Tag Archives: WordPress Plugin

Site Redesign

I registered 4til7.com back on September 4, 2000 (or perhaps before… but that’s a long story). The original site was very very old school white on a black background with a very fancy (for the time) slide out menu on the left. The whole site was hand-crafted. Adding something new meant hand writing another page. Ah, ancient history. Since then, I migrated the site to WordPress (while keeping at least some of the old look). Then I migrated in lots of my old writing from various places. And then I went to a responsive theme so the site worked well on mobile. And and and… I kept avoiding a full rewrite because there were too many things buried in corners that I was worried about breaking. But, eventually, it’s time to break a few things.

Yesterday, I broke everything and started rebuilding on top of the WordPress 2014 theme (aka a Theme That Always Just Works). I wanted to do a few unusual things, like the centered 4til7 graphic, and not muck up the stock theme so the site has a teeny tiny child theme to hold (basically) a couple of tweaks to the CSS style sheet that gives the site it’s look.

My writing is still front and center but now you’ll only see an excerpt ending with a ‘Continue reading’ link that will take you to the full piece. The lengths of those excerpts are all over the place but I’ll be standardize them.

Beyond that, there are really only two pages. I’ve updated the About page and added quotes (Shortest: “Wow!”). And I’ve redone the Contact page using a lean custom contact plugin.


Between when I wrote the post and shared it with the world, I added more new features: Subscribe and Support. Subscribe let’s you join my mailing list. Support exists in place of advertising and makes a list of suggestions of ways (many free!) you can support my writing and work.

Update 2

Basic social sharing (Twitter, Reddit, Email, Facebook and LinkedIn) is done via a second custom plugin. In this case, the custom plugin is because many of the existing plugins have nasty issues (e.g. grabbing people’s info to use in spam campaigns). Combine that with the amount of time it takes to restyle the various options and it was faster to build a plugin. The plugin is an initial release. Let me know if you encounter any problems or have suggestions for improvements

I replace the Subscribe menu button with Stay in Touch which lets you subscribe to my Newsletter, the RSS (News) Feed of new posts, go to my Twitter page or Contact me. I changed Support to Supporting.

And more is still coming.


Writing in WordPress: Fixing the sidebar

I publish new pieces four days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Just over a week into the new schedule, and things are breaking down. Just not where I expected. The biggest break down has been around release. One piece, “We are Toolmaker” went from being one short article into a couple of posts into a series. And I kept forgetting to look over to the right and go ‘oh yeah’ and change the release date.

It struck me that having a lightning fast way to go to the step I’m handling in the new > draft > pending > scheduled > published workflow would be brilliant. Some searching of WordPress plugins turned upĀ Admin Menu Editor which let me edit the menu on the left side of the admin area. With a little fiddling, ‘All Posts’ was gone from my Posts menu and ‘Add New’ was followed by each step in the workflow.

Here’s what I created with my fiddling. My writing workflow flows from the top left down just the way I read things, click, my Pending articles including this very article:

WordPress Menu Editor Plugin Results
A little visual WordPress Workflow

The tool is intuitive, especially for this. If I wanted to see the list of Pending articles, I pulled up that page (and sorted it the way I wanted) and copied and pasted the page’s url (the http://… address at the top) into a new item in menu editor.

Here, on the left, it shows we’re in the Posts section. On the right are the menu items under Posts including the Pending menu item. I like shorter links, so I trimmed the fluff off the front of the url for Pending:

WordPress Menu Editor Plugin -- Adding an Item
WordPress Menu Editor Plugin: Adding an Item