FVP 1.9: Spanish

Yesterday I just released version 1.9 of the Featured Video Plus plugin. By now the plugin was downloaded over 21,000 times from the WordPress.org plugin repository and got a 4.9 (out of 5) star rating with plenty of positive feedback! Thanks to all the users!

Version 1.9 replaces the Video.js local video player with the WordPress native MediaElement.js player. While this means less clutter for the plugin and a more native feel it also breaks local video support for installations running WordPress 3.5 or older. On the other hand: No need to update the plugin if you do not upgrade your WordPress installation anymore!

Second big update is the Spanish localization! Maria from WebHostingHub.com contacted me around two month ago and was happy to translate the plugin. Thanks!

AngularJS ngxSouffleur (unobtrusive typeahead) directive

I am currently developing a single page application using the awesome AngularJS framework. And because code sharing is still a trend, I will take my turn on it as well. The video above basically shows the complete functionality: Highly unobtrusive typeahead suggestions for input fields. A prompter (German: souffleur) in an opera house gives the singers the opening words of each phrase a few seconds early (wiki).

With every entered letter the directive looks if there exist suggestions in an array. If so, the first match is being displayed. When the user presses the tab key the suggestion is accepted and a custom event is fired.

The directive creates a new ngxSouffleur HTML tag which takes a couple of attributes: src (array containing possible suggestions), ng-model (will contain the input’s value), event (function to fire when the suggestion is accepted), child-class (class for the two child elements, if you are using bootstrap this might be ‘form-control’) and finally input-id if you make use of html input labels somewhere.

The HTML for this is pretty basic. A relative positioned div containing two absolute positioned elements: The input the user types into and another div which contains the suggestion and is located right behind the input using absolute positioning.

  <input type="text" ng-model="model">

Below the directives complete JS code. JS and CSS are available on GitHub.

Code Revisions 0.8

My Google Summer of Code project at WordPress, Code Revisions, finally is available in the WordPress.org plugin repository. It is not final yet, but close to. The whole development process was and still is accompanied by weekly posts on make/core. Features and bugs are kept track of on the WordPress gsoc trac. If you find a bug don’t hesitate to report it there.

Go get it: http://wordpress.org/plugins/code-revisions/

FVP 1.8: Local Videos Overhauled

My featured video plugin is getting some good feedback on WordPress.org. I just released version 1.8 which overhauls the local video feature using the freshly available Video.js 4.0. Take a look into your media settings and customize it!

With version 4.0 the licence of Video.js changes from LGPLv3 to the Apache Licence v2 which is compatible with GPL and therefore.. nothing changes for my plugin. Nice :)

Theme and plugin dependencies

Currently I have two child themes in the making. I basically really like the parent themes and only change minor things about them for my own use cases. When thinking about releasing one of them to the WordPress.org theme repository I already started coding a class for automatically installing  the parent theme on activation. I did not finish the script because I realized that broken themes are not allowed to run any code. Child themes without parent themes are obviously broken to WordPress.

Some themes already prompt users to install certain plugins when activated. WordPress just is what it is today because it can be enhanced with thousands of themes and plugins. Therefore I think adding dependency functionality to core is indispensable.

There are multiple ways to realize this. Child themes are dependent on parent themes. Themes can be dependent on plugins. Also plugins might enhance functionality of other plugins. My approach to this would be to introduce a new header parameter (in style.css / my-plugin.php) for dependencies: ‘plugins‘. Furthermore the ‘template‘ header might in the future also be usable in plugins. ‘plugins‘ and ‘template‘ (latter only changes for plugins) not only can include a single plugin/theme slug but multiple. Separation would be realized using commas ( , ) for ‘and’ and semicolons ( ; ) for ‘or’. The or is only required if we want to add give plugin authors the ability to restrict their plugins to specific themes. I am not sure if this is a good idea. This definitely needs discussion.

A problem with using slugs for “template” and “plugin” headers when referring to the *.org repository: Slugs are not required to be unique. So some convention would be required here. The repository uses unique URLs and this functionality could rely on the last part of it: “http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/my-plugin-2“. Also full URLs to a zip package could be imaginable but might result in a security flaw.

With the new functionality installing a theme with dependencies would be a little different:

After activating a child-theme with missing template/parent theme the user would no longer just be prompted about its brokenness but would directly be able to install the parent theme easily: A link in an admin notice brings up the WordPress.org thickbox like when installing themes manually. Two-click installation.

Same for themes which depend on plugins: Prompt the user with a link which brings up the thickbox for easy installation. When multiple plugins are required we could also provide a “directly install all”-link which does not require opening multiple thickboxes.

I think I am more than capable of realising this project. Same as with my other two proposals: I do not have any specific request regarding a mentor. Someone with knowledge of the interaction between WordPress installs and WordPress.org would be pretty useful. Knowledge of how WordPress handles theme/plugin activations etc would be a benefit as well. Otto might be perfect for mentoring this, but I think he is not available for mentoring. Andrew suggested the idea, so maybe he might be interested in mentoring it himself?

Would like some feedback here! GSoC proposal time is running out. I hope to get in :)