Lewis' Blog Tales from the trenches of information technology

15Jul/140

What not to do with a free WordPress plugin

The Subscribe2 plugin for WordPress, which powers the email notifications of new posts to this blog, was recently turned over from the original developer to a new group. Often, this is a good thing: a devloper runs out of time and energy to maintain his work, and someone else steps up. Sometimes, however, it's not such a good thing.

26Mar/140

WP-phptidy – a tool to clean up WordPress plugin and theme code

WP-phptidyWhat is it?

WP-phptidy is based on phptidy, by Magnus Rosenbaum. Eoin Gallagher made some adjustments to phptidy (2.9, circa November, 2009) so that it would better conform to the WordPress PHP Coding Standards, which are similar in most respects to at least one set of PEAR Coding Standards.

Silviu-Cristian Burc─â (aka scribu) kindly placed Eoin's work on github in January of 2012. As I have a natural aversion to social media and github's quasi-social media paradigm, I chose not to fork the project there, but rather to pull it and put it in my own Subversion repository, hosted on my server, and to make my changes freely available to others. Code contributions and patches are most welcome.

Where to download it

The latest build is available via anonymous FTP from my server. I presently do not allow access to my Subversion repository, and I have not yet added this project to my Mantis bugtracker (though I will be sure to update this support page if and when I do).

Requirements

From the phptidy readme:

- PHP 5
    phptidy does not work on PHP 4, because some functions introduced in PHP 5
    are used, and there are also some differences in the tokens. But it should
    be not too difficult to port it to PHP 4.

- PHP CLI SAPI
    http://php.net/manual/en/features.commandline.php
    phptidy expects PHP in /usr/bin/php. If your PHP executable is in a
    different path, you will have to edit the first line of phptidy.php.

- PHP extension: Tokenizer
    http://php.net/manual/en/book.tokenizer.php

 Optional:

- diff
    The standard Unix diff utility or similar
    Default is to use colordiff.
    Only required if you want to use phptidy's "diff" command.

- PHP extension: mbstring
    http://php.net/manual/en/book.tokenizer.php
    Only required if you want to use the configration variable $encoding to
    check the encoding of your PHP files.

 phptidy should work on most operation systems where PHP works.

Operating system compatibility

Out of the box, WP-phptidy should run on any platform capable of running phptidy (see above). I am also taking steps to ensure compatibility with OS/2.

How to use it

Unzip the contents of the zip (single directory) wherever convenient. Running WP-phptidy with no arguments yields a brief syntax reference:

Usage: phptidy.php command [files|options]
Commands:
  suffix   Write output into files with suffix .phptidy.php
  replace  Replace files and backup original as .phptidybak
  diff     Show diff between old and new source
  source   Show processed source code of affected files
  files    Show files that would be processed
  tokens   Show source file tokens
  help     Display this message
Options:
  -v       Verbose messages
If no files are supplied on command line, they will be read from the config file.
See README and source comments for more information.

I've included the original readme from phptidy as a more complete command reference, as well as the README.markdown from scribu's github submission, and my own readme and changelog. Between these references, a working understanding of the tool should be readily obtained.

My changes to the original WP-phptidy

So far, I've added/updated the following:

  • Updated phptidy to 2.11.
  • Added new function: fix_logical_space, which defaults to true. This adds a space after "!" in statements such as !isset, for example.

Look for these enhancements which are on my roadmap:

  • Better detection of missing braces (curly brackets).
  • Space alignment for arrays, e.g.:

     

    $my_array = array(
    [tab]'foo'   => 'somevalue',
    [tab]'foo2'  => 'somevalue2',
    [tab]'foo3'  => 'somevalue3',
    [tab]'foo34' => 'somevalue3',
    );

License

WP-phptidy is released under GPL v2, as is phptidy. A copy of the license is included in the distribution.

16Feb/140

Conditional menus for WordPress with the Suffusion theme and mega menus

The Rosenthal & Rosenthal site is undergoing a major revamp, moving from a static, all-Flash (yech) accumulation of static pages and compiled Flash objects to WordPress 3.8.1.

