All posts tagged ‘WordPress’

File Under: Blog Publishing, Browsers

WordPress Drops Support for IE 6

The popular blog publishing tool WordPress has joined the growing cadre of sites dropping support for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 web browser. The recently upgraded WordPress.com brings a handful of new features and a revamped, cleaner design in the admin pages, but perhaps the biggest news in the release is that the admin pages no longer support IE 6.

Users visiting the admin section of WordPress.com with IE 6 will now see a message to upgrade their browser (the same message will appear in the self-hosted WordPress 3.2 when it is released in June). The WordPress blog says it’s dropping IE 6 because, “it has required increasingly complex code trickery to make the WordPress dashboard work in the IE 6 browser, which was introduced 10 years ago and does not support current web standards.”

WordPress is just the latest in a long list of sites that have abandoned IE 6, including Gmail, YouTube, Basecamp and hundreds of others.

Indeed you’d be hard pressed to find a web developer who wants to keep supporting IE 6. Even Microsoft has set up a website that essentially dances on the grave of IE 6 (after WordPress announced it would drop IE 6, Microsoft actually said “thank you WordPress“).

However, according to Net Applications, IE 6 still has almost 12 percent user share worldwide. In the U.S. the number is just under 3 percent, but in China it’s still nearly 35 percent.

Compounding the problem are the number of corporate intranets that require IE 6. Microsoft is hard at work trying to convince large corporations to upgrade — if you’re still using IE 6, that means you haven’t upgraded to Windows 7, which is Microsoft’s real goal with the kill IE 6 campaign — but for Microsoft’s biggest customers, upgrading means investing millions of dollars in new infrastructure.

While developers may enjoy dropping IE 6 because of its subpar support for web standards, for end users that’s generally not a concern. What is, or at least should be, the bigger concern for users is that IE 6 is less secure.

If you’re part of the tiny segment of users that can — but haven’t — upgraded from IE 6, we suggest doing so. Grab a copy of Firefox or Chrome and join the modern web.

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Speed Up Your WordPress Site With Google’s New Page Speed API

Google’s Page Speed testing tool, which recently went from a browser add-on to a web-based tool, now sports a new API. The Page Speed Online API allows outside applications to send URLs to Page Speed and get back a list of things the site developer can do to speed up the page in question.

If you’d like to try it, head over to the new documentation page and request an API key. Sample apps include using the Page Speed Online API to display suggestions for speeding up sites or even combining the API with the Google Charts API to show a visual breakdown of the page’s resources.

For a more practical example of how the Page Speed Online API can help out your site, check out the latest version of the W3 Total Cache plugin for WordPress. If you’re not already using W3 Total Cache in your WordPress installation, we highly recommend you install it, especially now that the plugin taps into the Page Speed API. W3 Total Cache now sends your pages to the Page Speed Online API and then offers Page Speed suggestions, right in the WordPress dashboard.

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File Under: Blog Publishing

In Walked Blog: WordPress Hits 3.0 With ‘Thelonious’

WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms on the web, reached a new milestone Thursday with its 3.0 release.

This one is nicknamed “Thelonious,” and you can run an update your own WordPress installation by clicking on the update link at the top of your blog dashboard. It’s also available for download.

The big news is that WordPress MU, a multisite tool that can be used to run a whole network of blogs, has become one of WordPress’ default features. You can now manage as many different blogs as you want from one single WordPress installation.

There are a number of updates to the user-facing part of WordPress. The admin has been redesigned: It’s been slimmed down and made easier to navigate with a more accessible layout and color scheme. Some of the menu choices have been renamed to be more descriptive.

There are also new contextual help tabs on every panel inside the admin, so it’s less likely you’ll be left wondering, “what’s this do?” For promoting your posts on Twitter, there’s a new tool that lets you generate a short URL for your post as you’re composing it.

The WordPress team has built a new default theme called “Twenty Ten” to show off all the new features in Thelonious. Much like Kubrick, the old default theme, Twenty Ten is pretty minimal, but it’s a good starting point for learning how to tweak and customize WordPress.

