TRIPAWDS: Home to 23075 Members and 2157 Blogs.

New Easy Method for Embedding Videos

It came to my attention that the Unfiltered MU plugin we were using to allow Tripawds Supporters to embed YouTube movies in their blogs, posed a security risk for the entire Tripawds Blogs Community. Apparently it could be used to embed rogue code for the nefarious purpose of stealing login cookies, among other things. And we don’t want any impersonated impersonated users running around here wreaking havoc. It’s not that we don’t trust our members, but we do spend an awful lot of time fighting spam blog registrations.

So, Supporters won’t find Unfiltered MU in their plugins menu anymore. But don’t worry, we’ve already implemented an even easier way to embed movies from all your favorite video sharing sites. And you no longer need to copy the entire embed code or use the HTML editor. Just visit your blog Dashboard -> Plugins -> Installed  -> and Select Viper’s Video QuickTags -> then click Activate. You will then notice a new row of buttons in your Post Editor the next time you update your blog. Simply put your cursor where you want the video to appear — in a new paragraph by itself is recommended — and click the button for your video sharing website. You can then enter the view page and and click Okay. The Viper’s Video QuickTags plugin will do the rest, inserting a quicktag where the video will appear.

A quicktag is a simple snippet of code. In this case, one that will embed a movie from the video’s view page URL entered using the embed buttons. This code will show in your post editor where the video will appear. The video will then display once the post is previewed or published.

Viper’s plugin has detailed online help on your Dashboard -> Settings -> Video Quicktags page which lets you configure preferences for all the different video sharing websites, including what buttons you want displayed in your editor, the default size of embedded videos, and much more. If you still have questions after reading the online help, or need assistance getting the plugin working, please ask in this Tech Support forum topic about how to embed videos.

Please note that all previous blog posts you may have that include an embedded Flash object, like a YouTube or MySpace video, will continue to display the video just fine. That is, until you edit the post! Editing any existing post will strip out the object embed code. You would then need to re-embed the video using the new, easier Quicktags method.

Embedding videos in blog posts is just one of the many enhanced features available to Tripawds Supporter Blogs, made possible with the WPMU Dev Premium Supporter plugin. More details about that coming soon, like how it lets us automatically remove banner ads from Supporter blogs upon upgrade. Any Tripawds Blog can be upgraded via PayPal subscription by visiting your blog Dashboard -> Supporter Tab. Thank you for your continued Support.

New Tripawds Friends Function, Etc.

Been doing quite a bit behind the scenes here the past couple days. Some tests resulted in not so good results, but other tweaking means we have a new feature to announce and feedback to request.

The WordPress MU gurus over at WPMU Dev Premium informed us about their exciting new Global Site Search plugin. This would allow readers of Jerry’s main three legged dog blog to search for key words or phrases and get results from all Tripawds Blogs. Great! It just didn’t play nice* with our SimplePress Forums plugin, so we’ll be awaiting the next update before trying that again.

I’m happy to say, however that the new Tripawds Friends feature seems to be functioning just fine, thanks to our new WPMU Dev Premium Friends plugin! All Tripawds Bloggers will now notice two new items in their dashboard. The Friends tab will let members search for friends by username, and then add them to their own Friends list. Also from this tab, you can enable or disable email notifications for when another member adds you as a friend.

Under the Appearance -> Widgets tab, there is also a new Friends widget which lets members display their list of friends in the sidebar of their blog. Friends can be displayed as a list, or a nifty mosaic of user avatars. And now for the feedback part …

  1. Do you find this fun, or is it just getting way too Twitter?
  2. Should we enable an authorization feature which would require your approval of another member’s friend request before they could friend you?
  3. And finally, would you like to see a new Inbox feature for sending friends messages from your dashboard? (We did not enable this because the Tripawd Discussion Forums already have a robust Private Messaging feature.)

*Note to any SimplePress users / WPMU Dev Premium Members out there: Can you replicate forum pages not rendering with Global Site Search enabled?

I am impressed. And relieved.

WordPress makes importing blogs simple. Now, this may not be specific to MU, in fact it isn’t. But after burying myself in database dumps far too deep for for my liking while migrating Jerry’s original blog to this new Tripawds Blogs community, I was prepared for the worst when users asked about importing existing Blogger blogs to Tripawds.

I knew importing posts and comments would be no problem. But I assumed all images would need to be downloaded and provided to us so we could upload them to the user account account here. Then, I figured I would need export database tables for the new imported blog and search/replace image URLs to point to the proper /blogs.dir/files/ directory. After all, that’s how I had to make images display after finding this helpful post about to migrating from WordPress to WordPress MU.

But you can forget all that. After playing around in my new sandbox, I discovered that image URLs from Blogger posts are absolute and migrate absolutely. I created a test blog on Blogger, then ran the import from my Tripawds blog, and voila! Images displayed just fine. As long as the Blogger (or other blog platform) account remains active, with the hosted image files in place, everything should be just fine. And better yet … no upload space quota is used by those images hosted at Blogger.

The only drawback I noticed was that post labels get imported as categories, instead of tags. But then I bet the WordPress Categories and Tags Converter tool does just that, just as well. It’s amazing what you can learn by actually doing something.

How did we do it?

Migrating Jerry’s regular ol’ WordPress blog to WordPress MU was no easy task. In fact, it was downright nerve-wracking at times. But one look at the growing community of Tripawds Bloggers makes it all worthwhile. Knowing that pawrents are using their Tripawds Blogs to share their stories and photos is heartwarming. And knowing they find it helpful and cathartic when coping with cancer or amputation for their pup is even better.

200x200-banner.pngIt is WPMU that makes the Tripawds Blogs community possible. And I couldn’t have developed this site without the help of many thoughtful experts in the WordPress MU support forums.

But it was our WPMU DEV Premium membership that really helped make it what it is.

Thanks to the premium wpmu plugins and support, we are able to offer all the functionality Tripawds blogs have to offer. This is also how we are able to offer WordPress tutorial videos to help users get started blogging.

Now if only we could figure out a way for this to pay for all our efforts! 😉 But that’s why we have banner ads on blogs and why we implemented Tripawds Supporters to automatically remove those ads upon upgrade. It’s also why we’ll most likely need to have annual fund raising campaigns and why we kindly accept any contributions. Thank you all for your continued support!

But I digress. This particular Tripawds Blog is intended purely for my own technical purposes. I’ll periodically share details about what’s going on behind the scenes here, or simply test new plugins and themes. So don’t expect frequent updates, and I won’t expect anyone to really care what I have to say here. :p

Behind the Scenes is brought to you by Tripawds.