In addition to rebuilding on a stable platform, the redesign plan involves a number of new features, some of which I'll document here on my personal blog to try to contribute to the community 1.

  1. I truly dislike the phrase "give back," as I've not taken anything; I do, however, contribute, as I can.
25Jun/132

WordPress, WooCommerce, and the elusive WP_MEMORY_LIMIT issue

WooCommerce (and likely some other WordPress plugins - and non-WordPress apps - tend to be rather microcosmic when determining system settings. Case in point: the PHP memory limit.

Prior to PHP 5.2.1, the per-script memory limit available was set at compile time (via the --enable-memory-limit option). With 5.2.1, we got the php.ini directive:

memory_limit <integer>

to set this value at run time 1. In fact, it can even be overridden (if the server admin allows) so that specific apps may set it themselves, thus allowing for greater granularity across all running PHP applications on the server, even under the same instance of the engine.

  1. http://www.php.net/manual/en/ini.core.php#ini.memory-limit
24Jun/1312

WP Post to PDF Enhanced

This is a support page for my WordPress plugin, WP Post to PDF Enhanced, based on WP Post to PDF by Neerav Dobaria, which renders posts & pages as downloadable PDFs for archiving and/or printing.

The WordPress support page for the plugin is located here.

Please note: This page refers to the 1.0.x branch of the plugin, and not the current 1.1.x branch (released April, 2015). I will be updating this page with new screenshots and updated descriptions in the near future.

Overview

WP Post to PDF Enhanced is a PDF generator for WordPress posts and pages. Unlike many (most?) other plugins (such as PrintFriendly), WP Post to PDF Enhanced does not utilize any third party rendering to generate the PDF; that is to say, that it is not necessary to redirect the reader offsite to some unknown provider to convert the content. Instead, WP Post to PDF Enhanced relies on the TCPDF class to render the PDF. This makes WP Post to PDF Enhanced a completely self-contained PDF-generating plugin.

This incarnation of the plugin grew out of Neerav Dobaria's initial work, and my subsequent unofficial releases through version 2.4.0. In fact, version 1.0.0 of WP Post to PDF Enhanced is functionally equivalent to my unofficial release of WP Post to PDF 2.4.0.

License

WP Post to PDF Enhanced bears the GPLv2 license. Included works bear their own licenses.

The TCPDF class bears the GPLv3 (and above) license. There are also separate licenses included for the following:

Third party fonts:

This library may include third party font files released with different licenses.

All the PHP files on the fonts directory are subject to the general TCPDF license (GNU-LGPLv3), they do not contain any binary data but just a description of the general properties of a particular font. These files can be also generated on the fly using the font utilities and TCPDF methods.

All the original binary TTF font files have been renamed for compatibility with TCPDF and compressed using the gzcompress PHP function that uses the ZLIB data format (.z files).

The binary files (.z) that begins with the prefix "free" have been extracted from the GNU FreeFont collection (GNU-GPLv3). The binary files (.z) that begins with the prefix "pdfa" have been derived from the GNU FreeFont, so they are subject to the same license. For the details of Copyright, License and other information, please check the files inside the directory fonts/freefont-20120503 Link : http://www.gnu.org/software/freefont/

The binary files (.z) that begins with the prefix "dejavu" have been extracted from the DejaVu fonts 2.33 (Bitstream) collection. For the details of Copyright, License and other information, please check the files inside the directory fonts/dejavu-fonts-ttf-2.33 Link : http://dejavu-fonts.org

The binary files (.z) that begins with the prefix "ae" have been extracted from the Arabeyes.org collection (GNU-GPLv2). Link : http://projects.arabeyes.org/

These included licenses appear to be compatible - in terms of allowing bundling, at least - with the GPLv3 license which covers TCPDF (though as a disclaimer, I am not an attorney, and this does not and should not be construed as legal advice in the US or anywhere else).

Installation

If installing an official version, you may do so from the normal Plugins page in your WordPress site admin area, or download the package, extract it to /wp-content/plugins/, and activate it.

