I updated WordPress to 3.0 the other day and surprisingly, had quite a few problems. In particular, the LifeStream plugin doesn’t seem to be very happy. The update process for WordPress itself failed once but succeeded when I ran it again. I had to actually delete LifeStream and re-add it and even then, it wasn’t quite happy. The updater never returned but WordPress seems to be operating ok. This is the first time in 4+ years of using WordPress that I’ve run into anything like this. Hopefully it will not be a big issue as I have a number of sites I need to update.
I’ve had a request from my team, the MacDolphins, to be able to send e-mail to the parents of specific age groups. We do a number of activities that are limited to older kids or only for a specific age group so I’ve been aware of this need for a while. Unfortunately I don’t have an easy way to solve it.
I think the WordPress Roles and Capabilities functionality may be the answer to my problem. I could create a role for each age group and assign the users that have a swimmer in that age group to the appropriate roles. By doing this, I think I can continue to use the Email Users plugin to contact specific groups of users based on the roles defined.
I need to do more research on Roles and Capabilities. I’ve played with a couple plugins and they aren’t real straight forward.
Sandbox Swim Team is a fluid layout which has several color schemes to choose from, supports custom headers, has a facility to modify the header with CSS and is widget ready. You can find Sandbox Swim Team with some other WordPress stuff I have done on my catch all site.
WordPress 3.0 is expected to be out sometime in May. I figured I ought to do some basic testing to see if changes to WordPress would have any significant impact on wp-SwimTeam.
I have a Linux Virtual Machine which I have set up such that I can always run the bleeding edge of WordPress – right out of the Subversion repository. When a new version of WordPress is ready to come out I update my Linux VM with the current state of WordPress and the current state of wp-SwimTeam and run some tests.
I started doing this a couple weeks ago and got busy and never finished it. This morning, I got back to it. It turns out, it didn’t run very well. Both wp-SwimTeam and phpHtmlLib plugins were calling deprecated WordPress functions. In releases prior to 3.0, there were no warnings about calling a deprecated function but 3.0 has a new warning feature. The way it is implemented, the warnings actually caused a failure with phpHtmlLib which resulted in WordPress not successfully loading.
I have fixed the problems in both plugins and committed the changes. However, I have not released new builds yet so until I do, I advise sticking with the 2.9.x release of WordPress. I expect a new build later this week at the latest.
This evening I installed the Simple:Press forum plugin. This forum should be used for questions, bug reports, and anything else related to wp-SwimTeam. I will try and add some information on installing and configuring wp-SwimTeam soon but I am also considering adding a Wiki for documentation. Click on the Forum tab along the top of the page to access the forum.
This evening I posted a new Sandbox based theme called Sandbox Swim Team. This theme is designed for Swim Team web sites. Like the LEGO and Soccer themes I have done recently, this theme is widget ready and has styling for a number of plugins I use regularly. This theme has a number of options to support custom header images, color scheme choices, and themed login pages. You can see this theme in action on the MacGregor Downs MacDolphins web site.
This afternoon I posted an update to my Sandbox-LEGO theme. In the process of developing my CASL Soccer theme I had figured out how to do a couple things which I have wanted to incorporate into Sandbox-LEGO. It wasn’t a lot of work but I also decided to spend the time to re-write the Bourne Shell script which I use to generate CSS files for the various color schemes. Instead of duplicating a bunch of code I implemented it as a series of functions which are called with the various color settings. Fairly trivial looking back on it, not sure why I hadn’t done it in the first place. It should make adding a new color scheme much faster.
I have not done much work on wp-SwimTeam over the past few months but about a week ago I dusted off my virtual machine (have I ever mentioned how much I love VMware Workstation?) in preparation for the upcoming season. Since I last worked on the project there have been numerous patches for Windows XP (my development area is an XP VM) and WordPress has moved from 2.7 through the 2.8.x releases and is now on 2.9.1.
All new work will be done against 2.9.1 (for now) so I have upgraded WordPress and the plugins that I use in conjunction with wp-SwimTeam. There are two areas where I will focus on immediately – importing results which I never finished last year and volunteer management. I’ll probably finish the portion of results I am working on right now and then move on to volunteer management since we’ll need that functionality in March when the MacDolphins do registration.
The CASL Ambassadors web site is actually a collection of WordPress blogs – the main site plus one for each of six age group teams. When I initially set it up I tried using WordPress-MU but my hosting solution wasn’t capable for MU’s requirements. Then I tried a plugin called WP-Hive which allows a collection of blogs to share some common infrastructure. Wp-Hive looked promising but I ran into some concerns which kept me from using it.
Ultimately I ended up setting up a separate blog for each site and hoped to come back to it at some point. That point was a couple weeks ago when I decided to do some maintenance on the sites. I ended up using the main installation as a parent and linked (using Unix symbolic links) all of the sub-domain sites back to parent. The only exception was the wp-content directory which is a real directory (so uploads can be unique) but within wp-content I linked back to the parent’s themes and plugins.
This worked pretty well – if I install a plugin or theme for the main site it is available for all of the sub-domain sites and when I upgrade WordPress, all of the sub-domain sites are upgraded as well. Once I got this running, I wanted to share the users across all blogs.
After several attempts and numerous Google searches, I ended up following the directions in this thread and this thread and got everything to work. I don’t particularly care for having to modify one of the core WordPress files since it will go away the next time I update WordPress but none of the other solutions I tried worked.
Today I spent some more time working with the Facebook Connect plugin. It pretty much works as adverized. Using the wp_meta hook I was able to displY the Facebook login status on the Meta widget.
With a little bit of styling it looks well integrated with the theme I am using. You can see the it in action on the CASL Shocks web site.