The “Joy of Working with WordPress”

Michael Ashby of Coherent Methods LLC, published a very thoughtful post about his experience so far working with WordPress and BuddyPress:

I switched from MoveableType to WordPress back in September of last year and it’s been one of the best decisions that I’ve made regarding this blog. WordPress is just so much easier and, dare I say, FUN to use. There’s a richer developer community, more templates and generally more help out there than there is for MT. But my joy with working with WP over MT is more than just skin deep.

Michael goes on to talk about the Six Apart Motion component that works with MovableType:

When I first watched the video for Motion, I kept going “Huh? How am I supposed to use this?” If you take a look at the Motion Demo, you’ll see what I mean … After looking at the demo, the only feeling I’m left with is “Why?” Why would someone want this on their site?

In comparison, the BuddyPress platform sparks this reaction:

Then you take a look at the BuddyPress Demo and there’s a remarkable difference. It’s clearly designed to mirror the FaceBook style of community, but it’s cleaner and clearer as to what you can do and how everything works. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that it’s a better design that FaceBook! I’m currently developing a new community web site and I actually had to stop and think about BuddyPress for quite some time. So at the end of the demo, I’m left thinking “How would I use this?” Not, “Why would I use this?”

Looking forward to seeing what Michael and his team put together with WordPress and BuddyPress.

[ visit mashby.com ]

Sonin.mn Joins WordPress.com VIP

Sonin.mn, a daily digest of Mongolian top newspapers, has joined the WordPress.com VIP program:
sonin-vip

According to Sansar Jiimen who runs the site, Sonin.mn reaches over 100,000 daily visitors – a really impressive achievement given that Mongolia is a country with a population of 2.5 million.

The Sonin.mn site was started in early 2004 and has been using WordPress since 2005.  Now that they are on WordPress.com VIP they’ve started to stream popular songs from the former Soviet era days of Mongolia, with plans to bring new video content online soon.

The team at Sonin has also announced that they will be spearheading a new effort to help improve the community-driven WordPress.com translation of Mongolian.

[ Visit Sonin.mn ]

BuddyPress Video

BuddyPress, a set of plugins which will transform an installation of WordPress MU into a social network platform,  is nearing a 1.0 final release  – scheduled for Thursday February 12th.

We’ve received lots of interest about this project, and to help provide more info we’ve produced a short video with a great overview of BuddyPress and a hint as to what’s possible with this great new platform:

[ Visit BuddyPress.org ]

WordPress.tv

For publishers looking for great video tutorials on how to get the most out of WordPress, WordPress.tv offers an amazing wealth of resources:

Our goal with WordPress.tv is simple:
To make it easy for you to find up-to-date, WordPress-themed video content within a couple of clicks. Without having to wade through spammy promotional videos, out-of-date content, and missing chunks of presentations. There’s a quick intro video if you’re curious:

[ Visit WordPress.tv & Read More on the WordPress.tv blog ]

oDesk Reports “WordPress” Fastest Growing In-Demand Skill in 2008

Thanks to Becca for sending in word that oDesk, “an online staffing marketplace and management platform”, reported the other day on the fastest growing set of skills that are in demand on the oDesk platform.  Based on job/project listings WordPress came out on top with a 427% increase since last year :

The numbers in the table below show the number of job postings on oDesk in which the skills were listed as “required,” and their relative increase from the end of 2007 to the end of 2008. You will notice some variance in the numbers between the table and the charts below as the numbers on the charts show keyword mentions in the job post titles, not required skills.

Skill/Experience Openings Last 60 Days 2007 Openings Last 60 Days 2008 Change
WordPress 37 195 427.0%
Writing* 32 138 331.3%
Excel* 30 118 293.3%
SEO 73 250 242.5%
XHTML 24 61 154.2%
Linux 23 58 152.2%
Drupal 70 169 141.4%
Joomla 157 352 124.2%
CSS 119 250 110.1%
Graphic Design* 20 42 110.0%

*Because writing, graphic design, and excel have small starting points, we believe their change reflects oDesk growth, not a general trend.

The growth in WordPress demand on oDesk has been steady throughout 2008:odesk-wordpress

If you are looking for WordPress help on projects, in addition to the resources we’ve listed here, oDesk is a great place to check-out as it currently has over 2700 WordPress developers listed in their system.

[ Visit oDesk blog ]

LIVESTRONG Blog on WordPress

The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) has selected to blog on WordPress. The foundation raises awareness and funds for the fight against cancer, focusing on cancer prevention, access to screening and care, research and quality of life for cancer survivors.