For theme developers and site administrators, WordPress 3.0 has a number of enhancements. The new MU integration is a big plus if you’re running a blog network, or even two different sites that share resources and authors. There’s also a new set of APIs you can use to make building custom headers, backgrounds, menus and custom post types easier. To see the full list of enhancements, see the list at the WordPress Codex.

Here’s a video tour of the new stuff:

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File Under: Monkey Business

Welcome to the All New Webmonkey

monkey_newpaint

As you may have noticed, we’ve given Webmonkey an entirely new coat of paint.

The visual design has been refreshed — something we’ve been doing every couple of years since we launched in 1996 — and we honestly think the site has never looked better. It took a lot of hard work by everyone on the Wired.com technical and design teams to pull it off.

As pretty as it is, there are other changes behind the scenes that we feel are just as important. We simplified the site navigation and upgraded our search tool, making it much easier to find blog posts and tutorials around specific topics. We also upgraded our publishing system, which will allow us to use photos, screenshots and galleries in more interesting ways in our reviews and tutorials.

Most notably, however, this latest redesign of Webmonkey brings to an end a two year experiment. In May of 2008, we moved all of the tutorial content on the site (over 500 articles and reference pages) to a wiki. We asked all of our readers to chip in and help improve our educational content by contributing edits. Many of you jumped in, offering updates, tips, links and corrections. Certain communities really made a difference — in particular, our Django tutorial, our Python tutorial and our series on JavaScript frameworks all benefitted greatly from reader edits. We sincerely appreciate all of the work that everyone put in to improve our content.

But the wiki experiment didn’t pan out. Spam became a huge problem, and despite our best efforts to automate our defenses, keeping spam bots and vandals off the site put serious strain on our small team. Also, while MediaWiki is great software (we’ll continue to use it on Wired’s How-To Wiki), fully incorporating the wiki content into the rest of Webmonkey, which was and still is running WordPress, proved to be a challenge. Search, site navigation and content discovery were suffering because of it.

In February, we froze edits on the wiki and began porting everything into WordPress. All of the legitimate edits and updates that were made by our readers while the wiki pages were open to the public have been preserved in the WordPress versions. We also found some time to update some of the older articles, too.

Now, the tutorials easier to find. They look better (thanks to Alex Gorbatchev’s SyntaxHighlighter) and the multi-page lessons are easier to navigate. And while the spam bot armies are locked out for good, the tutorials are open for comments just like blog posts. So if you spot something that needs updating or fixing, just leave a note and we’ll attend to it.

There’s still some work to be done. Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll continue updating the content library, beefing up the number of templates in the Reference section and building out the directories. In the near future, we’re going to install Disqus to handle comments, so you will be able to log in using OpenID, Facebook Connect, your Twitter or Yahoo credentials, or an existing Disqus login if you want to leave a comment anywhere on the site.

So for now, click around the site. Follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook if you haven’t already. And of course, please let us know what you think of the new Webmonkey in the comments.

Typekit Now Offering Custom Fonts For WordPress Blogs

Typekit, a web service that helps designers use elaborate typefaces in their web projects, has announced an easy way to use custom fonts on WordPress.com blogs. That means your WordPress.com hosted blogs can now take advantage of Typekit’s font library in just a few clicks.

Typekit is like a YouTube for fonts. Browse through Typekit’s library of available fonts, pick one you like and cut and paste some code into your site. As we noted when we first looked at Typekit earlier this year, the service is one of the easiest ways for web designers to use creative fonts without sacrificing web standards or violating font licenses.

With the new WordPress.com features, you don’t even need to know HTML or mess with any code to take advantage of Typekit.

To use the new Typekit features, just log in to your WordPress.com dashboard and click on the Appearance menu in the left-hand navigation menu. On the Appearance page you’ll find a new option, “Typekit Fonts,” with a place to add your Kit ID.

To get your Kit ID, you’ll need to create an account at Typekit.com and select the free option. From there, you can paste over the code and chose from any of Typekit’s fonts.

Not using WordPress.com? No problem, there are already two plugins that make it easy to integrate Typekit into a self-hosted WordPress blog. If you’re on another blogging platform or custom site you can still use Typekit — see our earlier hands-on review of Typekit for details on how to use Typekit on your site.

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