About Eric Marden

Scotch is for shippers.

You got GPL in my peanut butter

It has never been a more exciting time to be a developer. Numerous open platforms exist in which to ply your trade and make a good living doing it. A platform’s user base grows as it matures, and inevitably gives birth to a thriving developer ecosystem supporting that platform, selling services into it, and when the platform is any good that ecosystem will turn into a marketplace. There has been an explosion of these ecosystems as evidenced by the success of the Apple App Store, Facebook, Twitter, Sales Force and Google Apps. In the last few years, WordPress has come into its own and has generated its own cottage industry for themes, plugins, and other add-on services.

What makes WordPress unique is that the platform itself is open sourced under the GNU General Public License v2. This license imposes itself on derivative works by insisting that they in turn be licensed under the GPLv2 if and when they are distributed to others. Generally, this poses no issues, and everyone releasing plugins and themes on the WordPress.org Extensions db has chosen to release their code under the GPL.
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New Plugin: Private Email Notifications

One of my clients runs a blog network for peace activists in the Middle East, where they discuss important news events and hold forth on issues such as Religious Faith, Tolerance and Cultural Identity. Their main blog is blocked by Iran, which they consider a badge of honor, and is routinely monitored by government officials to try to sniff out dissenters. To better protect the privacy of those who read and comment on their blogs, we have created this plugin: Private Email Notifications.
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New Plugin: HTTPS Stats Fix

Today I had the pleasure of getting a new WordPress plugin cleaned up and released. This is a simple fix for users of the WordPress.com Stats plugin. WordPress.com links an external JavaScript to your site to count visitors and page views. Almost all of the Web Analytics do this. However, I found that when the WordPress site had HTTPS turned on for some of its pages, the WordPress.com Stats plugin did not change the link to be HTTPS (even though WordPress.com does support HTTPS). This plugin fixes this issue and helps you to avoid browser alerts warning users that the connection is only ‘partially encrypted’.

I plan on submitting a patch so that the original plugin just handles this out-of-the-box, but until its fixed, this plugin will fill the gap for you.

Download HTTPS Stats Fix Plugin

Poll: How many non-fiction books have you read this year?

I’m a voracious reader, and have been since my youth. However, I’ve always seemed to be more interested in non-fiction books, especially the last 14 years when I started working as a Web Developer. I usually alternate between learning a new language (up next: Objective-C and Cocoa), Deepening my knowledge of a related discipline (Just finished: Content Strategy for the Web) and reading business and ‘big idea’ books (Recently Read: Rework). Sometimes I’ll read multiple books at the same time, and sometimes I’ll read books one after the other, end-to-end. So this got me thinking: Am I the only one that reads non-fiction like this? Answer in the poll, after the jump.

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I, for one, welcome our new WordCamp Overlords

Jane Wells posted some new guidelines for WordCamp organizers and its raised quite a kerfuffle in the community.

Before I get into this, let me offer up a bit of background on my own involvement with conferences and events of all shapes. I’ve attended multiple WordCamps, both as a speaker and a participant. I’ve also helped organize BarCampOrlando, was involved with the first DrupalCamp Florida, and attended a number of other BarCamps and unconferences all over the country. I even booked and promoted concerts in a past life.

Let’s just say I’ve got a bit more Event Planning experience than your average bear, and have half a clue about what goes into making a good event great.

Here’s what I took away from the recent guidelines and along the way I’ll offer up a few assumptions of what I think are the motivations behind them, and what my interpretation of the guidelines are. This is by no means exhaustive nor is it intended to address anyone’s concerns directly.
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Rough Guide to upgrading WordPress MU 2.9.x to WordPress 3.0 Multi-Site

** Update** Skip to the comments. One Assumption on my part led to a lot more work than is needed. This guide does work, but as Ron (@wpmuguru) pointed out, I went around the block to just go next door. Even smart people are dumb sometimes ;)

The WordPress 3.0 betas are kicking around and for projects still in development, upgrading now will save you the trouble later after the site is in production. Upgrading Single Site WordPress installs to 3.0.x is as easy as ever, but now that WordPress ยต has been rolled into the main WordPress code base it takes a bit more work to “cross-grade” to the new WordPress 3.0 Multi-Site features.

This is a rough guide to upgrading WordPress MU 2.9.x to WordPress 3.0 Multi-Site. That means that I’m largely pulling this from recent memory and may skip a step or state something inaccurately. Feel free to heckle correct me in the comments.

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WP-Orphanage v1.2

If you’ve implemented the Shared Users Table trick you know that there is a side effect: Users on one blog are not immediately given privileges on the others. To resolve this I wrote a little plugin, WP-Orphanage, that will promote these ‘orphan’ users to a role of your choosing.

WP-Orphanage v1.2 has been released. It addresses a nasty bug where only the first 50 users were promoted. I have refactored the code to iterate over the full list of users. This action only takes place when an Admin visits the User page. Users that login to a blog where they have no privileges will continue to be given a role “just-in-time”, when they login, but if you’re looking to upgrade all your users in one go, the plugin will now oblige. This is a recommended upgrade for all users. Thanks to everyone who reported this issue!

Apple v. Adobe

Stay Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On

The Apple vs Adobe debate has been raging since the announcement that a change to the iPhone Developer Agreement, specifically section 3.3.1, would ban the Adobe Flash to iPhone App compiler. In fact, Adobe has already thrown in the towel on this, days after the tool launched with Creative Suite 5. The reasons for this are many and varied, but essentially it boils down to 3 main issues:

  1. Flash is not a web standard.
  2. Control over the features that developers use should not be dictated by a ‘meta-platform’, but by first party tools.
  3. Flash is buggy, crash prone and eats battery life like its going out of style. Especially on OS X.

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