Archive for September, 2010

FeedWordPress 2010.0905: bug fixed; Categories and Tags now correctly assigned

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Note. As with the previous release, before you download or install, please note that this version of FeedWordPress requires WordPress 3 or higher to operate correctly. Do not install the upgrade unless or until you have made the upgrade to WP3.

FeedWordPress 2010.0905 is now available for download.

I’ve pushed out this release quickly because it contains fixes to an important issue that y’all helped me discover in early user reports back about FeedWordPress 2010.0903. As I mentioned in the release notes, the new release of FeedWordPress has some extensive internal changes to allow for a great deal more flexibility in how it handles Categories and Tags (up to and including support for custom taxonomies provided by plugins). Unfortunately, the changes introduced a bug, due to the fact that the new method used to insert Categories and Tags in WordPress 3 screens the terms to be inserted by the current logged-in user’s capabilities. Which is fine for normal operations within the WordPress administrative interface; but since automatic updates and updates from FeedWordPress cron jobs are typically carried out without any user logged in whose credentials could be checked, this meant that several users noticed posts being inserted with only the category Uncategorized, and with no Tags. Which presents a problem.

Fortunately, the problem has been fixed in today’s quick upgrade:

  • BUGFIX: CATEGORIES AND TAGS CORRECTLY ASSIGNED IN AUTOMATIC UPDATES. Version 2010.0903 switched over to a new way of assigning categories and tags as part of its support for handling custom taxonomies. Unfortunately, the method that it uses is subjected to some checks of the current user’s capabilities, which creates problems for posts that are being inserted into the WordPress database when there is no current user logged in (as, for example, when an update is being carried out from a cron job or automatic update). The result was that posts from cron jobs and automatic updates ended up with no Categories and no Tags being assigned. This bug has now been fixed: in 2010.0905, Tags and Categories should be correctly assigned to all posts, regardless of whether they were added from manual updates, cron jobs, or automatic updates.

All you need to do to apply the fix is download the newest release and drop it into place in your WordPress plugins directory. As always, if you have any issues with the release, or any questions I can help answer, or if there is anything that you would like to see included in a future release, please use the comments form or drop me a line to let me know about it. If you have an issue to report, please be sure to tell me what version of FeedWordPress you’re using, what version of WordPress you’re using it with, which web browser you are using to view the FeedWordPress user interface, and try to tell me, as clearly as possible, (1) what you were trying to do, (2) what the circumstances were, (3) what you expected to see, and (4) what you ended up seeing instead.

Download and enjoy!. Continue reading

FeedWordPress 2010.0903: bug fixes, interface improvements, lower memory load & big new features for convenience & uber-geekery

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

I am happy to announce that FeedWordPress 2010.0903 is now available for download..

Now stop just a minute. Before you proceed, be advised: FeedWordPress 2010.0903 has been thoroughly tested for compatibility with WordPress 3.0. It also requires WordPress 3.0. If you do not have WordPress 3.0 installed, and aren’t yet ready to make the upgrade, you should not attempt to upgrade to this version of FeedWordPress, until you are ready to make the upgrade to WP3.

This release includes a big passle of improvements, fixes, and new features. Some of them have been a long time coming; others are new and fancy. For the fixes, you may be most interested in a fix which apparently solves a really vexing vanishing act that Syndicated Sources performed for some users on various versions of Internet Explorer — where a big chunk of the user interface would suddenly disappear as soon as you added your first feed. You may also notice some of the new features, like subscribing to multiple feeds or the reductions in memory consumption. Many of the best changes, though you may not even notice — a great deal of the improvements are in low-level interface work, and if I’ve done my job right it will make your life a few minutes more pleasant every day, without you hardly even noticing it. Many of them are improvements under the hood, which are mainly intended for uber-geeks, hotrodders, or — and here is where it matters for the rest of you — Add-On and Filter Developers, who will have that much more of a chance to enrich the FeedWordPress ecosystem. But there’s also plenty that should be right out on the surface, for anyone to see, and I hope you enjoy it.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the major changes since the previous release:

