WordPress Toolbar v 2.2 : Custom toolbar url, Support for WPMU and bug fixes

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WordPress toolbar plugin provide a facebook, digg style toolbar for all outgoing links from your blog posts. The toolbar url defaults to http://yourblog/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php. However with version 2.2, blog admin can customize toolbar url to http://yourblog/wordpress-toolbar/ through the admin panel. A lot of other enhancements have been added like cross-plugin compatibility and support for WPMU hosted blogs. Check full feature list below.

What’s New?
Listed below is list of new features and bug fixes released with v 2.2:

  1. Support for customizing toolbar url through admin panel
  2. Support for WPMU hosted blogs
  3. Support for removing “Get this Plugin” widget from the toolbar through admin panel
  4. Security fix for possible XSS attack. Fix done by passing encoded hash string instead of plain text parameters. Also added various security checks on toolbar page to avoid possible XSS attacks.
  5. Bug fix where plugin didn’t work as expected because of cross plugin compatibility issues. Fix done by replacing server side toolbar logic with client side (using jquery) logic.
  6. Bug fix to show sociable share icons and tinyurl share link only for single posts and pages
  7. Bug fix for unrecognizable code in the toolbar when the encoding of hosted blog is different from utf-8. Fix done by using hosted blog settings instead of hardcoded utf-8.

Also core plugin code has been restructured (OOPS oriented now) so that maintainability and support becomes easier and quicker.

Steps to customize the default toolbar URL
Enable WordPress Toolbar v 2.2 plugin. Assuming you want to change default toolbar url from /wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php to /wordpress-toolbar, follow these steps:

  1. Enable apache mod_rewrite
  2. Add AllowOverride All in your blog virtual host config file and restart apache
  3. Add following apache rewrite rule by editing your blog .htaccess file
    RewriteRule ^wordpress-toolbar$ wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php
    RewriteRule ^wordpress-toolbar/$ wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php
  4. If you have blogs hosted using WPMU, add following apache rewrite rules in .htaccess file
    RewriteRule ^wordpress-toolbar$ wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php
    RewriteRule ^wordpress-toolbar/$ wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php
    RewriteRule ^([0-9a-zA-Z-]+)/wordpress-toolbar$ $1/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php
    RewriteRule ^([0-9a-zA-Z-]+)/wordpress-toolbar/$ $1/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar/toolbar.php
  5. Manually check if rewrite rules are working. Open your custom toolbar url and you should see a result similar to this http://abhinavsingh.com/blog/wordpress-toolbar
  6. If for some reasons you DO NOT see “Working! Though required parameters are missing.” on toolbar page, it means rewrite rules didn’t worked as expected. Before you proceed with the setup, you SHOULD fix rewrite rules
  7. Go to wordpress admin and click "Wordpress Toolbar" under Settings tab
  8. Update your new custom toolbar url as shown: wordpress-toolbar-v-2.2-custom-toolbar-url-demo
  9. Clear cache and verify your toolbar

Enjoy and kindly let me know if you have issues installing plugin on your host.

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/.

WordPress Toolbar Plugin

Checkout WordPress Toolbar Version 2.2 Release Blog.

This plugin is a result of day to day observations of my wordpress blog stat. I analyzed that 75% of my blog’s visitors were leaving my blog posts by clicking one of the out going links either to my code.google project pages or to an external source of information. However, I doubt how many of them were coming back to leave a comment or to bookmark/share my blog post on one of the social bookmarking sites. I can say this because, even I too forget to press the browser back button and visit the blog again.

However I observed that I was clicking the link back on stumble floating toolbars and facebook external links toolbar. And hence came WordPress Toolbar Plugin (upgrade to 2.0 with Admin Panel). In short:

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WordPress Toolbar is a unique plugin which will automatically enable a toolbar for all outgoing links from your blog post, similar to stumbleupon and facebook. Often the visitors on your blog clicks one of the outgoing link for more information. However, s/he often forgets to comment back or social bookmark your blog. WordPress toolbar will float on the top of all these outgoing links from your blog post, showing options for either visit back your blog post from where s/he came from, comment back on your blog, social bookmark you blog in one of the famous bookmarking sites and finally an option to leave this toolbar.

This is my first wordpress plugin and I have just got my subversion repository access on wordpress.org. I have checked in this version of plugin and you can download the same from the download link above. You can experience the wordpress toolbar by clicking this link: http://abhinavsingh.com . As you click this, you will see a brownish black toolbar floating at the top of the yahoo.com page using which either the users can come back to comment on this blog post or they can use one of the social bookmarking images to share this blog post.

Introductory Features of WordPress Toolbar:

  1. A link back to your blog home
  2. A link back to your blog post from where he visited the external link
  3. A comment back link to originating blog post
  4. Various social bookmarking links to share, promote and bookmark your blog post
  5. Finally a close button, with which he will exit the wordpress toolbar
  6. An admin panel to configure and customize all of the above options

How to install WordPress Toolbar:

  1. Before proceeding with this version 2.x, you should DEACTIVATE any active 1.x series plugin
  2. Remove /blog/toolbar.php which you must have copied while activating 1.x version
  3. Remove /blog/wp-content/plugins/wp-toolbar directory fully. You will no longer need this
  4. Download the plugin
  5. Extract the plugin into `/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-toolbar` directory
  6. You will see one directory named `extra` which contains required images and css (DO-NOT-TOUCH-THIS-FOLDER)
  7. You will see 2 files named: wp-toolbar.php and toolbar.php (DONT MOVE THEM ANYWHERE)
  8. Activate the plugin
  9. Go to WPAdmin => settings => `wordpress toolbar` and customize the toolbar
  10. Bingo!

Version Change logs:

  1. 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
  2. Version 1.1 : Include emergency CSS and HTML Validation fixes for IE browsers
  3. Version 1.0 : The first release of wordpress toolbar

Planned Future Releases:

  1. Include support for wordpress blogs hosted on PHP4, currently they are facing issues
  2. Include an options for inserting target=”_blank” for all outgoing links
  3. Club Socialble plugin into wordpress toolbar – Since wordpress toolbar already consists of all the social networking favicons, you may want to have a similar copy for a different plugin. Hence one of the next releases will include support for inserting social icons on your blog
  4. Club Google Analytics plugin into wordpress toolbar – Currently wordpress toolbar plugin inserts a onclick=”” event for all out going links which enables the toolbar for the link. However if you are a user of Google Analytics Plugin, then you might face a few issues. Mainly because Google Analytics Plugin too tries to insert an onclick=”” event for all outgoing links. Which finally clashes with wordpress toolbar onclick=”” event. Clubing both will allow you to enjoy plus points of both the plugins.

Do leave a comment or any suggestion for improvement.