A Domain of One’s Own #elontlc

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UMW Blogs Upgraded to WP 3.0 (a play-by-play)

I’m glad (and relieved) to finally say UMW Blogs has been upgraded to the WP 3.0 merged core files without a hitch. Whew! This was a burner for me, a bit more fear and trembling going into this one than usual, but alas all is good in the UMW Blogs hood. In no small part thanks to Ron Rennick who recently upgraded his SharDB plugin to 3.0.1, which did the trick in terms of making sure all was smooth with the multiple-database setup upgrade. You rule Ron!

As for the rest, it was pretty standard, and only one pretty minor hiccup in regards to the Atalhuapa theme which I will outline below (and the fix below comes care of the inestimable Luke Waltzer).

Basics before upgrade
You know the drill by now: Always back up all files and the database (or in my case databases), and make sure not to copy over wp-config.php as well as the wp-content directory.

OK, done with disclaimers, now for some preliminary steps before copying over the WP 3.0.1 core files, make sure you
delete the wp-content/blogs.php file for those upgrading from WPMu (which is whom this tutorial is for).

You will also need to change the .htaccess file, particularly the line pointing to wp-content/blogs.php, which now needs to point to: wp-includes/ms-files.php

This line in our .htaccess file now looks like this:

RewriteRule ^(.*/)?files/(.*) wp-includes/ms-files.php?file=$2 [L]

You should also delete your wpmu-settings.php file located in the root install directory.

If you are like me and you are using SharDB to spread your sites/blogs across several databases, you need to update to Ron’s Rennick’s latest version of SharDB.

And where ever Ron is, Andrea is not far behind (or is that vice versa?). In order to ensure that all the blogs using the default theme (which was Kubrick) are changed to TwentyTen, include the following call in your wp-config.php file (a tip you can find thanks to Andrea here):

Our default theme define in the wp-config.php file looks like this:

define(‘WP_DEFAULT_THEME’, ‘default’);

And to contextualize this a bit more, we changed the twentyten theme folder name to default, and moved the old default theme files for Kubrick into a folder called Kubrick for any of the faithful who still want to pursue it (be sure to make it available in Super Admin). Now, all sites on UMW Blogs that once had the default Kubrick theme now have TwentyTen automatically–which also means Menus will work for all those sites, and there are a good number.

Finally, I was sure to upgrade DSader’s More Privacy Options plugin before upgrading given it was throwing errors in the bavatuesdays WP 3.0 setup, I keep the new version of this plugin in the wp-content/mu-plugins directory.

The Actual Upgrade
Now run the upgrade by simply copying all the core files and directories, except wp-content and wp-config.php, into your WordPress install.

After that, go to http://yourinstall.com/wp-admin/upgrade.php and upgrade the database, cross your fingers!

If that works, go to Super Admin–> Update and updates all the individual blogs, this will take a while if you have a lot.

Finally, in the Dashboard you’ll be asked to add a Nonce Salt to your wp-config.php file. Something like:

define( ‘NONCE_SALT’, ‘yoursuppersecretkey’ ); to your wp-config.php file

The Ongoing Aftermath
The upgrade should then be done, but there may be some cleanup. For example, Luke Waltzer pointed me to this fix If you were using Ataluapa in WPMu, you’ll find none of your customized header images in Ataluapa are there, it returns to the default. This is because the theme is looking for the file wpmu-settings.php (now deprecated) instead of wp-settings.php. A quick find and replace of wpmu-settings with wp-settings on the following three files in the Atalhuapa theme did the trick for me:
functions.php
functions/bfa_header_config
functions/bfa_rotating_headers.php

And, that’s about it thus far, it was all rather smooth in the end. Though I am sure many more issues will emerge over time, I’m sure they will prove resolvable and I am quite relieved—especially given 3 sites within sites (what would now be called multi-networks?) http://greenwoodlibrary.orghttp://facultyacademy.org, and http://hamptondigitalhumanities.org all survived unharmed. Saying that, I was also relieved to see that mapped domains were also left intact.

