Archive for Development

Last FM 1.0.1 Released

I’ve just pushed out a quick update to Last FM for WordPress. As well as validating compatibility with recent changes to WordPress core, the release comes with a number of useful bug fixes and features, including a rather nice one that permits the display of album covers alongside the track listing. Hope you enjoy the release!


Calendar 1.3.10 Released

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a blog update on the WordPress Calendar plugin, but as I’ve just pushed out another bug fix version I thought it a good idea to outline what has changed since I last posted and what is to come.

Firstly in skipping the last 2 versions worth of blog posts I’ve missed trumpeting a really useful new feature. I was contacted by an individual at the BBC last year who wanted to use my calendar (amongst others) to syndicate music event listings across a number of websites for a local radio station. What emerged was an iCalendar feed which both provided long desired functionality to the masses as well as allowing BBC local radio to syndicate events to their own music pages from dozens of local music related websites. Beers all round I think. The 1.3.10 release contains some well deserved fixes to this new functionality along with the usual checks to ensure the latest version of WordPress causes no issues.

In the pipeline then are performance boosts and a semi-rewrite which will seek to harmonise the visuals of a much loved and actively used front-end with developments and improvements in the big wide world of online calendaring. I’d like to provide a date, but as ever, these things take time and thought, neither of which are easy to estimate when holding down a day job and a hectic social schedule.

As ever it’s well worth hitting the update button to get hold of 1.3.10. Any problems or questions in the forums as usual please.


Calendar 1.3.7 Released

I suppose it should be called the “Ho, ho, ho!” release given the proximity to Christmas, but no, just another little bug fix release for loyal Calendar users. Tested with the latest version of WordPress and with a couple of annoying niggles fixed, it’s well worth hitting the update button. As usual, any problems in the forums please.

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Last FM Plugin

While for many Last FM stopped existing as a service when they ceased their premium subscription radio service, there remains a very viable use for the service that even existed prior to the launch of streaming – “scrobbling”, or in lay man’s terms, the logging of every track you listen to across a variety of services for statistical purposes.

For many years I posted the last 10 tracks I had listened to in the side bar of my website but never released the code I wrote to do this. I had even registered a plugin URL with WordPress for the purpose, but never uploaded the code that powered it. Last night that changed and I’ve released the full plugin code that powers the side bar widget – meet Last FM for WordPress. I’d very much welcome any comments regarding its functionality and also ideas for future development; as my forum suggests I had grand plans for this plugin when I first registered its URL back in 2010 and given the ephemeral nature of Last FM’s future, it may well be wise for me to step up and pursue some of these development goals sooner rather than later!

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Calendar 1.3.6 Released

While 1.3.5 didn’t really merit a posting on account of it being a very small patch type release, 1.3.6 has a bit more meat on the bones.

Translations have made a bold debut into the WordPress plugin repository with a nice GUI for any code-shy translators to assist with their language skills. As such I’m now bundling all translations for Calendar that I have access to with every release. This makes internationalisation easier for users and ensures the plugin is fully compliant with all the repository features.

Other bug fixes were bundled into the release, most notably some performance improvements regarding the checking of the calendar database tables to ensure they were up to date with the code.

In a the next release we’ll be looking at a substantial tidy-up of the code, an attempt to move closer to some of the newer (and nicer) features of the latest WordPress version and some serious performance improvements regards the loading of events from the database.

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Calendar 1.3.4 Released

After over two years of no updates to my calendar plugin for WordPress I’ve pushed out a change tonight. Even two years ago fixes had, for some time, been purely tweaks based on bug reports. While this latest change is not to be described as a significant update, it does more to the code than just playing around at the sidelines.

As with most code that is released to the community and then largely forgotten about save for the odd tweak, times change and what is accepted practice moves on. This is exactly what has happened with Calendar and it was high time to look at how it performed with the latest version of WordPress, review the latest best practice of the plugin repository and push out fixes to a few bugs that had been rumbling along in the support forums without fixes for too long.

I hope this release will be welcome for long term users of the plugin and for those who’ve never used it, a release after so long will push it back into the visible sections of the plugin repository so why not check it out?

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WordPress in Education

Always keen to post when I find someone who’s using my Calendar plugin for something big or exciting, this week I received an e-mail from Adam Scott informing me that Calendar had received a mention in his book, WordPress for Education. If you work in academia or have an interest in expanding the focus of your WordPress work, this book may just be worth a look.

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Foursquare Auto-Checkin

Having been a recently new joiner to the foursquare phenomenon I’ve quickly decided that I like it and that it’s leaps and bounds ahead of Facebook places. That being said, it’s not without issue. The main one being that there are places I regularly frequent that I want to check into, but don’t wish to publish on twitter. “You can do that!” I hear you cry, well yes, you can, but you still have to get your phone out of your pocket.

To me, getting one’s phone out of one’s pocket should be to actually say something, such as “I’m at somewhere new” or “I’m at somewhere I normally visit but I’m here for longer this time, come and join me”. If I’m just heading to the office or going home, I want to log that onto the statistics but not shout about it. While there is of course an option on the mobile app to do this, I have to specifically choose that option. In reality, what I really want to do is only to touch my phone if I have something to say, otherwise let foursquare do the work for me.

Enter the API! I have long been a user of google latitude. This little known service allows me, via a private API key, to retrieve the latitude and longitude coordinates of my phone wherever it is. I used this feature to track my road trip progress and it worked very well. To this end, knowing that foursquare is primarily powered by coordinates and I always have access to mine, I decided to stick my coders hat on and program my way to lazy foursuare use.

Registering for a foursquare API key is easy and it arrives straight away. Getting an OAuth token using the key was also just as easy and within a minute or so I was able to call out instructions to foursquare from my server, pretending to be me. It didn’t take me long to close the loop so that to all intents and purposes my server is me as it knows where I am.

Although it’s a little rough around the edges, I now have an application running that has a pre-set list of locations that it is allowed to check me into and when my coordinates say that I am there, it calls out to foursquare and does so.

While this is far from ready for release, I do hope to do so in not too distant future, perhaps in time for WordCamp. In the meantime I’m going to sit back and enjoy ousting my colleagues as mayor of the office, just by pulling into the car park. After all, isn’t that what this whole foursquare thing is all about?

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Calendar on fundry

I recently received an invite to add my Calendar project to fundry and given that the site is clearly an innovative idea and is run by folks who have worked on some great projects elsewhere, I decided to give it a go.

Essentially, it’s a site that allows you to request a new feature in a particular project and pledge a certain amount to fund it. Once the developer of a project deems the pledged amount is worth them developing the feature, they can do so, then mark the item as delivered. Once enough users who pledged have accepted the feature then the funds are released to the developer.

I thought this would be a good idea for Calendar as while it will always be free and I will always keep developing new features as I see fit, it would be nice to allow the community to twist development in their favour through donations. This is not of course belittling the many who make donations independently of new features delivered to them!

Anyhow, if you want a new feature for Calendar and don’t see it in the pipeline based on forum discussions, why not pledge an amount on fundry to have it developed.

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Just Giving

I’ve previously resisted the temptation to publicise high profile users of my calendar plugin but now that a website that has helped myself and many of my friends raise money for charity throughout their student years and beyond has adopted it, I feel compelled to start publishing the select few.

Many thanks then to Just Giving who are using my events calendar on their blog, it’s an honour and a privilege.

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