Upgrading

If upgrading from a prior release of WP Post to PDF Enhanced, no special considerations are required. I recommend upgrading through the WordPress Plugins page in your site admin area. Newer releases should be fully backward-compatible or will be able to migrate settings upon upgrading.

Migrating from the original WP Post to PDF

Presently, there is no automated way of migrating options from one plugin to the other.

If you have database access, before installing WP Post to PDF Enhanced, create a new row in the wp_options table. Assign a unique option_id value, set the option_name to 'wpptopdfenh', and copy the contents of the wpptopdf option_value field to the new wpptopdfenh option_value field. You may need to edit any path references referencing /wp-post-to-pdf to /wp-post-to-pdf-enhanced.

If you do not have database access, note all of the options you have set for WP Post to PDF before disabling/uninstalling it, so that you may re-enter them upon activating WP Post to PDF Enhanced.

Be sure to copy any custom images from the /wp-post-to-pdf paths to /wp-post-to-pdf-enhanced paths (e.g., wp-content/uploads/wp-post-to-pdf-logo.png -> wp-content/uploads/wp-post-to-pdf-enhanced-logo.png).

Finally, if you have used any manual placement tags for the PDF icon in your theme(s), you'll need to edit these manually, e.g.:

<?php if (function_exists("wpptopdf_display_icon")) echo wpptopdfenh_display_icon();?>

needs to be edited to read:

<?php if (function_exists("wpptopdfenh_display_icon")) echo wpptopdfenh_display_icon();?>

and so forth.

Settings

The Settings page is divided into three distinct groups:

  • Accessibility Options (include/exclude content types, posts, pages)
  • Presentation Options (PDF icon appearance)
  • PDF Formatting Options (output tuning)

Accessibility Options (include/exclude content types, posts, pages)

Accessibility Options

Allowed Custom Post Types Post, Page, Attachment, or any combination where you want to be able to generate PDFs.
Non Public Only Select this if you only want logged-in users to be able to generate PDFs.
Only on Single Select this if you only want individual articles (posts, pages, attachments) PDF-enabled; otherwise, PDFs may be generated from, say, a page of posts.
Exclude/Include Set the toggle for the list of posts/pages to specifically include or to specifically exclude (presently, there is no option for both a whitelist and a blacklist), then list the post/page IDs separated by commas.
Exclude/Include from Cache Set the toggle for the list of posts/pages to specifically include or to specifically exclude from cache 1 (presently, there is no option for both a whitelist and a blacklist), then list the post/page IDs separated by commas.

Presentation Options (PDF icon appearance)

Presentation Options

Icon Position

Before or After content, Both, Manual 2; Left, Right aligned.

 

PDF Download Link

This can be any HTML you'd like. For the default icon, just copy the provided text.

PDF Formatting Options (output tuning)

PDF Formatting Options

Other Plugins Select if you want (formatting) changes applied by other plugins to impact the rendering of the PDF.
Process Shortcodes Select if you want shortcodes processed in the rendering of the PDF.
Display Author Detail None, Username, Display Name, Nickname - sets the format (or visibility) of the author name in the PDF.
Display Post Category List Select if you want to include the post's/page's category list in the PDF.
Display Post Tag List Select if you want to include the post's/page's tag list in the PDF.
Display Post Date Select if you want to include the post's/page's date in the PDF.
Display Featured Image Select if you want to include the featured image in the header of the PDF.
Image Scaling Ratio Enter desired image scaling ratio (applies to all images; default is 1.25). Note that this decimal entry refers to the relative size of the web view (the antecedent) as compared to the PDF view (the consequent, which is always 1).
Header All Pages Select if you want the header information on all pages of the PDF (otherwise, this information will only appear on the first page of a multi-page PDF).
Header Logo Image Select if you want a logo image displayed in the header. Replace the default placeholder image with your own, per the displayed path.
Header Logo Image Factor This factor is applied to the header logo image to provide some buffer space around the image. Some experimenting may be required to get the factor just right to provide enough room around the image without abnormally expanding the overall header area (default: 14).
Custom CSS Enter your desired CSS in the text box to be applied to all PDFs (hint: Firefbug or Chris Pedrick's Web Developer Extension is your friend). Check the option to apply the CSS (unchecking the option will not remove your styles from the database, so toggling and editing should be fairly easy).
Header Font Select desired font for the header from the dropdown (default: Helvetica).
Header Font Size Enter the size in points of the header font (default: 10).
Footer Font Select desired font for the footer from the dropdown (default: Helvetica).
Footer Font Size Enter the size in points of the footer font (default: 10).
Content Font Select desired font for the content from the dropdown (default: Helvetica).
Content Font Size Enter the size in points of the content font (default: 10).