And what’s more, Ken Newquist at Lafayette College sent out the following email to the wp-edu mailing list, and it provides an excellent list of issues and updates on their road to an upgrade to WP 3.0. I’ll reproduce it in it’s entirety below, and it is very good to know new activations of Next-Gen Gallery may have issues:

Everyone,

Back in June there was some talk about WordPress 3.0 and its compatibility (or lack there of) with popular plugins and themes. We’ve recently upgraded our production instances of WordPress to 3.0, and I thought I’d give a rundown of the the problems we encountered.

==More Privacy Options==
The plugin continues to work, but it generates a PHP fatal error when you edit a site’s properties as an admin, making it impossible to save configuration changes. The latest version of the plugin fixes this problem.

==nextGen Gallery: Ignoring MultiSite directory options==
nextGen Gallery has issues with WordPress 3.0 multisite. While existing installations are working ok, folks who add the plugin after the upgrade get this error message:

“Directory wp-content/gallery/ didn’t exist. Please create first the main gallery folder !”

The problem is that Blog Directory Path, which is a network-wide option set under the super admin menu, is no longer being respected at the per site level by nextGen. If you manually set the site’s directory path using the site’s ID (available from the main site directory list in the super admin view), then things work properly, but the default setting is now incorrect.

The plugin author is aware of the problem, and is working on this and other MultiSite-specific issues for the next release.
 http://wordpress.org/support/topic/41200…

 http://code.google.com/p/nextgen-gallery…

==nextGen Gallery: Slideshow links don’t work on a static home page==
If you insert a nextGen Gallery into a page, and then make that page your home page, the link to the slideshow will not work.

==Anarchy Media Player==
Anarchy’s settings page no longer loads under WordPress 3.0.

==Mandigo (theme)==
The Mandigo setting page doesn’t load if you’re using Mandigo 1.40.1. It works properly with the current version.

==Mandigo + nextGen + WordPress 3.0==
Here’s a very specific bug — Mandigo uses an older version of JQuery in its theme, one that doesn’t include a particular method that nextGen needs. This causes a fatal error in NextGen, which then causes the JavaScript portions of the Mandigo theme to stop working.

That’s about it, and I’ll be sure to blog any and all issues, problems, or fixes we come across, and I am sure there will be more than a few. In fact, I have to do this fix for Userthemes, thank you Boone.

Posted in , devwpmued, UMW Blogs, umwblogs, upgrade, Wordpress, wordpress multi-user, wp30, wpmu, wpmu development, wpmued | 7 Comments

Into the mud, Scum Web! Or, picking through the ruins that was WPMu

Image credit: Thomas Hawk’s No Dark Sarcasm in the classroom

I’m not sure when I got derailed from the Summer of Love, it was all going so well. And then the bastards, scum bags, and profit-driven web denizens seemed to hang over my thoughts like a dark cloud. I’ve been brooding a lot, and generally gnashing my teeth, in fact I’ve found myself pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet. And whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking peoples hats off — then, I account it high time to get back to some tinkering. And the only thing I know how to tinker with is WPMu, which is now gone, so I started playing with WP 3.0 and BuddyPress for a project I am working on (more on this anon).

And for the last few days I have been hacking around in 3.0 and BuddyPress, and doing some research into what is working on UMW Blogs and what isn’t in terms of plugins, themes, etc. And what struck me as I was searching for updated versions of plugins for WPMu (as well as themes for BuddyPress) was just how brilliantly James Farmer has turned the hard, GPL-licensed work of many a WPMu plugin developer that once lived contently on http://wpmudev.org into a subscription-based business model. I mean, it’s as if all those plugins on WPMuDev that the WPMu community consulted and used for years have all but vanished behind a pay wall.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are still a few free plugins there, but the original links to WPMu plugins like Dsaders Userthemes, More Privacy Options, and his Sitewide 3-in-1 Multi Widget Panel have strangely morphed into plugins behind the pay wall. Let’s take a look how this whole SEO, google-inspired, redirect scam works.

