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Blogging News & Analysis

The Social Media Minute: a Look at Wikipedia's Growth and Twitter Population

Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:

  • Wikipedia Gets Its 3 Millionth Article
  • If Twitter Was a Village
  • FCC Starts on Twitter and Blogging
  • Marketers Start to See Benefits of Social Media

Twitter Challenged By TransMedia’s Engage? Unlikely

Twitter Challenged By TransMedia’s Engage? Tweet, tweet! If you were to believe even half of what you read, the launch of TransMedia’s Glide Engage is going to kill off Twitter (news, site).

No, really. At least at the time of the launch that’s what many people were saying in the rush to be the first to announce the demise of a service that has an estimated 40 million users.

But a week later – and you all know how long a week is in social media - people have finally come to their senses, calmed down and have, to a large extent, recognized Engage for what it really is – a microblogging platform, with emphasis on blogging, rather than micro.

WordPress Zaps a Security Bug, Releases 2.8.4

WordPress Zaps a Security Bug, Releases 2.8.4Team WordPress (news, site) has discovered and destroyed another security bug. This particular problem was considerably more serious than the privilege escalation issues we saw in the last security update, but still not terribly detrimental.

Via a specially crafted URL, an attacker could bypass a security check to verify a user requested password reset. In the event of an unauthorized reset, the first account without a key in the database (usually the administrative account) would have its password reset, and the new password would be emailed to the account owner. Says Matt Mullenweg, founding WordPress developer: "This doesn’t allow remote access, but it is very annoying."

As usual, the WordPress development team was quick to fix the issue, and version 2.8.4 can be downloaded here.

Continue to follow us as we follow the famous web CMS here, and keep the solution healthy by contributing your feedback to the weekly dev chats here.

WordPress Kicks Out a New Security Release

wordpress_logo_2009.jpgIn what is possibly the least shocking news ever, WordPress (news, site) has just released yet another low-level update to its platform. The 2.8.3 security release was quickly banged out after lead developer Ryan Boren "missed some places when fixing the privilege escalation issues for 2.8.1." 

Anything with "security" and "issue" in the same sentence is probably pretty serious so, if you've got WordPress, it is highly recommended that you upgrade for what is probably the zillionth time this year here.

At least we know they're on top of user feedback.

Speaking of feedback, don't forget to drop your two cents about the upcoming multimedia features in WordPress 2.9. The topic is hot in the WP community as we reported last week, and the showdown between developers and users for how cluttered the new code will be has officially begun.

Keep up with all the twists and turns here, or you can sit in on the dev chat which is now held every Thursday at 21:00 UTC.

Say Hello to Movable Type 4.3

mt-leader.jpg It’s here, it’s here, it’s here. After a flirty beta dance, Movable Type 4.3 is finally taking the stage.

We already threw together and pushed out a couple posts about the bread crumbs Six Apart dropped before the release, and since this is sort of like a lightweight Christmas for you MT fans we'll get straight down to business and tell you about the biggest new features in 4.3:

WordPress Gets Wicked, Blog from Your BlackBerry

wordpress_logo_2009.jpgAs you hardcore bloggers may or may not know, WordPress kicked out a beta version of their first application for the BlackBerry earlier this month and, mirroring their official platform release pattern, has since announced about a thousand (six) tiny iterations.

Since the announcement of the native application, a few similar offerings from competitors have come out of the woodwork. Wicked, an application from a company called ScreamingToaster, is one such solution that caught our eye. On the downside, it costs money. On the up, it seems (for the time being) to be relatively advanced as it saves blogs in the cloud, comes with a social GPS feature and integrates with popular tools like Twitter.

Bid Farewell, WordPress 2.0.x is Dead and Buried

wordpress_logo_2009.jpg "We bit off more than we could chew," admits Mark Jaquith, a lead WordPress developer, on the WordPress development blog.

Jaquith's comment is in reference to the recent decision to axe the 2.0.x legacy branch, even though it was was slated to make it to 2010. The decision was mainly based on the amount of security improvements to the new versions of WordPress in the last couple of years, and what it would mean to port those changes (a crap-ton of work, instability, the possibility of new bugs).

"Additionally, far fewer people stayed on the 2.0.x branch than we anticipated," continues Jaquith. "I take that as a testament to the new features in WordPress and perhaps even more the features offered by plugins, many of which don’t support older versions of WordPress!"

A post about the possible multimedia features in version 2.9 was also on the schedule this month, but so far we've seen neither hide nor hair. Perhaps with the 2.0.x weight off their shoulders, the WordPress heads in develoment will take the month's remaining day to throw something together. Cross your fingers and keep watch with us here.

