Sunday, March 29, 2009

Vista. Hero status update.

Another week another Vista enhancement found. Well, to be honest I did not find this issue this week, rather I was looking for a "fix". Since I did not find such I decided to share my wonderful experience.

"Bug" in question concerns a number of buttons from the keyboard of my work Lenovo T61 with Vista SP1 installed. The actual problem rears its ugly head if you use more than one keyboard layout to type in another language (other than English), say Russian. If you switch the layout from English to Russian the multimedia buttons as well as the "special" Win key do not work. Switching back to English (some of the many) keyboard layout provides you with your precious (Lord of the Rings anyone?) keys again.

Wait it gets a tad bit more interesting. My coleague has a Lenovo T60. Guess what!? The buttons on it work no matter the keyboard layout used.

And for a the grand final. All these buttons used to work with Windows XP, no matter what keyboard layout you used.

I am sure someone at M$ will point out a hardware issue here and point a finger at Lenovo for not handling keyboard interrupts properly and not writing a proper BIOS and whatnot... Yet what I notice day in and day out is that the buttons on my laptop do not work properly and this drives me crazy...

Here's to hoping Windows 7 won't suck as much...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Logo Candy

WordPress has now approved my plug-in hosting request. The plug-in is called Logo Candy (for a lack of a better name) and its primary purpose is to allow one to change the logo, the logo's description and redirect link on the WP log-in page. Now for some more details:

General idea:
Since its birth in my mind this plug-in's purpose was to provide you with the aforementioned abilities. I know there are other ways to achieve this task - option 1: edit code directly, option 2 : use other much more sophisticated plug-ins where this is hidden amongst other options. The first does not work in my book as the next WP update may touch that specific file and either revert your changes or refuse to work due to difference in the files that are to be updated. The second is a viable solution but I wanted to start from somewhere with plug-in development and this is plug-in is the result. While creating the plug-in I read quite a lot, saw examples how other people do it in their plug-ins and crafted my own, following the most recent developments in WP.

Going further, since its general availability a few weeks back I have had some ideas on how to expand the functionality. I will not spill the beans here so as not to disappoint someone. I want to see if any feedback comes from the plug-in as it is right now. If there is such I'll evaluate it and may take another direction in my coding efforts.

Technical details:

Judging by the testing I performed on a number of blogs where I installed the plug-in, before it was hosted by WP, it works as expected without any issues. If you find any please post a comment and I'll see to fix any bugs.

I've made an attempt to document the source well so should be relatively easy to either make changes to the code or use it as a simple tutorial. While short, only about 100 lines of code, the plug-in itself utilizes the latest in WP development technology - no depreciation warnings, no old code...

Closing matters:

If you like the plug-in; if it did wonders for you; if it was just what you were looking for; if you liked how well documented it is; or you liked it for any other reason please support my work. A small donation is always welcome.

On the other hand if you like my work you can also hire me for doing changes to the plug-in or support it in some way.

By all means, have fun using the plug-in.

Friday, March 13, 2009

WordPress plug-in development

Recently I had to do some to work on projects that utilized WordPress as a back-end. While not large-scale projects these got me interested in WordPress (referred to as WP from now on for simplicity's sake). All of the projects required, amongst other things, re-branding of the traditional WP interface both front-end theme and back-end.

Doing it once was not that big of nuisance but a few times would have gone on my already stretched by my day job nerves. Was there no easier way? Sure there was! I just had to find it and there you go. Before I knew it I had given myself a new mission. Soon I was all over the WP site gobbling the developer information and tarnishing through the plug-in repository. Google itself got no mercy either... After relentlessly searching though the available plug-ins and resources for roughly about 30 minutes it was evident I would need to do some coding myself... Oh, well!

Within a couple of hours I had acquainted myself with the WP plug-in development philosophy. Not before long I had found the respective hooks I would need and hacked a few lines to test the thing out. Turns out it was fairly easy to do stuff around WP. And that's where it hit me... Why not release this wonderful peace of ingenious code upon the world in the form of a plug-in?

So I registered to become a WP developer and am right now waiting for approval. Now we play the waiting game :) You wait for my wonderful plug-in that as of now can only change the log-in logo, logo caption and logo link, and I wait upon WP stuff.

See you soon. Another day, another plug-in written, as they say!