On the importance of testing

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Testing is important. Thats a given. You know that. I know that. Measure twice, cut once. I’m used to browser testing my work to ensure it looks right wherever it may be viewed. As a plugin developer however, I still have some learning to do.

Having released one plugin out into the wild I did so when I felt pretty confident that it worked and was ready for use. Use in this case referring to the way in which I had planned on using the plugin for the website it was initially created for. Of course that doesn’t account for any of the other ways the plugin can be used, all of which I created myself.

It didn’t take very long to find the first bug, however accidental. I was looking to fix something else and noticed that I had left some stray code in some javascript. Everything worked fine for what I was doing, but thats because I was testing in Firefox with Firebug so console.log was running fine. First bug, first bug fix release.

Then came the next bug and another update. Then a feature release update. And another error that I found looking over the code. New release, same story. Now a few versions in I feel pretty confident that things are working as they should, for any use of the plugin. Of course now that I’ve said that the next time I go in there I will probably find or introduce something else.

Its a good lesson to be learned, test, test and when you think everything is working, test it again. One of these days I may even look up something to help me test better. Which would probably help seeing as how the two plugins I am currently working on are more complicated than what I have worked on to date. Until then, back to testing.

Link to Your Content 1.6

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What’s this…proper version numbering? For shame.

Now that my SVN issues are (mostly) figured out, it only made sense to get back to a more normal version numbering scheme. Hence version 1.5, 1.5.1 and now 1.6 of Link to Your Content complete with:

  • New External tab giving you the option to easily link to an external (or internal) URL or an e-mail address
  • Default link target has been switched to “open in the same window”
  • Fixed a bug with the link target
  • Fixed a bug with custom link titles
  • Default link title is now the text that was selected
  • New screenshots showcasing the updates

What are you doing down here? The important information is up there. Stop reading and start linking.

1000 Strong and Growing

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Alright, so it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as the old Flintstone vitamin commercials, but I was admittedly a little happy/proud to see that the first plugin I had released made it over the 1000 download mark. And I figured it was a good first milestone to mark with some sort of announcement/feature release.

Pagination, Table for 20

Speaking of feature release, Version 1.5.1 of Link to Your Content has officially been let loose upon on the internet now with user defined pagination values. So instead of having to use the default 20, though you still can, you can now decide for yourself after how many entries the plugin should paginate. I know what you’re thinking, glamorous right, with all that I could have done this was clearly the best upgrade and the one everyone was waiting for.  What can I say, I live to please.

Although the roadmap for the plugin isn’t wrong, I do plan on adding the ability to create external and email links as well as the ability to search. It just wasn’t in the cards for an update that I could start and finish in one afternoon.

So to those 1000 or so people who decided, whether in their right mind of not, to download and use this simple little plugin I wrote I say thank you.

Multisite, custom post types and link to your content

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Oh my

Alright, so that was probably a bit much but I couldn’t come up with a better way to start the post. Not to mention this is probably the closest I will come to having a harrowing or cautionary tale to post, though this really is neither. What it is is what happened when I went to update the one plugin I maintain for what should have been a simple change.

Custom Post Types

When custom post types were introduced in WordPress 3.0 my first inclination was to simply respond to no one in particular, “thats neat.” It wasn’t until I had gone through this article by Justin Tadlock that I started to wrap my feeble little mind around how this was going to affect the sites I built in WordPress. Gone were the days of hijacking a category or tag to segment out specific posts to be treated differently than the rest of the blog. No more pages being created simply to be parents for pages that were to be pulled out and displayed differently. Now all that needed to be done was register a new custom post type and any custom taxonomies or post meta that need to be included. With the update to the default link tool that allowed for linking to custom post types they became just another part of the planning phase when mapping out a new site.

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Link to Your Content v1.4

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Some people use sequential version numbers and some people just want to watch the world burn.

Admittedly there may be a disconnect between the two but if Firefox can skip versions numbers why can I? And no, the gap in versions numbers is in no way related to my own mistakes this afternoon.

More importantly Link to Your Content has in fact been updated, complete with fixes for some IE users who were unable to link to posts or pages. So rather than lamenting the loss of versions 1.2 and 1.3 why not download version 1.4 and get back to linking.