Responsive images and tinySrc

Producing images of the perfect size, when you create a Web site that targets multiple device classes with very different screen sizes is always a problem. There are a number of solutions out there, but they all require some kind of server-side detection and image wrangling. tinySrc is a nice and simple solution that takes away most if not all of the legwork. Possibly the only downside of tinySrc is that it relies on server-side detection itself. A lot of developers that worked with browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Opera advocate for client-side detection where it’s the browser that tells you about its capabilities instead of relying on a static database. I will not go into the details of why and when one is better than the other, let’s just say that tinySrc already gives you the power of the server-side, with my little software you can also benefit from the power of the client. Continue reading “Responsive images and tinySrc”

Techcrunch and WPTouch: design optimised for mobile, data usage optimised for long wait

Techcrunch, the very well known news site about startups, Web 2.0, mobile and buzz words, has launched a mobile version of their site in March 2010: You Asked For It: TechCrunch, The Mobile Version. There are some little technical details that aren’t quite perfect for mobiles, though.

Continue reading “Techcrunch and WPTouch: design optimised for mobile, data usage optimised for long wait”

Google Analytics for WordPress for Mobile

Joost de Valk, a.k.a. Yoast, has created the great Google Analytics for WordPress plugin. The plugin does exactly what you would expect, add the Google Analytics JavaScript to your blog. On top of that it also allows you to define a lot of little tweaks specific to WordPress such as tracking authors, tags, categories and more.

All this is great, but what about mobile devices?

Continue reading “Google Analytics for WordPress for Mobile”

Getting W3 Total Cache and a mobile plugin to work in WordPress

Since release 0.9.0 W3 Total Cache has an excellent mobile support. The author has done a great job with this update and now it works smoothly. Different mobile plugins or themes might require some slightly settings, but the default should work for most cases.

Configuring WordPress Mobile Pack
Continue reading “Getting W3 Total Cache and a mobile plugin to work in WordPress”

Go mobile with WP Super Cache and the Mobile Pack

If you want your blog to stay as fast as possible and you want to support mobile users you will have to reach some compromise.

This was true until today. With the WordPress Mobile Pack version 1.2.1 you now can get the best of both worlds. Here is a quick guide on how to achieve it. I am assuming you have installed the latest version of WP Super Cache, already.
Continue reading “Go mobile with WP Super Cache and the Mobile Pack”

Getting W3 Total cache to work with WordPress Mobile Pack

If your WordPress site has enough traffic you have been considering a cache plugin. Most people download WP Super Cache, plainly said the most popular plugin for WordPress. W3 Total Cache is a different plugin that aims to achieve about the same, but has a number of advantages such as support CDN, minifying CSS and JS and more. From a quick look at the code it looks much lighter and more in general it has a different approach to cache.
Continue reading “Getting W3 Total cache to work with WordPress Mobile Pack”

WordCamp Ireland report

I am just back from WordCamp Ireland, a two-day conference about WordPress and blogging in general. Have you ever been to a WordCamp? Are you interested in blogging, or more in general about writing content on Internet? Then you SHOULD be going to a WordCamp!

I don’t know if it was this one that was particularly good, but there are so many positive things that I’ve experienced at this event, that I strongly recommend you to go as soon as you can. You have gone already? Then go again! 😉

If you don’t know what happens in a WordCamp, then here’s a quick list of things you can expect. To start off, it’s not a conference for geeks only, it’s about blogging and writing good content to publish on Internet. I admit you will likely meet a bunch of geeks, but you will also meet a lot of “normal people” that are passionate about Internet and want to get their ideas online. The general attire is very relaxed and equally the socialization is very easy going.

I have been to a number of conferences and this was easily one of the best and I’m saying so because I have a long list of things I have learnt and things I’ve heard and that now I was to learn better. This is probably the best outcome that you can get from a conference.

Small disclaimer: I was one of the speaker and not surprisingly I was talking about mobile, but for once, not to mobile nerds. Presentation coming to the Internet very soon.

WordPress Mobile Plugin by Andy Moore does dirty things

Last week I wanted to take a look at the recently released WordPress 2.7 and of course wanted to give it a go on a mobile. As you might have noticed I’m on Google’s blogger and there is, unfortunately, no mobile version, so a proper mobile plugin would be a big plus for me and a good reason to move away.

I download the tiny zip from the official site, opened the readme.txt file. The file itself did not tell much if not that it would make my blog mobile. Fair enough, I took the php file and copied it in wp-content/plugins. That is all that was apparently required to install and in fact in the admin interface I had a new plugin available, I selected it and enabled on my Mac. The site URL was a local one, of course, wordpress.local (and added to my hosts file to access it).

Looking for some further information I went back to the official site (that I won’t link) and notice that in homepage there’s a nice link mentioning that my wordpress.local is the latest site which installed the plugin! A bit surprised I opened the small PHP file and noticed that there are two calls, one on plugin activation and one on deactivation. Being PHP it was not so hard to find what it does and I was very disappointed with the discovery. On both events the plugin calls a remote API AND send an e-mail to Andy Moore mentioning the site name, URL, and the admin’t email, YES, YOUR E-MAIL address.
In my case, the SMTP server was down, so the e-mail did not get delivered, but to my great disappointment the API was reached and that is why my local install was mentioned on the website.

Nothing wrong has happened, in fact I’m pretty sure if Andy wanted to contact me he would definitely find a way, but it was very disturbing to discover that this happens without letting the user know. If I had been a bit smarter I would have looked at the code and I would have discovered it, the problem is that the average wordpress user will not bother to look at the code and will probably not even be capable of understanding what’s going on. We are not all developers and my impression is that Andy is relying exactly on the inability of his users to disable the feature. The software is GPL and everyone is welcome to look at and change it and that is exactly why I did not even bother to look at it, I took it granted that nothing bad would happen.

In case you wanted to disable this functionality (but it’s probably too late now, I admit), what you should do is open wordpress-mobile.php, find the function wordpress_mobile_plugin_activate (it’s at line 1664 in version 1.3), go to the first line of the function and just add the following line:
return true;

Do the same for the function wordpress_mobile_plugin_deactivate (line 1673 in version 1.3).

Andy has definitely spent time to get this plugin working and maintaing it and I think it’s perfectly fair for him to ask for money and ask his users to provide usage details, but asking and taking are different operations, I my opinion.