WordPress Encourages Communication, Changes Changelogs

wordpress_logo_2009.jpg Communication is key in any relationship, including those between plugin authors and plugin users. Promoting such healthy unions is team WordPress (news, site), who recently announced some improvements made to their changelogs in order to further detail the changes made between versions.

"We feel that all software should have a changelog that details, at a high level, what changes have been made in each version so that the user can make an informed decision about when to upgrade and how much testing they should do with their site," said Peter Westwood, Lead Developer, WordPress.

Specifically, the development team has added support for a Changelog section in the plugin readme.txt file. This information is then displayed as its own little tab in the plugin directory, and also in the back-end of the user's WordPress blog.

The team delicately pointed out that a large number of plugin authors aren't leaving notes on the reasons behind changes to subversion plugin repositories. Not helpful folks, not helpful at all.

We think the message here is pretty clear: If you want to be a contributing member of the Web CMS society, take a few minutes out of your day to provide for the people who take a few minutes out of their day to familiarize themselves with your work. Even-steven.

WordPress Fixes an XSS Goof, Releases 2.8.2

wordpress_logo_2009.jpgAaand we're back with another teeny tiny WordPress (news, site) release update. The team announced the availability of "Baker" 2.8.1 Candidate 1 earlier this month after a couple Beta versions, but a pesky bug managed to slip through the cracks.

The "XSS vulnerability" caused funky comment author URLs when displayed in the admin. The development team pointed out that this goof could be exploited to redirect users away from the admin to another site. Definitely no good.

WordPress 2.8.2 can be downloaded here, or you can go to the Upgrade page of your blog's admin for an automatic fix.

Other than a few hiccups, WordPress "Baker" is cookin' and version 2.9 of the popular platform is already well underway. What we know so far about the upcoming release is that a good chunk of the development team's focus is going to improving multi media features. A few hints on exactly what's coming have already been dropped, but a solid list of the anticipated 2.9 features will reportedly be posted some time this month, after the priority has been determined

Until then, we're waiting at the Web CMS table, fork and knife in hand. Feel free to join us.

WordPress 2.9 Takes Aim at Multi Media

wordpress 2.9Things are moving pretty quickly in the Web CMS world, as usual. Accordingly, hot on the heels of WordPress 2.8 comes an announcement about 2.9. With the upcoming version already in the development process, the team behind the highly popular blogging platform dropped a few hints on us last week about which direction the future is taking them in.

A sizable chunk of the WordPress audience recently expressed the desire for more/better media features. As a result, version 2.9 will reportedly come with an infrastructure better equipped for media handling.

In order to determine exactly what WordPress users wanted to see the most, the development team posted some possible features on their blog and told anyone and everyone to vote. Included in the list of possibilities: Flickr-like photostream, a revised media UI, bulk media input API, media albums, easier embeds, better media settings and custom image sizes, among others. Unfortunately the survey is already closed, but word on the 'Press street is that a more solid list of the anticipated 2.9 features will be posted some time this month, after the priority has been determined.

Naturally, the number of contributing developers will play a large part in the process, so if you’ve ever thought about taking a dip in the WordPress development pool, now is the time. Developer chats are held each Wednesday in the WordPress IRC channel ( #wordpress-dev) at 9 PM UTC (5pm Eastern, 2pm Pacific). Not a developer? Don't worry, you can still keep tabs on the latest and greatest WordPress news here.

Six Apart Looks Ahead with Movable Type Previews

mt-leader.jpgLike we mentioned earlier today, Six Apart (news, site) is dipping its feet into the Alpha and Beta testing pool. The most recent example is Movable Type 4.3 Beta 1, which was released just this week. But why stop there? Six Apart is already talking publicly about the 5.0 release as well. The requirements process and early development work on MT5 has already begun, and there is a reported particular focus on better content management and ease of use.

As for these low-level iterations, we think they are good for two things: alarming the general MT fan base with the different kinds of bugs that slip through the cracks and, ultimately, fixing them. For example, we saw a particularly nasty issue involving article filtering in 4.25 and 4.26, but the Movable Type team was quick to resolve it thanks to the QA process and v4.261 was released shortly afterward.

With that example set, Six Apart urges all you users out there to get involved as their gear up towards their first Movable Type Pro 5.0 Beta release. Says Matt Jacobs, product manager for Movable Type, "The best way is to use MT forums, send us feedback directly, or get active on our ProNet email list and tell us what you'd like to see."

Get Acquainted with Movable Type 4.3 Through Beta 1

mt-leader.jpg Today is definitely a day for new and updated releases. The most recent play was made by the Six Apart team (news, site), who last night announced that they’re moving on to bigger and better numbers when it comes to Movable Type. That is, Movable Type 4.3 Beta is now open to the public.

