Category: WordPress

WordPress

Testing Automatically Creating a Twitter Thread from a WordPress post

By way of a mention on Techmeme today, I learned that WordPress now allows you to tweet out a blog post as a linked thread of tweets. You can do this either using the hosted WordPress.com solution – or using self-hosted WordPress with the Jetpack plugin.

The Jetpack plugin included this feature as part of the 9.0 release on October 6, 2020.

All you need to do to use it is to:

  1. Connect a Twitter account via Jetpack.
  2. Press the Jetpack icon in the upper right.
  3. Write your blog post

You can see the setting you need to choose in this screenshot:

In theory, I’m supposed to be seeing little marks in the WordPress editor showing me where each tweet would end. I see a Twitter symbol, but it seems to move with me, and I know I have already written way more than can be in a single tweet.

(I see now that when I go back and click through the text, the Twitter symbols do show me where each Tweet will begin and end.)

My initial thought was sort of … why would I want to use this? Typically the writing I do for a blog post is very different – and often much longer – than I want for social media.

I like to write longer posts on my blogs, and then link to them from Twitter. It just seems like apples and oranges – two very different types of content.

However, as I’ve thought more about it, there is one use case I could see for this. Sometimes I know in advance that I want to create a thread on Twitter.

If I just go and create the thread on Twitter, there are a couple of issues:

  • I usually want to create the thread in another editor first, so that I have my thread all figured out. (Not always… sometimes a thread just happens very organically, but sometimes I do want to write it all before tweeting.)
  • The text is locked inside of Twitter’s “walled garden” of content. Yes, I can refer people to it… but it’s locked inside of Twitter. If they decide to remove my tweets, or remove my access to my account, I could lose the content.

Writing a post inside of WordPress allows me to solve both of these issues. I can easily write out text in advance, and, regardless of whatever Twitter may or may not do with my content, I have a copy on my own website.

What do you think? Will you use this new WordPress feature to create Twitter threads? (Or is this just something that will clog up Twitter timelines?)


UPDATE #1: As advertised, Jetpack very nicely created a thread on Twitter. It also added a final tweet that points over to this blog post where you can read the whole thread:

This obviously removes the need to use one of the various services that gather all the tweets in a thread so that you can read them on a single page (and share the link to that single page). Very nicely done.

Watch: the 2018 "State of the Word" from WordCamp US

Tonight in Nashville, Matt Mullenweg delivered his "State of the Word" presentation at WordCamp US. Not being there in person, I watched the live stream. The recorded stream has about 28 minutes of various quotes that were displayed. Matt starts at shortly after the 28-minute mark:

He shows some very cool ways that Gutenberg can work. Starting at around 54 minutes, Matt moves into showing what the next phases of Gutenberg will be. In a "Phase 2" during 2019, more of the admin interface will be moved into blocks. Phase 3 (2020 at the earliest) will be about collaboration, multiuser editing and workflows. Phase 4 (later) will be about having an official multilingual interface.

And then around the 1:12:00 mark, he mentions a fantastic statistic that over 57% of WordPress sites were using HTTPS (i.e. TLS):

Wordpress and https

Matt goes on with much more information about the WordPress community, more developements - and then finally concludes "The State of The Word" at around the 1:21:00 mark and moves into questions... of which there was about another 45 minutes of long discussions and questions.

Initial Thoughts on WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg

Wordpress 5 0

Yesterday (Dec 6, 2018) was TheBigDay when WordPress 5.0 with the Gutenberg block-based editor landed in all of our WordPress sites for upgrade. Some of the places to learn more about the launch include:

Changing the core editor over to Gutenberg was a massive effort over the past two years - and the launch this week was both an amazing accomplishment... and a very divisive event within the WordPress community.

I was very much hoping to be down in Nashville for WordCamp US this weekend, where parts of the community will be gathering. I expect it will be quite a passionate weekend! (Unfortunately some family medical issues kept me closer to home.)

