New features in WPMU 2.9.1

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

In his post about how to add commentmeta tables to your WordPress MU database, Donncha said …

…nothing quite like the stress of upgrading and finding that something has broken.

So true. I’m just happy nothing broke during our recent upgrade to WPMU 2.9.1, because apparently the upgrade function can choke when creating all those tables. We have over 160 blogs and all went well, but Admins for large MU sites should take care to run the script Donncha provides before upgrading. Then they should also skip ahead to WordPress 2.9.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1. Supposedly this will be the last release before the big merge.

WordPress MU 2.9.1 New Feature Overview

What does all this mean for Tripawds community members? Just that we are successfully running on WPMU 2.9.1 now, which includes some great new features in addition to various bug fixes.

Video embedding made simple

WordPress 2.9 introduces native video embedding! Now all Tripawds Bloggers can easily insert a video from sharing sites like YouTube, simply by adding the video URL to their post …

See! It’s that simple. Just copy and paste the video page URL onto a new line in your post and the video will be automatically embedded. It is important that the video URL be on a line by itself and that the text is not wrapped in any tags, so don’t style it or link it to the video page itself. Native video embedding supports the following video sharing web sites: YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, blip.tv, Flickr (both videos and images), Viddler, Hulu, Qik, Revision3, Scribd, Photobucket, PollDaddy, Google Video, WordPress.tv.

Viper’s Video Quicktags Enhance Embedded Videos

So what does this mean for Tripawds Supporters who have been using the Viper’s Video Tags plugin? Just that they now have advanced control over how their videos appears if they choose to continue using it. Viper wrote the new native object embed code, so his plugin is completely compatible. Supporter blogs can still embed movies and have additional video sharing sources to choose from. Supporters also have the ability to embed raw Flash video files, and have much more control over how their videos display …

Viper’s Video Quicktags plugin allows embedding from the following video sharing web sites: YouTube, Google Video, DailyMotion, Vimeo, Veoh, Viddler, Metacafe, Blip.tv, Flickr Video, IFILM/Spike, MySpaceTV, Flash Video (FLV).

Viper’s Video Quicktags plugin has been disabled. WordPress now supports auto-embedding of videos.

WordPress MU Blog Dashboard Trash Can

Tripawds Bloggers will also now notice a Trash link when managing posts and comments on their blog. This allows for the removal of items without immediately deleting them. The Trash can (and should) then be emptied periodically to permanently deleting the unwanted items. This protects bloggers from inadvertently deleting valid comments or valuable post drafts.

Issues with New WordPress Image Editor

One of the most anticipated feature enhancements has to be the new Image Editor built right into the WordPress Media Library. There have been a number of reports, however, regarding difficulties so we will report back with an update on that. For now, feel free to provide feedback in the forums.


To remove ads from your site and others, upgrade to a Tripawds Supporter blog!

How to extend Supporter Blog subscriptions

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

Tripawds Supporter Blog subscriptions are automatically renewed via PayPal, based on the renewal term selected when upgrading the blog. If a PayPal subscription is canceled before the renewal date, enhanced Supporter blog functions will be deactivated upon the renewal date, no sooner.

This is all made possible using the Supporter plugin available with our WPMU Dev Premium membership. But it puts site administrators – that’s me – in a position to wonder about how to handle early cancellation of a Supporter subscription if the blogger has been generous enough to contribute to Tripawds with a separate donation. This happened recently – thank you Maggie! And here’s what I did to modify the renewal date that appears in the Supporter tab of her dashboard.

Any WordPress MU site administrator who wishes to extend a Supporter subscription for longer than the 365 day maximum allowed via the Admin panel:

  1. Access your WPMU database with PHP MyAdmin
  2. Find the wp_supporters table and click Browse
  3. Find the blog ID* with the date you want to modify and click Edit
  4. Enter your desired Unix timestamp** in the expire field and click Go

*The blog ID is the first digit(s) of the Custom Number field in the Supporter subscription announcement email. For example, blog ID #294 with a 3 month $10 subscription is identifed by Custom Number: 294_3_10.00_USD_1234567890

**The Supporter Subscription expiration date is identified by Unix time, or POSIX time, which is a system for describing points in time, defined as the number of seconds elapsed since midnight of January 1, 1970. Many Unix Time Conversion tools can be found online.