Included Fonts

Al Arabiya
Furat
Arial Unicode
Courier
Courier Bold
Courier Bold Italic
Courier Italic
DejaVu Sans
DejaVu Sans Bold
DejaVu Sans Bold Italic
DejaVu Sans Condensed
DejaVu Sans Condensed Bold
DejaVu Sans Condensed Bold Italic
DejaVu Sans Condensed Italic
DejaVu Sans Extra Light
DejaVu Sans Italic
DejaVu Sans Mono
DejaVu Sans Mono Bold
DejaVu Sans Mono Bold Italic
DejaVu Sans Mono Italic
DejaVu Serif
DejaVu Serif Bold
DejaVu Serif Bold Italic
DejaVu Serif Condensed
DejaVu Serif Condensed Bold
DejaVu Serif Condensed Bold Italic
DejaVu Serif Condensed Italic
DejaVu Serif Italic
Free Mono
Free Mono Bold
Free Mono Bold Italic
Free Mono Italic
Free Sans
Free Sans Bold
Free Sans Bold Italic
Free Sans Italic
Free Serif
Free Serif Bold
Free Serif Bold Italic
Free Serif Italic
Helvetica
Helvetica Bold
Helvetica Bold Italic
Helvetica Italic
Times Roman
Times Bold
Times Bold Italic
Times Italic

Shortcodes

Shortcodes have been introduced with version 1.0.1. There are currently two shortcodes available (wrap these in []):

wpptopdfenh Use this within your content to generate the default PDF icon and associated link. Note that page/post exclusions do not apply to this shortcode, so even pages listed to be excluded from the "automatic" icon will display the shortcode-generated one.
wpptopdfenh_break This shortcode sets a manual page break within the PDF.

Presently, disabling the processing of shortcodes will render the manual page break shortcode unusable. Look for an enhancement to strip all but the above shortcodes when shortcode processing is disabled (see workaround, below).

Tips & Tricks

Adding Manual Page Breaks (without the shortcode)

If you'd like to add a manual page break to your PDF, but have processing of shortcodes disabled, simply edit the HTML source of your post or page, and place the following HTML tags where you'd like the break to occur:

<tcpdf method="AddPage"></tcpdf>

(Note that while self-closing tags are fine for XHTML, it is likely that your WordPress editor will simply strip the tag completely, so stick with the open and close tags, above.)

Unicode Fonts (necessary for non-English characters)

First, realize that Arial (as used in TCPDF) is not a unicode font. In fact, Arial is actually mapped to Helvietica, so if you select Arial, the actual core font you will get is Helvetica (selecting Helvetica renders exactly the same way). Next, Arial (here) is not a unicode font. Thus, if you have non-English characters, you'll need to select a unicode font in order to have them render as something other than "?" in the PDF. A good suggestion is one of the DejaVu variants.

Image Alignment

If you are finding that your images simply are not aligning as you have the img tags set, try setting the text alignment as you want the image to be aligned. For example, put a right-aligned image in a right-aligned paragraph. It's not a perfect workaround, but usually gets the job done. Expect a real fix for this in a future release.

Acknowledgements

Kudos to Neerav Dobaria for his excellent work on the original plugin. Without his contribution, I would have certainly had a much harder time getting off the ground. Likewise, without Nicola Asuni's amazing work on TCPDF, WP Post to PDF Enhanced would surely look and act differently than it does now. Finally, thanks to all of the users who have posted reviews and salient comments/questions at wordpress.org for their kind words - especially to me - and suggestions for improving the functionality of WP Post to PDF Enhanced.