I *really* like Gutenberg...

My initial reaction was... I really LIKE Gutenberg!

Now, I've been playing with it for much of the last year, and the more I work with it, the more I like it.

It really DOES enable more beautiful and powerful publishing with great ease.

I'm looking forward to doing even MORE with it and learning how far we can go with using Gutenberg.

... but it needs to work! :-(

However, after the upgrade to WordPress 5.0, the Gutenberg editor didn't work on all my sites. For several of my sites, I had NO PROBLEM after the update. It "just worked." I was immediately able to go in and start editing with Gutenberg.

But on a couple of other sites, when I went in to edit an existing page or post - or to create a new one - I made all my changes and pressed the "Update" or "Publish" button and...

Gutenberg updating failed

"Updating failed" in a big red bar across the top of the screen!

Amusingly to me, some searching on the web brought me back to a Github issue I had opened back in August 2017.

All I had to do to "fix" the issue was this:

  1. Go to Settings -> Permalinks, and change it from "Month and name" to "Day and name" and press "Save changes". I received the message "Permalink structure updated."
  2. Change it from "Day and name" back to "Month and name" and press "Save changes". I received the message "Permalink structure updated."
  3. Switch back to the tab where I was editing the post and had the error message. Pressed "Update" and.. ta da... the updating worked perfectly fine.

I had to do this on two different WordPress sites (both running on the same WordPress multisite server). Strangely, other sites on the multisite server were fine.

While the fix was easy, it concerns me that I had to do this and that I didn't really do anything. But somehow my act of changing the Permalink Settings did SOMETHING internally to make things work.

That concerns me.

Now, someone in that ticket or elsewhere suggested that this particular issue was NOT a Gutenberg issue, but rather an issue with the REST API, which Gutenberg uses.

Regardless, my point was that I couldn't use the editor to make changes on my site.

And beyond my own issue, I see many other Gutenberg issues piling up on Github. Now, yes, these may be initial launch pains for launching such a massive change.

But I do hope the team of developers can fix these in the 5.0.1 release that I'm sure will come quickly.

I really DO like the Gutenberg editor - and I look forward to seeing all we collectively can do with it!


P.S. This post was NOT written using Gutenberg because this Disruptive Conversations site is sadly still over on TypePad. I look forward to migrating it some day so that I can use Gutenberg!

WordPress 5.0 now targeted to launch on…. Thursday! (Dec 6)

Printing blocks unsplash raphaelphotoch

The news out of Matt Mullenweg last night was...

THURSDAY!

That day, December 6 (2018), is the next target release date for WordPress 5.0.

If you have been paying attention to WordPress, or listening to any of my reports into the For Immediate Release (FIR) podcast over the last, say, year or so, you would know that WordPress 5.0 is a huge departure from all previous WordPress releases. The big change is the replacement of the default text editor with the new "Gutenberg" block-based editor.

Personally, I'm rather excited about the change. I've been using Gutenberg on a number of my sites and really like how much you can do with it.

But... reaction within the WordPress community and ecosystem has been decidedly mixed.

Matt's post has more info.

We'll see if it happens! But if you are a WordPress site operator, get ready! 5.0 is coming soon!


Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash

WordPress.com Offering free .Blog subdomains for new sites

 

The good folks over at WordPress.com are doing something interesting - they are giving free .blog subdomains for any new sites created on WordPress.com.

Now, to be clear, this is not ANY subdomain under .blog. For instance, I was immediately curious if I could get “danyork.blog”, but no, they are giving away for free third-level subdomains under the following second-level domains:

  • art.blog
  • business.blog
  • car.blog
  • code.blog
  • data.blog
  • design.blog
  • family.blog
  • fashion.blog
  • finance.blog
  • fitness.blog
  • food.blog
  • game.blog
  • health.blog
  • home.blog
  • law.blog
  • movie.blog
  • music.blog
  • news.blog
  • photo.blog
  • poetry.blog
  • politics.blog
  • school.blog
  • science.blog
  • sport.blog
  • tech.blog
  • travel.blog
  • video.blog
  • water.blog

So I could possibly get “danyork.tech.blog”, “danyork.news.blog”, “york.family.blog”, or “Vermont.travel.blog”. Basically, a free domain underneath that set of domains.

