Saturday, April 21, 2012

Individual Research: 4/16

Project Updates:

The project is in full swing now. I tackled several issues that arose since beginning the BuddyPress powered site. As with everything, it is a time-consuming process for me since I am having to teach myself as I go along.

First, I activated the membership function of BuddyPress, so anyone who wished to register to the site would be able. The site recommended a plug-in called Akismet to prevent spam in the comments and prevent registration of spammers. I ignored it because this was yet another annual subscription totalling another $60.00. So far I have spent my own money for the hosting and the domain, and I will have to purchase the acrobat suite soon. I ignored it. But then a friend left me a comment that he was having a hard time registering. I tried to do it myself and everything was fine except no confirmation email was ever sent out.

A few hours over a few days later, I learned that I needed to create an email account through the control panel of my hosting service ( then install a SMTP plug-in to the website through its dashboard. However, anyone who had attempted to log-in prior to the SMTP activation was receiving an email that the user name and email were already in use. I found the place on the dashboard where I can manage the registered users. I saw over twenty users with strange email addresses - many from the same domain. I also had several comments - strange and in oddly worded English - awaiting moderation. I'd been spammed!

I had to break down and buy the Akismet code to activate the plug-in. This led me to think I needed to create a way for people to help out until I can get a grant. I found a Pay Pal plug-in that creates a Pay Pal widget. That was easy enough, but the widget was then appearing on every page, which was not the desired effect. I created a "Help Us Out" page which was the only place I wanted the donate button to appear.

I first tried to use the codex to find the answer. It suggested that I create a custom page template by writing my own code. I bravely attempted to follow the instructions, watched a video tutorial, and got as far as creating a blank template through the control panel of my hosting service. When it came time to add the content however, I was unable to get that working. After a good bit of time, I decided to get some help the next day from a friend at work.

That night I decided to google the problem, rather than the solution given to me by the codex. I found a thread in a forum that directed me to a different plug-in, My Custom Widget, that allowed the user to create his or her own widget with the promise it would be customizable. I spent an hour or so trying to copy the code (I opened the page with Firefox and used the feature that allows the user to view the code of a webpage, then copied the pay pal widget) and use that to make my own donate button. I couldn't get that to work to even get to the step where I could try to get it on only one page. Back to google.

Another thread. Another plug-in. Widget Logic. This one promised filtering capabilities through conditional tagging. After activating the plug-in, I finally figured out that what it did is add a field in the edit box that opens when I click on a selected widget. The only thing I could find from the website were some bits of code - is_page ("Page Name") and in_page ("Page Name"). I tried the in page code first only to make the entire website crash. Sweet. I tried the is page code bit and nothing happened. I searched some more. One site had spaces after the quotation marks and the page name. I tried and...

Actually, it was more like "I am the "code-master!" But the general feeling is spot on!

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