azurecurve ClassicPress Plugins: Avatars

ClassicPress PluginsThis is part of the azurecurve ClassicPress Plugins which introduces the plugins I have available for ClassicPress.

The plugin I am going to cover in this post, is a brand new one; Avatars.

Functionality

The Avatars plugin has three key pieces of functionality:

  • Upload an image file using an FTP client, to the plugins images folder, called CustomAvatar.png and, via the Discussion settings page, set this as the default avatar to replace the Gravatars used by default.
  • The admin can, via the plugin Settings page, set an option to allow only local avatars which will use the default avatar rather than any Gravatar a user might be using.
  • Users can upload their own avatar which is stored in the media library.

Demo

This site is using the Avatars plugin; you can see this in the first comment of this post where you can see my IG avatar.

Download

The plugin can be downloaded via my Development site.

azurecurve ClassicPress Plugins: Series Index

ClassicPress PluginsI’ve been involved with the ClassicPress project for a while now in a few different ways (such as writing FAQs and drafting plugin directory rules).

One of the things I have been working on is rewriting my plugins, to both improve the functionality and also to improve their adherence to coding standards and best practice. There was quite a few ways where I was not following best practice or where I had code which was not very secure.

Some plugins have had a near total rewrite while others have just been updated to do things in a more standardised and recommend way. Part of the reason I have done this, in fact been able to do this, is how welcoming and willing to offer advice the people in the ClassicPress community have been.

I have also written a number of new plugins which are all available for ClassicPress (they will also work with WordPress, but I have not submitted them to the WordPress Plugin Repository.

There have been quite a few people who have been willing to answer questions and offer assistance, but I will single out John Alarcon, known in the ClassicPress Community as Code Potent, who has gone out of his way to be of great help.

In this series of posts, I am going to give a brief introduction to each of the plugins I have available, along with links to plugin demos or examples and to my Development site where further details, download and support links are available.

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Installing ClassicPress: Change Authentication Keys and Salts

ClassicPressThis post is part of the series on Installing ClassicPress; ClassicPress is an open source fork of WordPress which aims to target the business market or those looking for a CMS with a focus on security, stability and flexibility.

Now that we know that the new ClassicPress site works I’d recommend editing your new wp-config.php file to change the authentication keys and salts. You will need to use your FTP client to make this change.

Open and edit your wp-config.php file and find the highlighted section. These are the authentication keys and salts used by ClassicPress for cookies and the like which it is recommended you change:

wp-config.php file with authentication keys and salts highlighted

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Installing ClassicPress: First Login

ClassicPressThis post is part of the series on Installing ClassicPress; ClassicPress is an open source fork of WordPress which aims to target the business market or those looking for a CMS with a focus on security, stability and flexibility.

With ClassicPress installed, the next step in the installation is to test that the site works.

If you navigate to your web address followed by /wp-login.php you can enter the admin credentials created during the installation:

ClassicPress login page

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Installing ClassicPress: Installing

ClassicPressThis post is part of the series on Installing ClassicPress; ClassicPress is an open source fork of WordPress which aims to target the business market or those looking for a CMS with a focus on security, stability and flexibility.

With ClassicPress downloaded, we can now install it on our website.

The file which was downloaded is a zip file which needs to be unzipped and uploaded to the web site using an FTP client. For this post, I am assuming you have done this already.

With ClassicPress uploaded, we can navigate to the installation web page; this is your usual web address. When the page loads, select your language and click Continue:

ClassicPress Setup Configuration

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Installing ClassicPress: Download

ClassicPressThis post is part of the series on Installing ClassicPress; ClassicPress is an open source fork of WordPress which aims to target the business market or those looking for a CMS with a focus on security, stability and flexibility.

To download ClassicPress, visit their website and click the green Download ClassicPress button:

ClassicPress site with Download ClassicPress button

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Installing ClassicPress: Series Index

ClassicPressWhen I started this blog seven years ago, I opted to use WordPress as the content management system to build it on. It was both easy to use and flexible. I’ve taken advantage of that flexibility over the years to write a number of plugins to add new functionality.

