud — Is somewhat inaccurately named, because it creates a widget that lists tags, rather being a tag cloud (which I dislike). I use it in the sidebar on Anxiety, Panic & Health, and in the footer on this site. Nice to have

Similar Posts — Puts a list of related posts at the bottom of your posts, encouraging readers to dig deeper into your site. I like this one the best of all the ones I tried: simple but effective, and you don’t have to enter special tags at the ends of posts. It’s the one I use on Anxiety, Panic & Health, since most of the content is posts. However, I use Simple Tags for this site (see below). Nice to have

Simple Tags — A complete tagging system that allows tagging of pages as well as posts. The plugin has a lot of features that are not available elsewhere, such as editing tags. It also will put a “related posts” list at the end of pages that includes tagged pages, something that no other plugin will do. This is the plugin I use on this site for related posts, as well as for tagging pages. Nice to have

Sociable — Puts a configurable list of social media sites at the end of your post or page. I’ve tried and used several similar ones, but I like this one best because it only shows sites I have selected. Nice to have

Subscribe to Comments — Adds a checkbox to the end of posts that lets your readers be notified when a new comment is made. Lots of my readers use this. Nice to have

Thesis OpenHook — Thesis-specific plugin that lets you edit your custom files, and simplifies the modification of your site. You can simply drop code copied from the Forum into one of the OpenHook hook areas, and it will work without your having to touch the custom files. Nice to have if you need it

WordPress.com Stats — Shows a graph of your real-time site stats on your Admin page, along with an overview of a number of important metrics. Not as accurate as CyStats, but shows you the trends at a glance. For more information about WordPress.com Stats, see the article Statistics Plugins and Services I Use. Nice to have

WP-DBManager – This plugin performs a number of important WordPress database functions, such as management, optimization, repair, and queries. Most importantly for me, it emails me a backup of my sites’ database daily. Highly recommended

WP Twitip ID — Allows your commenters to add their Twitter id and have it displayed in their comments. See it at work on Anxiety, Panic & Health.- Nice to have

YAFootnotes — I write a lot of footnoted articles on Anxiety, Panic & Health, and this plugin allows me to work in the accepted manner of researchers, scientists and other writers while creating the text. It then presents the footnote list in the style of printed publications, unlike every other footnote plugin I know of. See it at work in this article — check out the footnotes in the text and the footnote list at the end. Nice to have if you need it

As always, your comments are welcome! I’d be particularly interested in hearing about the plugins you use and why. Remember you can email me directly using the “Contact” button in the button bar.

©2009 Michael L Nichols. All rights reserved.

What next?

Your comments are always welcome, and are important to this blog’s community! Leave a comment now, or read the comments.

You can find several related articles in the “Related Articles” list below. In the footer you will find a lists of Popular Posts, Recent Posts, and you may browse by Categories, or tags. There’s also a Google Custom Search box to help you find just what you want.

Get free updates by RSS or email!

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to article updates, using an RSS reader, or by email. It’s free and is a great way to make sure you don’t miss a single article! I also invite you to follow me on Twitter!

Why not share this article with others!

Share this article with your friends using your favorite social media service, such as StumbleUpon, or Digg. Check out the icons below under “Share This Article With Others” for other social media, including del.icio.us, Technorati, Sphinn, Friendfeed, FaceBook, MySpace andLinkedIn! You can also email or print the article, and even tweet it using Twitter!