How to add a gallery in WordPress

We’ve got a few new authors in The Garage and there have been some questions about how to upload a pretty gallery of images so another tutorial is in order.

First, a bit of history:

In the early days of WordPress, the image management functionality was rather limited unless you were a techie. The rest of us had to rely on plugins to make our lives easier. Arguably, the most popular galleries plugin was/is Alex Rabe’s NextGen Galleries. The problem with NextGen is that while the end result looks great and works well, it is a bit of a pain in the ass to create the actual galleries. Also, it is fairly easy to create a galleries page that allows all of the galleries to be displayed.

The more recent versions of WP have addressed the functionality issues surrounding galleries and it is now no more difficult to add galleries than it is to upload single images.
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How to write a post in WordPress

For some readers, this may seem like an overly simplistic post, but when bringing a new writer on board there is always a bit of a learning curve if they haven’t worked with WordPress. Thankfully, WP is the standard of blogging/publishing platforms and the mechanics of writing a post hasn’t really changed much since day 1. That means that I can write this once and stop hacking it together every time someone new drops in to write.

Step 1: go to the WP login page that you were supplied with. The address should look something like http://blahblahblah.com/wp-login.php/ and enter the username and password that you were given. Be careful, as these fields are case sensitive and the smart admins out there will mix things up to keep safe.
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WordPress 3.0 is up and running

With all the excitement and hoopla over the introduction of WordPress 3.0, I have to say that I’m somewhat underwhelmed. Sure, I’m only looking at user interface stuff right now, but many of the new features are not supported by Thesis.

I’m stoked to learn the MU capabilities though, as we have another site that needs to be launched and I’m hoping to get it up and running shortly.

Oh, one bright spot is that the actual upgrade is super fast.

Time for a break, I’m tired of fighting

I’m testing out a few ideas for one of our other projects. I’d like to add in a free classifieds section to host free ads for special interest cars to drive some additional traffic. Given that WordPress is known to be such a powerful CMS tool, I thought there would be a number of classifieds plugins. It would seem that there are actually very few.

ClassiPress has a great rep, but it is a theme that only deals with classifieds, not a blog with classified functionality. There is WP Classifieds that appears to be rather flawed from the comments section of the developer’s own blog. Neither is what I need.

Then, there is Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin. It appears to be the most usable plugin for my needs, but it seems like I’m fighting to fix something every step of the way. I’m able to find a solution for every issue I come across, but the dev forum is disjointed and hard to follow and I have to really dig for each answer.

I’m going away from this for now and I’ll be back later to see what I can do to bring this thing together. Either that or I’m going to use the WP ecommerce plugin and go a totally different direction. At least I know it works!

Killer Plugin: LinkWithin

We’ve played around with a few different related posts plugins but all of them seemed a bit boring visually. Then, I stumbled across LinkWithin.

The way LinkWithin works is the company crawls your site to capture categories, keywords and the like and then posts a thumbnail image & title beneath each post. You can add however many columns you like below the post. Because they are involved and the plugin is custom tailored to your site, the plugin isn’t available on the WordPress codex. You must visit their site, ask a few simple questions and voila, your plugin is ready to be installed.

I’ve installed it here in BumpyStick and at Foodies so far. I know that it takes a while for the crawlers to take in the whole site, so I’m being patient. It looks great, but it has been active on Foodies for a couple of days now and there is very little rotation of related posts.

Also, I’m a little bit concerned about their crawlers. How much info do they crawl? Do they somehow store the info? Who are they? The LinkWithin site has no actual human information. I’ve sent them an e-mail to ask these questions and nobody has responded. I know that most plugins are developed by individuals or small teams and people take days off. That said, given that I’m in front of the computer constantly and most of us who work online carry a smart phone of some sort, I tend to get a little pissy when I get ignored.

I’ll wait until I hear from them before I install LW on either of our automotive blogs, but I’m really liking the way it looks at Foodies. It looks pretty cool here too so far. I think we’ll have to change the html to have it appear at the end of a post though, as I don’t like the related posts showing up on the front page.

Testing, testing!

Testing out a few twitter plugins for our live coverage of this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. If you see some funky stuff, you understand why!

And the winner, for our purposes is…..ThinkTwit

It is the only Twitter plugin I was able to find that A. allows the use of multiple Twitter feeds and B. uses php4 on their server. We needed to use php4 as that is the way our server is set up for now.

Anyway, like most modern plugins, setup is easy and you can have it up and running in a matter of moments. Of course the standard text settings suck, but they can be adjusted. It would be easier if you didn’t have to go into .css to make the changes though.

You can see it at work at the top of the right sidebar of The Garage where we’re hosting live tweets from the only all Canadian team at the 2010 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Thesis theme in play for real

I’m really excited to say that I have installed Thesis on The Garage and modded it to resemble the previous version. I’ve done it. Me. Techno no mind! The more recent versions of WordPress are so user friendly, that when combined with a killer theme like Thesis, even a guy like me can look like a pro. I didn’t have to hassle my IT guru once through the process!

The previous version of TG used the Cutline theme with a bunch of hard coded mods. This was done a long time ago, before plugins etc became so easy to use. The problem with that setup was that we were using hard code. In other words, I couldn’t make any changes myself, so I had to bother Jaimie and wait for help.

Not now!
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Feature test

Another test of images. The previous one used the standard WP image function, this one is using the Thesis image management. The image is uploaded as you would normally, then you add the image link url to a post image box further down the post editing page.

Edit: I must be tired because this makes absolutely no sense to me. The text says “Finally, there are certain areas around the theme where full-size post images cannot be displayed. In this case, Thesis will automatically crop your post image into a thumbnail” but this does not happen. The image ends up being published at full size and takes over the post. At this rate, the combo of WP with the Lightbox Plus plugin seems to be easier to use.

I’ll read up on the Thesis forums tomorrow.

I shot this photo of Marco Andretti at the 2009 Honda Indy Toronto.