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.
I have been doing some testing with the WordPress Facebook Connect plugin. There are a couple sites I work with, particularly our swim team web site, MacDolphins.org, where I need users to login and add data to the site. Each year when we do swim team registration I get lots of questions about how to register, forgotten usernames and passwords, etc. With the popularity of Facebook, I am thinking that leveraging Facebook login credentials could make things a lot easier for me and our swim team parents.
As a test, I have installed it on the site I am putting together for my youngest daughter’s soccer team (CASL Sharks) to see how it works. For the most part, I am impressed – it pretty much works as advertised. I was able to login using my Facebook login and once my user was added to the WordPress user tables, I could change my permissions to allow my Facebook user id to post. I still need to do some work to support Facebook Connect for comments but the instructions look pretty straight forward. I think this would work well for the NCLTC and NCLUG sites as well although Facebook Connect requires PHP5 and those sites are hosted on a PHP4 based server so I’ll have to sort that out.
I use Flickr to host my photos and I’ve always wanted a better way to present them on WordPress blogs and this weekend I think I found it. Flickr-Gallery is a great plugin. It is easy to set up and use and it integrates well with my theme. It has a nice selection of short code options.
The only thing I use which is missing is the ability to link or preferably, display, a slide show. I shoot a lot of pictures of our kids activities (skateboarding, soccer, basketball, swim team, etc.) and sharing them as a Flickr slide show is something I do frequently.
I found a solution to the missing slide show by using the Light Window plugin in conjunction with the Flickr URL for the slide show I am interested in presenting.