A quick review of WordPress Timeline plugins

I looked at several WordPress plugins tonight. My requirements were that I would be able to create a timeline based on Custom Content Types created by Pods, and then I would be able to sort by a custom field (meta_value) on that content type. I found a plugin which met my requirements on the second try. However, I turned up a few other potentials which I might want to look at for other projects.

These are the plugins I tried:

  • Utlimate Timeline - Works off of post date for the content type selected. What I want is for it to order based on a custom field in the post type selected. Otherwise a nice plugin - not too slow.
  • Timeline Grid - It worked and met the requirements!
  • Viavi WordPress Timeline - Did not work. Produced three errors in the admin section when loading the plugin. (If the codebase was a fork of Timeline Grid, then it is possible that there was a conflict because both were activated at the same time.)

Some other untested plugins:

EditFlow and CPT management through a workflow

EditFlow [http://editflow.org/] is a great plugin if you only have one content type and need to pass the content across several people. Unfortunately for me it does not support the creation of different workflows for different content types. That is why I found it a bit limiting. Interestingly, the guys developing PikList [http://wordpress.org/plugins/piklist/] and PODs [http://wordpress.org/plugins/pods/] approached the problem by suppressing the existing publishing meta-box and supplying their own. It seems that each framework (Piklist, PODs, and even ACF - Advanced Custom Fields) might have its benefits. But they are all vying for the same market place - the developer's time and the plugin folder on your WordPress install. I am not sure which I like most right now, ACF has it on admin UI/UX but PODs is really powerful. If WordPRess core added some management features for the existing capability in its APIs then we might not have this marketplace...

Importing Facebook Status

I have a thing for wanting to know what I have said all in one place… But I would like to be able to see it by location of the comment. So I have thought about bringing my FaceBook comments into my WordPress install. The problem has been that if I bring them in as a post I have to not send them back to FaceBook (Like I do with all my other posts). So I now import them as a custom post type. But my current theme does not support custom post types out of the box. Too bad for K2 (It seems that as a theme K2 is not keeping up with WordPress.). To do this I looked FeedWordPress as recommended here.

Cross-posting post from one WordPress Site to another

I set up another WordPress site and I wanted to transfer what I had written there to this site, so that all my writings would be together. This would include comments, links and attached media, and metadata about the post.

What I want a transfer plugin to do.

What I want a transfer plugin to do.

So I looked for a WordPress Plugin to do that. I found two (and as it is when I find more than one I have to test it out and write-up the results.):
  1. Xpost: Cross-post was the first plugin I found and it seemed to have a lot of really nice features.
  2. Transfer: the main difference between the two based on author description is that this one said that it also transferred images attached with the post.

So I tried Transfer first.

Transfer

However, when I installed Transfer, it said that it could not find the Zend Framework… Warning: require_once(Zend/XmlRpc/Client.php) [function.require-once]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home1/public_html/username/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/transfer/library/Aperto/XmlRpc.php on line 3Path values changed to protect the innocent.
The plugin requires that one download Zend Framework Minimal (http://framework.zend.com/download/latest) and put the Zend folder under /wp-content/plugins/transfer/library/

I did this and I would get the WordPress white screen of death. I was told that this white screen of death was because my provider terminated a process (I had maxed out my user’s memory allocation) This white screen happens on one of my installs but not on another under a different user… so, not sure what is going on – Neither WP install would transfer the post. To get around the white screen of death I had to de-activate the plugin by editing the database.

I had initially failed to read the install requirement for Zend, so I found another solution for adding Zend to wordpress.
So I knew I needed to install the Zend Framework, I am sorta surprised that Dreamhost, my hosting provider did not have Zend set up on my server in a way that WordPress was automatically going to detect it. Oh, well is there a plugin for that? – Uh, yes there are like a gilzillion! So I went with the first one: Zend Framework [or also in WP-Extend]. I loaded it and then added the helpful code found in the online WordPress forums.

Go to your wp-config and paste this right after * @package WordPress part and before // ** MySQL settings – You can get this info from your web host ** //

/** Zend Framework **/

function add_include_path ($path)
{
foreach (func_get_args() AS $path)
{
if (!file_exists($path) OR (file_exists($path) && filetype($path) !== 'dir'))
{
trigger_error("Include path '{$path}' not exists", E_USER_WARNING);
continue;
}

$paths = explode(PATH_SEPARATOR, get_include_path());

if (array_search($path, $paths) === false)
array_push($paths, $path);

set_include_path(implode(PATH_SEPARATOR, $paths));
}
}

add_include_path(dirname(__FILE__).'/wp-content/plugins/zend-framework');

After I did both of these things all of my errors went away.

I did try a second plugin, WP-ZFF Zend Framework Full for installing the Zend Framework, this one said that the plugin would modify the include path so I thought that could use this without modifying wp-config.php but the plugin failed on import so I deleted it.
So in the sad case I that I was not able to get Transfer to work I moved on and decided to try Xpost.

Xpost

Xpost [on WP-Extend] was a breeze to set up and I actually got it working for a simple post. However, I was not able to select the target category in the master WP install, from the writer’s WP install (The test post I used just when to the default category).

