Tagged: 'WordPress Plugins'

Edit Flow v0.3: Usergroups and enhanced notifications

Edit Flow was bumped up to v0.3 last week and saw a flurry of other updates as bugs cropped up that we managed to miss during the testing phase before release. The main focus of this release was to introduce usergroups, which will form the basis of future features and to enhance the notification functionality that was introduced in the previous version.

If you haven’t upgraded yet, download it from the Plugin Directory or directly from within WordPress.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the new features introduced in this release:

Usergroups

Version 0.3+ adds in what are called usergroups. On the outset, they’re similar to “Roles” built into WordPress, except that (at this stage) usergroups are simply ways to associate groups of users together. Edit Flow adds a number of sample usergroups for you to get started (as shown above) and get a sense of what sort of groupings you can create. However, the main power of usergroups comes with…

Notification Controls

Much of the feedback Edit Flow received since the email notification were introduced centered around having greater control over who receives notifications. Previously, post updates were emailed to authors, editorial commenters, and any roles that had been selected to receive notifications. Many people were drawn to the notification feature but were forced to keep it disabled since they didn’t want all their editors or administrators notified on every single post update.

With the new release, you can specify on a post level, what users and usergroups should receive notifications, so that only relevant individuals and groups of individuals receive updates.

Note: with the introduction of this feature the “Notify by Role” option was removed. In its place, a new feature was added “Always notify admin option” which includes the blog administrator in all notifications. To all overly protective, nosy admins that want to know everything: you’re welcome :)

This is just the beginning of notifications. Some interesting ideas that we’d like to integrate in future versions of Edit Flow include:

  • Giving users the ability to subscribe to posts themselves
  • Have specific users or usergroups automatically subscribed to posts based on categories or tags assinged to posts.
  • Make the UI a bit more efficient. The UI for this new feature is something that was unfortunately rushed. My original vision didn’t quite make it in (due to various impracticalities, changes, and lack of time), but it’s very much a high priority on my list to make it easy to select users/usergroups (especially for installs with hundreds and thousands of users).

More Useful Notifications

On the topic of notifications, the new release introduces emails that are slightly more descriptive in terms of the action taken on the post. The subject line of the email will specify whether the post was created, published, unpublished, etc. Although a small change, it should hopefully help users manage incoming emails more effectively and not get inundated with a barrage of “Post Status was changed” emails. (Interestingly, I’ve found that this new change comes in handy even on my personal blog which is a simple on-user blog. I find these notifications fairly useful especially since I make aggresive use of WordPress’ future scheduling functionality.)

Additionally, the action links in comment notifications now take the user directly to the editorial comment form (e.g. clicking on “Add editorial comment” will open the post and take to directly to the Editorial Comment form). Again, not a major feature but something that should hopefully save you some time, scrolling and future dealings with Carpal Tunnel.

I’d like to extend this feature even further and allow users to reply to comments via email and not have to go into WordPress to do so. (As you can see, there’s a bit a time-saving trend going on here.)

New widget: Posts I’m Following

Still a little crude at this stage, this new widget gives you a list of the most recently updated posts that you’re following. However, this widget will likely form the basis of the activity stream, which will provide an audit trail of activity happening within the WordPress admin.

Knight News Challenge Round II

While not really a feature introduced in 0.3+, here’s a bit of news that may be interest: we’ve submitted our 2nd round application for the Knight News Challenge. Check out it, vote, and leave us some feedback.

What’s Next?

Apart from some of the ideas already mentioned, with the next couple of Edit Flow releases, you can expect to see some great features such as:

  • Post task lists (a la Basecamp, namely a list of tasks that must be completed in order for a post to be published)
  • Better Post Management (to help you track and manage your content better, such as snapshots of how far along existing content is)
  • HTML emails (because emails should always be pretty — but always fallback to plain text for people still living in the ’90s)

Your Homework

As always, your feedback is much appreciated and vital to our development. Let us know what about Edit Flow works for you and what doesn’t and what else Edit Flow can do to improve your organization’s WordPress experience.

We’ve already had discussions with several online and print publishers and newsrooms interested in adopting Edit Flow and would love to include you in that conversation. Why not get in touch?

Presentations, links and notes from WordCamp NYC 2009

wordcampWordCamp NYC 2009 — a two-day, community-organized conference held at Baruch College of the City University of New York — offered a lot of inspiring sessions on how people and organizations are using WordPress, WordPressMU, BuddyPress and BBPress to manage content and build communities.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here is a sampling of what you missed:

Case Study: WNET.org

WNET.org worked with Tierra Innovation to build 50 sites in 10 months using WordPress MU.
Related:

BuddyPress Group API Extension

Andy Peatling, lead developer on BuddyPress, talked about the new Group API Extension and showed how it could be used to pull Twitter feeds into BuddyPress groups.

Edit Flow v0.2: Now with Post Metadata, Commenting and Notifications

The Edit Flow metabox enables editorial comments and provides some additional metadata fields to track details related to each post.

After a long hiatus, CoPress finally released v0.2 of Edit Flow this past weekend. Those who have it installed should have seen a notification to update; for those who haven’t jumped on the Edit Flow bandwagon yet, grab it from the WordPress Plugin Directory.

We’ve got some cool new features in this new version, outlined below: Read more →

10 ideas to take back to your newsroom

Experimentation in the newsroom is one of the best ways to learn new skills and discover full potential of your team. Now that you understand why it’s time to innovate, how to create a web-centric newsroom and how to invest in your staff, it’s time to start experimenting.

To get you thinking, this video presents a few ideas as a starting point for your next staff meeting.

