Template chooser problems solved

A few of you have reported problems with the template chooser plugin in the past, where new selected templates would only show their true design after you've manually refreshed the page (F5 in most browsers).

The root of this problem was that browser cached the CSS stylesheet on their own, without making HTTP requests to check for changes. Since serendipity uses URL rewriting to achieve pretty URLs for stylesheets, this interfered with the one-time caching of stylesheets, even though their contents changed.

As a workaround, I've just committed a fix to our repository of the nightlies and an upcoming 0.9.2 maintenance release. This change makes the plugin always use a URL that contains the name of the stylesheet, and thus works around the caching issue by emitting individual stylesheets.

A Community Rating plugin

I recently met with a friend and Serendipity user, Lewe. Since we both are die-hard movie freaks and often rate our movies, we thought about a mean to ease up our rating and IMDB integration scheme.

First we used the cool Custom Fields feature of the entryproperties plugin to insert our Rating numbers and an IMDB link. But then I took a different approach, and put all of that functionality into a plugin called Community Rating.

The result is a versatile rating plugin, which cannot only rate movies but also amazon titles or anything other you can think of. It's smarty template driven, so that you can differently style each rating type. It can convert your rating numbers into rating images.

And the actually coolest feature is, that it can share your ratings based on the ID (like an IMDB movie ID) and export your rating as a XML file over the web. This file can be read by the plugin on any other blog, and embed your own ratings on that page. With the owner of that blog having the full ability to style and change the display of your rating any way he likes!

So now, I embed my own ratings on my movies - and in case Lewe has also seen that movie, his rating will be shown below mine. Ain't that cool?

The plugin has a good documentation delivered in a README file, and is available in CVS and also via Spartacus. Have a try!

UPDATE: - Look at Lewe's blog and for more examples of this plugins' use

Favatars, Gravatars and Trackbacks

It seems that as a new mean against trackback spam, several blogs tend to use HTTP redirection for Trackback URL endpoints. Serendipity did not yet support this, since it didn't follow any HTTP header redirections.

This has been changed in recent snapshots of Serendpity 1.0-alpha, were we now utilize the PEAR HTTP::Request class to send trackbacks, which is able to follow HTTP redirections. Together with the plugin for sending manual trackbacks to specified URLs, this now allows you to again trackback to any blog that supports trackbacking.

Please have a try with those recent nightlies, if you are currently experiencing problems with sending trackbacks!

The other news is about the Gravatar plugin. A fellow user, Mattsches, sent me a patch for a favatar plugin (avatar icons based on the commenting user's homepage URL favicon). I took that one and implemented it into the existing gravatar plugin, which is now able to support both Gravatars and Favatars. It even uses a fallback method to use the other avatar type, if the first one failed. And of course it caches the results, so that your blog does not need to open many outgoing connections.