XO Event Calendar For WordPress

One of the many plugin types used to extend a WordPress site are calendar ones. Many free and premium ones are available in the repository and elsewhere with a whole set of functionality from displaying simple dates to client booking for example. XO Event Calendar is a free plugin on the simpler side of the spectrum.

After a normal plugin installation the Events menu is added in the WordPress backend. XO Event Calendar adds its own custom post type and taxonomy (category). Each category can have its own background color on the calendar. In a similar way any number of holidays can be created and assigned background colors with ‘day-off’, ‘morning-off’ and ‘afternoon-off’ presets available. Add new events by entering a title, description and optionally an excerpt. Pick a start and end date and choose or create its category on the fly. The event title will be displayed on the calendar and linked to the detail page.

 

To display the calendar on a page or post use the [xo_event_calendar] shortcode. The shortcode includes the option for displaying holidays, somewhat surprisingly showing holidays are not “true” by default. Other options include showing previous and next month arrows and ability to limit the number of months one can move to, for example previous=”1″ and next=”6″ will only display the previous month’s and the next six months’ dates. It is possible to include only certain categories by naming which to display using categories=”slug”. One can also display different versions of the calendar using the id option (“xo-event-calendar-2”, “xo-event-calendar-3”, etc.), this requires a different page for each calendar displayed.

All in all XO Event Calendar is a clean and minimalist calendar for WordPress, it is relatively new on the scene.

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wpForo: Forums For WordPress Powered Sites

Forums or message boards are not the attraction they once were. In the earlier internet era the likes of Ikonboard, vBulletin and phpBB were the leaders in providing a gathering place for users. With the proliferation of social media the forum in its traditional sense is mostly left behind. WordPress, the blogging platform, itself has its own forum options in its vast plugin repository with bbPress being the best known. Other options, the once free SimplePress for example, exist with the built in advantage of using the WordPress database and share the users. Another newer options is wpForo.

wpForo tries to replicate the more feature complete and attractive look of standalone forums in contrast to the more minimalism of bbPress by providing more options and features out of the box.

After installing the plugin much the same way as any other WordPress plugin a Forums menu – whose position in the wp-admin menu can be edited – is added and it consists of Dashboard, Forums, Settings, Members, Usergroups, Phrases, Themes, and Addons sub menus.

The “community” directory is used as the forum index page by default but this can be edited and there is an option to make the forum a WordPress site’s front page. Three different layouts are available which serve slightly difference purposes (see screenshot). These are Simplified, Extended and Q&A.

Add categories –  via the ‘use as category’ check mark when adding a new forum – forums or subforums and reorder them if needed, each forum can have a meta description and of course individual access permissions. Forum wide permissions can be set from the Forum accesses tab of the Settings submenu. The administrator can also control how many topics and posts are displayed per page and if the user can edit or delete his or her own content or add attachments.

wpForo features front end moderating – close, make sticky, report, move, edit and delete – and includes most of the typical usergroups built in. It is possible to add new usergroups in addition to the existing Admin, Customer, Guest, Moderator and Registered groups and control the permissions of each. One useful additional tweak could be the option to use an existing permission set for a new usergroup as a starting point. Member titles and ranks can be added or edited. The existing ones range from New Member to Illustrious Member and are based on post count. Email templates are available for events like notifying admin(s) of new posts or topics or for those sent to users.

The Features tab of the Settings provides a long list of options that one can enable or disable. These include displaying breadcrumbs, displaying forum statistics, disabling new registrations, enabling custom avatars, using the WordPress media library for uploaded attachments and many more. The Styles tabs allows more custom control of the forums’ colors,  this is somewhat confusing because the Themes submenu is where the look and template can be edited safely using new template folders that are not lost when upgrading.

The built in Phrases make it easier to control the displayed language and to translate (11 are currently available) wpForo. As of version 1.1.0 and this post there are two paid or premium addons available. They are Advanced Attachments and Embeds.

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Instant WordPress: Easiest Way To Install WordPress On A PC

As a fan of WordPress (who isn’t?) I was excited to hear about Instant WordPress via this wpmu.org post. Instant WordPress is billed as a “complete standalone, portable WordPress development environment” and “The easiest and quickest way to install WordPress!” The 54MB download installs a portable and completely self contained copy of WordPress on a PC. There is no need to go through more time consuming methods like installing wampserver , XAMPP or others if the exclusive or main use of using MySQL and php is to work with WordPress on a PC.

Instant WordPress

After installing Instant WordPress on a XP desktop I was disappointed to see that it would not start, it did generate an error (see above image) but the error was obscured by the program’s splash image. The error dialog was not movable using either the mouse or keyboard. I looked in the program’s folder, found the splash image (splash.png) and decided to resize it to a smaller size image so that the error would come into view.

Instant WordPress

The error in question was “%1 is not a valid Win32 application.” (see above image). That particular error is often associated with Windows not reading or liking a blank space in some configuration (in many cases a batch file) of the program in question. I decided to move the Instant WordPress folder from the desktop – whose “Documents and Settings” path contains spaces – to c:\ and as expected it worked (see below image).

Instant WordPress

Instant WordPress is the easiest method yet to play with WordPress and it comes with a few dummy posts and pages. As of this post it is bundled with WordPress 3.2, MySQL 5.1.46-community-nt with phpMyAdmin, Apache 2.2.15, and PHP 5.3.2.

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