Some key points to keep in mind with the release:

  • This version has most of 4.3's new features, including comment pagination and a new entry asset manager.
  • The first release is an alpha (MTOS-4.3a1) and 2 more releases are expected during the beta period. The final release will reportedly be in 3 weeks.
  • Six Apart urges you to remember this is alpha software and is not intended for use in a production environment.
  • Reference documentation has been overhauled for this release. Nearly 100 pages have already been updated, and you can expect more info on this topic soon, including ways in which you can get involved

A detailed look into this teaser is available on the Movable Type 4.3 Beta page here, where you'll also find links to download the platform. Take it for a test drive and let us (and maybe even Six Apart, too) know what you think.

Movable Type (MTOS) Forks, Hello Open Melody

logo-openmelody-2009.jpg Back in December 2007, Six Apart announced that the Movable Type (MT) blogging system was going open source. The move was greeted with enthusiasm, but the momentum never really seemed to build from that point. Now a group of ex-Six Apart staff and other MT enthusiasts have taken matters -- and the code -- into their own hands. Say hello to Open Melody. Let's have a look.

Skip MT 4.26, Movable Type 4.261 Already Out

Following just days after the release of the optional Movable Type v4.26 release, Six Apart has announced another update to the blogging and social media platform. Apparently a few bugs and some performance related database schema changes slipped through the 4.26 cracks.

Key changes in version 4.261 include:

  • The Schema Version is now updated to 4.00071, which was omitted in 4.26. This change will only affect users who have already upgraded to Movable Type 4.26, not those on 4.25 and below. The schema change adds indexes to several tables.
  • A typo in a 4.26 commit where a user clicks the Cancel button on the Display Options flyout did not necessarily cancel the user's actions; the 4.261 fix corrects this behavior.
  • Fixed the Schwartz (MT's job queuing system) error exposed as a result of a previous 4.26 commit: 'Can't call method "registry" on an undefined value at lib/MT/ line 558 during global destruction'.

Reminder: What You Got in v4.26

In case you missed our previous coverage, here's what came with the MT 4.26 update. Remember, this release was labeled as optional by Six Apart, but we'd say that it's a must have for anyone who's flexing the platform's muscle in a meaningful way.

Bug Fixes

Aside from resolving some bugs that got through the 4.25 QA process (or were deemed too insignificant), this release was all about improving existing features — no templates or plug-ins are affected. Breath sigh of relief now.

Probably one of the biggest crowd pleasers is a fix to how lists of articles were filtered by category name. Users can now parse categories within a mt:Entries tag that include whitespace or logical operators. This bug was actually introduced in version 4.25 and made a lot of people unhappy. So for much of the user base, this is a welcome update.

Here are a few more of the bug fixes (view them all here):

  • Fixes to Backup and Restore
  • Fixes to a bug where the comment response did not return users to the entry
  • The method for parsing the categories within an mt:Entries tag has been fixed
  • Security fix for mt-wizard.cgi (this is a non-critical security fix)

Performance Enhancements

Movable Type 4.26 is a recommended update for Enterprise 4.x customers is related to the performance fixes. Specifically, there are fixes to the database indices to improve query speed which should improve search significantly and improved reliability and performance of MT's open source job queuing system, TheSchwartz.

Other low-level changes that are said to improve performance include fixes to metadata saving and unnecessary reloading of the configuration while running MT under FastCGI.

Downloading the Update

You can download Movable Type 4.261 now, but as usual, make backups before applying any changes and read the release notes to make sure this is a fix you or your clients really need.

Latest WordPress Mobile Adds Palm Pre Support

Latest WordPress Mobile Add Palm Pre Support When Palm’s Pre phone was finally unveiled at January’s Consumer Electronic Association’s (CEA) bash earlier this year, everyone knew it was going to create a stir.

With it, Palm introduced some very cool hardware and a new operating system that looks like it will be Palm's platform for mobile devices for the foreseeable future: webOS.

Now, with the phone on general release, Alex King of Crowd Favorite, a prodigious developer of WordPress (news, site) plug-ins, has released a new edition of his WordPress Mobile Edition plug-in that will allow Pre users with WordPress blogs to update and edit the blogs using Pre.

Apart from the added support for the webOS operating system -- a Linux-based platform which leverages web standards for development – there are also a couple of other updates.

For one, it fixes a CSS bug that was referencing a non-existent image. For another it includes a new version of Carrington Mobile, the content management system theme framework for WordPress. This also includes updated README files and version 2.3 of the core Carrington framework.

If you have a Pre and a WordPress blog you can download the plug-in from Alex King’s WordPress plug-ins page.

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