For additional help using Supporter 2.o please visit the WPMU Dev Premium Support forums.

Trimming the Fat

I did it!WordPress Post Revisions

<pats self on back>

OK, with that said, I finally found this great SQL query for deleting old WordPress draft revisions.

What this means to Tripawds Bloggers

You may have noticed the Save Draft button in your Tripawds Blog post editor. This will do just that – save a current working draft of your post. Actually doing so, however, is unnecessary considering WordPress has it’s own auto-save function built right in. But if you are writing an important post and concerned about losing your work, go ahead and save your drafts. I am no longer concerned about database bloat!

Scroll down beneath your post editor after saving a draft and you will notice a section called Post Revisions. Clicking the link there will allow you to review the latest draft you saved, compare it to the most recent auto-save, and restore whichever one you prefer.

Why only one revision, and How?

Anyone familiar with WordPress may wonder why only one revision shows, no matter how many times the post is saved. Those very familiar might be asking how we did that.

Every saved post revision is stored in the WordPress database. Over time, especially in a WordPress MU environment, and particularly with users who tend to frequently save drafts, this can create excessive unnecessary database entries – said bloat I eluded to earlier. By limiting revisions to one draft, we are still allowing members to save important drafts and compare that draft with the current auto-save, while keeping unnecessary entries out of the database. FYI: Every draft manually saved will replace the most recent revision.

How did we do it? We are running the Limit Post Revisions WordPress MU plugin from the wpmudev.org project repository. I know, I know, limiting post revisions will not delete old drafts from the database, and that’s what truly enquiring minds want to know. We’re getting to that.

Limit Post Revisions WPMU Plugin Site Admin OptionWhat use this is for WPMU Site Administrators

Limiting post revisions can also be done with this simple hack to your wp-config file, immediately following the db_collate definition, as in…

/** The Database Collate type. Don't change this if in doubt. */
define('DB_COLLATE', '');

/** Number of saved revisions; false acts as 0 */
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 1);

But I like to avoid editing core files whenever possible, and much prefer to use awesome WPMU plugins. But I digress, back to the task at hand – how to delete all those old revisions in the MySQL database driving your WordPress installation…

Here is the query I used, edited for use with WordPress MU:

DELETE a,b,c
FROM wp_{id}_posts a
LEFT JOIN wp_{id}_term_relationships b ON (a.ID = b.object_id)
LEFT JOIN wp_{id}_postmeta c ON (a.ID = c.post_id)
WHERE a.post_type = 'revision'

Simply replace {id} with the id for the blog on which you want to delete old post revisions. Backup your database first! To be safe, I also exported copies of the affected tables so I could restore them quickly if anything broke. But nothing did, at least not that I can tell, yet. 😉

In our case, I reduced file size of our wp_1_posts export from more than 11 MB to less than 2MB! Please note, this worked for me. No promises, and good luck!

Many thanks to Andrei for providing this query, and explaining how it will remove related entries from the postmeta and term_relationship (i.e.: tags, categories, etc.) tables. I found many references to the following query for deleting post revisions, but Andrei’s solution gave me the confidence that all unnecessary data would be deleted from the database.

DELETE FROM wp_posts WHERE post_type = "revision";

While we’re at it, for anyone looking to delete all old post revisions from a basic WordPress install, here ya go…

DELETE a,b,c
FROM wp_posts a
LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships b ON (a.ID = b.object_id)
LEFT JOIN wp_postmeta c ON (a.ID = c.post_id)
WHERE a.post_type = 'revision'

Hope this helps someone, as much as it helped me!

