Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

Two new plugins published for WordPress

I have worked on projects based around open source technology for years. Beginning in the early 2000s with image editing software and subsequently with website content management systems like WordPress (since 2003) and TYPO3 (since 2011).

The biggest benefit of open source technology is that anyone can take a piece of software and improve upon it, then feed the improvements back to the original author (or authors). This means that for larger projects, dozens of people are all working on software which they appreciate and want to support, to make it better. WordPress has been developed in this way for over twelve years and TYPO3 has been an open-source solution since 2001.

I’ve been lax with feeding things back in to the open source community for WordPress and TYPO3 until this year. Although I’ve coded plenty of system extensions and plugins, most of them have been directly for clients or for my own use.

I became an occasional contributor to the TYPO3 documentation service since early this year, but I wanted to take my experience as a programmer a step further too.

WordPress development work – on my own website and on client projects – has changed tack this year. I now focus on making individual features more portable and implemented as plugins, instead of being deeply embedded in Theme functionality.

This offers a lot of gains, such as using the same plugins in multiple projects, working in a more modular fashion, and from now on, allowing me to publish individual functionality as public plugins.

I finally got around to reading the submission details for the official WordPress Plugin directory this week and submitted a couple of simple plugins. They have now been approved and are available for free to anyone using WordPress.

Extend Post Data

A simple plugin which hooks into database queries on the $post database table. It makes an additional database request via the get_post_meta function and adds a sub-object $post->metadata to the $post object containing all linked post meta data. This makes output much easier and avoids the requirement for multiple get_post_meta calls in your template files.

Inline version numbering for WordPress

This plugin removes the query parameter-based version numbering from linked CSS and JavaScript files in the WordPress HTML output and replaces it with inline version numbering: myscript.100.js instead of myscript.js?v=100. The advantage of this method is that it improves browser caching, as some browsers handle file requests containing query parameters less efficiently than others. (This plugin automatically modifies the Apache .htaccess file so that the file name alias with an inline version number is recognized.)