AJAX Calendar

After all the hype and bubble-blowing, I decided to dip my little pinkie into the mix and experiment with AJAX. The result has been the release of a new plugin, cleverly titled ‘AJAX Calendar‘. Once installed this allows the standard WordPress calendar function to be enhanced such that:

  • Stepping through the months is now asynchronous, and only updates the calendar
  • Clicking on the calendar title takes you back to the current month
  • Clicking on the funny «-» button will expand the calendar and display the posts headings for that month
  • All content is cached
  • Works in most browsers

The plugin requires modifications to the WordPress theme, although these modifications have been included in version 1.23 of the Giraffe theme.

Have a play.

Giraffe 1.20

It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything here, and this is just going to be a technical post. Based upon feedback from different users, and the general direction of questions, I’ve released quite a major update of the Giraffe theme and plugin. The changes are:

  • Major overhaul of the admin interface – redundant options have been removed, and the interface has been simplified. Where possible I have used diagrams to show what the configuration options will change
  • Easy logos – a ‘logo’ directory now exists within the giraffe theme, and any image placed within here can be selected as the logo by using the admin interface. Additionally, two extra options exist to allow the logo to be randomly selected, and a custom function can be created to select a logo using whatever method you wish
  • Auto-news – the admin interface will now periodically check this website for changes to the theme, and will display this from inside the admin interface. This should make it easier for people to know when the theme has been updated
  • Curved corners and the left bar can be switched off
  • Comments order – comments can be displayed oldest first, or newest first
  • Gravatars – can be disabled
  • Calendar – can be disabled
  • Localization menu – now built into the theme
  • Most W3C validation errors fixed

A side effect of these changes will be that a lot of the administration interface is no longer localized properly. Hopefully it shouldn’t be too long before the new words can be translated.

More posts soon.

Pinyin converter

I’ve added a small Pinyin converter to the InScript plugin. Pinyin is a method of transliterating Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet. As Chinese is a tonal language, it is important that these tones are included in the pinyin. This is achieved through the use of accents and other marks over certain vowels.

The reason for the converter is that these accents are not easy to type, especially for people with keyboards in an accent-less language (i.e. English). It is possible to enter the characters using some form of character mapping tool, or by entering the HTML code directly, but this is not an intuitive method.

Instead, a popular technique used on many websites is to write the tone as a number. For example, zhong1guo2 would indicate that the ‘o’ in zhong needs the first tone applied, and ‘o’ in guo needs the second. While this is an easy method of entering the text, it does not look good, and is another layer to understanding the tones themselves.

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InScript

I’ve been tinkering away on a WordPress plugin idea I’ve had, and it’s now finished and available for download.

It’s a bit of a complicated plugin to explain fully, but the core effect is very simple: it is an expandable pattern matching script engine. Phew, what a mouthful!

Basically it means that you can insert patterns into posts, or have patterns applied to dates, titles, even the whole blog. These patterns can contain variables and functions that, when InScript processes them, will insert or manipulate the data as the page is being generated.

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Proliferation of plugins

Yet more WordPress activity. This time I’ve organised my collection of hacks and made a seperate plugin page, available from the navigation menu. Now I can contemplate the calm and zen-like organisation of the rest of my life.

The plugins are:

  • Jump-To – Direct navigation from multi-page posts
  • PageView – Embed an webpage inside a post
  • HeadSpace – Manipulate meta-data

StatTraq admin link

Another technical posting…

I was looking for a way to obtain site statistics, and discovered the WordPress plugin StatTraq. It looked perfect in the screenshots, but unfortunately doesn’t work with WordPress 1.5. However, a nice hack is available at AdsWorth which does the trick.

By default, the plugin does not create any link to itself from the administration screen. A suggestion was made on the StatTraq forum, but again this doesn’t work for WordPress 1.5. It is very easy to adapt it though, and I’ve included the change here in case it’s useful to anyone.

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