There are a number of interesting developments in WordPress and I wanted to share them here, in case you’ve missed them elsewhere.
Prologue: Twitter-Like Microblogging Theme
Twitter microblogging is a growing phenomenon, despite the fact that there are actually more robust alternatives such as jaiku, tumblr. But Twitter’s popularity has probably reached enough critical mass that more new users will gravitate there. In fact, I regularly get emails saying so and so is now following me, despite the fact that I almost never Twitter. (Too much inane Twittering for my liking, and I don’t really have much… er.. little to say.)
But if you like the general functionality, there’s a new alternative that lets you build your own Twitter-like clone in WordPress: the Prologue theme. It’s clean and crisp, and you can add messages/ posts right on the home page. (Only registered users can see the textarea for entering messages.)
Each post has its own permalink page, so comments can be added if someone chooses to. There are no 140-char limits, and you can embed media (images, video) as with any WordPress posts. One awkward issue is that if you want any text with a hyperlink, you do have to enter in the necessary HTML code in the textarea. (Another problem is that the only way to get author images displaying is for authors to have a registered gravatar. It’d be nice to be able to alternately upload an image through each user’s WP control panel.)
Prologue is great for Twitter-like blogs with multiple authors, or even for groups that need to communicate with each other through short messages rather than CC’d email messages. (However, if you need for Prologue posts to be visible to members only, you’d have to tweak the theme’s WP code to automatically set every new post to “private”. You’d also have to provide a single password to all members.)
This theme just goes to show how flexible WordPress is for building non-blog content management systems.
WordPress-Based Contact Manager
WordPress, like some other blogging platforms, has always had the potential as a full-blown CMS (Content Management System). That’s being proven more often these days, what with all the “magazine themes”, Twitter-clones like Prologue (above), Popurls clones, and now Design Canopy’s WP-based Contact Manager theme.
This Contact Manager isn’t a standalone theme per se. There are a couple of plugins that must be installed for it to function. However, these are included with the download. Check out the demo to get a feel for it.
Something like this is ideal for bloggers that are bootstrapping an online publishing business. You can keep track of colleagues as well as advertisers.
[via: Automattic WP Publisher Blog]
WordPress Image Rotator Plugin
If you want to add some visual impact to your blog theme, an image rotator might be the way. CNP_Studio built an Image Rotator plugin for Sony Computer Entertainment America but were given permission to share it with the WordPress community. I have not tried it but with a bit of tweaking, it might work as an ad rotator.
[via: Automattic WP Publisher Blog]
WordPress PodPress Podcasting Plugin
The PodPress plugin is by no means new. I used it in a couple of test sites either 2006 or possibly 2005 (my memory is hazy), and it’s a relatively easy plugin to use. But it was mentioned on the WP Publisher Blog, and with all the members of the Performancing Hive who have started podcasts, I thought I’d point out PodPress. I’ve used it showcase some of my instrumental compositions. It even has support for premium (paid) content and for playing in a popup window. (Note: the demos are for WP 1.5x and 2.1. I’ve only ever used this plugin with 1.5x.)
WordPress 2.5 Coming
Personally, I’ve disliked every version of WordPress since about 2.3 onwards. I go out of my way to avoid these versions on any of my sites, depending on how much time I have to manually install, say, 2.2. But many of the new plugins and themes require 2.3 and above. WP version 2.5 will be released soon and it’s supposedly packed with lots of new features. Whether or not you can easily upgrade from pre-2.2 versions up to 2.5 remains to be seen but I’m guessing not. If you’re the type to install the latest WP version as soon as it comes out, I suggest you make sure you realize what you’re getting into.
You can read more about WordPress 2.5 and WordPress goings on over at Blog Herald, on Lorelle’s WordPress Wednesdays posts.
Ryan: That link button is “do-able”, but it would require not only tweaking the theme but also the WP/PHP code of the home page template. I can’t think of a quick solution, but I’ll post here if I do.
I’m using Prologue Theme to run a group microblog over at thrivecore.com and the only thing I’d change about it is adding a link button for the front page twit box.
I have to say that I have really grown fond of WordPress themes. Love learning new tips and tricks.
I have never signed up for a Gravatar, well until now.
Having an image rotator could be great for my hobby blogs, especially my fly fishing, gardening and travel blogs.