Archive for the 'WordPress' Category

A little love and attention

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Well it is embarrassing how long it has been since this blog got some love and attention. This morning I upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, a project I have been delaying for far too long.

One major reason I needed the upgrade is the amount of spam comments I receive. As a result of doing the update I managed to use the improved WordPress Akismet plugin to filter out over 2000 spam comments, and thus reveal the true comments from readers of my blog posts. I apologise to those who have been leaving valid comments for me over the last few months – I only just read them this morning.

As part of the overhaul I have also implemented a custom theme for mobile devices. This blog is now optimised for viewing by the following:

  • iPhone
  • iPod Touch
  • Google Android
  • Blackberry Storm
  • Palm Pre

For those of you who are still so enthusiastic about my WordPress Plugins – yes I will look to take them to the next level as soon as I can. Now that I am on a much newer version of WordPress I have even more incentive to enhance them :-)

I also have a series of blog posts planned – look for them over the coming weeks…

Update to Visual.SpellCheck 0.95

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

I have posted an update to Visual.SpellCheck that resolves the conflict Firefox was having with the QuickTags in the WordPress editor. A big thanks to Garrison from for his help in locating the problem, and for updating the source code at his end so that there are no issues with future compatibility.

Look for more updates to this plugin later this week…

WordPress Plugin: Visual.SpellCheck

Saturday, February 4th, 2006

Current Version: 0.95

I don't use the WYSIWYG Editor that comes with WordPress 2.0, and as a result have been getting extremely frustrated with the lack of a spell-checker. So I decided to try and get one working, preferably using AJAX to make it as fast and user-friendly as possible.

I am now proud to present Visual.SpellCheck – an AJAX-based Spell Checker for WordPress. It includes the ability to:

  • Highlight incorrectly spelled words
  • List suggested words from the aspell dictionary
  • List suggested words from your custom dictionary
  • Allow new words to be added to your Custom Dictionary

The Spell Checker works in Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari.


Here is a demo of Visual.SpellCheck. It should work fine in Mozilla browsers (including Firefox) and Internet Explorer. It will also function in Opera, although there are some small issues. Follow the instructions in the textarea itself, and feel free to edit it's contents and then test.


Follow these basic steps:

  • Download this file: (37Kb)
  • Unzip the file on your computer.
  • Upload the complete folder "Visual.SpellCheck" to your WordPress plugins directory (found in "/wp-content/plugins")
  • Login to WordPress and go to the Plugins module
  • Find the line that says "Visual.SpellCheck" and click "Activate"
  • Change the permissions on the file Visual.Syntax/personal_dictionary/dict.txt" to "757" so that the server can write to the file

Note: Pspell must be installed on the server for this to work. Also this plugin is not compatible with the WYSIWYG HTML Editor that comes with WordPress (TinyMCE comes with its own spellchecker anyway). You will have to disable the WYSIWYG and be using the old-style editor (textarea).


This project is based on code from Broken-Notebook. Thanks to Garrison who has modified his original code to allow the plugin to integrate with WordPress and minimise issues with future compatibility.

Known Minor Bugs

This is the only bug I am aware of – and it is pretty minor:

  1. In Opera the popup menu that shows the suggested words always sits top-left of the textarea

If you are able to help with this that would be great. :)


2006-02-04 - Firefox QuickTags conflict fixed. Now version 0.95
2006-02-04 - Public release of version 0.90

If you liked this plugin you can digg it here or please leave a comment.

WordPress Fix: Allow Comments on Pages

Monday, January 30th, 2006

WordPress Plugin

By default WordPress has the functionality in place for comments to be added to posts. However, out of the box there seems to be no ability to add comments to Pages created in WordPress – despite the fact that one of the settings when editing a Page is "Allow Comments".

The problem is not so much with WordPress itself as with the "Theme" or template you are using. A quick fix to one of the pages in the default theme will get you up and running.

How it is done

You will need to be able to edit the files in the default theme – either via the WordPress Admin (files must be writeable), or via FTP.

Open up the file called "page.php" which sits in the "wp-content/themes/default/" directory. Then replace it's contents with the following code and save/upload the file:

<?php get_header(); ?>
    <div id="content" class="narrowcolumn">
    <?php if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
        <div class="post" id="post-<?php the_ID(); ?>">
            <h2><?php the_title(); ?></h2>
            <div class="entrytext">
('<p class="serif">Read the rest of this page </p>');
link_pages('<p><strong>Pages:</strong> ''</p>''number'); 
endwhile; endif;

        //Allow Admins to edit this page 
edit_post_link('Edit this entry.''<p>''</p>');

        //Fix to allow comments to be added to Pages

Of course, this example presumes you are working with the "default" theme. If you would like to fix another theme then the actual code that fixes everything is this single line:

<?php comments_template(); ?>

I hope this helps somebody – I know it would have saved me a few minutes…

My First WordPress Plugin: Visual.Syntax

Monday, January 30th, 2006

WordPress PluginCurrent Version: 2.01

"Visual.Syntax" is a plugin for WordPress that preserves source code formatting and provides full syntax highlighting. It is compatible with WordPress 1.5/2.0 and PHP 4/5. Update: Tested in WordPress 2.9 – no issues.

Unlike other code plugins Visual.Syntax offers highlighting of HTML and CSS in addition to PHP. I have customized the highlighting to match Dreamweaver's syntax coloring as much as possible, as well as my own preferences. Visual.Syntax will also force any CSS into a readable pre-defined format.


Follow these basic steps:

  • Download this file: (5kb)
  • Unzip the file on your computer.
  • Upload the complete folder "Visual.Syntax" to your WordPress plugins directory (usually found in "wp-content/plugins")
  • Login to WordPress and go to the Plugins module
  • Find the line that says "Visual.Syntax" and click "Activate"

Note: This plugin is not compatible with the WYSIWYG Visual Editor that comes with WordPress. You will have to be using the old-style HTML editor (textarea) if you want to highlight your source code.

How to Use

It is quite simple – simply wrap your PHP and HTML code in <code>text</code> and your CSS in <css>test</css>.

Each block of code is wrapped in a DIV with a CSS class of "VisualSyntax" so that you can customize the appearance of the code block. For example see the grey background on the code blocks shown below. Here is the CSS I am using:

.VisualSyntax {
    background-color: #F9F9F9;
    border: 1px solid #F0F0F0;
    font-family: "Courier New",Courier,mono;
    font-size: 12px;
    line-height: 1.5em;
    margin: 0;
    overflow: auto;
    padding: 5px 5px 0;
    white-space: nowrap;
    width: 98%;

Output Examples

PHP Example:

//output "Hello.World" to the browser
$text "Hello.World";

HTML Example:

<p><img src="/images/wordpress.png"></p>
<p>This is an example of 
   <a href="/weblog/visual.syntax/">Visual.Syntax</a> 
   highlighting HTML.</p>

CSS Example:

@import "stylesheet.css";

body {
    margin: 0px;
    padding: 0px;

a {
    color: #0000FF;
    text-decoration: none;

Support / Feedback

I welcome any comments, feedback, suggestions, or bug reports. Please either use my Contact Form or leave a comment.


2006-01-30 - Fixed problem with smart quotes. Now version 2.01.
2006-01-30 - Released version 2.0 to WordPress Users.