  • WORDPRESS 3 REQUIRED: Please note that this release of FeedWordPress requires WordPress 3.0 or later. If you are currently using a 2.x branch of WordPress, you will need to upgrade to WordPress 3 before you can successfully upgrade FeedWordPress.
  • BUGFIX: NO MORE DISAPPEARING “SYNDICATED SOURCES” PANEL; INTERNET EXPLORER UI GLITCH APPARENTLY FIXED: Several users independently reported a problem with FWP 2010.0623 and various versions of IE. A problem with the HTML markup caused IE (but not Firefox or Chrome) to completely hide the Syndicated Sources administration panel (the main list of currently-syndicated sources, and the main location for adding new sources, under the Syndication menu item) when a user added their first syndicated feed. Maddeningly, the glitch seemed to affect some IE users and not others: I was never able to reproduce the problem for myself on my own machines. However, the markup of Syndicated Sources has undergone significant changes and corrections since 2010.0623, and two independent sources who had been having this problem confirm that they no longer encounter it with the updated version. For the time being, I am going to declare this bug squashed.
  • BUGFIX: MORE PROTECTION AGAINST FATAL ERRORS FROM PLUGGABLE VERSIONS OF SimplePie: FeedWordPress now takes some precautions that should help to better avoid conflicts for users who have installed pluggable versions of SimplePie for another plugin or theme. (You may not know that you have done this; but if you’ve been encountering fatal errors indicating that you cannot redeclare class SimplePie, or something along those lines, there is now a better chance that those fatal errors will be eliminated.
  • PERFORMANCE: SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED MEMORY CONSUMPTION FOR LARGE UPDATES: FeedWordPress is still a memory-hungry little module, especially when you are dealing with very large feeds. However, users should notice a significant reduction in memory overloads, especially if they update a large number of feeds at once.
  • USER INTERFACE IMPROVEMENTS: Nothing is radically different, but there’s been a fair amount of extra spit and polish added, including a convenient new Dashboard widget that may save you a trip to the Syndication menu, a lot of effort to make the relationship between global and feed-by-feed settings more obvious to the user and more easily controllable, to make navigation between settings pages easier, to sand off a few rough edges, and to make other improvements on the margins. I hope you’ll like how it looks.
  • ADDING MULTIPLE FEEDS: FeedWordPress now provides a convenient mode for adding multiple feeds at once, using either a copy-and-pasted list, or else an OPML file. Go to Syndication –> Syndicated Sources and check out the two new buttons underneath the New Source input box. When you have to add a number of feeds at once, this can save you considerable time and trouble.
  • IMPROVED HANDLING OF AUTHORS WITH DUPLICATE E-MAIL ADDRESS AND AUTHORS WITH NAMES WRITTEN IN FOREIGN SCRIPTS: WordPress 3 is increasingly picky about what it will accept for new author accounts, and some of the conditions it imposes can cause error conditions that prevent posts from being properly syndicated, or properly attributed, if authors happen to have identical e-mail addresses, or if users are given usernames that are written in non-Western scripts. FeedWordPress now handles these much better, and systematically works to avoid clashes between syndicated authors’ account names or in their e-mail addresses, which should result in significantly better results in mapping author names to WordPress user accounts.
  • MAPPING CATEGORIES ON SYNDICATED POSTS TO TAGS NOW BETTER SUPPORTED: In previous versions, the only way for the Categories provided by a syndicated feed to be mapped into Post Tags was to instruct FWP to create new tags, rather than new categories, for unfamiliar categories from the feed. This works fine if you want tags to be the default; but if you want only a specific set of tags, there was no way to get them without getting most or all other categories imported as tags. You can now do this by creating a tag (under Posts ==> Post Tags) before importing the post; when the syndicated category matches a pre-existing tag, the incoming post will be tagged with that tag, without creating a local Post Category.
  • REL-TAG MICROFORMAT SUPPORT FOR INLINE TAGS: Syndicated posts that contain inline tags, marked up using the Rel-Tag microformat, are now tagged with the tags provided by Rel-Tag format links.
