WeekPress #4: Making WordPress Events and New WordPress Plugins

How has the week been treating you WordPressers!

We are all personally a bit sunburned from last weekend’s WordCamp in Boston.

This week’s WeekPress centers on the sudden community focus of WordPress, from a few brand new WordPress widgets to the new WordPress Making WordPress Events initiative.

This week also saw quite a few new photo and photo header-based plugins, which we will talk about!

WordPress Community Widgets

Fresh off the heels of a slew of WordCamp events, the creators of WordPress have started focusing a lot of their efforts to the sustainability of a WordPress community.

The first step in realizing this goal comes with new widget for enhancing the WordPress community experience.

These widgets include:

  • Blogs I Follow
  • Posts I Like
  • My Community
  • Gravatar Profile

Blogs I Follow allows the curator to display which blogs they are currently most interested in reading.  These show up as little icons on the widget.

For someone looking for someone of similar interests or just for promoting other blogs in which you contribute, this is a great new app for exposure and more insight into the person behind the blog.

Posts I Like functions similarly to Blogs I Follow, except it focuses its efforts on individual posts rather than full blogs.  If you like a post on a WordPress powered blog, it will show up on this widget space.

For people who like to contribute to blog posts and websites, My Community allows the curator to display links to users who have commented on, liked, or followed the blog.

My Community is an easier way to interact with people of similar interest.

Finally, the Gravatar Profile Widget allows the content creator to easily transmit the user information of their Gravatar profile on a WordPress powered blog or website.  The information displayed includes the picture, some information on the user, and links to other websites and organizations in which the user is involved.

For the community, having those backlinks to other websites is good for SEO and for making the public aware of other organizations to get involved in.

Let’s say that Joe Blogger writes about eating healthy.  With the Gravatar Profile Widget, a reader viewing a food selection tip may see that Joe Blogger is also part of Eating Healthy United. The viewer now has an instant access click to that organization, should they wish to join.

Those who have attended WordCamps can see the appeal of linking to events even within the WordPress community!

Making WordPress Events

WordCamp Boston played for a sold out crowd over last weekend.  Clearly, excitement has increased for the event, as well as WordPress events throughout the world.

The creators see now as a great time to promote the increased use and applications of WordPress.  This week marks the unveiling of a new WordPress group titled “Making WordPress Events”.

“Making WordPress Events” is a group created by Jane Wells of the WordPress team to make it easier for event coordinators to get together with both fellow coordinators and WordPress creatives.

The idea behind the group is to make it far easier to get different people in the WordPress community to meet up and plan events.

The idea with “Making WordPress Events” is also to gather community involvement for other aspects of the website.  Some goals outlined in the initial group post are allowing users to become mentors for new guest speakers and also allowing users to be critics on which content makes it to WordPress.tv.

“Making WordPress Events” is wonderful because it takes the excitement of the WordPress community seriously.  It also offers a way for you as a WordPress junkie to get your name out there as an event planner or reviewer.

There are some fears with the group.

From the bullet point breakdown, it appeared that the users would be “volunteering” jobs that once gave someone a job within WordPress.

Secondly, there is always the fear with these groups that they will lose interest long before the next wave of WordCamps are upon us.  We can’t let that happen!

New Plugins

There are a trio of fancy new plugins this week.

The first plugin is a sweet treat, as it comes directly from the hands of our own.  Failing to see an elegant solution to items on his new Retina Display, Slocum Studio developer Jon Desrosiers took matters into his own hands, and the Simple WP Retina Plugin is the result.

The plugin is designed to detect a high DPI screen like a Retina display and automatically change all theme added image sizes to new @2x versions.

For users of high quality screens like the new Retina Display, download of this plugin is recommended.  It runs automatically on servers without any changes required of the user.  Because of this, the user can see images on their new screen the way they were meant to be seen and also speed up the loading of the webpage.  The plugin just works!

Download it today!

WP Responsive Images

Jon gave hope to those with big, beautiful screens.  And where he gave us that hope for that which is bigger, author Stuart Bates gives us hope for the smaller this week with WP Responsive Images.

This plugin hopes to dynamically resize images based on mobile phone use.  The plugin  automatically resizes images to the appropriate phone screen size when the page is accessed.

This plugin is great for users, as it is simple to implement, makes viewing of the page good on any device, and also caches the image to improve the performance.

Download it here!

WP Instagram Digest

Continuing the photo motif, we now look at the third and final plugin for the week, WP Instagram Digest.  The ultimate goal of this plugin is to enable the user to seamlessly take their photos on Instagram and create a gallery post instantly.

Upon activating the plugin within WordPress, you may view the plugin from “Settings” under “Instagram Digest”.

You will have to be recognized as an Instagram Developer in order for the app to work, but once it does, there will be a sleek little Instagram gallery posted everyday straight to the WordPress powered website or blog!

The plugin is really handy for those budding photobloggers out there.  Now Instagram photos can be easily shared with others on all social networks and on WordPress with the press of a button.

The app is designed by Andrey Ovcharov and can be downloaded here.

This Week in Themes

Slocum Studio has been busy this week.  Along with creating the Simple WP Retina plugin seen above, the guys have also launched version 1.1 of the popular Minimize Responsive Theme.

The update comes with several changes including:

  • Customizable company logo header in place of text header
  • Flexible custom header height support (with WordPress 3.4)
  • Bug fixes
  • CSS fixes

This is the most complete version yet of the Minimize Theme.

Welcome to the Family

Just as WordPress is creating a new family within its walls, we would also like to welcome any newcomers into our WeekPress family!

What did you think of this week’s topics?  Post your thoughts below!

With that being said, enjoy the other half of your week! See you next week WordPressers!

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