I'd also like to thank the folliowing people (in no particular order) from the WordPress community for their time and helpful feedback, encouragement, and overall good humor:

elarson
ajg-cal
McKSuse
jennybeaumont
david1103
2020media

...and a number of other people who should likely be mentioned... Thank you all very, very much.

Getting Support

Support may be requested either on the WordPress plugin support page or by registering for a login on this site and posting a comment to this post. I'm sorry to require registration if all you'd like to do is ask a question, but I find that it's the best way to curtail comment spam. I promise that I won't utilize your email address or other requested information for any purpose other than identifying you on this site, nor will I ever sell or otherwise knowingly disclose your information to any third party without a court order.

Giving Support

If you would like to contribute something monetarily, you have my thanks, and I will be sure to see that some portion of your donation gets to Nicola Asuni's TCPDF project. Also, please consider contacting me with some IT consulting issue or even about web hosting (Rosenthal & Rosenthal's hosting fees are quite reasonable, as are our domain registration fees). Alternatively, contribute something to Warpstock either directly or via an Amazon purchase, or consider giving to your local Humane Society or some legitimate organization which provides support for America's troops and/or veterans (or to such an organization for one of our allies). In truth, there is no amount which can ever repay those who fight - and who have fought - for Freedom.

To donate to me directly for WP Post to PDF Enhanced, please click the button below:


 

  1. Normally, PDF content is cached, so that once a PDF is generated - by any valid user - that same PDF is presented to a subsequent user, so long as the cache has not expired.
  2. Insert the following into your theme's functions.php:

    <?php if (function_exists("wpptopdfenh_display_icon")) echo wpptopdfenh_display_icon();?>

6Jun/130

Why should CPAs care about the cloud? Let’s count the ways

Why should CPAs care about the cloud? Let's count the ways.

Egad... Drinking the Kool-Aid? Who are these people in this blog post, anyway, and what on Earth do they know of data security?

27Apr/131

Removing the WP Post to PDF icon in WPTouch Pro

This is a follow-up to an earlier post I did, which dealt with removing the WP Post to PDF icon in the free version of WPTouch. I've since registered for the Pro version of WPTouch, and the solution is a bit more elegant (and less obvious).

1Jan/130

Removing the WP Post to PDF icon in WPTouch

I recently added (and slightly enhanced the usability of) the WP Post to PDF plugin for WordPress (more on my tweaks in a later post). The plugin utilizes the TCPDF class for creating PDFs of selected pages and/or posts on a WordPress blog.

What I discovered, however, was that the plugin doesn't seem to want to play nicely with WPTouch (broken pdf links). I was going to address that, but decided that a more practical approach would be to just disable the icon altogether, if only to regain the screen real estate otherwise surrendered to the image.

21Oct/120

Mass editing users in WordPress

Eek!

A thousand apologies to those of you who have received email notifications of my last post, which added two new categories to the blog. Following up on an enhancement request from a long-time friend to provide email notifications of new posts, I installed the Subscribe2 plugin. Not fully understanding the ramifications of setting "Option for Registered Users to auto-subscribe to new categories is checked by default" to "Yes," I set that, which automatically enabled all existing users as subscribers to newly-created categories, even if they were not subscribed to any categories previously (my reading of this option was that only new registrants would be auto-subscribed to new categories, thus saving them click-time during setup).

26Jul/121

Removing social networking links from WPtouch (free version)

I hate social networking.

If you're a regular reader of this site, you probably know that by now.

While I truly love the WPtouch mobile plugin for WordPress, and while I really should upgrade to the Pro version (note to self: let's do this before the end of the year), I absolutely hate those links to Tw-tter and F-c-book at the bottom of each article. I do like the email and bookmark links, though, as well as the navigation buttons.

A little poking around got me what I needed to find. The hack is fairly simple.