  • MUCH GREATER CONTROL OVER CATEGORY AND TAG MAPPING: This is partly the result of building in support for a potentially endless set of custom taxonomies (see below), but in general there has been a great deal of effort towards giving you more control over how categories and tags provided by the feed are mapped into terms on the local blog. In particular, you can now force FeedWordPress to create only categories from categories and tags provided by the feed; or to create only tags; or to search both categories and tags for a match; or you can simply force it to drop all of the categories provided by the feed and use only categories or tags that you explicitly provide. In addition, you can now also choose whether to override global categories settings with a local, feed-specific setting; or whether to add together both the global categories and the local feed-specific categories — depending on whatever your use-case may demand.
  • CUSTOM POST TYPES AND TAXONOMY SUPPORTS: This is mainly for the super-geeky, but if you use other plugins or themes that make significant use of WordPress’s support for custom post types and custom taxonomies, you may be pleased to find that FeedWordPress now allows you to feed incoming posts into any custom feed type that you wish, and to map categories and tags from the feed to custom taxonomies as well as to the standard Category and Tag taxonomies.
  • STORING NAMESPACED CUSTOM FEED ELEMENTS IN POST CUSTOM FIELDS: If you would like to use FeedWordPress’s support for storing custom meta-data from feed elements in the custom fields for a post (for example, to store geolocation data or iTunes media meta-data), you’ll find that it’s now much easier for you to access these namespaced elements. You always could access them, but in previous versions you might have to write something ugly like $(/{}lat) just to get at the value of a <geo:lat> tag. Now, as long as you use the same mnemonic codes that the feed producer used, you should always be able to write a nice, simple expression like $(/geo:lat) to get the value of a <geo:lat> tag. Huzzah!
  • CUSTOM DIRECTORY STRUCTURE SUPPORT: if you poke at it enough, WordPress is relatively flexible about where it should store admin interface code, uploaded content, plugins, and a number of other things that occupy an important place in the WordPress directory structure. Previous versions of FeedWordPress encountered serious errors or broke entirely when used with directory structures other than the default. This should now be fixed: FWP now supports custom directory structures wherever WordPress allows them to be customized, rather than depending on the default locations. Enjoy your freedom!
  • MANY NEW FILTERS AND API UTILITY FUNCTIONS FOR ADD-ON PROGRAMMERS: There have been too many improvements to list them all in this ChangeLog, but it means that much more power and ease for folks who are customizing FeedWordPress through PHP filters or add-on modules. Fuller documentation will be put up at the Wiki at soon.

Download and enjoy! If you have any issues with the release, or any questions I can help answer, or if there is anything that you would like to see included in a future release, please use the comments form or drop me a line to let me know about it. If you have an issue to report, please be sure to tell me what version of FeedWordPress you’re using, what version of WordPress you’re using it with, which web browser you are using to view the FeedWordPress user interface, and try to tell me, as clearly as possible,

One of the remarkable fact about this release is the number of the new features in this release — including improved namespace support, subscription to multiple feeds, and custom post type and taxonomy support — that I was able to make due to the generous support of FeedWordPress users, whose gifts made it possible for me to devote a several solid days to some major new conveniences and some significant internal overhauls that have dramatically improved FeedWordPres’s flexibility and power. I’d like to thank all the FWP users who have helped make ongoing development possible. It’s really flattering, y’all, and I’m incredibly grateful that you’ve made it possible for me to devote the needed time to this project.

As always, please remember that your generous gifts to the project tip jar make ongoing development, quick fixes and timely support for FeedWordPress possible.

Now get out there and enjoy FeedWordPress 2010.0903! Continue reading