FeedWordPress 2010.0623: fixes some update and UI issues, improves performance

FeedWordPress 2010.0623 is now available for download.

This release addresses some performance issues related to a bug fix that was introduced in FeedWordPress 2010.0528; it also includes fixes to a couple of issues introduced by the transition to SimplePie (related to a frequent error condition in feed updates) and WordPress 3.0 (related to the author mapping interface in Syndication –> Authors). In addition, some users related an odd fatal error related to the Relative_URI class. I am not sure what was causing this error, but whatever it was, it should no longer be a problem, because this release eliminates the dependency on the Relative_URI class to resolve relative URIs (instead, FeedWordPress now uses a perfectly adequate substitute which is built in to the SimplePie module).

Here’s a breakdown of some of the major changes since the previous release:

  • WORDPRESS 3.0 COMPATIBILITY / AUTHOR MAPPING INTERFACE ISSUES: I
    resolved a couple of outstanding issues with the author mapping
    interface (Syndication –> Authors), which were preventing new users
    from being created correctly and author mapping rules from being set up
    correctly. These partly had to do with new restrictions on user account
    creation introduced in WordPress 3.0; anyway, they should now be fixed.

  • MORE EFFICIENT SYNDICATED URL LOOKUPS: Several users noticed that the
    bug fix introduced in 2010.0528 for compatibility with post-listing
    plugins caused a lot more queries to the database in order to look up
    numerical post IDs from the URL provided to the filter. This shouldn’t
    cause any major problems, but it is not as efficient as it could be; the
    code now takes advantage of a more efficient way of doing things,
    which usually will not require any additional database queries.

  • SIMPLEPIE FEED UPDATE ISSUES: If you have been having significant
    problems with getting feeds to update correctly, this may be the result
    of some bugs in the implementation of SimplePie caching that ships with
    WordPress (as of version 3.0). (You would most commonly experience this
    error if you continually saw errors such as “No feed found at <…>” in
    your updates.) Fortunately, SimplePie allows for a great deal of
    extensibility and this allows me to work around the problem; these
    error conditions should now be mostly eliminated when the underlying
    feed is valid.

  • UI: SHOW INACTIVE SOURCES: When you use the default unsubscribe option
    — which turns off the subscription to a feed while preserving the posts
    from it and the syndication-related meta-data for the feed — the
    unsubscribed feed can now easily be viewed in a special “Inactive”
    section of the Syndicated Sources page. (As a side benefit, if you’ve
    accidentally, or only temporarily, turned off the subscription to a
    feed, it is now much easier to restore the feed to being active, or to
    delete it permanently, if you prefer.

  • UI: FEED FINDER / SWITCH FEED INTERFACE IMPROVEMENTS: changes to styling
    and options for the feed finder / switch feed, which should now make it
    easier, in some cases, to find alternative feeds, and make interface
    options more clearly visible.

  • FILTERS: syndicated_item_published and syndicated_item_updated NOW
    PROPERLY AFFECT THE DATING OF POSTS.
    These filters used to affect some
    date-related settings, but not others — and, most importantly, not the
    final date that is set for a post’s publication or last-modified date
    in the WordPress database. Now, they do affect that, as they should.
    (Filters should receive, and return, a long integer, representing a Unix
    epoch relative timestamp.)

  • MAGIC URL TO CLEAR THE CACHE: Suppose that you need to clear the feed
    cache, for whatever reason; suppose, even, that you need to clear it on
    a regular basis. One way you might do this is by logging into the
    FeedWordPress administrative interface and going to Syndication –>
    Performance. Another way you might do it, now, is to simply send an
    HTTP request to a magic URL provided by FeedWordPress: if your blog is
    at example.com, the URL would be http://example.com/?clear_cache=1

Download and enjoy! If you have any issues with the release, or any questions I can help answer, 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. If you have an issue to report, please be sure to tell me what version of FeedWordPress you’re using, what version of WordPress you’re using it with, and try to tell me, as clearly as possible,

Please remember that your generous gifts to the project tip jar make ongoing development, quick fixes and timely support for FeedWordPress possible.

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FeedWordPress 2010.0602: more fixes rolled up, and some important changes under the hood

FeedWordPress 2010.0602 is now available for download.

