Improvement of Static Page plugin

(Deutsche Übersetzung gibt es auf meinem privaten Blog)

A huge issue of Serendipity's Static Page-Plugin has always been its visual presentation of the editing screen:

Voices have been raised in the past to dust up this interface, which is why I worked on it at the beginning of this week, and committed my changes already to the official plugin repository (

Technically, the changes are quite minimalistic und quick to implement (2 hours of my life time). But the impact is huge:

Starting as of now, static pages can be created and edited using a customized smarty template, plus a static page can now have custom properties, similar to blog entries.

By default, a template file saved as backend_templates/default_staticpage_backend.tpl is shipped with the plugin, in which the distribution of the input fields is contained. There is a new smarty helper function ({staticpage_input}) that takes care of accessing the usual introspection methods for emitting the default list of data fields.

Own templates can override this template file by putting it in their template subdirectory, so that you can now have your own editing masks depending on the currently used template. This should be a blessing for magazine-like templates such as Mimbo or Hemmingway.

You can also store multiple template files inside this backend_templates directory, so that they all will be available from within the selection dropdown of the interface. For our veterans, the old list-style view is still available, of course.

An example for saving custom fields for static pages is also contained within the default template, but is commented out so that you must manually enable it. All custom fields need to be implemented through usual HTML form elements, and need to save their values inside a serendipity[plugin][custom][XXX][ fieldname. Once entered, the data will be automatically saved inside the serendipity_staticpage_custom database table, and will be available through {$staticpage_custom.XXX} when later being displayed in the frontend.

This way, you can easily add new custom fields for a staticpage which could decide, which CSS-Body-ID to use for rendering the page. Or you could specify, which sidebars you want to see when a certain staticpage is rendered. Or specify a custom header image for each staticpage. Sky's the limit!

This all vastly improves Serendipity's CMS-abilities and even more pushes it into a custom CMS-Framework, where you can manage any kind of customized content.

I hope you like it. :-) Outage, Spartacus affected.

As of today, the server seems to be having a hiccup. The serendipity Plugin Spartacus by default requires this server to provide automatic plugin and theme updates and downloads. The inavailibility of this server can lead to timeouts and not being able to install new plugins.

The issue should resolve itself once is up again. Temporarily you can either reconfigure your Spartacus-plugin to use the SourceForge-Mirrors, or completely disable the Spartacus plugin. Using the mirror will not help you, as this server is currently not hosting any files.

I will post an update once the server is up again. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Spamblock and blacklist

The Serendipity Anti-Spam plugin allows to utilize the IP blacklist service to block spam. Their service seems to have ceased existence, or at least is rejecting connections. This can lead to comments to your serendipity blog to be rejected. You can easily disable the blacklist service in your Anti-Spam plugin configuration.

Note that this option is by default disabled in Serendipity since announced that they are no longer actively maintaining the blacklist. A well fit alternative to this service is the Akismet API, which the spamblock plugin also supports.

SEO and meta tags for s9y, updated plugin

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about using SEO on Serendipity powered blogs, which has resulted in at least one plugin update and many suggestions for SEO improvements in templates.

The meta description event plugin has been updated by Don Chambers, Jude Anthony and Garvin Hicking, and now provides a separate title, meta keywords, and meta description on a per entry basis, as well as a default title and description for all other pages.

Previously users were only able to adjust the meta keywords and description per entry, and other pages would miss out, leading many users to install the HTML head nugget as well if they wanted meta keywords and descriptions on overview pages.

Don has written up a full description of the updated meta description plugin on his own site, and is promising to continue developing plugins and templates, so bookmarking his site might be a great idea.

Your help in sorting serendipity plugins

Like announced earlier on the serendipity blog, fellow usability expert Joachim Harloff is currently trying to improve the listing of Serendipity Plugins so that they are more accessible to users.

He needs your help to fulfill them. Initially he planned to personally meet with serendipity users, but this proved more complex than initially hoped. Thus he has created a smaller, text-based version of it.

You can download the file at It contains detailed instructions. You can also feel free to personally contact Joachim about any questions you have.

Joachim estimates this questionnaire to take you about 1,5 hours of your time. You could greatly help to improve the serendipity usability, so please participate! Joachim wants to evaluate your responses starting on September the 8th.

Serendipity 1.1.4 released, security bug in entryproperties plugin

Thanks to Erich Schubert, we were made aware of a bug and security issue in the Plugin Extended properties for entries. Since this plugin is delivered with the core release, we have created a new Serendipity release for both the current stable 1.1 version tree, as well as a new 1.2 beta version.

Serendipity Users that are using the mentioned plugin do not need to upgrade the full release, they can just fetch the updated version of the plugin through this direct link. Put that updated file into your plugins/ serendipity_event_entryproperties/ serendipity_event_entryproperties.php file.

The actual bug was, that people were able to deliver custom entryproperties settings to the Serendipity Frontend via a HTTP-Request, which made them able to bypass a possibly used passwort protection. Any other restriction of viewability of entries done via category read-privileges were not affected, though.

Bottom line is: If you are using password protection for entries, this security update is mandatory for you. Also if you were generally using the entryproperties plugin (which is not installed by default in Serendipity), you are urged to update your plugin. Only people not using this plugin need not care about this issue.

You can download the new full releases as always on the Serendipity download page.