So, I look for the 3-in-1 widget and I get to the above wpmu.org page (no link there from this blog, which reminds me that I need to clean up my database, which has become inadvertently full of links to the premium.wpmudev.org site—given the old links to the plugins on wpmudev.org are now all redirected there….scummy). This post about the 3-in-1 plugin is on wpmudev.org, and was submitted to wpmu.org for the WPMu plugin contest sponsored by Farmer and co. for the last few years, and has since become one of the top hits in google for getting this plugin.

Now, what happens when you click the link to get his plugin….

It seems subtle, but what happens here is that wpmu.org is pushing you not to the plugin site (which seems all but gone off wpmudev.org), but rather a plugin cobbled together by the wpmudev premium team that has the same ideas and functionality as dsaders 3-in-1 widget, with one huge difference—its not free to download. Its locked up with the rest of the history of WPMu behind the premium pay wall. And you might say, oh well, such is life. WPMu is defunct now, and those plugins would just be so much internet kipple anyway, so no big loss. In fact, Farmer and his ilk are doing us a favor—they are keeping us clean and honest, not unlike Apple. But what strikes me here, is that those plugins are just as relevant as they were two years ago, we still need to display content from the tags blog in UMW Blogs, and a whole public space of development happened on Farmers server, and when the time was right, he commodified all that work and development to make his brand, seal is google dominance (which is insanely impressive, btw), and I guess he had every right to. He provided the space, and ultimately that means he dicatated the terms. The terms were pretty unilateral in retrospect, and a lot of great work seems all but lost now

And just in the event someone says the example above is an isolated case, let me give you yet another one that I stumbled on while trying to piece together a site.

More Privacy Options, which used to be a plugin that you could get on wpmudev.org through a straight link: http://wpmudev.org/project/More-Privacy-… (I link to that plugin in this post from 2009) and if you follow the link you’ll quickly see it has been transmogrified into a way to sell Farmer’s premium service plugins (links as capital remains its own crazy economy, and one farmer has figured out very well). It points to a page selling their Privacy options for WordPress MU plugin (almost exactly the same plugin as dsader’s, with one or two tweaks for sitewide settings). So, the bava has become a way of driving traffic, and by extension advertising, wpmudev’s premium subscription and I didn’t even realize it. I’m gonna need to erase a whole series of links from my database. Now doesn’t that seem scummy? Not even a redirect to the plugin which is now in the wordpress.org repository, why? Fact is, all these plugins are still relevant, and this link-laid scam makes it seem as if they are all pay-to-play now—how is that for stewardship of a community?

Is there anyone else out there in the WPMu/WP community that sees this shit going on and is like, “Jesus, wpmudev can suck it!” Sometimes I wonder, and add to that they are the only folks pumping out BuddyPress themes, and it would appear that WPMUDev are the main developers for the flagship projects like multi-site and BuddyPress in the WordPress community. Once again, the Google manipulation works, and the emergence of wpmu.org and wpmudev.org as the dominant sites for wpmu, buddypress, and beyond is all too apparent to me these last days of rusty searching.

But then, there is a light, a strong beacon I can hold onto: this list of free (can you imagine that?!) plugins at CUNY’s Academic Commons gives me hope for an developmental education community around blogging, multi-site, themes, and plugins that is not all about link baiting for Google juice to control the world. Long live Boone Gorges! Oh wait, and then there is the awesome work by the hit squad at UBC’s OLT, featured beautifully in this wiki page on their Management Framework development.

My only question is, can the free and open rebellion survive when the essence of the web, a simple url, is being hijacked for profit or eliminated all together by the gold-lined app revolution?

Posted in , devwpmued, Wordpress, wordpress multi-user, wpmu, wpmu development, wpmued | 3 Comments

Weird Visual Editor Issue on WP 3.0, RC 1

Having an odd issue on bavatuesdays that I can’t reproduce on any other sites in my install (namely jimgroom.netwpmued.org, etc.). I can’t see the buttons in the visual editor, by default my visual editor icons in the Add New Post page are gone until I refresh the page.