When you create a NEW site (and that is important because this is currently NOT available to existing WordPress.com sites), you will have a chance to claim one of these subdomains in this process.

Now, for most of us who are more serious about this, we may already have a domain. Or at least will want to get our own.

But for someone just starting out, I could see this being a useful way to get started without having to buy a domain, get it set up, etc.  Cool move by the Automattic team behind WordPress.com!

Video: Using Docker Compose to install WordPress

Shortly after publishing my last post about how to use Docker to install WordPress and MySQL, I happened to watch a video showing basically the same process:

The speaker walks through the steps you need to do to create the docker-compose.yml file I referenced in that last post.

Enjoy!

New Github repo for using WordPress with Docker

As I wrote over on my Disruptive Conversations site, I’ve been playing around with using Docker as a way to easily test new WordPress versions and plugins.  As part of that testing, I was trying to use the official WordPress image found on Dockerhub.

However, I was struggling with getting started, because the WordPress container is just… WordPress. It also needs a database to work, and my Docker experience was not yet strong enough to sort out how to link various containers together. So I raised an issue on Github asking about a step-by-step tutorial.

Github user wglambert very kindly provided a simple docker-compose.yaml file that could launch both WordPress and MySQL in separate containers and set up the necessary network and links.

It works wonderfully! And it has now been added to the instructions on DockerHub. (Thank you to the DockerHub admins for merging it in.)

Because I want to easily use the file on different systems, I put it up in a Github repo:

https://github.com/danyork/wordpress-basic-docker

Any of you are welcome to use it, too!

As I noted in my Disruptive Conversations article, I’m planning to start writing here a good bit more about using Docker. I’m rather impressed by all that can be done – and want to capture my own experiments here for my own future knowledge… and if it helps any of you all out, too, all the better!

How to Run WordPress in a Docker Container, Part 1

Wordpress docker installation

Here is a quick 3-step process for launching WordPress in a Docker container. You can use this to easily launch a new WordPress instance on your local system to test out new versions, new plugins or anything else.

First, though, you need to have Docker installed on your system. The simplest way for Mac and Windows users is to install Docker Desktop. This desktop download also gives you Docker Compose, which you will need. If you are running Docker on a Linux system, you will need to manually install Docker and Docker Compose.

To run WordPress, you also need a database running. The steps here use Docker Compose to launch TWO containers: one for WordPress and one for MySQL.

Three steps

Step 1 - Create a directory (a.k.a. "folder") and install the docker-compose.yaml file found in this Github repository. You can get the file three ways:

The key is to have this all in a separate directory because your WordPress installation will store some plugins there (see the notes below).

Step 2 - In a terminal window[1] type 'docker-compose up

This will launch the two containers and link them together. You will see logging to your terminal window. You can press Ctrl+C to stop the containers and get your command prompt back. To launch the containers in the background add a "-d" option:

docker-compose up -d

Step 3 - Connect to your new WordPress server at http://localhost:8080/

That's it!

Wordpress installation 660px

Now you simply go through the normal WordPress installation process and within a few screens your new site will be fully active.

Next you can update WordPress to the latest version, install whatever plugins you want, etc.

For example, I installed the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, went into its settings and turned on "Bleeding edge nightlies", performed an upgrade... and now I'm running the very latest WordPress 5.0 build. Perfect for the testing I want to do.

Credit for the simplicity of this approach is due to Github user "wglambert" who answered a request I made about help using the WordPress Docker container. Thank you!