Xpost not getting categories

Xpost not getting categories available on the master WP install.

The box just says categories loading. This seems to be a problem reported by Nigel and by gulliver.

The test image was not transferred to the media library of the master WP install from the writer’s WP install. Additionally, if the category of the post is changed in the Master WP install, then the writer’s WP install loses track of the post. This is only temporary… If the writer tries to cross-post the post again, then the This results in the writer not being able to update the post. (Red error message is shown.) But if the writer tries a second time then the original post in the Master WP install is found, and updated. Including the “removed” category. However, this “removed” category was intentionally moved by the editor on the Master WP install. So this creates a bit of a conflict. BTW: It would be nice to be able to select a special custom post type for imports.

It seems that Xpost was designed to broadcast out rather that to ingest.

What xpost seems to do

What Xpost seems to do

Working on a Dynamic Left Menu Bar

It seems to be that the logical place to have a context based and role based menu would be on the left side. That being the assumption, the question is how to go about it, what does it contain, why does it need to change, when should it change.

I have been looking at several widgets and custom field plugins. Some of these deserve a deeper look. We might even should take a deeper look at how we are implementing custom fields and our plugin so that we have an abstraction layer.

Layering for custom fields in plugin

Here are some plugin in options which seemed to be able to handle some of this complexity.

There are really three places that custom field need to be used: so this post is not just about a dynamic left side bar. It is about a dynamic left sidebar that is run off of values in custom fields in the main post. So this post is talking about approaching custom fields with the best strategy.

  • Just Custom Fields for WordPress plugin: This plugin adds custom fields for standard and custom post types in WordPress. After installation you will see simple settings page which is self-explanatory to use.

    I found two Posts about this plugin to be really helpful: http://justcoded.com/just-labs/just-custom-fields-for-wordpress-plugin, and http://justcoded.com/implementation/wordpress-3-vs-drupal-cck/.

  • One of the ideas for the left side bar is to have a listing of related content. Related content could be all the files which belong in a single audio package, or all the digital files belonging to a physical item.
    This is where Related Widgets Plugin For WordPress comes in. The Related Widgets plugin for WordPress introduces multi-use widgets that allow you to list related posts or pages. To use the plugin, browse Appearance / Widgets, insert a Related Widget where you want it to be, and configure it as appropriate. You can optionally filter the results by category or section.
  • List Related Attachments: List Related Attachments is a sidebar widget that will display a list of filtered attachments related to the current post. This might be useful in one of two ways: listing associated content, depending on how we implement it. Or listing the photos on the right-hand sidebar.
  • Custom Field Template: This plugin adds the default custom fields on the Write Post/Page.
  • Custom Field List Widget: This plugin creates sidebar widgets with lists of the values of custom fields. The listed values can be (hyper-)linked in different ways. One possibility is to create a list of all values of a custom field, which will be groupped by their post (or page) and (hyper-)linked automatically to this post (or page). Another possibility is that you can create a list of all unique values of a custom field and specify links as you like (or not).
  • Get Custom Field Values:
    Get Custom Field Values allows the admin to use widgets, shortcodes, and/or template tags to easily retrieve and display custom field values for posts or pages.
  • Advanced Custom Fields:
    Advanced Custom Fields is the perfect solution for any wordpress website which needs more flexible data like other Content Management Systems.
  • Easy Custom Fields:This is a set of extendable classes to allow easy handling of custom post fields. https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/easy-custom-fields/
  • Advanced Custom Field Widget: The Advanced Custom Field Widget is an extension of the Custom Field Widget by Scott Wallick, and displays values of custom field keys, allowing post- and page-specific meta sidebar content.
  • Custom Post Template: Provides a drop-down to select different templates for posts from the post edit screen. The templates replace single.php for the specified post.https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/custom-post-template/

WordPress Custom Fields, Part I: The Basics : http://perishablepress.com/press/2008/12/17/wordpress-custom-fields-tutorial/

Custom Post Type UI: Admin UI for creating custom post types and custom taxonomies in WordPress.
https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/custom-post-type-ui/

Admin Panel of the Plugin

Needs to be able to:

  1. Define the Metadata Values
    • Do they have controlled vocabularies?
    • What kind of input will they use?
  2. Define the work Stages
    • Including sub-work stages
  3. What are the Metadata Values in each Stage
  4. What are the help texts for each Metadata question
  5. What is the Part shown for the Keys?
  6. Does the Plugin create a special Browse Page?

Wire Frame of plugin in admin panel

Importing Youtube Comments to WordPress

When I uploaded my first YouTube video, I got some comments and I wanted to reflect them on my blog where I was also displaying my video. Traffic to my blog is important as well as is the permanent record in my database of these comments. However, I need a two way solution. If someone comments on the video on my blog I want those to appear on my YouTube account. I need to Sync comments between my blog and Youtube.

The Genki YouTube Comments plug-in works well (I use it on my site now.) for pulling comments from YouTube to a WordPress blog:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/genki-youtube-comments/

However, this is only half the sync. I have yet to find a solution for when someone comments on a WordPress blog that the comment is then sync’d over to YouTube. If someone knows a solution for this then please share.