I figured it was a plugin, so I deactivated all my plugins—no go. I then figured it was something unique to the sites within the bavatuesdays network (after seeing it worked in other networks), but that was not the case either cause I am not having the same issue on http://movies.bavatuesdays.com. And while it ultimately corrects itself with a refresh of the page, it is rather odd. Anyway, anyone having similar issues, I’d love to hear your fix, if you found one.

Update: What’s more, after I published this post, the visual editor buttons once again disappeared. How bizarre (cue music).

Posted in , wp30, wpmu, wpmu development | Leave a comment

Upgrading from WPMu to WP 3.0: Keep your config!

I just updated to the latest version of WordPress 3.0 (release candidate 1) and one of the things I realized while upgrading my own sites is that you should really keep your WPMu wp-config.php file. I figured that I would need to use the updated config file with WP 3.0, but that’s not necessarily the case. You see, the wp-config.php file is still geared towards a single WP install, which makes sense, but it also leaves a ton of the essential defines for a mutli-site system completely out.

So, here is a quick look at my wp-config file, with bold annotations of what you should keep if you are doing the multi-site option:
// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define('DB_NAME', 'database_name_here');
/** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'username_here');
/** MySQL database password */
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'password_here');
/** MySQL hostname */
define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');
/** Database Charset to use in creating database tables. */
define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');
/** The Database Collate type. Don't change this if in doubt. */
define('DB_COLLATE', '');
//Note: the following elements are specific to a WPMu/Multi-Site setup, and there is no sign of them in the config file for 3.0, so be sure to copy them over. But comment out
define('DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'yourmaindomain.com' ); -if you have issues on a multi-site setup because that one was giving me redirect problems on my setup.
/** The Database Collate type. Don't change this if in doubt. */
define('VHOST', 'yes');
$base = '/';
//define('DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'yourmaindomain.com' );
define('PATH_CURRENT_SITE', '/' );
define('BLOGID_CURRENT_SITE', '1' );
//End Note.
/**#@+
* Authentication Unique Keys and Salts.
define('AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('LOGGED_IN_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('NONCE_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('LOGGED_IN_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('NONCE_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
* Change these to different unique phrases!
* You can generate these using the {@link https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1...;WordPress.org secret-key service}
* You can change these at any point in time to invalidate all existing cookies. This will force all users to have to log in again.
*
* @since 2.6.0
/**
* WordPress Database Table prefix.
*
* You can have multiple installations in one database if you give each a unique
* prefix. Only numbers, letters, and underscores please!
*/
$table_prefix = 'wp_';
/**
* WordPress Localized Language, defaults to English.
*
* Change this to localize WordPress. A corresponding MO file for the chosen
* language must be installed to wp-content/languages. For example, install
* de.mo to wp-content/languages and set WPLANG to 'de' to enable German
* language support.
*/
define ('WPLANG', '');
/**
* For developers: WordPress debugging mode.
*
* Change this to true to enable the display of notices during development.
* It is strongly recommended that plugin and theme developers use WP_DEBUG
* in their development environments.
*/
define('WP_DEBUG', false);
//Note: sunrise.php is specifically for mapping domains on blogs, and you will need to include this in your wp-config file for multi-site if you want to map domains.
// uncomment this to enable wp-content/sunrise.php support
define( 'SUNRISE', 'on' );
//End Note.
/* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */
/** Absolute path to the WordPress directory. */
if ( !defined('ABSPATH') )

define(‘ABSPATH’, dirname(__FILE__) . ‘/’);
/** Sets up WordPress vars and included files. */
require_once(ABSPATH . ‘wp-settings.php’);

That’s it, really not too bad, but enough to screw an idiot like me up, so I figured I’d share it out.

Posted in , wordpress multi-user, wp30, wpmu, wpmu development, wpmued | Leave a comment

WordPress 3.0, you had me at Custom Menus

So while playing around with WordPress 3.0, beta 2 tonight, I tried out the new Custom Menu feature within the Appearance section, and I have to say I’ve been waiting a long time for this kind  of functionality. Finally you not only can have pages in a navigation menu, but also links and categories. What’s more you can control their order drag and drop, not unlike widgets. Very cool. here is what it looks like:

And to give you an idea of how useful this would have been for me last semester while teaching the Digital Storytelling class, I’ll do a quick rundown of the links in the navigation menu of that site, to show you how this new menu feature saves me hacking the theme and installing a plugin to do what can now be done out of the box.

