The Liveblog Add-On: Now with Rich Text Editing!

It’s been just over a year since we launched our Liveblog Add-on. It’s been fantastically well-received by our VIPs who have used it to cover a wide variety of events, like Canada.com’s coverage of the Calgary Flames hiring Brian Burke, TechCrunch’s iPhone 5s launch coverage, and today, KDVR’s coverage of the disastrous flooding in Colorado.

Today, we’re very happy to announce that we’ve added rich text editing controls to the Liveblog Add-on. Sometimes known as WYSIWYG, you can now easily add to your liveblog updates with simple text formatting, such as bolds, italics, and links — all by pressing one button. These enhancements are already live and immediately available for our VIP Liveblog Add-on customers.

The new editor looks like this:

WYSIWYG Liveblog Editor

And here’s an image of the new editor in context, as well as highlights of recent Liveblogs from across WordPress.com VIP:

These enhancements were a joint project by WordPress.com VIP and X-Team, our newest Featured Partner.

If you’re new to the Liveblog Add-on and are wondering what makes it special:

  • Post updates right from the front-end of your site (no need to use the /wp-admin dashboard)
  • Viewers of your Liveblog get new entries served to them instantly and automatically, without needing to refresh their browser.
  • Your authors can drag-and-drop photos right into the Liveblog area, without needing to navigate to separate browser tabs or windows.
  • Easily add to your liveblog updates with simple text formatting; bolds, italics, underlines, links, and more.
  • There’s no need for a separate site dedicated to liveblogging: every post can be a liveblog, even existing ones.
  • When your Liveblog is done, it’s archived so your readers can catch up whenever they would like.

If you’re interested in using the Liveblog Add-on as a WordPress.com VIP Hosting client, get in touch!

Oscar Night with the WordPress.com VIP Liveblog Plugin

One of my favorite parts of watching live television events is the second screen experience — the running commentary from liveblogs and Twitter that stream onto my phone or laptop.

The staff at National Post were totally on top of this Sunday night, creating an incredible multimedia liveblog experience for The Oscars. Using our Liveblog Plugin, they pulled together a collage of smart (and funny!) commentary, beautiful images, YouTube clips, tweets, and even animated gifs.

We also enjoyed following along Caroline Westbrook’s liveblog on metro.co.uk’s site as she authored an impressive 150 updates over the course of the night  – pulling together a mix of tweets, videos, photos, and updates.

Not familiar with how the WordPress.com VIP Liveblog Plugin works? Take a look at this video. It’s super easy, featuring content insertion from the front-end of the site, and drag-and-drop image uploads.

The Liveblog Add-On is $500 USD per month, with an annual subscription, for VIP SaaS Hosting clients. This includes unlimited liveblogs, and an unlimited number of users visiting, viewing, and receiving updates — all powered by our massive WordPress.com cloud infrastructure. If you’re interested in using the LiveBlog plugin or learning more, please get in touch.

New Liveblog Features: Editing Posts, “Smart” Updates

Have you seen our liveblog premium add-on? Since we launched it in September, we’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback.

A quick re-introduction: the liveblog plugin allows you to quickly update a post on the fly from the front-end of your website. It’s super simple, no outside embeds necessary. You can even drag-and-drop in photos, and embed tweets by pasting in the tweet URL. Take a look at our full documentation of liveblog features.

Below are the new features we’ve added this week. Download the liveblog plugin here.

Edit Previous Liveblog Posts

The ability to edit posts was the most-requested feature from VIPs. We’re happy to announce that this feature has been added. To edit a previous post, all you need to do is scroll back in time, click “edit” on a post, and you’ll be able to rewrite history.

wordpressliveblog1

“Smart” Updates

This feature makes it easy for your readers to enjoy your liveblog without being overwhelmed with updates.

If the reader’s browser is sitting at the top of the post, new updates will automatically appear, highlighted in yellow.

wordpressliveblog2

However, if your reader has scrolled down the post to catch up on previous updates, liveblog will wait to update with new posts. Instead, a notification bar will appear at the top of the screen. When the reader clicks on the bar, the new updates will resume loading at the top of the page.

wordpressliveblog3

Post times are also now relative, which means it will display as “2 minutes ago,” with the time updating every minute.

Archive Liveblog Posts

Once the event has wrapped up, you can archive your liveblog. This means that visitors will still be able to see the blog, but the editing tools will go away and the post will stop polling for updates.

You can archive and re-enable a liveblog from the Edit Post page.

wordpressliveblog4

When a liveblog is archived, your editors will see a notification that says the liveblog must be enabled to accept new posts.

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We’ve loved watching our VIPs use the liveblog premium add-on. National Post used it to cover Lance Armstrong’s interview last night, and TVLine used it for the Golden Globes on Sunday. Big Ten Network liveblogs games every Wednesday, and Time.com has used it to cover high traffic events like the iPhone 5 announcement.

Special thanks to Matt and Zack at GigaOM for their help with the smart updates feature, and everyone else that has submitted bugs and feedback. You can see GigaOM’s use of the liveblog with the recent Facebook event.

For VIP SaaS Hosting clients, the Liveblog Premium Add-On is $500 USD per month, with an annual subscription. This includes unlimited liveblogs, and an unlimited number of users visiting, viewing, and receiving updates — all powered by our massive WordPress.com cloud infrastructure.

If you’re interested in giving the liveblog a try, please get in touch!

Liveblog 1.2: Compatibility with WordPress 3.5, bug fixes, and more

We pushed a new version of the Liveblog plugin this week. Liveblog 1.2 includes some compatibility updates for WordPress 3.5 and various feature enhancements and  bug fixes.

  • Introduce many new hooks and filters, which help customization without changing the plugin code.
  • Allow shortcodes and OEmbed in liveblog entries.
  • Fix JavaScript errors on IE8, props @pippercameron.
  • Fix issues with entry preview.
  • Compatibility with plupload 1.5.4, props @borkweb.
  • Translations:

Download the update from the WordPress.org plugin repository or send get involved in the development on Github.

New Liveblog Add-On from WordPress.com VIP

We’re proud of our VIP Clients, many of whom report the latest and most important news as soon as it’s available. It was they who we thought of when we developed the new Liveblog Add-on.

We can’t wait for you to see it in action, either as an author, or a reader! To see what it will look like, take a look at the video we created for the Liveblog Add-on.

Here’s what makes the Liveblog Add-on special:

  • Post updates right from the front-end of your site (no need to use the /wp-admin dashboard)
  • Viewers of your Liveblog get new entries served to them instantly and automatically, without needing to refresh their browser.
  • Your authors can drag-and-drop photos right into the Liveblog area, without needing to navigate to separate browser tabs or windows.
  • There’s no need for a separate site dedicated to liveblogging: every post can be a liveblog, even existing ones.

If you’re interested in using the Liveblog Add-on as a WordPress.com VIP Hosting client, get in touch!

If that’s not enough, we’ve also completely open-sourced the Liveblog code for self-hosted WordPress! You can find it in the WordPress.org plugin repository and on github.

Take a closer look:

Thanks to VIPs GigaOM and Local TV for their feedback and contributions during the beta testing phase for the plugin.

Gizmodo Liveblog of Apple’s iPhone Roadmap Event

The Gizmodo Liveblog, which is hosted in our WordPress.com VIP program, covered the Apple iPhone Roadmap event today which officially began at 10am PST.

For publishers looking at dealing with traffic spikes, liveblogs like these are a great example of how our grid platform on WordPress.com scales up incredibly well.

Below is graph from a previous Gizmodo Liveblog that illustrates the amazing rapid spike in traffic which equated to several million pageviews over the course of about an hour:
gizmodo liveblog traffic graph

[Visit live.gizmodo.com]