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7 Big WordPress News Stories From This Month

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The biggest WordPress news story over the last few weeks has been the first and second beta releases of the upcoming release of WordPress 3.5.

A major WordPress update always dominates the discussions within the WordPress community though there has been several other newsworthy stories over the last month that I’d like to share with you all. The most important story is, without doubt, the news that Google are shutting down the Feedburner API.

1. Feedburner Shuts Down API

FeedburnerFounded by current Twitter CEO Dick Costolo in 2004, Feedburner was later sold to Google in 2007 for a reported $100 million.

Since it’s launch, Feedburner has been the way that most bloggers deliver their content to their readers. Unfortunately the service has never been a main priority for Google. Incorrect subscriber counts were common and on 2 October 2012 Google announced it was removing support for Google Adsense integration (it will close on 3 December 2012).

They have also closed down the Feedburner API. This was announced on 26 May 2011 but only closed down on 20 October 2012. This will limit how developers and other services use Feedburner.

There has been no news of the Feedburner service actually closing down but with the closure of the API, removal of Adsense integration and closure of their Twitter account, it wouldn’t be a major surprise if the service was removed altogether. Even if the service remains active, most bloggers will be reluctant to use a service that is no longer supported.

The best alternative available at the moment (in my opinion) is Feedblitz. It’s packed full of features though many bloggers many be discouraged by the fact that it’s a paid service. There is a 30 day trial available though after that you will be paying around $30 for 1,000 active subscribers.

There are some alternative services available such as RapidFeeds, FeedCat and Feedity that are free. In response, developers such as StudioPress have developed in-built email marketing solutions for WordPress too. They’re worth checking out though if you are looking for better Feedburner migration and more features, I would consider giving Feedblitz a try.

Link: FeedBurner Experiencing Stat Issues, API To Shut Down

2. Jetpack Adds Mobile Theme Module

I’ve been a huge fan of the Jetpack plugin for WordPress since it’s launch early last year. It launched with 6 modules but currently there are 12.

Jetpack

There has been a lot of updates recently. Jetpack 1.7 was released on 23 August, 1.8 was released on 27 September, 1.81 was released on 28 September and 1.82 was released on 4 October 2012. 1.7 added the new ‘Custom CSS‘ module which adds an additional CSS Stylesheet Editor. The great thing about this module is the new CSS can either be added to your existing stylesheet or replace it entirely.

1.8 added the new Jetpack Mobile Theme]. WordPress.com users will quickly notice that its the same design used on the mobile version of WordPress.com websites. The design is simple, clean and professional looking. It’s also very easy to use: all you have to do is click the activate button to show the minimal mobile design to all mobile users.

Mobile Theme

At the bottom of the mobile design is a link which allows users to switch to the full version of your website. This is particularly useful for tablet users (e.g. iPad) as many prefer to view websites in full.

The mobile module only has two options. One allows you to switch from full posts to excerpts. The other allows you to show a link to a related WordPress mobile app (e.g. Blackberry, Android etc).

Mobile Theme Configuration

If you haven’t already tried Jetpack out, I recommend giving it a try. In addition to the new mobile theme module, there are 11 other great modules that will help enhance your WordPress website.

Link: Jetpack 1.8: Mobile Theme

3. WooThemes Redesigns Their Main Website

WooThemes recently redesigned their website. It retains the light blue colour scheme that has become synonymous with WooThemes though it looks more clean and modern.

WooThemes

One of the main reasons for this change was to move away from using their custom management system WooMember to their flagship eCommerce plugin WooCommerce. It’s a smart move as they will be able to develop their main site in conjunction with their most popular plugin.

It also demonstrates that WooCommerce can handle large eCommerce websites as they transferred over 300,000 users, over 100,000 transactions and 200 individual products.

Link: We’ve re-designed. Everything.

4. Digging Into WordPress Updated For WordPress 3.4

Digging Into WordPress is, in my humble opinion, far and away the best WordPress book available. Jeff Starr recently announced an update which includes WordPress 3.4. This is the 10th update of the book (which pleases customers like myself no end!).

Digging Into WordPress

In addition to the regular PDF version and the lite version for mobile users (which was added in February 2012), this update also includes a new deluxe widescreen option for users who want to view the book on large screens. If you’ve never considered Digging Into WordPress before, now’s the time :)

Link: DigWP Version 3.4 Update

5. Justin Tadlock Explains How He Runs A Membership Website

WordPress author Justin Tadlock recently shared how he runs his WordPress theme and plugin member website Theme Hybrid.

He advises that he has used the form plugin Gravity Forms to handle memberships on some websites however on most websites he uses his own WordPress plugin Members.

Members

In his tutorial he shows you how to use his plugin and how to hide content from non members. He stresses throughout that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a premium plugin in order to run a member website. It’s a great little article which I recommend reading if you are looking into solutions for a member website.

Link: How I run a membership site

6. Pippin Williamson Joins The WordPress Plugin Review Team

Pippin WilliamsonI was really pleased to hear that my friend Pippin Williamson is joining the WordPress plugin review team. Pippin is deservedly well loved within the WordPress community due to the the great tutorials he publishes through his website Pippins Plugins.

Pippin has contributed a great deal to the WordPress community. In addition to his tutorials, he has released over a dozen great plugins for free. He has a genuine love for WordPress and I have no doubt that the quality of plugins approved in the official plugin repository will increase due to his contribution.

Link: I’m Joining the Plugin Review Team

7. What WordPress Theme Is That?

‘What WordPress Theme Is That?’ is a simple service that many WordPress users will find useful. The website was created specifically for people who want to know what WordPress theme a WordPress website is powered with. To find out what design a website is using, all you have to do is enter the URL of the site.

What WordPress Theme Is That?

The service finds out which design a website is using by simply checking the author details in the website stylesheet. This can be done manually yourself if you wish. All you need to do is view the source of a web page then click on the link to the theme stylesheet. Of course, it’s much easier to just use a service such as this rather than do it manually.

As the website relies on the information in the stylesheet, if the author information is not present, it will not be able to tell you which theme is being used. This shouldn’t be a major issue as very few people remove the original author credits from the stylesheet. When the service cannot find any information about the theme, it advises that the site is probably using a custom design, which is usually the case if the author information has been removed.

Link: What WordPress Theme Is That?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick roundup of WordPress news from September and October. If I’ve missed out any important stories, please feel free to share them in the comment area.

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