February 4 Partial Outage

On Saturday, February 4, 2012, between 7:00 AM and 4:00 PM, there will be a partial outage of our WordPress service for up to nine hours as OIT’s Enterprise Servers and Storage group moves the central file servers to the University’s new data center.

This should only affect items in the upload folders. There will be a read-only copy of the upload folders during this outage, so all sites should display as normal, and it will still be possible to create and edit any content stored in the database, such as pages and posts.

It will not be possible to upload new files during the outage, and any attempts to do so will result in an error message.

We will update this post with further information about the outage should anything change.

WordPress 3.3 is (almost) here

Update: We have planned the WordPress 3.3.1 upgrade for the morning of Tuesday, January 24, so that the students finishing up fall semester coursework on the system are not distracted by the new interface.

WordPress 3.3 saw its final release on Monday, December 12. WordPress upgrades are usually somewhat painless, but we will be delaying the upgrade of our multisite network for a few weeks. This will give us time to test compatibility with the 75+ third-party plugins on the network. We will also update our quickstart guide. Look for the update after the holidays, the first week of January.

WordPress 3.3 feature pointer

In the meantime, WPCandy has a great rundown of the new features, “Everything we know about the newly released WordPress 3.3.” Check out the new admin bar (now called the Toolbar), welcome screen, flyout Dashboard menus, feature pointers, and the brand new drag-and-drop media uploader.

Also, if you first log into lynda.princeton.edu with your Princeton netID, the WordPress 3 Essential Training course has added a chapter to the Introduction, “Differences in the WordPress 3.3 interface.”

A Chat About Open Source with the Founders of Drupal and WordPress

On October 7 at SchipulCon 2011 in Houston, Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, and Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal, shared the stage for a fascinating question and answer session about their CMS platforms, their ecosystems, and open source in general.

Both founders are passionate about their software, passionate about their communities, and passionate about open source — not just as a way to write software, but as a way of life. In this honest exchange, Matt and Dries reveal the different origins and philosophies behind Drupal and WordPress that influence their strengths and weaknesses, and the two innovators explain how the platforms complement each other.

Problems with microphones mar the first four minutes of audio; the other fifty minutes are fine. Transcripts of a few of their answers are on the Schipul blog.

Outstanding Issues 9/30

We are working hard to have everything working smoothly, and while WordPress may have infinite possibilities, the time and personnel to implement them is finite. Below are some of the more bothersome issues we are tracking:

  • Guest Account Provisioning accounts are not able to authenticate on any of the blogs in the network. The problem has to do with the @ signs in the usernames. Currently, only normal Princeton netIDs can log in.
  • We do not yet have a simple solution for adding videos that use the PUVOD Flash streaming server.
  • We have some documentation, but not nearly as much as we would like.
  • Https works just fine, but forcing https by redirecting from http to https causes our load balancer to infinitely loop the redirect.
  • Our Movable Type users will have to suffer with that aging platform just a little while longer as we migrate dozens of sites.
  • There is not a separate server for staging content or a multistage workflow as with Roxen CMS. Posts and pages are either unpublished (draft) or published, and you can revert to any previously saved version.
  • The Sharing buttons at the end of posts and pages do not have a Google Plus option.

Custom CSS

Edit CSS menu optionAlthough there are thousands of WordPress themes out in the wild, we will be initially making available only a small collection of “curated” themes. These themes will have a small amount of Princeton University branding. Most will be minimalist, with neutral colors, and some will have configurable options. As the service grows, so will our theme offerings.

However, site owners sometimes want to deviate from the default appearance of the themes, or they might (for some inexplicable reason) want to eliminate all traces of orange and black. Sites in our Roxen CMS environment have the custom.css file, and we wanted to offer a similar option with WordPress.

Fortunately, Automattic, the commercial entity behind WordPress.com, created a plugin that provides this feature. Site admins will find an “Edit CSS” menu under the Appearance section in the left navigation of wp-admin.

Continue reading

WordPress.tv: Top 12 Features You Aren’t Using

In this WordCamp San Francisco 2011 presentation, Sheri Bigelow talks about the “Top 10 12 Features You Aren’t Using – But Should Be!” (27:24).

This is an excellent presentation for new WordPress users, but it includes a few things that WordPress veterans may not know about, like the Post Revisions Easter egg at 18:30.

WordPress.tv: 5 Ways to Break your Blog

The travel funds aren’t always available to go to conferences, but at least most of the sessions from the regional and national WordPress conferences (aka WordCamps) are posted online. I will occasionally repost some of the germane ones here. Presentation slides are after the break.

The first four minutes do not apply to a multisite blog, so you can skip ahead.

In this first one, Hanni Ross from Automattic talks about the “Top 5 Ways to Break Your Blog – and Fix It” (21:32)

Continue reading