Setting up a multi-blog installation

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.

Trying out WordPress Facebook Connect plugin

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,, 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.

Flickr-Gallery Plugin – good stuff!

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.