WordPress Toolbar v 2.1 – Adding support for tinyurl, sociable and a lot more

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WordPress Toolbar Version 2.0 allowed bloggers to catch their viewers on the go. It modifies all the internal/external links in the blog post (except those specified for exception), to open them with an attractive toolbar. Since wordpress toolbar used javascript to enable this functionality, your SEO always remain intact.

Moving forward, I accumulated all the suggestions posted in more than a 100 comments on the introductory blog post, and tried to include as many features as possible in version 2.1. A few features worth talking about are:

New in Version 2.1:

  • Plugin Size: Inspite of adding new features in version 2.1, plugin size has decreased from 100+ Kb to 50+ Kb. This is mainly because, plugin now uses site favicons fetched using Google S2 web service. It will allows for parallelization as your blog loads.
  • Tinyurl: Version 2.1 introduces support for tinyurl. If you are wondering what does that mean, scroll down to the bottom of this blog post and you will see tinyurl corresponding to this post. Enabling this feature inside admin panel will automatically submit your post to tinyurl and display it at the end of the blog post.
  • Sociable: Version 2.1 also introduces sociable. Enabling it inside the admin panel will put the social icons at the end of every blog post. You can choose icons from the admin panel. For an example scroll down to the bottom of this post.
  • target=”_blank”, was one of the most wished feature in all the posted comments. Enabling it from admin panel, will force open the url’s in your post into a new window.
  • New Toolbar Skin: Version 2.1 adds facebook toolbar skin into its kitty. From admin panel you can choose dark shade stumble upon skin or light blue facebook skin.
  • Add More Custom Skin: Yes, you read it right. I found a lot of bloggers using this plugin, wish to have their own custom toolbar skins. However, they just don’t want to tweak the code directly. Version 2.1 allows blog publishers to add their own custom skins without having to tweak the code manually. Read through to know how to add your custom skins
  • PHP4 Support: Last but not the least, support for PHP version 4.

Installation Guide:

  1. If you are trying to upgrade from version 2.0, you can either go for manual upgrade or automatic up using wordpress admin panel.
  2. Manual Upgrade: Deactivate version 2.0, Delete wordpress-toolbar folder from plugins directory, Download version 2.1, Copy wordpress-toolbar directory to plugins folder, Activate version 2.1, Visit wordpress toolbar administration panel
  3. Automatic Upgrade: Go to wordpress admin panel, click on plugins in left navigation bar, scroll down to wordpress-toolbar and click upgrade automatically

Version Change logs:

  1. Version 2.1.x : Enhancements added to version 2.0. Specifically it includes:
    • Support for tinyurl – url shortening service
    • Support for sociable – adding social share icons at the end of every post
    • Facebook skin added
    • target=”_blank” support added
    • Plugin is now PHP4 compatible
  2. Version 2.0 : Version was upgraded since 2.0 is a complete overhaul from 1.x series. Specifically it allows you to do the following:
    • You can now use auto upgrade for future releases without caring to move the plugin files everytime
    • Admin panel allows you to fully customize your toolbar
    • You can now ever choose social icons of your choice to be displayed on the toolbar
    • Choose domains for which you don’t want to activate this plugin
    • Unlike 1.x series, 2.0 do not change the href=”” urls. Instead now it uses javascript onclick event to activate toolbar and hence taking care of your SEO needs
  3. Version 1.1 : Include emergency CSS and HTML Validation fixes for IE browsers
  4. Version 1.0 : The first release of wordpress toolbar

How to add my own custom toolbar skin:
Before you go ahead and put in your custom skin, a little about various components populating that toolbar.

  1. home.gif: The left most home icon on the toolbar
  2. background.gif: The background image of your toolbar
  3. button_left.gif: The left cap image for “comment back” button
  4. button_right.gif: The right cap image for “comment back” button
  5. close.gif: The right most close icon on the toolbar

So by now you know, to add your custom skin to the toolbar all you need is 5 images. Lets see what all I did to add facebook skin in this release.

  1. First of all you must choose a short name and full name for your skin. I chose a shortname “fb” and fullname “facebook” for the facebook custom skin
  2. Go to plugins/wordpress-toolbar/extra/skins folder and create a folder. Name it “fb” (the shortname for your skin)
  3. Inside this folder drop your 5 images. (Remember names of the images must be same as above)
  4. Along with the images you need to drop a stylesheet named style.css to customize the font family, font sizes etc appearing on the toolbar. For reference see the style.css file inside “fb” folder bundled with this plugin
  5. Finally you need to create a “readme.txt” file inside “fb” folder. Open it and type in your skin’s fullname inside this file. This file will be used more extensively in future releases.

Now go to your admin panel and if you did it right you must see an option to choose your custom skin next to “choose a skin” option. Wasn’t that easy!

Planned Future Releases:

  1. The plugin is still not compatible with the Google Analytics and Shadow Box Plugin, mainly due to similar nature in which all the plugin’s operate. Need to work on that.
  2. Waiting for more suggestions and feedbacks from the plugin users on how we can evolve this plugin to serve the open source community

Do leave a comment or any suggestion for improvement and don’t forget to give a rating at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/.