WordPress 3.1: Internal Linking, Admin Bar, IE9 and More

We have recently updated the OM4 platform to include the latest WordPress (3.1) features, bug fixes and improvements.

There are quite a few improvements, including:

  • Internal Linking, which makes it much easier to create a link to your existing posts and pages. See screenshot below.
  • Admin Bar, which means you’re only ever one click away from the most common Dashboard features.
  • Simplified Writing Interface, with the post and page editor now display fewer options (metaboxes) by default. Visit Screen Options in the top right to get old panels back.
  • Sortable Dashboard List Screens, making it easier to find information in your Dashboard.
  • Improved Importer/Exporter, which allows you to export just post or pages (instead of everything), as well as only exporting certain date ranges, categories, authors, statuses, and more.
  • Internet Explorer 9 Compatibility – the Visual Editor should now work as expected with IE9.
  • and many more

The full list of over 800 new features, bug fixes and improvements can be found here.

We hope these improvements make administering and using your OM4 website a much more enjoyable task.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask below or post your question on our support desk.

WordPress 2.9 Upgrade: Image Editing, Undo/Trash, Improved Video Embeds

We have recently upgraded the OM4 platform to include the latest WordPress (2.9 and 2.9.1) features.

There are quite a few improvements, including:

  • Undo/trash feature, which means that if you accidentally delete a post or comment you can bring it back from the grave (i.e., the Trash).
  • Built-in image editor, which allows you to crop, edit, rotate, flip, and scale your images.
  • Easier video embeds that allow you to just paste a URL on its own line and have it magically turn it into the proper embed code, with Oembed support for YouTube, Daily Motion, Blip.tv, Flickr, Hulu, Viddler, Qik, Revision3, Scribd, Google Video, Photobucket, PollDaddy, and WordPress.tv.
  • Improved visual editor
  • Create custom galleries with the new include and exclude attributes that allow you to pull attachments from any post, not just the current one.
  • and many more

The full list of over 500 new features, changes upgrades and improvements can be found here.

We hope these performance improvements make administering your website a much more enjoyable task.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask below or post your question on our forums.

Adding SPF records to your Google Apps setup

We’ve recently upgraded our email mapping function for Google Apps to automatically create SPF records.

This means that when we map a domain for Google Apps we:

  • create the standard MX records needed to send/receive mail
  • create the CNAMEs needed to access mail from subdomains (e.g. mail.yourdomain.com)
  • create the SPF record to make it harder for spammers to send mail pretending to come from you

This is Google’s article on how to add an SPF record if you are managing your own DNS: Set SPF records

Finer control over your website header

Overall we find that designers have a very strong appetite for being able to control the layout of header (masthead) region of each website.

For one of our current projects James has implemented a new Custom Text Box for the header, which allows the precise placement of – well, just about anything into the header.

The custom text box can include text, images and shortcodes, so this might include:

  • a set of custom navigation links – perhaps About or Sign Up
  • a search form
  • a clickable image
  • an image rotator set

So you get the idea, it can serve a lot of different purposes.

custom-header-text

Don’t forget that in the header you can already:

  • display a core header image or a custom header image for the current page
  • display a custom menu or a rollover menu (drawing on your pages/sub pages for navigation items)
  • display an Action Button (a clickable image link, useful for a primar call to action)
  • and using CSS with absolute positioning, you can also place an image, rotator set or Flash file into the header, from the body of your page or the sidebar.

So all in, a significant increase in configurability to achieve a precise effect.

WordPress 2.8 Upgrade: Improved Dashboard Performance and Widgets

We have recently upgraded the OM4 platform to include the lastest WordPress (2.8 and 2.8.1) features.

There are quite a few improvements, including:

  • A much faster dashboard interface
  • A new drag-and-drop sidebar widgets interface
  • New screen options on every dashboard page (the tab at the top right)
  • Improved timezone support with automatic daylight savings time adjustment
  • Support for more than one image gallery on a single page
  • and many more

The full list of over 180 new features, changes upgrades and improvements can be found here.

