A little WordPress hacking

October 23, 2015

Not really I’m supposed to be looking at, but I did a little playing with WordPress today. One was to revisit my attempt to install JetPack on wobleg.inf which previously would only partially work if I enabled its DEBUG_MODE. I presumed then the “sign in/connect” problem was due to our Cosign authentication system instead of the default WP login.

I downloaded the latest version, and initially the same problem, it reported a failure to authenticate or connect, or something. Then I wondered if it was a firewall problem, as wobleg is blocked from the outside world, so I opened the HTTP and HTTPS holes, and I was then able to connect/sign in to WordPress.com (which JetPack requires).

JetPack certainly has lots of useful features (similar to those provided by WordPress.com), but rather scarily it also allow you to then manage your wobleg.inf (blog.inf) site via WordPress.com, eg add, edit, delete posts, and more if you allow it.

The recommendation is to network enable JetPack, though individual sites do not need to connect jetpack to their WP.com account.



All this sounds a bit scary, and I’m not sure about installing it on blog.inf without some more testing.

blog.inf front page

While fiddling with WordPress, I couldn’t resist having a quick look at the request to improve the current front page of blog.inf. One of the comments was that the list of “Updated Blogs” is lengthy and shows no indication of when the particular blog was last updated. There is a project (not mine!)  to give it a major revamp, https://computing.projects.inf.ed.ac.uk/330/ , but it turned out to be very simple limit the list of blogs. It turns the local theme calls get_last_updated() which produces a list of the 40 most recently changed blogs. Giving it some extra args it now only lists the 20 most recent. I’ve also extracted those last modified dates and it now shows those too.

$gmtstr = get_blog_status( $details[ 'blog_id' ], 'last_updated');
$gmttime = strtotime( $gmtstr );
$locstr = strftime( "%a %b %e %R %Y %Z", $gmttime );
echo $locstr;

Without the timezone stuff, it just reported UTC time. Not a huge difference, but hopefully the old and stagnant blogs will be less visible.

Footer funnies

October 13, 2015

Kenny reported problems when trying to make use of the new subsite footer options of the homepage content type. The problem appears to be our “local search” theme, not being compatible with the new multi-colours option of the latest UoE theme.

If you choose one of the multi-colours (or even the default red) from the homepage subsite settings, then you can add the footer stuff, and have it stick. The problem (I assume) is that this becomes a new theme, attached to that homepage, overriding whatever sitewide theme we may have (our localsearch version of UoE), and so we lose our localsearch and ability to hide the banner image.

Co-incidentally, IS were asking for my patches to EdWeb to support our RFC request. I explained that we didn’t actually patch EdWeb, but used our own theme, and offered to produce patches to the UoE theme that did the same. They were happy to just get my complete theme code, but perhaps we will have to go down the”patch EdWeb” route, rather than try to sub-theme. It will make upgrades more problematic, but should mean we have less issues when new features are added.

Of course, even better would be if our two RFCs (local search and hide banner) get accepted into the main EdWeb distro, then we won’t have to worry about patches or sub-themes.


EdWeb CAB submissions

October 9, 2015

The Uni EdWeb project now has a Change Advisory Board (CAB), and I’ve submitted the three things our local sub-theme of the UoE theme does as Requests For Change (RFCs) to the board chair – Stratos.

Of the 3 things: local search, removal of banner image and fixing the UoE crest and logo link. The first two have been submitted as RFCs, but the UoE crest link has already been recorded as a bug to be fixed. The RFCs can be seen at:


We’ve also been asked if we can provide a “budget” either in manpower or cash. I’ve said it’s unlikely, other than my patches, but I’ve asked Craig to clarify that.

Stratos has also asked if I would do a presentation at an upcoming Web Publishers monthly meeting. I’ve said I would, but will need to check some facts/bugs with the Web Project team before doing any slides.