In this update, we have a huge selection of new themes and plugins that you might be interested in using as well as some system addons that everyone will benefit from.
To begin with, we have 16 new themes for you to choose from. Most of these themes are oriented towards individual student blogs, but some are also suitable for faculty / course blogs or administrative / departmental blogs.
These themes also received updates: Bluebird, Graphene, Lightword, and PrimePress
These plugins are now available for activation:
- Image Auto-Resize: This plugin will automatically better compress and resize your uploaded images for the web. Great for uploading photos or scans!
- Subscribe to Comments Reloaded: Lets visitors subscribe to email updates of new comments on your posts. It’s easy to enable for your users but includes plenty of management options as well.
- SyntaxHighlighter Evolved: This plugin is great for Computer Science and CIMS students and faculty that need to post code on their blog. More information on supported languages and how to use.
- Twitter Widget: After activating this plugin, you can add a widget to your blog’s sidebar that will show your latest tweets.
- WP-Polls: This plugins allows you to add polls as widgets or in posts and handles the collection and display of results.
We’ve made the following changes based on usability testing to help users create their first blog, get help managing their blog, and access Longwood Blogs features.
- Longwood Blogs Admin Bar Menu: This menu will (by default) appear in the admin bar whenever you’re logged in and provide quicker access to helpful Longwood Blogs features such as course blog lists and support.
- Dashboard FAQ Widget: You’ll now see a list of popular blog FAQ questions in your dashboard. See example.
- Blog Creation Help: The page displayed after a new blog is created is now more helpful about how to get started with your new blog. See example.
- Home Blog: The Longwood Blogs home blog has been modified to be more intuitive and helpful. For example, the login box in the upper right is now easier to see.
The aforementioned update to Longwood Blogs has been applied and our testing shows that all is well with the system. If you do see any new problems with your blogs, please report it to us.
With this update comes a number of changes, some of which you won’t see, such as security fixes. Here’s a list of major changes that you will see:
- The Admin Bar — this is a new bar that you’ll see at the top of the page when logged in. It provides access to some commonly used functions and is especially useful for managing multiple blogs. If you don’t care for the admin bar, you can disable it on your profile page, which you can find under Users > Your Profile.
- Theme Filtering — if you’re having trouble finding the right theme, click the “Feature Filter” link and a dialog appears letting you show only themes with certain features.
- Improved Links Dialog — the links dialog is less complicated-looking and helps you link to other posts or pages on your blog.
- CSS Editor — those familiar with CSS can now edit their blog’s stylesheet to make any changes to the appearance desired. WordPress.com would normally charge users for this added functionality, but you get it here for free! Activate the “Custom CSS” plugin to use.
- 3D Tag Cloud — it’s a tag cloud with all the tags arranged around a sphere that you can rotate to browse. More about looks than functionality, but it looks awesome. Activate the “WP-Cumulus” plugin to use.
- Theme Updates — the following themes received updates: Arjuna X, Graphene, Oilipo, Snowblind, Titan, and Traction.
- Plugin Updates — the following plugins received updates: Blogger Importer, FeedWordPress, Viper’s Video Quicktags, and WordPress Importer.
- Image Embedding — embedded remote images (“From URL”) will now correctly resize.
- Anarchy Media Player — this handy plugin that added buttons for embedding videos to the post editor has been fully replaced with Viper’s Video Quicktags, which we’ve already enabled on your blogs for your convenience.
- WordPress App — it’s now working with your LancerNet IDs for login. Now you can post with ease from your iPad, iPod, and iPhone. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wordpress/id335703880
We’ve added only one new theme for you in this update, but it’s quite an amazing one. Gorgeous and highly versatile, the Graphene theme can easily be tweaked for use on any type of blog: personal, course, departmental, group, etc. It supports custom headers, custom menus, and custom backgrounds plus adds some non-standard features like a featured slider, custom CSS, color themes, and per-page custom headers. See Graphene in action on the new Yellowstone 2011 course blog.
Two new plugins were also added in this update:
- Google Maps Made Simple — makes embedding Google maps into your posts and pages relatively easy by adding a new button to the “Upload / Insert” options which opens a WYSIWYG map editor
- Post Notifications — allows visitors (or people of your choosing) to subscribe to email updates whenever a post is made to your blog. Can add a widget or page for visitors to manage their subscription. (Get us to help you configure this plugin in you’re having trouble.)
This week, we have made five new plugins available for use on your blogs. Here’s a rundown:
- Add Link—enables a widget that you can use to allow visitors to add their own links to your blog (with password-protection). This is good for course blogs.
- Add Users—same as previous, except visitors can add themselves as users to your blog. Also good for course blogs.
- Lightbox 2 (replaces Litebox Plugin)—automatically makes image links on your blog use a lightbox
- More Privacy Options—adds additional levels of privacy to your blog that allow you to limit who can see your blog. You can access these new options in Settings > Privacy.
- Widget Context—adds additional options to widgets that allow you to control what pages they display on
- Blog platform is now accessible over the Internet.
- Longwood users still cannot log in and create new blogs themselves, however the functionality exists and is working.
- 26 blog themes are ready for use with 14 more on the way soon.
- WordPress has been updated to version 3.0.1.