FeedWordPress 2008.1030: bugfixes, WordPress 2.6 compatability, new features, and a new versioning scheme

Update 2008-11-06: FeedWordPress 2008.1030 is now out of date. You can download the latest release — 2008.1105 at the time of this writing — from the project homepage.

FeedWordPress 2008.1030 is now available for download.

I’ll talk about what’s new in a second. But first, I’m going to ask you for some money. Here’s why.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to concentrate on FeedWordPress development and support, and I’m glad to finally get this release released. The major reasons for this have been related to work: FeedWordPress development has had to take a back seat while I took on other projects as full-time or seasonal work in order to pay the bills. FeedWordPress started out, originally, as itch-scratch-ware for my own purposes, and eventually became a sort of hobby that I was pleased to find a lot of people were finding useful. But I do have rent and bills to pay, and other work has kept me from being able to keep up with FeedWordPress as much as I would like. Since then my circumstances have changed. I am now working as a freelance web developer, which gives me more flexibility over choosing my projects and setting the hours that I work on them. And what I would like is to be able to devote significantly more time to developing and supporting FeedWordPress. Which I will be able to do if my work on FeedWordPress generates enough user donations to free me up from having to spend that time looking for paying gigs. So, if you enjoy FeedWordPress (or at least find it useful), I’d encourage you to figure out how much ongoing development and support for FeedWordPress is worth to you, and consider making a contribution to the project through the project tip jar at http://projects.radgeek.com/feedwordpress/.

O.K. Now, on to the release.

This release of FeedWordPress features a couple of fixes to bugs that have been irritating FeedWordPress users for some time now. It also features some important new features. And a new versioning scheme: rather than call this release 0.994, I have decided that, with these bug fixes in place, and with the number of reasonable version numbers left between 0.993 and 1.0 quickly running out, it is time to drop the beta-status versioning and to adopt a new versioning scheme. Because of the way that FeedWordPress releases work — the basic architecture is likely to remain stable even if there are bug fixes, small or significant changes to internal workings, or the occasional significant new feature added — I think that it will not make much sense to try to follow a standard major.minor.bugfix pattern for version numbers of FeedWordPress. Instead, I’ve decided to adopt release numbers based on the date of the release; since this one is being released on October 30, 2008, we’ll call it FeedWordPress 2008.1030.

Here is most of what has changed since FeedWordPress 0.993:

  • WORDPRESS 2.6 COMPATABILITY: FeedWordPress should now be fully compatible with
    WordPress 2.6, and should work more or less seamlessly with the new post
    revision system. A bug which caused multiple new revisions to be created
    for posts on certain feeds, regardless of whether or not the item had
    been updated, has been fixed.

  • INTERFACE IMPROVEMENTS: The user interface has been substantially
    restyled to fit in better with the visual style of WordPress 2.5 and
    2.6.

  • YouTube BUG (<object> TAGS STRIPPED FROM SYNDICATED POSTS)
    FIXED:
    Due to the way that some versions of WordPress process posts that are
    inserted into the database when no user is logged in, many users
    experienced an issue where YouTube videos and other content using the
    HTML <object> tag would be stripped out of posts that were syndicated
    during an automatic update. (Posts that were syndicated through manual
    updates from within the WordPress Dashboard were not affected, because
    the issue does not arise when an update is executed under a logged-in
    administrator’s credentials.) This bug has now been fixed; YouTube
    videos and other content using <object> tags should now appear
    properly in syndicated posts, regardless of the way in which the post
    was syndicated.

  • AJAX BUGS FIXED: Bugs which blocked the normal operation of WordPress
    2.5’s AJAX interface elements when FeedWordPress was activated have been
    fixed.

  • TAG SUPPORT: A couple of features have been introduced to take advantage
    of the tagging features in WordPress 2.3.x, 2.5.x, and 2.6.x. Now, when
    unfamiliar categories are encountered for posts on a feed, you can
    choose for FeedWordPress (1) to drop the category; (2) to drop the
    category and to filter out any post that does not match at least one
    familiar category; (3) to create a new category with that name, or,
    now, you can also have FeedWordPress (4) create a new tag with that
    name. This option can be set site-wide under Syndication –> Options,
    or it can be set on a feed-by-feed basis in a feed’s Edit screen.

    In addition, you can now set particular tags to apply to all incoming
    syndicated posts, under Syndication –> Options, or you can set tags
    to apply to all incoming syndicated posts from a particular feed in that
    feed’s Edit screen.

  • FORMATTING FILTERS: There is a new option available under Syndication ->
    Options
    which allows users to choose whether or not to expose syndicated
    posts to being altered by formatting filters. By default, FeedWordPress
    has always protected syndicated posts (which are already in display-ready
    HTML when they are syndicated) from being reformatted by formatting
    filters. However, this approach means that certain plugins which depend
    on formatting filters (for example, to add “Share This” bars or relevant
    links to the end of a post) are blocked from working on any syndicated
    posts. If you want to use one of these plugins together with
    FeedWordPress, you can now do so by changing the “Formatting Filters”
    setting from “Protect” to “Expose.”

  • <atom:source> ELEMENTS NOW INCLUDED IN ATOM FEED: Atom 1.0 provides
    a standard method for aggregators to indicate information about the original source of
    a syndicated post, using the <atom:source> element. FeedWordPress now
    introduces standard <atom:source> elements including the title, homepage, and
    feed URI of the source from which a syndicated post was syndicated. Cf.
    http://www.atomenabled.org/developers/syndication/atom-format-spec.php#element.source

  • MODULARIZATION OF CODE: The code for different elements of FeedWordPress
    has been broken out into several modules for easier inspection,
    documentation, and maintenance of the code.

  • VERSIONING SCHEME CHANGED: FeedWordPress’s feature set has proven stable
    enough that it can now be removed from beta status; a good thing, since
    I was very quickly running out of version numbers to use. New releases
    of FeedWordPress will have version numbers based on the date of their
    release.

If you have put off upgrading to WordPress 2.6.x while you waited for a compatibility-tested version of FeedWordPress, and plan to upgrade WordPress after installing FeedWordPress 2008.1030, please remember that after you upgrade WordPress, you will need to reinstall the FeedWordPress MagpieRSS upgrades in order to keep your feed parsing from getting broken.

Enjoy! If you have any issues with the release, or if there is anything that you would like to see included in a future release, please use the comments form or drop me a line to let me know about it.