Updating the FlatPress PostViews plugin to use a tracking pixel FlatPress has a great plugin called PostViews that counts the number of times a blog post has been viewed. One of the issues I had with this plugin is it stopped tracking the number of views when I turned on HTML caching at my CloudFlare front end. Naturally the HTML was cached for most requests and therefore the plugin was never executed. The solution to this was to use a tracking pixel and set CloudFlare to disable caching on the tracking pixel itself so that I could capture each of the views.
Make FlatPress generate meta tags without the use of the SEO Metatag Info plugin Meta tags are still very important for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and posting to social media. For example if you don't have the description meta tag for your blog post, Facebook doesn't show the page description. This makes these tags crucial for any blog. If you use FlatPress, there is the SEO Metatag Info available to generate these tags for you automatically, however, recently I've noticed that there is a security issue with this plugin which allows anyone to write arbitrary files to your server and I quickly disabled the plugin and came up with an alternative to generating the meta tags I needed.
SSL enabling FlatPress Now that my blog is finally moved to a new host and SSL is fully set up, here's a quick note on how to make FlatPress work over HTTPS. By default, even if you change the Blog URL in the Options screen, FlatPress will not use that in all cases, the changes need to be done in the actual code too.
Blog activity graph for FlatPress Here's a small addition to FlatPress. It's a blog activity graph that displays the number of blog posts per month over the past number of months. I got this idea when looking at the Cobertura home page and seeing their commit activity graph.
Add a URL shortener plugin to FlatPress Ever since I've started sharing my blog posts on Twitter, I've wanted to have my own URL shortener. There was no such feature with FlatPress out-of-the-box, so I went ahead and made my own plugin. This post shows how to write a shortener plugin for FlatPress and then how to configure it to redirect from the short to real URLs.
'More on this blog' plugin for FlatPress This plugin creates a box with a number of links to other posts on the same blog. The look and feel is configurable via CSS. By default it displays 4 random posts, but that can be changed via code. I created this plugin to expose readers to more content and also to create more internal linking.
Use URL parameters to dynamically set the FlatPress theme for testing I've been trying to make some major changes to the theme on my blog recently and doing this on the live website is not a great idea, so I started looking into the FlatPress code to see how I could dynamically change the theme that it loads by specifying a URL parameter. The changes are straight forward, but do require modification of the core files.
Add metadata to Flatpress blog home and static pages using SEO Metatag Info Plugin The SEO Metatag Info plugin for FlatPress makes it easy to add metadata to blog posts (entries) using the HTML meta tag, however the static and blog pages do not seem to have the same functionality out of the box. Looking at the code reveals that these pages can also have metadata stored and added to when they are displayed. Adding this is a more manual task compared to blog posts, but it is possible.
SEO Metadata Plugin removing quotes, punctuation characters I've been noticing that the SEO Metadata Plugin for FlatPress has been removing quotes and other punctuation characters from the metadata. This makes any blog snippets on social media sites (Facebook, Google Plus, etc) appear unprofessional. The plugin can already preserve these characters, it just needs to be configured.
Adding Google search to a FlatPress theme Although FlatPress includes a search feature, I found it to be quite limited, so I had a look at adding Google search to a theme in FlatPress and found that to be quite easy to do. There is some tinkering with the FlatPress code itself, however the end result is a fully working search for FlatPress that is backed by the power of Google.
Page view statistics generator for FlatPress The PostViews plugin for FlatPress is useful and captures how many times a blog post has been viewed, what I felt it was missing was a way to show this information across all of the pages. To fill that gap, I wrote a small script that uses data that PostViews generates to visualise a histogram of all of the blog's pages and posts and views per post.
Flatpress is not Twitter Bootstrap friendly I've been using Twitter Bootstrap quite a bit lately and am quite amazed how easy it makes to create good looking web pages, so I thought that I would update the theme on my blog to match it. I found out the hard way that Flatpress is not Bootstrap friendly at all and requires many hacks and edits to make it look right.
A better way to place AdSense ads in a FlatPress theme In a previous post I talked about placing Google AdSense ads into FlatPress themes without violating Google policy. In this post I will talk about a better way to achieve the same effect: basically this comes down to making sure that a single ad unit is only shown once per page.
Adding the number of views to the FlatPress LastEntries plugin One of the things I wanted to have on this blog was the ability to see how many views there were for the entries in one quick glance. The LastEntries plugin gives the list of last 10 entries, but does not show how many times each one has been viewed.
Adding a Google compatible sitemap to FlatPress I could not find a FlatPress sitemap generator, the one that was available previously seems to be down now, so I've decided to write my own based on some of the SQL export code on the FlatPress wiki.