FeedWordPress filter poll

I am working on version 0.99 of FeedWordPress, which I hope to release sometime in the next couple weeks. One of the less obvious changes that I hope to accomplish to clean up the internal code, which has become a bit ugly and crufty over time. One thing that I would like to overhaul, if I can do so, is the way that FeedWordPress passes information to filters. But I am not yet sure whether or not I can safely do this. That’s where you come in.

FeedWordPress allows you to write filters that can transform, filter out, or take actions in response to, new posts coming in. Since these filters are written in PHP, the mechanism is extraordinarily flexible if you know how to use it, but judging from the e-mail I get most people don’t yet know how to use it. (That’s something I hope to address in the future with some example scripts and better documentation. But one thing a time.)

So, here are the questions. Feel free to answer them as you see fit in the comments section or by e-mail.

  1. Do you use PHP filters together with FeedWordPress (e.g. syndicated_item or syndicated_post fliters)?

  2. If you do, then what do those filters do?

  3. Do your filters rely on any information from the global variables $fwp_channel or $fwp_feedmeta?

  4. What versions of WordPress and FeedWordPress are you using?

Answers will help me make an informed decision about what to do with FeedWordPress’s handling of filters, which will hopefully maximize benefits while minimizing headaches. Let me know!

FeedWordPress 0.981: bugfix and compatibility release allowing use with WordPress 2.1

Update 2007-11-21: FeedWordPress 0.981 is now out of date. You can download the latest release — 0.991 at the time of this writing — from the project homepage.

There’s a lot to say about some long-awaited and frustratingly long-delayed improvements to FeedWordPress, but I don’t have much time tonight, so I’ll be brief.

FeedWordPress is now compatible with WordPress 2.1. Version 0.981 is now available for download (also available in zip format); the major feature behind this release is code to accommodate the changes to the structure of WordPress’s database between version 2.0.x and 2.1, which until now caused a number of SQL errors and prevented WordPress from syndicating new posts when installed with the latest version of WordPress.

There is one important change that you should note about the installation procedure. Due to what seems to me like a fairly pointless bit of wordsmithing on the part of the WordPress development team, you now need to install two files from the OPTIONAL/wp-includes
directory in order to successfully upgrade your version of MagpieRSS. (The upgrade is necessary for FeedWordPress to support enclosures, multiple categories, or Atom 1.0 feeds.) Be sure that you copy both rss-functions.php and rss.php to your wp-includes directory when upgrading MagpieRSS; if you copy only rss-functions.php you will not end up with a working MagpieRSS (or FeedWordPress) installation.

In addition to the compatibility update, and the changes to the installation procedure, some changes have been made to the user interface code which should help FeedWordPress’s pages fit in better with the WordPress 2.x user interface. In particular, the “Categories” checkboxes for assigning categories to all posts syndicated from any source (under Options –> Syndication) or to all posts syndicated from a particular feed (under Blogroll –> Syndicated) should no longer cause an ugly spill all over the interface.

There are also some important fixes to some outstanding and irritating bugs. Here’s a quick summary of the other changes in this release:

  • DATE BUG AFFECTING SOME PHP INSTALLATIONS RESOLVED: due to a subtle bug
    in parse_w3cdtf(), some installations of PHP encountered problems with
    FeedWordPress’s attempt to date posts, which would cause some new posts
    on Atom feeds to be dated as if they had apppeared in 1969 or 1970
    (thus, effectively, never appearing on front apge at all). This bug in
    the date handling should now be fixed.

  • PHP <?=...?> SHORT FORM ELIMINATED: some installations of PHP do not
    allow the <?=...?> short form for printing PHP values, which was used
    extensively in the FeedWordPress interface code. Since this could cause
    fatal errors for users with the wrong installation of PHP, the short
    form has been replaced with full PHP echo statements, and is no longer
    used in FeedWordPress.

  • GLOBAL CATEGORIES BUG RESOLVED: a bug that prevented some users from
    setting one or more categories to apply to syndicated posts from all
    feeds (using the checkbox interface under Options –> Syndication) has
    been resolved.

Please note that 0.981 is preliminary work which I hope will be followed by ongoing work to better integrate FeedWordPress with the new features offered by recent releases of WordPress. If you encounter any problems with it, please be sure to get in touch with me and send as detailed a report of the bug you are encountering as possible. In the next few weeks I hope to be working on a number of other improvements that will bring much more substantial changes to both the user experience and the technical underpinnings for FeedWordPress. As we move towards a 1.0 release, I have high hopes that your experience as a user will get substantially simpler, while the back-end will become substantially more sophisticated.

In any case, watch this space: it’s been slow for the pas several months, but there are some big things coming soon.

Enjoy!