1) Blue Arrow: One of the recurring issues when turning a blog into a website with a static frontpage in WordPress, depending on the theme, was the double Home tab in the navigation menu. You would have the default home link built into the header of the theme, and the new home link for the new homepage you created as the static frontpage. The custom menu feature solves that by allowing you to add a custom home link –bam! Major issues for creating sites and portfolio spaces on UMW Blogs made easy.

2) Green Arrow: In my Digital Storytelling class I had a separate category for all posts that were assignments, announcements, and student posts as a way to separate them out.  However, for each of them to have their own tab on the navigation menu, I had to use a plugin I got from Luke Waltzer called Blog-in-Blog, which basically pulled posts only from a particular category into a page you decided. But, this meant creating a page for each category, and then including the short code from the plugin. Those steps are no longer necessary now, you simply add the category of your choosing to the custom menu in the order you want. DISCO, once again, this is huge.

3) Yellow Arrow: no surprise here, this is a regular old page that had tyrrany over the navigation menu up and until now, unless you were ready and willing to hack the theme or go plugin crazy.

4) Pink Arrow: A custom link to another site. A simple addition, and I can’t tell you how many times over the last year I could have used this, especially when trying to hack in a link to the course MediaWiki site, forum, etc.

All in all, this gets me fired up because finally this allows anyone with no hacking chops to simply create a more dynamic navigation of the site the are creating, whether it be a course blog, portfolio site, straight-up website, etc. This was a long time in coming, as I said, but a subtle change that in many ways profoundly redefines the architectural possibilities of WordPress at UMW for faculty and students alike. Of all the changes thus far, this is by far the one I am must excited about in several versions

Posted in , custom menus, navigation, plugins, Wordpress, wp30, wpmu, wpmu development | Leave a comment

Test ITEC 501

Here is a test

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

WordPress University

Image by Tom Woodward: WordPress RevolutionThe NorthEast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP) is hosting an all day conference on April 6th that is entirely dedicated to WordPress in Higher Ed brilliantly titled “WordPress University.” The conference features a range of speakers dealing with everything from WordPress for libraries, college web sites, academic networks, and teaching and learning spaces. It’s a pretty comprehensive program and covers a lot of ground, and I’m definitely interested in Jay Collier’s work with Bates College, their main site is run on WordPress, and given UMW is currently thinking about a new CMS for their website, Jerry Slezak and I are going to make the pitch for WPMu being the hub for the umw.edu site. And I have some interesting ideas for the architecture, syndication, and deep integration with UMW Blogs, so Jay’s session is of particular interest to me right now.

What’s more, Matt Gold and Boone Gorges will be featuring their awesome work with the CUNY Academic Commons and the cutting edge work they are doing with Buddypress. Their approach to the social network for faculty and graduate students at CUNY should be of pressing interest to just about every college and university out there right now—they are making a social network that respects people’s pre-existing spaces online while simultaneously providing an essential network for the folks of CUNY.

And while unlike the WordCampEd events this one isn’t free, I hope they figure out a way to stream and/or capture these sessions because I for one am dying to see them.

And on a broader note, it is fascinating to see a professional organization like NERCOMP devote an entire conference to WordPress, I think it is more than warranted and a sign of things to come. More campuses exploring and hacking on open source applications like WordPress to start re-imagining the social implications of web-based communities for publishing, research, teaching, and learning. It points to one possible future of how colleges and universities can start re-imagining their web presence as more than a brochure, but an open, dynamic space that exposes and shares the thinking happening at these institutions, and the next logical step is for us to start making more meaningful connections between individuals at the distributed learning institutions. Something as simple as a new platform, provides something as beautifully powerful and complex as a rich network of teaching, learning, and scholarship.  We need to explore these possibilities together. NERCOMP’s “WordPress University” seems like an excellent step in that direction.

