A New Year Deserves New Site Enhancements

Notice a few things different? That’s right, I installed a whole raft of new plugins alongside the necessary security upgrade to WordPress 2.3.2. A bunch of them were more for us admins (database backup, batch category editing, and the like), but here are the ones that affect you, our dear readers:

  • Category Tree–now there’s a much, much better way to navigate the categories and subcategories our on site. The levels are collapsible, at long last, and don’t take up enormous oodles of space. Courtesy of the wp-dTree plugin.
  • Edit Your Comments–ever wished you could fix a mistake you made or add something to a comment left on our site? Well, now you can, within 15 minutes of your posting. Courtesy of WP Ajax Edit Comments plugin.
  • Related Posts–see what posts from our past might be related to the article you’re reading now! Admittedly, this doesn’t work quite as well as it should for the moment. Anyone got any clue how to fine tune it so that genuinely related posts show up? Courtesy of the Related Posts plugin.
  • Currently Blogging List–see the list of shows we are blogging for the current season in the sidebar. Made possible by ExecPHP plugin, which allows PHP code to be run on the sidebar via a widget. Will change, of course, as soon as the Winter 2008 season gets rolling.

Planned future enhancements include a horizontal drop-down menu that clearly marks the sections of our website, so you don’t have to search or go digging through hard-to-navigate archives for something you’re looking for. Also, in the longer term, the entire layout needs a refreshing.

Thanks for reading and we hope the new features will be useful to you. Let us know in the comments if there are any problems/bugs. Thanks!

11 thoughts on “A New Year Deserves New Site Enhancements”

  1. Wow, the editing actually works? Sweet deal. Now I can take back all those flames.

    FWIW, the current shows list is too long to be useful and the Related Posts is too big to be aesthetically pleasing.

  2. @lk: that’s what I suspected, that the list was a bit over-long. I decided to cut out all the shows after all that started in different seasons (though might have been still airing in the fall), especially ones that I and others haven’t even actually blogged about this season. The list seems more manageable now.

    I’m still playing with the related posts plugin to figure out a way to make it more accurate, for one.

  3. I thought the Comment Editing was pretty nifty as well. I’m just worried if it’s any burden on the server side, with the CPU usage and all…

    I think I’m gonna wait a little while more before upgrading WP and take advantage of tags (and the Related Posts plugin), once WordPress 2.4 gets released in early 2008 :)

  4. >>The list seems more manageable now.

    Yes, the list now fits on my screen. Barely. Your sidebar is still too narrow, too small-font-ed, and too long to be useful for me, so it’s hard to judge the merits of the list, but eh… it’s less ridiculous now, that’s for sure.

    Btw, not trying to troll, trying to be helpful. It’s hard @_@

  5. The Edit Comments plugin is great – it’s the one above all others that I’m glad I installed for my own.

    The related posts plugin goes on what tags you use iirc, or at least the 2.3-friendly edition does (I’m not sure about the older version since I don’t use it). The ExecPHP plugin intrigues me though…

  6. @lk: bluntly stated, perhaps, but helpful. Thanks. I’ve known for a while that this layout is not particularly friendly to those with smaller screens, and a whole design overhaul is in the works for the medium term. Two key things I want to do is have an alphabetized list of reviews (like Martin does), and a horizontal dropdown menu, which will eliminate much of the stuff the sidebar currently has and will be more visible. The latter I am actively researching right now.

    @usagijen: Glad you find the edit comments feature useful, it seems to be the one people appreciate the most so far. :) This version of the plugin uses a lot less server cycles, or so the author says–40% less than before. I used to install plugins left and right without warning, but after a minor disaster with a splogger catcher I decided to be much more careful and deliberate about upgrades than before. I try to test them one by one and set aside scheduled downtimes now.

    @Martin: thanks for the tip. I don’t think we’ve been using the tag system quite correctly, I tend to throw just words that seem to fit, though as you can see in the tag cloud, some words show up more than others and you can tell what sorts of shows I’ve been reviewing lately. :) I”m looking into the built in feature to turn categories into tags.

    @korosora: I didn’t even notice the title sounded like a spam email title. Now you’ve gone and ruined it for me! :)

  7. Yeah, the main problem as I see it isn’t so much site size (I’m on a fairly large monitor ATM) as it is clutter… it tends to happen with blogs especially. Lots of links, everywhere. It bugs me. My site’s also suffering from this so it bugs me even more than it might otherwise. I would offer some suggestions but like I said, my site’s suffering from this and if I had useful suggestions it wouldn’t be.

    So… yeah. Also site size is of course still an issue (just not such a big one). Playing around with my window size a bit it seems I get a horizontal scrollbar under 1024 pixels wide, which is fairly atrocious. Try to make things scale a bit more? Just a suggestion. Like, make the width for the main part of your site percent-based instead of pixel-based…

    Anyway, good luck

  8. Come on! Stick to what you write and don’t retract! XD

    But anyway, as the disappeared co-founder, thank you guys for the input. It’s rather hard to make this layout friendly to those with smaller screens.

  9. Clutter? What clutter? Your site looks great on my 1280×1024 resolution screen, and lk is a tro- I mean, I pity those with small monitors. This is coming from a guy with a 8 year-old PC, mind you. :D

    Martin is referring to the completely unrelated WordPress 2.3 Related Posts plugin that uses tags instead of the ambiguous post content/title terms that your current Related Posts plugin uses. I’d recommend you use this, because I tried Related Posts once and it wasn’t all that great. Tags are the way of the future, you just have tag by genre for it to be effective.

    Your sidebar is fine at this resolution (just nice, actually), but I’d recommend stashing the tag cloud away in a page somewhere. That’s my personal taste, though — tag clouds at the sidebar add to the clutter and noise when you want them to be focusing on the important things like Recent Posts, the ubiquitous poll, categories, and so on. Too many things at once = confusion = fail.

  10. @Owen: thanks. Especially for the tip to the other Related Posts plugin, which I’m going to install ASAP. I think those should yield much more accurate results, especially since I already tag by genre.

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