Champion cyclist and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong founded the LAF in 1997 and it has raised over $250 million to date. The campaign began with the yellow wristbands that had LIVESTRONG imprinted on them and now there are over 60 million LIVESTRONG wristband wearers helping to make cancer a national priority.

[ Visit the LIVESTRONG Blog ]

Flokka.com Selects WordPress MU and BuddyPress

Flokka.com a new social blogging network for business women has selected WordPress MU and BuddyPress as its platform of choice.

Flokka.com

Flokka represents one of the first sites to use the new BuddyPress social networking platform which is due for an official launch at the end of the year.

[ Visit Flokka.com ]

Martha Stewart Dedicates an Episode of TV Show to Blogging

New WordPress user Martha Stewart dedicated the September 17 episode of The Martha Stewart Show to blogging!

On the show, Martha explains how she and her staff utilize The Martha Blog and chats with some of her favorite bloggers, including WordPress users Margaret Roach, Perez Hilton, and Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman.

Martha loves the exposure and ease of use of her blog:

I’ve been writing this blog for almost a year now and I have to say that I love being able to communicate so easily on a daily basis. Being in the public eye, I have a devoted following that wants to know more about my personal life and activities. Prior to blogging, we sent out a newsletter dealing with such issues. Although the printed newsletter was charming and informative, it was also a rather slow process and didn’t reach nearly as many readers as this blog does.

I really love the spontaneity of blogging and being able to post whatever, whenever.

Here’s a clip from the show:

Check out her post for tips on blogging and details about her blogging contest.

WordCamp San Francisco August 16, 2008

WordCamp San Francisco, the 1-day conference organized by the creators of WordPress for our users, developers, and partners – will be held on August 16th, 2008 at the Mission Bay Conference Center.

It’s shaping up to be a great event with a tremendous lineup of speakers and topics, and the world famous BBQ lunch.  The goal of the conference is to:

… get WordPress users together, learn from each other, figure out the future of publishing on the web, and have a good time.

You can learn more about the event and signup online @ 2008.sf.wordcamp.org.

Q&A with Zemanta’s Boštjan Špetič on Auto Suggestion WordPress Plugin

Over email I asked Zemanta’s Director of Products, Boštjan Špetiča, to discuss his firm’s new blogging discovery / auto-suggestion service and the WordPress plugin they recently released:

What is Zemanta?

Zemanta helps you create rich posts by recognizing your topic and suggesting useful links, tags, and pictures. So it makes the web experience nicer for both authors and their readers. Zemanta is a relaxed state of mind, where you focus on creativity instead of tricking the search engines to show what you are looking for.

How was the company formed, and where are you located?

The company is based in London and all our development is based in Slovenia, where the founders are from. Our core contextual technology was developed for a project for generating online archives of national television.

After that, we figured it’s a shame nobody is making this experience available to everyone online. We applied for Seedcamp, a European version of Y-combinator, won, and then moved everybody to London for a three-months geek picnic experience. Since then we’ve raised funding and launched the service in March of ’08.

Why should bloggers use the Zemanta WordPress plugin?

It’s painless, it’s pleasant, it takes most the friction out of creating the content. The question is, why would anyone not use it?

Describe the process you took to create the WordPress plugin.  Any lessons learned about plugin development you could share with others?

When we first started working on Zemanta WordPress plugin, we did not know much about WordPress platform or PHP. So we set a modest goal of making a plugin for version 2.5.

We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of information you can find on Codex or when that is not enough, in the WP community. Our advice to those, who might follow our footsteps would be to read introductory articles on Codex and read relevant parts of code of other popular plugins that perform similar tasks. It’s amazing how quickly you may reach your goal even if you are a novice when it comes to PHP and WP.

How is Zemanta different from other related-content products and services?

Some only offer some of the functionality (i.e. tags), some only help the readers instead of authors, some are simply hard to use. We are a one-stop-shop with special attention paid to usability and design.

We are also offering access to increasing number of premium content, where we make sure it is appropriately licensed. Sometimes people think we are just an interface to some picture search, while we actually do much more to deliver only the best select images.

What’s been the most surprising event since you launched your product?

Fred Wilson blogging about it. Twice.

What new features do you have on the roadmap that users of your WordPress plugin can look forward to?

Most prominent new feature on the roadmap is the ability to limit suggestions to your preferred trusted sources, or your friends or your own feeds. Along with more freedom at layouts, this will make our service very much personalized, as it should be in the social media.

Thanks Boštjan for your time. You can read more about Zemanta on their site, and download their WordPress plugin from the WordPress.org Plugin Directory.

Boštjan is the Director of Products at Zemanta, and blogs frequently at bostjan.konstrukt.it.