However, in the most recent iterations of WordPress, ostensibly an open source project, but actually controlled by Automattic, has introduced the Gutenberg block editor which has, in my opinion, fundamentally broken the easy writing experience of WordPress. This lead me to start looking around at alternatives and, quite naturally due to the duration and extent of my use of WordPress, the hard fork of WordPress known as ClassicPress. The initial impetus around the fork was against Gutenberg, but it has taken a wider view of the issues around WordPress and is trying to set itself up so that no one person can dictate the future of the project (as Matt Mullenweg dictates for WordPress).

Having gotten involved in the project, I have helped to update some documentation (such as FAQs), draft some proposed rules for the plugin directory (intended for ClassicPress v2) and assist in a few other small ways (unfortunately, my PHP is not good enough to help update core files).

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Allow WordPress to Perform Minor Updates

WordPressBack in December I posted about stopping WordPress from updating to WordPress 5 (which includes the terrible Gutenberg.

However, I realised soon afterwards that was the wrong thing to do; instead I should have allowed WordPress to perform minor updates within the WordPress 4 branch, which can be done using the below line:

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', 'minor' );

Once this line has been added to your wp.config file, WordPress 4 will be able to update to later WordPress 4 versions, but not to WordPress m5.

GitHub Announces New Unlimited Repos & Unitifed Enterprise Offering

GitHubI’ve recently been taking a look at ClassicPress and one of the subjects that came up was that it might, for the plugin directory, use GutHub instead of SVN like WordPress.

I create an account and started looking into creating repositories for my plugins. Hot all of my plugins are on that site however, as not all have been released to the public. Some of them are only going to be usable to me (for example plugins drive both the GP Table Reference and my distilleries website) and you were limited on GitHub to a certain number of private repositories.

However, GitHub yesterday announced the following:

  • GitHub Free now includes unlimited private repositories. For the first time, developers can use GitHub for their private projects with up to three collaborators per repository for free. Many developers want to use private repos to apply for a job, work on a side project, or try something out in private before releasing it publicly. Starting today, those scenarios, and many more, are possible on GitHub at no cost. Public repositories are still free (of course—no changes there) and include unlimited collaborators.
  • GitHub Enterprise is the new unified product for Enterprise Cloud (formerly GitHub Business Cloud) and Enterprise Server (formerly GitHub Enterprise). Organizations that want the flexibility to use GitHub in a cloud or self-hosted configuration can now access both at one per-seat price. And with GitHub Connect, these products can be securely linked, providing a hybrid option so developers can work seamlessly across both environments.

The second point isn’t relevant to me, but the first might be useful as it will allow me to store both my public and private plugins in the same place.

More details are available from the GitHub blog.

WordPress and the Problem With Gutenberg

WordPressI’ve already posted about the problems I’ve encountered testing the Gutenberg Editor, which basically makes it unusable to me.

However, the problems go far beyond this as you can install the Classic Editor to retain the current functionality. The problem for the future, is that Gutenberg is not intended to simply be an editor, but a fundamentally new paradigm for site building with WordPress.

This appears to be a reaction from Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com and which controls WordPress.org) to the progress of Wix and Squarespace.

Gutenberg is intended to become WordPress’s answer to competition by these site builders, but, very unfortunately, this development seems to be driven by commercial pressures on Automattic for WordPress.com and without considering the needs of the wider WordPress community.

I am at the starting point of considering replacements for WordPress (on which I host several sites) as Gutenberg is unusable in current form and, from all appearances, Automattic is all in and will continue to rush forward with Gutenberg (there has been a number of, ignored, requests to delay the implementation of Gutenberg phase 1 in WordPress 5).

There is a very good, and long, write-up of the details and potential impact of Gutenberg on Delicious Brains.

From a personal point of view, I have two issues:

  1. I can no longer write posts the way I do, and from what I’ve seen so far, can’t post formatted code which works using Gutenberg. This means I can only use WordPress for as long as the Classic Editor is supported; which from the announcement will be until 2021 at the latest.
  2. I’ve added a lot of functionality to my sites by writing Plugins for WordPress (although not all of the plugins I rely upon have been released publicly); from my reading up on Gutenberg, much of the functionality I rely on in plugins for WordPress cannot be replicated easily in Gutenberg blocks and, if they can, will rely on me learning more development languages which I don’t have time for as things stand.

I have an issue to resolve with my web host in the next few days after which I’ll start taking a look at some alternatives. ClassicPress is a key one that I’ll be taking a look at, as it is a fork of WordPress 4.9 aimed at businesses and recently reached Beta release.