Tag Archives: WordPress

The system that runs sites.middlebury.edu

WordPress Plugin Spotlight: Liveblog

This is an ongoing series of posts to highlight some of the features that we have installed in WordPress that you might like to use on your site, but might not know are available.

Liveblogging is the practice of covering an event as it happens on your blog. Rather than a composed post that covers your thoughts on a subject and is published once, a live blog post is updated with snippets of your thoughts on the event as it occurs. Common uses of liveblogging are covering a speech, television show, or sporting event. The practice allows the author to interact with their readers in real time via comments on the live blog post.

We now offer a plugin to help you do this. If you activate the Liveblog plugin, you’ll be able to mark certain posts as live blog posts. This will add an interface for the author to make short posts to the live blog without having to use the normal back-end WordPress editing interface. Readers will see updates appear on the post page without needing to refresh their browsers. This video covers how to use the plugin in practice.

 

As an example of this plugin in use at Middlebury, Professor Matt Dickinson used it to cover the US election returns on his site.

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WordPress Plugin Spotlight: Let it snow with WP Snowfall!

Would you like to add some seasonal cheer to your WordPress site? If you activate the WP Snowfall plugin, you’ll notice a virtual version of what we can all hope to see outside in the coming days. You may need to change the background color your theme uses to a darker color so that you can get the full effect.

Enjoy the break and see you in the new year!

WordPress Plugin Spotlight: Assigning multiple authors with Co-Authors Plus

This will be an ongoing series of posts to highlight some of the features that we have installed in WordPress that you might like to use on your site, but don’t know are available.

The Co-Authors Plus plugin lets you assign multiple authors to a single post or page. Each of these authors will have access to edit the post. This makes it a helpful tool for collaborative writing or reports from group projects.

If you’re using a theme that supports it (which all of the Middlebury-produced “Translucence” family of themes do), each author will also appear in the byline of the post. If you’re using a theme that doesn’t support this, let us know and we can add it to that theme.

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The newest version of Co-Authors Plus also lets you add Guest Authors to your site. This is helpful if you want to have a post appear from a guest blogger who doesn’t have an account in the Middlebury system, or to post primary source material in the original author’s name. This can also be used on department or office sites to have posts appear under the name of the group, rather than a single person. Guest authors don’t have any privileges on the site, the post simply appears as if authored by them.

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The Co-Authors Plus plugin can be enabled if you are an Administrator of a WordPress site in the Plugins section of the dashboard. Guest Authors can be added in the Users section.

Maintenance on sites.middlebury.edu this Sunday morning

During our established maintenance window this Sunday morning at approximately 9:00 am EDT we will be upgrading the wordpress server that houses sites.middlebury.edu and www.nereview.org, we expect the interruption of service to be less than 10 minutes.

Thank you for your patience as we strive to keep our systems performing optimally.

WordPress Upgraded to version 3.4

The Middlebury and MIIS blogging communities are now running on WordPress 3.4. This introduces three new features.

  • A theme customizer that lets you change your site’s settings and styles in one interface.
  • Automatic Twitter embeds. Paste the URL of a Tweet into one of your posts and it will automatically show up in the post, like the example below.
  • HTML Image Captions. When writing an image caption you can include some HTML tags like <b>, <i>, and <a> to add information to your caption.

Here’s a video that highlights these features.

There is more information available about WordPress 3.4 in their official blog and developer documentation.

New Plugin for WordPress: Show Thumbnails in the Posts List

If you use Featured Images for posts in your WordPress site, you can now enable a plugin for your site that will show these images to you on the All Posts page in the administration interface for your site. This can help you quickly identify posts in the list. The name of the plugin is “Midd Post Thumbnails”. Simply activate it on the Plugins administration page and your posts list will now look something like this.

Reduced comment spam in blogs

During the past few months we have been seeing an increased amount of comment spam coming into WordPress (sites.middlebury.edu) that follows a distinctive pattern: the comment text is useless, but unoffensive and contains no links itself, while the Comment Author Website field contains the URL of a commercial site. Because the comment text doesn’t contain any links, the comment doesn’t get picked up by WordPress’s existing spam filters and until now would be held for moderation. Continue reading

New Themes Available for sites.middlebury.edu

I’ve added 132 new themes to our instance of WordPress that can be used for your department, course, and personal blogs. The eight themes that we previously had have been renamed #1-8 so that they show up first in the list, followed by the new options. If you need a theme with a particular color, layout, or features, click the “Feature Filter” link on the right side of the Themes page and check the boxes that apply to your needs.

You can click on one of the thumbnails in the Themes page to see a preview of your blog in the new theme.

If you want to blog, but the Middlebury blogging network is lacking something you need, let us know.