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Topic Archive: Web Development
Nifty little memo books from the Pulp-O-Mizer

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

New Memo notebooks fo rthe Pulp-O-Mizer

It’s been awhile since I made changes to the Pulp-O-Mized products you can make with my Pulp-O-Mizer; in fact, there was a sort of debacle concerning a broken API for the T-shirts, but I’m not talking about that because the wounds are still fresh.

So apart from What I Am Not Speaking Of, these nifty new memo notebooks are the latest thing. They’re made of acid free recycled paper and at 3 1/2" by 5 1/2" they’ll go just about anyplace. I like these because they feel. . . informal. You don’t agonize about whether your sketches or notes are worthy. You just scribble ’em in there.

You can choose blank, lined, dotted, or checklist pages. I’ve made you a nice little title plate on the inside of the front cover, and there’s a colorful surprise on the inner back cover. And all for the low, low, ultra-customized and Pulp-O-Mized price of $10.95.

You can still get the old spiral bound notebooks through a text link below the products section. So whatever your notemaking preference is, go forth and Pulp-O-Mize!

Please consider helping me to continue my creative work and deal with the financial aftermath of cancer
 
 
The Book Shop Manager Plugin for WordPress: Attack of the Creeping Feature

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

Bookshop Manager Plugin for WordPress - Single Book Display

Back in my years in game development ("the lost years") there were so many features added to games while they were in production that I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times it happened. It’s so prevalent that we even had a name for it: "feature creep". Creepy features most often came from the game’s publisher, or from the enthusiastic producer appointed by the publisher; but, really, creepy features sometimes creep out from inside the team. Usually from some member of the team who doesn’t have to make those creepy features happen. The words easy or simple often appear at about the same time.

Now and then, though, creeping features creep out from within. And that’s what happened to me today.

Around midday I had checked off my list all but three of my WordPress plugin’s essential features. It was a great feeling. Once those three were done, the plugin would be ready for people other than me to use: actual real world testing! I’d already started to look for self-published authors with WordPress blogs who might like to test the plugin and build their own bookshops inside their web sites. Like I said: great feeling.

Except for feature creep.

Bookshop Manager Plugin for WordPress - Book Category Display

Because at about that same time I realized that I’d left something out. It wasn’t part of the original plan – it’s not like I decided not to do it. I just hadn’t considered it from the beginning. And it was something that people would probably want. Something that they might really want.

I went out to mow the lawn, and I just couldn’t get my creepy feature off my mind. This probably didn’t do much for my lawn mowing prowess which – between you, me and the neighbors – is probably not my strong suit, anyway.

And really, taking the long view, my creepy feature won’t be very difficult – it’s similar to something I built for the Archonate Bookstore. It’s just that it puts me two or three days (I hope!) farther away from beta testing. But of course the plugin will be much better for it. And stuff.

Still… not a great feeling. Feature creep: I thought it was all behind me.

And that’s a sort of creepy thought in itself.

 
 
Return of the Son of the Bride of the CreateSpace Shop Manager Plugin for WordPress

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

CreateSpace Shop Manager plugin for WordPress- theme preview
CreateSpace Shop Manager plugin for WordPress- theme preview
CreateSpace Shop Manager plugin for WordPress- theme preview

 
 
Although I did set aside my CreateSpace Shop Manager plugin for WordPress for a week or so, I’m back at it now and I just can’t describe the savagery and carnage that are taking place in my editor.

It’s incredible.

I finished laying out the admin page for the plugin, and I patched a few leaky bits, and I stopped a few small explosions from happening; then I went back to the core task of reading the data from a CreateSpace eStore page, throwing away a lot of HTML that no (nominally) sane person would want, and flowing it into a WordPress page.

But after I’d gotten pretty deep into my new method for that I really had to go back to the beginning and think it through. I’d started out trying to build the category hierarchy from scratch as though it were all a separate program; and that, you see, was foolish of me.

Because the average WordPress user just wants to plug something in and have it behave like all the other content in the blog. Which is not unreasonable.

The upshot is that I threw out a whole lot of my earlier work and started over, using the same methods but in a new, WordPressy way that I think will be simpler and better. (It’s easy to design something complicated, after all: it’s quite difficult to design something simple.)

A lot of that work is done, but heads will continue to roll while I strip out a lot of admin settings that make no sense any more.

The whole thing has transformed from a system of custom pages into a normal set of WordPress posts, contained in normal WordPress categories, and it all makes a lot more sense now, I think.

But the cool and nifty thing is that I’ve also resolved a lot of issues with theme compatibility. At the left you can see the same bookshop page displayed in three different WordPress themes. Each page shows the same category listing with a short version of the books’ descriptions: the whole post, when you click through to it, is a complete listing for the book.

That’s the result of a bunch of stuff I did today, before and during and after the carnage I mentioned earlier. I’m pretty excited now about how it’s shaping up.

One thing I’d like to include in the demo site is a way for users to switch from one theme to another, like I’ve been doing, but the plugins that claim to do that for users are all twitchy, cranky, or downright broken in recent versions of WordPress. So it may not be possible to show off the plugin’s flexibility except in screenshots like these.

And the demo site will be a project in itself, of course. But sometime in the next few days I hope to have a testable version of the plugin and I’ll try to recruit some testers for it. With forums! And handwaving! And stuff!

 
 
The CreateSpace Shop Manager plugin for WordPress, revisited

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

Preview of the CreateSpace Shop Manager plugin for WordPress

Here’s another preview screenshot of my CreateSpace Shop Manager plugin for WordPress.

So far the config screen lets you add categories, rename them, change their options, change their sort order, and delete them; within the categories you can – this afternoon! – add books.

Adding the books means I have to generate thumbnail images for them. That’s because of the big surprise I found when I added CreateSpace books to the Archonate Bookstore: the thumbnails expire! It must have something to do with Amazon’s cloud hosting.

They generate a thumbnail image dynamically when you visit the page and a few hours later… that image won’t be there any more. So my plugin captures the thumbnail, does some processing on it, and saves off a permanent copy of the image.

Next up is sorting and deleting books within a category. The ‘Refresh’ buttons below the books will capture a new thumbnail image (in case the cover is changed).

I may need to stop working on this tomorrow, at least for a little while, so I’m hoping to have everything in the Admin UI working properly by then.

 

 
 
New in the Pulp-O-Mizer: export and import your cover settings

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

The Pulp-O-Mizer: now with imports and exports

The Pulp-O-Mizer‘s latest feature was added for those folks who run Pulp-O-Mizer contests; but it turns out that it’s useful for anybody who wants to move their saved covers from one device (or person) to another. Therefore, we all win!

Now you can export and import your cover settings. This is pretty much like saving and loading, except that when you save a cover’s settings they stay in the local storage of your device. Now by exporting the data you can move it from place to place, exchange it with other users, or store it in a deuterium-lined vault for future, furtive use. It’s all up to you.

The "Export" and "Import" panels appear right below the save and load controls.

 

 
 
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