Our Own Performance Benchmarks

Our own before and after testing has demonstrated an average of a 55% decrease in dashboard page load times:

  • Main Dashboard
    • Before: 50 file requests,  366KB total file size
    • After: 13 file requests,  167KB total file size
  • Write Post Screen (with visual editor and kitchen sink enabled)
    • Before: 108 file requests,  774KB total file size
    • After: 23 file requests,  340KB total file size
  • Manage Pages Screen
    • Before: 16 file requests,  289KB total file size
    • After: 11 file requests,  173KB total file size

We hope these performance improvements make administering your website a much more enjoyable task.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask below or post your question on our forums.

New Image Rotator Feature

James has been busy recently with some new features for our OM4 websites.

With our new Image Rotator facility you can use a simple shortcode to put a group of images into a rotator set that will gently rotate in any page or post.

Too much movement on a web page can distract a visitor, so I recommend you use rotators wisely. We’ve provided an easy way to set the display time and transition time for the images so you can have a nice gentle rotation.

How To Article: Adding an Image Rotator

James has built the image rotator using WordPress (which has jQuery libraries incorporated) and definitely no Flash.

WordPress 2.7 Upgrade: New Dashboard Design and Features

As promised last week, we have upgraded the OM4 platform to include the lastest WordPress (2.7) features.

There are quite a few improvements, including:

  • Completely new Dashboard design and navigation menu
  • Threaded comments, paging and the ability to reply to comments directly from your dashboard
  • Bulk post/page editing
  • Quick editing of posts/pages
  • Drag and drop rearranging of dashboard widgets/boxes
  • Ability to upload files without having to create a post or page first
  • Easy moderation of comments using keyboard shortcuts
  • and many more

The video below also illustrates some of these changes. Alternatively a more detailed list of the changes is available here.

The new dashboard will take a little bit of getting used to, but once you’ve used it for a few days you should find that it’s a lot easier to use.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask below or post your question on our forums.

New OM4 website dashboard features

Today we have upgraded all OM4 web sites to include the latest WordPress 2.6+ features.

WordPress 2.6 Image Control

WordPress 2.6 Images

There are quite a few improvements:

  • Image captions.
  • An improved image control to allow for easier inserting, floating, and resizing of images (see screenshot).
  • Press This!: Post from wherever you are on the web.
  • Gears: Turbo-speed your blogging.
  • Word count for both posts and pages.
  • Bulk activation and deactivation of plugins.
  • Drag and drop reordering of image Galleries.
  • Customizable default avatars.
  • Media uploading while in full-screen mode.
  • Toggling between the flash media uploader and the classic one.
  • Various bug fixes.

More information on these features can be found here.

For those of you that use a desktop blogging client such as Windows Live Writer, you will have to go to your Dashboard -> Settings -> Writing and enable the remote publishing options.

Are you using the new and improved visual editor?

Wordpress New Improved Visual EditorIt’s been a month since all OM4 websites were upgraded with a new dashboard design and features, and I’d like to ensure that you’re getting the most from the new and improved visual editor.

The new editor has two tabs – Visual and HTML. If your text editor doesn’t have the Visual and HTML tabs (on the top right of your editor), then you probably don’t have visual editor support enabled for your user account. To turn it on, log into your Dashboard, then click on your name at the top right of the screen and  tick the Use the visual editor when writing checkbox. Save your profile, then you’ll have access to the visual editor.

Visual Editor

The visual tab allows you to more easily edit and format your blog posts and pages, and includes useful buttons on the toolbar such as bold, text alignment, improved image handling and many other features.

By default there is one row of toolbar buttons, but if you click the Show/Hide Kitchen Sink button on the right, you’ll be shown another row of useful buttons.

Another useful feature is the editor’s fullscreen mode. Clicking the Tooggle Fullscreen Mode button will expand the text editor to full screen mode – very useful for those large posts!

HTML Editor

The HTML tab allows you to manually edit the post or page’s HTML code. Chances are, you won’t need to use this unlesss your post or page needs to contain advanced HTML code.

Questions?

A great screencast showing the new features of the new editor can be found here.

If you have any questions, please post them on the OM4 Support Desk.

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