We have a blog ring now.

Wanna see a random Tripawds Blog?

Every Tripawds Blog is now linked together in a true Blogger style Ring of Blogs. Users can now stumble upon another totally random three legged dog blog by following the links now found site-wide here at Tripawds. Each Tripawds Blog now has a common navigation strip, something like this…

» RANDOM TRIPAWDS BLOG » FORUMS » CHAT » DIRECTORY » JERRY’S BLOG »

By clicking the RANDOM TRIPAWDS BLOG link, you will be taken to the next RANDOM TRIPAWDS BLOG which has the same strip for visiting the next RANDOM TRIPAWDS BLOG, and so on, and so on.

For those wondering just who might be blogging about their dogs here, this is a easy way to discover what you’re missing. The top 100 active Tripawds Blogs are always listed on the directory page, but cruising the blogs this way should be more fun. We hope you enjoy it.

The only problem I see so far, is that many Tripawds members create a blog upon signup, but never actually start blogging. 🙁

So why not drop on comment on those blogs to let them know what they are missing? The more stories we can share here, the better a resource this community becomes for those facing cancer or amputation with their dogs.

So, how did I do this?

For anyone interested, I implemented this Blogger style blog ring for WorPress MU using these two free plugins available from the WPMUDev.org project repository:

WPMU Footer HTML
This WPMU Plugin enables you to insert any HTML into the footer of all blogs posted within a single WPMU install. With a little hacking, it will place inserts in the header too. Sure, it’s takes a little hardcode effort to customize, but for a CSS neophyte like me it just worked better than Global Header which had the sweet Admin interface I preferred.

WPMU Random Blog Redirect
This mu-plugin allowed me to create a global link to http://tripawds.com/?random which will redirect readers to a random Tripawds blog, in classic StumbleUpon-like fashion.

I am always cautious about installing old WPMU plugins, especially those that appear to be no longer maintained or supported. I much prefer to install the plug and play plugins available with our WPMU Dev Premium membership. But I wanted to make this specific functionality work, and I carefully tested things first on our development installation.

This version of Random Blog may be two years old, but it is apparently working fine. And since the discussion about WPMU Footer that helped me get it working seems to have disappeared into the ether, I’ll share how to ad header inserts in this global footer plugin…

First, I’m using v. 1.0 since v. 1.1 had some issues with the header inserts, which I just added right before the final php function:

add_action(‘wp_head’,’jas_wpmu_css_footer’)

Correct, the header insert code goes after that for the footer. Whatever, it works for me! No promises for anyone else. 😉

But your saying Jim, banner ads are in the header too? Using the WPMU Dev Premium Supporter plugin, we are able to automatically remove banner ads from all blogs while keeping the community navigation strip. I did this by wrapping the ad code within an optional Supporter script and placing HTML for the navigation after that.

Hope this helps clear up any questions about the new Random Tripawds Blogs navigation strip, and how it got there.

UPDATE: Download WPMU Footer HTML v.1 here.

WordPress MU Upgrade Complete

We have just completed the maintenance upgrade of all Tripawds Blogs to WordPress MU 2.8.5.2. Thank you for your patience!

This update addresses various administrative bugs and security fixes. If you experience any technical difficulties or unexpected anomalies, please report them in the Tripawds Technical Support discussion forum.

Sometimes it feels lie we are always tinkering behind the scenes and upgrading things around here. But after the ordeal we went through making a major version leap earlier this year, it’s the least we can do to keep things operating smoothly around here for all our members. Thank you all for your continued support.

Upgrading core files for the Tripawds Blogs community is always nerve-wracking. But I actually find it easier than upgrading our regular WordPress blog. Perhaps just because between this site and the RVblogz free travel blog community, I just have more practice. But the steps for upgrading WPMU are pretty simple. It’s just the need to follow them exactly, and the potential for data loss if you don’t that greys my hair. As if it isn’t grey enough already! 🙂