If you still need a little more ammunition, CoPress’ summer design camp has a great series of discussions about news wikislanding pages and article layouts, among other ideas to get you started.  Our blog and wiki also have resources  about setting up a Facebook fan pagee-mail newsletterweb-first workflow and open-source software.

These are just a few of the project ideas we’ve discussed at CoPress. Do you have a better one? If so, head on over to our forums or leave a comment on this post and let the community help you brainstorm.

Preparation for the Fall

The best links of the last two weeks (I’ll do this on a weekly basis beginning next week, I swear) via the CoPress Publish2 Newsgroup that you’re more than welcome to join:

There are at least a few active conversations going on in the forum that you should check out. Chris Ullyott is putting together a staff page for the Daily Titan and is figuring out a way to automatically pull in profile images to the page. I started a thread for a Featured Posts widget I’d like to build when I have the chance.

Kevin Koehler and Megan Taylor have been working hard on new content for the wiki that we hope to start introducing over the weekend. In the meantime, Kevin is compiling a list of blogs related to specific topics that wants your input.

Better email newsletters for WordPress

In a search for projects to work on this summer, Will Davis, incoming EIC of The Maine Campus which migrated this summer to WordPress MU, has decided to build a better email newsletters plugin for WordPress. A free option available right now is MailPress but the feature set offers a lot of room for improvement. From a thread we had last week brainstorming ideas, Will put together a feature list for the first iteration he hopes to produce by the fall:

  • Ability to ignore certain categories/posts
  • Text and E-mail editions
  • At least a per-issue and breaking news e-mail option. Best case scenario, customizable newsletter categories
  • A basic, customizable template that supports advertising spots
  • Ability to send e-mail to all users without an article
  • First version will use PHP mail() function

There’s a new thread for those who want to help him refine the feature set for this first version. I’m looking forward to seeing this develop; it’s something that would even be useful in our publishing workflow.

Edit Flow Project: Stage 1 beta release

This past weekend, we released the beta version of Stage 1 (Custom Post Statuses) of the Edit Flow Project, a plugin aiming to improve the WordPress Admin Interface for a multi-user newsroom’s editorial workflow.

The main goal of this stage was to “improve posts statuses by allowing custom statuses.” WordPress, by default, only allows for two statuses for posts during the editing process: “Draft” and “Pending Review”. These statuses are not very descriptive nor do they make it easy to track a story as it moves through a newsroom’s often complex, multi-level workflow.

With the release of Stage 1 of Edit Flow, WordPress users can now assign custom statuses to posts, giving them more control over the state of their content.

Adding/Editing/Managing Custom Statuses

The interface to add, edit and manage custom statuses.

Upon activation, the plugin adds five default statuses (“Assigned”, “Draft”, “Pending Review”, “Pitch”, “Waiting for Feedback”). These can all be edited or deleted (with the exception of “Draft” and “Pending Review”, which can only be deleted). Users can also add additional custom statuses. Overall, we tried to make this as flexible as possible, acknowledging the extreme diversity in workflows and requirements across different newsrooms.

Read more →

We Clicked On: No Lede

We’re a day late on this because of everyone’s travel, but the show must go on!

Around the Network

The discussion of advertising rates continued this week. Brad Arendt approaches the issue of click-throughs and identifies two issues: finding the proper tool to accurately count click-throughs and take down the ad when the limit had been reached, as well as educating your local business owner on the concept so that it doesn’t discount the “value in brand awareness.” In fact, Bryan Murley argues that costs per clicks are a “horrible idea for college media sites, akin to allowing advertisers to only pay for print ads per the number of coupons that are brought in from an ad.” He’s more interested in looking into selling against user engagement with the site, based on such metrics as the amount of time spent on the site.

Also, Mo Jangda reported in the forum that he’s published a better version of the Co-Authors WordPress Plugin.
Read more →

Behind the Scenes of Mustang Daily’s New WordPress Website

Today — four months after first learning about CoPress through Twitter —  the Mustang Daily launched its new WordPress site, hosted and supported by CoPress. The Mustang Daily, a 2008 Online Pacemaker Winner and 2009 Pacemaker Finalist, had been with College Publisher since 2006.

Mustang Daily
 

Website Design

We went with the Gazette Edition from WooThemes because it gave us all the basic capabilities we were looking for:

  • Prominent ads
  • Wigetized sidebar
  • Slick, rotating slideshow
  • Auto-generated thumbnails

Advertising

Page Peel

During a time when revenue is falling, having full control over priority ad space is a must. We have a top banner (468 x 60 pixels), a sidebar ad (300 x 250 pixels) and up to four square ads on the lower sidebar (125 x 125 pixels).

We installed a WordPress plugin that allows for a “page peel” style advertisement in the top corner of the site. Although probably annoying to some, people like playing with it.

Read more →

We Clicked On: Mixing Up Print and Online

The best piece of news this week, in my opinion, is that News Mixer will be working on WordPress integration. That’s right, the sweet piece of commenting goodness originally launched as NewsMixer.us and recently announced to be integrated with the Populous Project will be coming to the world’s most popular blogging platform and overall Swiss Army Knife.

Around the Network

In the forum this week, Greg asked about strategies for making your print edition an online feature. The idea came out of a Twitter conversation between Greg and Dane Beavers at The Oklahoma Daily, and the specific questions were:

  • After you complete a print edition, do you put a PDF or other such version of it online? Why or not?
  • If you do, is it useful? What kind of traffic does it get?
  • If you do, do you upload as a PDF or using a third-party service such as Issuu or Scribd?
  • If you do, do you tell advertisers that their ads are viewable online?

Read more →