FeedWordPress 0.991: bug fixes, reorganization, minor features added — and MU compatability

Update 2008-11-06: FeedWordPress 0.991 is now out of date. You can download the latest release — 2008.1105 at the time of this writing — from the project homepage.

FeedWordPress 0.991 is now available for download.

Version 0.991 fixes some bugs that were present in version 0.99, adds a couple of minor features, reorganizes the file structure of the archive, and adds one very significant change. Let’s start with the significant change, which I am very happy to announce:

  • WORDPRESS MU COMPATABILITY: FeedWordPress should now be compatible with
    recent releases of WordPress MU. Once FeedWordPress is made available
    as a plugin, each individual blog can choose to activate FeedWordPress
    and syndicate content from its own set of contributors.

And now on to the bug fixes:

  • BUG RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL CHARACTERS IN AUTHOR NAMES FIXED: Due to a
    subtle incompatability between the way that FeedWordPress generated new
    user information, and the way that WordPress 2.0 and later added new
    authors to the database, FeedWordPress might end up creating duplicate
    authors, or throwing a critical error message, when it encountered
    authors whose names included international characters. This
    incompatability has now been fixed; hopefully, authors with
    international characters in their names should now be handled properly.

  • media:content BUG IN MAGPIERSS FIXED: A bug in MagpieRSS’s handling of
    namespaced elements has been fixed. Among other things, this bug caused
    items containing a Yahoo MediaRSS <media:content> element (such as
    many of the feeds produced by wordpress.com) to be represented
    incorrectly, with only a capital “A” where the content of the post
    should have been. Feeds containing <media:content> elements should now
    be syndicated correctly.

  • MAGPIE WARNINGS NO LONGER DISPLAYED BY DEFAULT: A number of MagpieRSS warnings or error messages that were displayed when performing an automatic update are no longer displayed, unless debugging parameters have been explicitly enabled.

Some minor bugs in the administrative interface have also been fixed.

I have received some feature requests concerning the new updating system that I introduced in FeedWordPress 0.99. Under the old system, there was a (needlessly complicated) system for having FeedWordPress poll its feeds for updates, which could be activated with a cron script on a regular schedule, thus keeping FeedWordPress up to date. In version 0.99, I replaced this with a much simpler system, in which FeedWordPress would automatically poll its feeds, according to a certain schedule, when users visited your website. (Of course, a cron script could still be used to make sure that this was activated on a regular schedule.) However, some users wrote me that they preferred that visitors not have to wait for the polling to finish before the page loads. So, I’ve added an HTTP parameter which gives you the option. If you prefer not to use WordPress’s cron-less automatic updates, you can now use the update_feedwordpress parameter instead. Here’s how it works:

  • Leave Automatic Updates turned off. This will ensure that FeedWordPress polls for updates only when you tell it to do so.

  • Add a line something like the following to your crontab:

    */15 * * * * curl --silent http://www.zyx.com/blog/?update_feedwordpress=1
    

    … replacing http://www.zyx.com/blog/ with the address of the blog where FeedWordPress is installed. This line will instruct FeedWordPress to poll for updates once every 15 minutes. If you have left Automatic Updates off, it will only check for updates on the 15 minute interval.

If you prefer the cron-less update method, then that’s still available; just go to Options –> Syndication and turn Automatic Updates on.

Finally, a word about the re-organization of the archive. FeedWordPress is now listed in, and hosted by, the kind folks at the WordPress Plugin Directory. In line with their style guide about how to organize archives, I have moved the main plugin files — feedwordpress.php and syndication-options.php — to the root directory of the archive, and I have relocated the MagpieRSS upgrade to a subdirectory called, creatively enough, MagpieRSS-upgrade. However, please remember that in order to take advantage of the MagpieRSS upgrade — which you will definitely want to take advantage of, unless you don’t care about Atom 1.0 feeds, proper handling of multiple categories, or several bug fixes — you must still copy the contents of the MagpieRSS-upgrade directory to the wp-includes folder of your WordPress installation.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving, y’all.