Notes

  • Stopping the containers - do 'docker-compose stop'. This will stop the containers from running. Doing 'docker-compose start' will start them up again.
  • A 'wp-content' directory is created is created inside the directory in which you put the docker-compose.yaml file. Any plugins or themes you add will be stored here. This allows you to do a reinstallation and have all the plugins and themes available.
  • WHEN YOU ARE DONE and want all this to go away, just type 'docker-compose down' and the services will be stopped and the containers removed.

There are many more things you can do with docker-compose. The command-line documentation can help you learn more.

Next parts

I labeled this as "Part 1" because I'm planning to write about my own ongoing testing with Docker and WordPress. In future parts of this series, I intend to cover:

  • How to load in an existing site for testing
  • How to save your changes in a Dockerfile (so you don't have to start at the very basic installation each time)
  • ... and other things I learn along the way.

I also expect I may update THIS article over time as I do more with using WordPress and Docker.

I hope you found this helpful. Please feel free to leave comments here (unfortunately I have to moderate due to spam, and so comments will not appear immediately).

I also welcome pointers to other "WordPress and Docker" tutorials that people have found helpful. If you want to follow along with some of my other experiments with Docker and containers in general, I'll be writing about that over on Code.DanYork.com.


[1] or "command shell" or "powershell" or whatever you call it...

Heading to Belgrade This Week for WordCamp Europe 2018 (WCEU)

Wceu 2018

If any of you will be at WordCamp Europe 2018 this week in Belgrade, Serbia, please do say hello. I'll be there starting this afternoon and am greatly looking forward to learning from many of the people involved deeply in the WordPress community.

In particular I'm looking forward to the Developing for Privacy and Data Protection session. Based on the work done in the community to help website operators comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this workshop will look at what comes next. I'm personally very interested to see where this will go.

I'll also be going to some accessibility workshops and checking in on topics such as caching, security and mobility that are always of interest. I also have some meetings with partners and others.

Anyway, if you're there at WCEU 2018, feel free to drop me a note.

Big News! 360° photos now available for any WordPress site via JetPack plugin

360 photo

For those of us experimenting with "360-degree photos", last week's announcement of Jetpack 4.5 had a hidden but awesome feature: you can use a shortcode to embed your 360 photo or video into ANY WordPress site (that uses the Jetpack plugin).

Here is why this is so huge - up until last month, the only sites that would display 360 photos were either:

  • Facebook
  • Google StreetView

That was it. Two effectively closed walled gardens of content.

As I mentioned in my reports into a couple of For Immediate Release podcast episodes, my concern was that only Facebook users would really get this benefit. I wanted the ability to display 360 photos on any website.

On December 15, 2016, WordPress.com announced that all hosted sites could embed 360 photos or videos. This was a great step forward in bringing 360 photos out to more sites.

Then just last week version 4.5 of the JetPack plugin was released and, somewhat bizarrely, while the announcement contains no mention of this awesome new feature, an Automattic staff person confirmed the inclusion of the support in a comment.

You can read all about this new capability here:

Now, since this Disruptive Conversations site is sadly NOT on WordPress, I can't show you the features directly here. However, I've gone ahead and embedded 360 photos on two WordPress sites I have:

Those were both taken using the Google Street View application on iOS. (And yes, sometime I need to write or record a tutorial about how to do this.)

I have included the shortcodes in the blog posts so that you can see how easy this is to do. You just:

  1. Take the 360 photo using the Google Street View app on your smartphone. (This will save it to your camera roll on an iPhone.)
  2. Upload the image to your WordPress site.
  3. Use the appropriate shortcode in your blog post.

That's it!

Of course, you need the Jetpack plugin installed in your site, but that's all.

Many thanks to Automattic's Jetpack team for bringing out this capability so that we could set our 360 photos free of the walled gardens and bring them to any WordPress site!

What do you think about this? Will you try some 360 photos now?