WP Help – build a help system into your WordPress project

Mark Jaquith has updated his WP Help plugin to version 1.0.  This is very handy for those people who build WordPress-based projects for other people to use. Anything from your mother’s blog to a super-duper custom WordPress application could a few pages of help, explaining  how to do things.  And that’s just what this plugin helps you build.

One of the best features for those who build a lot of similar systems and give them away is the synchronization of help documents.  Here is how Mark describes it:

If you have a standard set of help documents you want to use on multiple sites, this lets you do that. Create the documents, grab the (secret) sync URL for that site, and then plug that URL in to other sites. Those other sites will automatically pull down those documents, and keep them up-to-date (even handling new documents, deleted documents, renamed documents, and re-parented documents). Any internal links in the original document will be rewritten to be local to the destination WP Help install. So go ahead and use the WP internal linking functionality on your source site and know that those links will work on all the destination sites!

boilerpipe – Boilerplate Removal and Fulltext Extraction from HTML pages

boilerpipe – Boilerplate Removal and Fulltext Extraction from HTML pages

The boilerpipe library provides algorithms to detect and remove the surplus “clutter” (boilerplate, templates) around the main textual content of a web page.

The library already provides specific strategies for common tasks (for example: news article extraction) and may also be easily extended for individual problem settings.

Extracting content is very fast (milliseconds), just needs the input document (no global or site-level information required) and is usually quite accurate.

jQuery 2.0 will drop support for MSIE 6, 7, and 8

Slashdot reports:

The developers of jQuery recently announced in a blog entry that jQuery 2.0 will drop support for legacy versions of Internet Explorer. The release will come in parallel with version 1.9, however, which will include support for older versions of IE. The versions will offer full API compatibility, but 2.0 will ‘benefit from a faster implementation that doesn’t have to rely on legacy compatibility hacks.

A few comments mentioned that dropping support for MSIE 6 and 7 is fine, but MSIE 8 is still widely used by people with Windows XP.  The solution to the problem seems to be conditional tags.  Since jQuery 2.0 will have fully compatible APIs to jQuery 1.9, something along the lines of:

<!--[if lt IE 9]>
<script src="jquery-1.9.0.js"></script>
<!--[if gte IE 9]>
<script src="jquery-2.0.0.js"></script>

should solve the problem.

Linking to favicons

Favicons have been around for a few years now.  But they were mostly used by the browsers – in multi-tab environments and in bookmark managers.  Recently I’ve noticed the trend to use favicons in web design – next to external links or near the blog comment’s author, etc.

Adding a favicon to the design is a simple thing for the designer.  But a totally different story for the web developer.  Favicons can be either dropped into the root folder of the site or linked to from the page’s HTML.  On top of that, the times of the single favicon.ico format are long gone too.  These days you could get a GIF or PNG image.

So, how would reliably finda favicon of a site?  It turns out, you don’t really have to work too hard, since someone has already solved your problem.  From comments to this article (in Russian) I’ve learned of the Google web service.  So, all you’ll need to do is this (with whatever domain name that you need):

<img src="http://www.google.com/s2/favicons?domain=mamchenkov.net">

Works and sound good, right?  Wrong!  As I mentioned already, there is a way to link to favicons from HTML.  And this service doesn’t seem to take that into account.  Well, not to worry anyway.  There is another one that does – getFavicon.  This one works in a very similar way, but supports the full URL as a parameter.  For example:

<img src="http://g.etfv.co/https://mamchenkov.net/wordpress/">

On top of that, you can include properly encoded GET parameters, and avoid browser’s per-server connection limit, by using multiple sub-domains.  Brilliant, I say.

Flash for Android no more, or is it?

Slashdot reports:

Adobe has finally seen the same light Steve Jobs did in 2010 and is now committed to putting mobile Flash player in the history books as soon as possible. Adobe will not develop and test Flash player for Android 4.1 and will now focus on a PC browsing and apps.

But we’ve heard quite a few announcements from Adobe and Google in regards to Flash in the last few month.  I don’t know about you, but I am practically lost in the controversy.  Between Adobe releasing the last version of Flash for Linux, Adobe releasing a sandbox version of Flash for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, and Google releasing Google Chrome for Android, I have no clue anymore.

The best I can make of it is that Adobe doesn’t want to support mobile or Linux anymore.  But Google takes over with its own Flash support integrated into the Google Chrome browser, which Google supports on all desktop platforms, as well as on iOS and Android devices.  So even without the Adobe we should still be able to access Flash games, porn, and navigation menus.

What do you think?  Are we about to lose Flash, and if we are, what’s the alternative?

P.S.: As much as I love the idea of HTML5, I don’t think it’s just there yet.