Image credit: Bionic Teaching’s “WordPress Revolution”

Posted in , WordCampEd, Wordpress, Wordpress as CMS, wordpress multi-user, wpmu, wpmu development, wpmued | Leave a comment

Domain Mapping on Google Sites and UMW Blogs

Yesterday morning I went to visit a faculty member—Andy Smith in Historic Preservation—who has been using Google sites for a project she is working on called Fred Buildings. It is actually one of the nicer sites I’ve seen built with Google Sites, and her question for me was about mapping a domain onto Google sites. Any long time reader of the bava knows I am obsessed with domain mapping so being given the opportunity to experiment with domain mapping on Google Sites was a total treat.

Let me start by saying that I didn’t know you could map a domain on a Google Site until yesterday, and they’ve had this service available for over a year and a half. While I tend to avoid Google Sites cause I find the service way too limited, realizing they have domain mapping available made me wish we were a Google School once again so I could experiment more with this across campus, particularly after realizing yesterday that you can map your root domain to one service, and various subdomains to other services without even having a webhosting account. This was a revelation to me, and something I figured out  while experimenting with mapping a root domain to a Google Site and a subdomain to a blog on UMW Blogs (which could just as well be wordpress.com, blogger, typepad, etc.). If you think about it, this provides a way of having a namespace independent of a specific service while at the same time building a unique identity online that will allow you to move from service to service if necessary, yet keep a consistent presence. Something I wish Leigh Blackall had, because when I search his stuff I am spread across three different blogs, and while I like the fact that he moves services regularly (he is a badass in that regard—I could never leave the bava blog), I just wonder how he can stand all his awesome ideas remaining web service vagrants on the open web without a steady URL to call home.

OK, so, that said Leigh (or Big Papa), here’s the tutorial to get you started ;)

First things first, mapping your main domain to Google Sites. One of the limitations of Google Sites is if you map your main domain it has to be www.yourdomain.com, it can’t be just yourdomain.com. So, in order to map you main domain you have to do the following (this assumes you already have a domain name purchased through a service like Godaddy and have created a Google site). First, you need to point your main domain to to Google Sites. You do this in the Total DNS control panel on the service where you registered the domain, in this example I use Godaddy because I have an extra domain there laying around collecting dust.

Click for larger image

As illustrated above, edit the CNAME field (or alias) for the www alias and point that to the host name ghs.google.com and save the changes.

Then I jump over to my Google sites account and go to Manage Site and then look for the Wed Address setting pictured below:

And add the main domain, in this case www.edupunk.net (keep in mind you need to add the www. prefix). After that click add web address, and your domain should map like mine did: http://www.edupunk.net

Now that in and of itself may not be so amazing, because I’ve been talking about domain mapping for a while with WPMu, and the idea that Google would have it makes sense.  What is cool, and is a new discovery for me, is that while the m ain domain points to a Google site, I can have a subdomain like blog.edupunk.net point to another service like wordpress.com, blogger, or the ever great UMW Blogs without having a hosting account. It’s actually quite simple, all I did was add an A Record for the UMW Blogs IP address (174.37.153.244) in the Total DNS control panel at Godaddy:

And then, I created a CNAME (Alias) titled blog and pointed that to the umwblogs.org domain:

Click image for larger version

After that, I can go to a new blog I created on UMW Blogs (which has Domain mapping enabled for any blog on the system) such as edupunk.umwblogs.org and go to Tools—>Domain Mapping and simply add blog.edupunk.net.

And voila, main site on Google Sites here, blog on UMW Blogs here, and potentially several other subdomains mapped to several other services.

Now, to get back to my original example, Andy Smith now has her Fred Buildings project on Google sites here and a blog for announcements and the like here. More proof that no faculty member at UMW can meet with me without getting a UMW Blog, it is impossible, and that’s why I’m the rightest Reverend ever.

Posted in , domain mapping, Google Sites, Total DNS, UMW Blogs, umwblogs, wordpress multi-user, wpmu, wpmu development, wpmu wpmued | 1 Comment

test

test

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment