“Simpler WordPress” plugin offers speed and simplicity

Julien de Luca’s Simpler WordPress plugin, now installed on Exc-el, is claimed to improve basic blogging performance by removing more advanced features, such as the upload and preview parts of the screen.

This may also be helpful in enabling some bloggers to be presented with a simpler interface if they’ve no need to use the upload feature.

We’ve installed it to see whether it can provide a worthwhile performance improvement in schools with particularly slow internet access. Initial tests suggest it will make a difference, but not a dramatic one. Much of the downloading that takes place is for editor toolbar buttons, and that isn’t affected.

For maximum performance Simpler WordPress could perhaps be used in combination with the basic, non-WYSIWYG editor, but that editor is only suitable for people who won’t be put off by the sight of the underlying XHTML, or the corresponding HTML tag editor buttons, such as b-quote, img and ul. If you’ve an Exc-el blog and want to try it, you can switch off the normal editor under My Profile (there’s a link in the top right of your admin screen).

Feedback on the Simpler WordPress plugin would be appreciated. In particular, it would be good to know what difference is observed on the various slow school networks.

WordPress – creating a Blogroll list *from any WP blog* for import

This tip might help you if you’re ever involved in updating a batch of WPMU blogs with the same set of links.

Robert Whiteside at Haddington Infant School is now moving on to using blogs for peer assessment and peer feedback as I mentioned on the eduBuzz blog. We wanted to populate each of the 90+ student blogs with the same set of Blogroll links – one for each of the other P3 students in the school. Although this makes for a long list, we figured it was important at this stage to provide “one-click” access to one another’s blogs.

You might notice that under Blogroll, there’s an Import facility, but no export. This means, unless you know about creating OPML files, you can’t readily just create one “model” blogroll, export it to a file, then import that file into other blogs.

There is a work-around, though, and it’s even more powerful. For any WPMU blog, you can export the Blogroll as an OPML file by simply adding the script name wp-links-opml.php to the blog’s URL. It makes sense – why should you need to go the backend admin tools to get access to data which is publicly available?

An example using Andrew’s Blog:

Blog URL is https://www.edubuzz.org/hip3-8andrew

To export Blogroll as OPML file browse to https://www.edubuzz.org/hip3-8andrew/wp-links-opml.php

That URL should open the XML file in your browser, and you can then save that for future import.

Keeping Bubbleshare-ised blogs loading quickly

Bubbleshare Albums, such as those on the Pencaitland Primary Blog, are a great way to illustrate blog posts. But the blog can become slow to load if there are lots of Bubbleshare albums visible on the front page.

[bubbleshare 118790.b2ad07edbb5]

(If you’ve not tried this, activate the Bubbleshare plugin, then add a pointer to the album to your blog Posts – or Pages – like this: [bubbleshare*118790.b2ad07edbb5] (replace the * with a space) where the code part is album’s ID, easily visible from the URL.)

The reason for the slowdown is that each album contains a number of images, which visitors can play in-situ using a slide-show. Continue reading Keeping Bubbleshare-ised blogs loading quickly