Happy June!

I know a lot of you have questions related to the past couple of releases of FeedWordPress that I haven’t yet gotten back to you about. I’m sorry it’s taking a while, but I have been reading all the questions and reports coming in, and have been working on resolving a number of issues reported, while also doing a lot of work under the hood in order to improve FeedWordPress’s extensibility and to allow add-on modules to more thoroughly extend FeedWordPress’s user interface and features. I don’t have much to say about the under-the-hood changes just yet (I’ll have more to say about them as they prove themselves in practical uses in the future). But for now, I thought it would be important to push out another public release which will wrap up some of the improvements and fixes made in response to user questions and reports. There are several questions and issues still outstanding that I will be working on soon, but my wedding anniversary is coming up and I’ll be out of town and away from work for the next few days, so I wanted to make sure that these fixes get out before I leave town. The rest are things that I’ll be getting to when I get back this weekend.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the changes you might notice between the previous release and FeedWordPress 2010.0602:

  • CATEGORY BOX INTERFACE ELEMENT FIXED FOR WP 3.0: Stylesheet changes
    between WordPress 2.9.x and the WordPress 3.0 RC caused the Categories
    box under Syndication –> Categories & Tags to malfunction. This
    has been fixed.

  • LINK CATEGORY SELECTION BOX IN SYNDICATION ==> FEEDS FIXED FOR WP 2.8
    AND 2.9:
    A WP 3.0 compatibility change introduced in 2010.0531
    inadvertently broke the Syndicated Link Category selector under
    Syndication –> Feeds & Updates in WP 2.8 and WP 2.9, causing the post
    categories to be displayed in the selector rather than the link
    categories. This should now be fixed so that the selector will work
    correctly under both the current versions of WordPress and the 3.0 RC.

  • MORE PERMISSIVE HANDLING OF FEEDS WITH BAD CONTENT-TYPE HEADERS: One of
    the small advantages that MagpieRSS had over SimplePie is that it was
    more tolerant about parsing well-formed feeds that the remote web server
    happened to deliver with weird or incorrect HTTP Content-type headers.
    In feeds affected by this problem, the new SimplePie parser would simply
    fail to find a feed, due to its being led astray by the contents of the
    Content-type header. This version includes an extension to SimplePie’s
    content-type sniffer that offers more permissive handling of the HTTP
    headers.

  • MORE FULL-TEXT “EXCERPTS” NOW PROPERLY SHORTENED. Version 2010.0528
    introduced code to control for cases in which elements intended for
    item summaries are (ill-advisedly) used to carry the full text of posts;
    past versions of FeedWordPress would simply include the full text of the
    post in the excerpt field, but newer versions now attempt to detect
    this condition when it arises and to head it off, by blanking out the
    excerpt field and filling it with an automatically generated short,
    plain text excerpt from the full content. This release broadens the
    test conditions that indicate when an excerpt field is treated as
    identical to the full text of the post, and should therefore improve
    the handling of some feeds (such as Google Reader feeds) where the full
    text of each post was still appearing in the excerpt field.

  • FILTERS: syndicated_item_published AND syndicated_item_updated
    FILTERS NOW ALLOW FILTER AUTHORS TO CHANGE POST TIMESTAMPS.
    You can now
    use the syndicated_item_published and syndicated_item_updated filter
    hooks to write filters or add-ons which directly change the post date
    and most-recently-updated timestamps on incoming syndicated posts. Props
    to niska for pointing out where the filters needed to be applied in
    order to change WordPress’s internal timestamps for incoming posts.

Download and enjoy! If you have any issues with the release, or any questions I can help answer, 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. If you have an issue to report, please be sure to tell me what version of FeedWordPress you’re using, what version of WordPress you’re using it with, and try to tell me, as clearly as possible, what you’re trying to accomplish, what you expect to see, and what you see instead when you try to accomplish it (including any error messages you may be seeing). Also, as I mentioned, I will be out of town for the next few days. Please don’t let this stop you from sending in your questions — I’ll be reading through everything that came in while I was away. Just be aware that I’ll be getting back to you sometime around early next week.

Please remember that your generous gifts to the project tip jar make ongoing development, quick fixes and timely support for FeedWordPress possible.

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