Embedding Tweets in Your Posts

I realize I haven’t posted anything here for a while. Part of this is due to NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, which is a contest that occurs every November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the thirty days of the month. Quality isn’t important, only the number of words, yet it’s still difficult to do. This was my fourth attempt, and the first time I successfully wrote the required number of words. Yay me!

Anyway, after focusing so hard on so much writing for so long, I’ve been casting about for something different. I’ve recently gotten into discussions about using Twitter for promotional purposes. I’ve done this rather successfully, primarily by creating Random Writing Prompts (based on the algorithm mentioned here) and quotes from famous authors, like this one:

The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas! – Anonymous

One thing I’ve been wanting to do for some time is combine the work on my website with my Twitter activities. I’d like to have quotes like the one above available for readers to share by simply clicking on them. This is where the Inline Tweet Sharer comes in. It’s a WordPress plugin that allows you to place shortcodes in your posts that turn into clickable links. Visitors can click on the link and immediately tweet the text. Try it!

I’ve installed it here, and it seems to work well. The installation is fairly simple, with one gotcha: It uses bit.ly for link shortening and links back to your website. You need to have a bit.ly account, and then there’s a procedure you need to walk through to hook your website up to bit.ly so it can do its stuff. The instructions are included on the settings page, so it’s not too bad, but it’s not quite plug-n-play.

Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Shortcodes Ultimate Plugin Review

I don’t have any particular Grand Plan for this version of my website, so I’ve been taking an organic approach of trying this and playing with that, and keeping the stuff I like. One thing I decided I wanted to include early on was something called Pull Quotes.

Pull Quotes are little bits of text that are formatted differently and placed alongside an article, to draw attention to some particular point.

All I wanted was a stupid pull quote. I had one around somewhere (I’d used the example code to start my first plugin) but I couldn’t find it. I tripped over Shortcodes Ultimate instead.

Shortcodes Ultimate has the dubious honor of making me uncomfortable about my philosophy regarding the proper separation of presentation, content, and function. It is a functional element (a plugin) that changes the way content is presented. Furthermore, it places the control of that presentation within the content.

Continue reading “Shortcodes Ultimate Plugin Review”

So you want to write a WordPress plugin

Do you think you want to write a plugin to enhance your WordPress site? Looking for a how-to guide to get you started? Let me tell you my approach.

Why write a plugin?

I’m not going to get into the philosophy of plugins – what makes for a good plugin, what should be in a plugin vs. what belongs in a theme, plugin programming best practices, etc. Those will be touched on in future posts. Today I’m writing a how-to article describing how to write a simple plugin.

By the way, this plugin will not qualify for inclusion in the WordPress Plugin Repository. That, too, is a topic for another day.

Focus on the functionality first

Continue reading “So you want to write a WordPress plugin”