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Archive for the ‘plugins’ Category

Automatically Emailing Subscribers with Blog Updates

Friday, October 11th, 2013

I have been asked about the options for having blog updates automatically emailed to subscribers. Since we prefer to keep QUB Blog user accounts linked to our staff/student accounts here at QUB it would be better to avoid creating new users for this purpose.

Instead I would recommend using the JetPack plugin from the WordPress creators. The plugin can be activated in the ‘Plugins’ section of your blog dashboard. After the plugin has been activated click on the ‘Settings’ link.

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On the main JetPack page you should notice a ‘Subscriptions’ block. Click the ‘Configure’ button.Selection_186

Tick the options you would like to have enabled for each post on your blog and ‘Save’ your changes:Selection_187

Now when you visit a post on your blog you should notice that the Comments form includes options for following your blog.

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After submitting a comment (or subscribing via a widget) an email confirmation is sent to the subscriber to confirm the action:Selection_190

Now when new comments / articles are published the subscriber receives an email notification liek the one below:

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To add a Subscription Form visit the Appearance > Widgets menu in your Dashboard and add ‘Blog Subscriptions (JetPack)’ to your sidebar:

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Twitter Plugin Settings

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

A number of users have reported problems with displaying Twitter feeds on their blog. There have been some changes to how Twitter allows use of its APIs. This means that your blog / WordPress plugins will probably need to be authorised to use your Twitter feeds.

You should start by visiting the settings page for your Twitter plugin. The screenshot below shows the settings for Twitter Widget Pro:

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Click on the link to “Add a new Twitter Application”. You should see a screen similar to the one below:Selection_238

Enter the name of your blog, a description and your blog web address for both Website and Callback URL. Complete the captcha code and you should be presented with your consumer tokens/keys. Use these keys and secrets on your WordPress plugin as shown below and your Twitter feeds should start working again.
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Surveys

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

We have added the SurveyMe plugin that allows you to create surveys and collect the responses into a database table or by email.

To get started activate the SurveyMe plug-in in the ‘Plugins’ menu of your ‘Dashboard’.

Creating a new form.

  1. Visit ‘Settings->SurveyMe->Forms’ in your admin panel.
  2. You create new survey forms based on an existing form (as a template) so select the form on which you wish to base your new form by using the radio buttons in the first column.
  3. Enter a unique name in the ‘New Forms’ field at the bottom. It is advisable to avoid special characters and to also keep the name short.
  4. Click Apply.

Adding the form to your site.

  1. Create a post or page as normal.
  2. Insert the text from the ‘BBCode’ column into the page where you want the form to appear, for example
    Adding a SurveyMe survey
  3. Save the page as normal.

Adding new fields to your form

  1. Select the ‘Field Definitions’ link next to the form you wish to edit.
  2. At the bottom of the list of fields there is a blank field of type ‘New Field’
  3. Set this to the type you want and fill in its details, example:
    SurveyMe Questions
  4. Apply the changes.
  5. Add more as required.
  6. Click ‘Data Collection’ beside the form name to set how you would like the responses processed.
    SurveyMe Data Collection

Closing the form

  1. Click the ‘General’ Link next to the form you wish to close.
  2. Change the status of the form to anything apart from open. Both pending and close will close the form but display different responses.

Blogging for Mobiles

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

You probably don’t want to have to create two different websites for your desktop users and your smart phone users. To enable your existing blog for mobile phone users visit the ‘Plugins’ screen in your Dashboard and enable the WPTouch plugin.

Without WPTouch the QUB Blogs website looks like this on an Android mobile:

Before WPTouch

With WPTouch the QUB Blogs website looks like this on an Android mobile:

After WPTouch

Flickr Plugin

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

We have added a plugin to assist in displaying content from flickr. To make use of this plugin first enable it  in the Plugins section of your dashboard then on the page where you want the galleries placed type the following shortcodes. Obviously you will need to change the names/numbers:

Usage

  • [flickr-gallery] – Creates a generic gallery for the user you specified in your settings page.
  • [flickr]http://www.flickr.com/photos/dancoulter/2619594365/[/flickr] – Inserts the given image. You can also just put the photo ID in there (the numeric string at the end of the link).

Other options:

  • [flickr-gallery mode="photoset" photoset="72157605870230826"] – Displays all of the photos from the given Flickr photoset.
  • [flickr-gallery mode="tag" tags="foo" tag_mode="all"] – Shows photos from your photostream with the specified tags (comma separated). If you leave off the tag_mode option, it defaults to “any”.
  • [flickr-gallery mode="recent"] – Shows recent photos from your photostream
  • [flickr-gallery mode="interesting"] – Shows interesting photos from your photostream
  • [flickr-gallery mode="search" tags="foo" group_id="46862018@N00"] – The search mode supports any arbitrary sort using the options listed here: http://www.flickr.com/services/api/flickr.photos.search.html
  • [flickr size="small" float="left"]http://www.flickr.com/photos/dancoulter/2619594365/[/flickr] – Sets the size of the inserted image to “small” (defaults to “medium”) and makes the next paragraph of text wrap around to the right of the image (you can specify “right” for the float parameter as well, which defaults to “none”)
  • [flickr height="300" width="400"]http://www.flickr.com/photos/dancoulter/2422361554/[/flickr] – This one is a video. It’ll automatically embed the flash movie for you. If you want to change its size, you can use the width and height options.

Advanced options:

  • If you want to disable pagination, just include pagination=0 in your shortcode.

For more information see the Flickr plugin page.

Syntax Highlighting Code

Monday, March 7th, 2011

We have added the Prettify GC Syntax Highlighter plugin which can highlight syntax and number lines of program code. You should Activate the plugin in your dashboard and then use as follows:

Usage

<pre class=”prettyprint”> // Put your code here. </pre>

Making Code HTML Safe

The plugin automatically makes highlighted code html-safe:

<pre class=”prettyprint”> Anything that goes here will be quoted to appear on the page as-is. For example: <head></head><body></body> </pre>

To avoid quoting your code, add dontquote as the first class:

<pre class=”dontquote prettyprint”> Remember to quote manually. For example: &lt;head&gt;&lt;/head&gt;&lt;body&gt;&lt;/body&gt; </pre>

Line numbering

Line numbdering can be enabled as follows:

<pre class=”prettyprint linenums”> // Put your code here. </pre>

If you want to start with a line number 42, you can do the following:

<pre> // Put your code here. </pre>

Specifying Language

Most of the time the highlighter will do a good job guessing how to highlight the code. However, to achieve the best result, you should specify the language:

<pre class=”prettyprint lang-YOURLANG”> // Put your code here. </pre>

Polls

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Adding a poll to your blog takes just a few minutes. To do so you should:

  • Enable the poll WP-Polls plugin by visiting the Plugins section of your Dashboard. Click the ‘Activate’ link.
  • You will notice a new Polls menu on your Dashboard menu. Click ‘Add Poll’
  • Type your poll question and answers. (Optional: You can customise the plugin further by clicking ‘Poll Options’)
  • Click Appearance > Widgets in your Dashboard menu
  • Drag the ‘Polls’ widget from the ‘Available Widgets’ section to ‘Sidebar 1′ (Optional: You can customise the title and poll to display on this page)
  • Check your website and vote!

Note: If you visit the ‘Widgets’ screen and receive an error message it is probable that your current theme does not make use of widgets. Contact us to see if we can make your theme widget-enabled.

ScribeFire Plugin

Monday, February 14th, 2011

If you use Firefix or Google Chrome for web browsing you can add the ScribeFire plugin which can make publishing to your blog even easier.

After installing the ScribeFire plugin in your browser, you can open the ScribeFire window in your browser using any of the following methods:

  • Press F8
  • Click on the icon in the status bar:ScribeFire Icon
  • Select ScribeFire from the Tools menu:

The first time you open ScribeFire, an account wizard will appear to help you connect ScribeFire to your blog. (Here is a list of the blogging services that are compatible with ScribeFire.) Simply fill in the information it asks for, and when you finish, your blog will be listed in the right-hand pane. If you have any difficulties getting this to work contact us at webmaster [@] qub.ac.uk

ScribeFire Screenshot

ScribeFire Screenshot inside Firefox Web Browser

To post to your blog, type some text in the main editor panel of ScribeFire, give it a title…

…and click the Publish button:

That’s all there is to it! ScribeFire will post the entry to your blog, and it will appear in the list of entries in the right sidebar so that you can edit or delete it later if you want.

Image Galleries with Lightbox

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Users with a QUB blog can add an image gallery following the instructions in this post. You may need to activate the Lightbox plugin for your blog if you also want that functionality. Take care when uploading images, ensuring that the width of the images is less than 600 pixels. To resize images I would recommend using Gimp (windows version here), from the Gimp menu choose Image -> Scale Image…

If you need more web space to upload your images let us know at webmaster [@] qub . ac . uk

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