Archive for February, 2009

RSS feed problem fixed

February 16th, 2009

I ran into a problem that seems to come up occasionally on the WordPress support forum – blank lines at the beginning of the RSS feed XML file for the site which causes problems since it’s no longer valid XML. A quick look at the support forum pointed me in the right direction. It turned out to be blank lines following the final ?> line in the functions.php I had added to my custom theme to add widget support to the sidebar. This file gets loaded and parsed for every request to the blog, including for the RSS feed, and the blank line is actually seen as an intended part of the output – like the regular HTML you see in PHP files. Removing the blank line sorted the problem out.

I’m loving WordPress v2.7

February 16th, 2009

I really love the admin pages in WordPress v2.7. I particularly like the way that you can install plugins and do updates directly from the admin interface. For example I logged in today and the Dashboard told me that WordPress 2.7.1 was available, and offered me the option to do the upgrade automatically. It did warn me about making sure I had a backup, but I plunged straight in – reckless, I know, and not recommended :) Anyway, in less than 15 seconds the update had been downloaded to the server, unpacked, installed, and I was back up and running. Brilliant!

I suppose the one thing that would improve this is to include an automatic backup step, which could be optional. It probably wouldn’t be that hard, and would probably be sufficient for 90% of WordPress users – it would certainly do the trick for me :)

Site Update – WordPress 2.7, new theme, widgets support

February 8th, 2009

So, it’s taken a while to get around to it, but I’m back on the blog again! There’s been a couple of updates, including upgrading to WordPress 2.7, changing my theme, and adding widgets support to the sidebar. There’s still a few things that need tidying up such as the colour scheme for the Google Ads, and I’m not sure if I’ll keep the link colours :)

One of the changes brought about by the addition of widget support is the RSS feeds in the sidebar. These are originally sourced from Google Reader which can republish them as Atom feeds. However the MagpieRSS feed reading code built into WordPress can’t deal with the fact that the news item source data in the feed also includes title and link elements, so it ends up combining these with the title and link elements for the actual entry, messing up the feed entries in the sidebar. I came across a workaround in the WordPress support forum – pass the feeds through Feedburner and use the Convert Format Burner option to turn it into an RSS 2.0 feed. The RSS parser in WordPress deals with those feeds fine, and I’m using the KB Advanced RSS Widget to take a little more control over how the feed is displayed compared to the standard RSS widget.

As for WordPress 2.7, I really like the new Dashboard, and especially the features for installing plugins directly instead of having to upload them manually. I think I’ll have to look at upgrading My Halo News.com and Our Adventures too now :)

I’m hoping that this might mark the start of more regular blogging, as there’s lots to say – just maybe not enough time to say it. Let’s see how long it takes till the next post!