Word-based passwords are not a new thing, but they have not readily been available for WordPress. Over the course of time supporting my WP-Members membership plugin, I have gotten a lot of requests for simplifying the password process, so I’ve worked to develop a new plugin to create word-based passwords for WordPress called WordPass. [Read more…]
One of the greatest things about WordPress that has made it so popular is the incredible API the application has providing an easy way to customize and extend the application. Unfortunately, this can also be one of it’s greatest drawbacks as well. If you want to be successful as a WordPress plugin developer, you need to familiarize yourself with the WordPress API. [Read more…]
An update for the WordPress membership plugin WP-Members was released tonight. This is the 2.8.6 release and it is a minor code update along with some minor changes to the stylesheets for the forms.
For a full description of update (and of course, more information on the plugin in general), see the release announcement at the plugin’s support site.
With the launch of Genesis 2.0, I have been getting my hands dirty with the Genesis Framework. I’ve always liked the framework, and I’ve owned it for quite some time; but I never really got in there and made full use of it.
RocketGeek.com had launched in 2012 for supporting WP-Members and was built around Twitter Bootstrap. At the time, I liked what I could do with Bootstrap, and since part of the site’s function is to show how flexible the WP-Members framework is, that gave me the opportunity to do some pretty cool things with the plugin framework. To make these reproduceable for users of the plugin, these were all written up as example code on the site in the “How I Did It” category.
But there is always room for improvement. With Genesis 2.0, I decided to get in there are give that site a makeover. It is not fully complete, but the Phase 1 build is launched. Go over to rocketgeek.com and take a look. The site is running on Genesis 2.0 and WP-Members.
Here are some of the cool custom features that I did (and I’ll be adding these as new tutorials in the “How I Did It” category):
- Unique login page makes use of the Genesis full width template so we don’t show two login forms (body and sidebar widget). Also, this page uniquely styles the login form and adds some text for non-members inviting them to learn more about joining.
- Now running the WP-Members with the Genesis Stylesheet Pack Add-on. There will be additional stylesheet add-ons in the future, but I am still trying to get through plug-and-play stylesheets for the plugin to integrate with the various StudioPress child themes. And as Brian Gardner continues to roll out new versions of the various child themes for the 2.0 Framework, that will likely keep things pretty busy over here.
- Site continues to run with the WP-Members PayPal Subscription Add-on, which will be getting a major update after we roll out and test it on the site.
- More to come!
There is still a lot to do for Phase 2, but I am excited about the project. For those of you that liked the Bootstrap Tabs that I had done as an example on the old site, I’ll be doing another tabbed customization of the login/registration form combination as part of Phase 2. The Bootstrap version was pretty tricky to implement. I hope that this new one turns out to be an easier customization for general users to implement.
If you are a WordPress developer of either themes or plugins, or you are running/building a membership site with something like WP-Members, then you may find yourself logging in and out of your test site a lot. In building WP-Members, I find myself doing this constantly to test the plugin with different user accounts.
The User Switching plugin has made my life easier in this area, and if you are a developer, I think you’ll find it incredibly useful as well. It is also handy for site admins that might be testing features of their site and might need to be logging in and out of various test accounts.
About The Plugin
As I mentioned, the plugin allows you to switch user accounts, and you can do this all from the WP Users screen. The plugin was developed and is maintained by John Blackbourn, WordPress specialist at Code For The People.
This is a free plugin maintained in the wordpress.org repository.
The first concern with any plugin that deals with user accounts is of course going to be security. I was impressed with John’s attention to detail in this area, including use of WP nonces. This is from the plugin description:
- Only users with the ability to edit other users can switch user accounts (by default this is only Administrators on single site installs, and Super Admins on Multisite installs). Lower level users cannot switch accounts.
- User switching is protected with WordPress’ nonce security system, meaning only those who intend to switch users can switch.
- Full support for administration over SSL (if applicable).
- Passwords are not (and cannot be) revealed
The plugin is essentially one single file. There is not a lot to it in terms of code. This does have the downside of needing to load with all WordPress plugins. Personally, I would like to see a two file system, the first testing to see if the user has user editing capability (required for the plugin’s security) and if so, go ahead and load the class file for user switching.
Even without that, it is a very lightweight plugin and uses proper security controls, so it could be used on a production site, but I would recommend limiting its use to staging sites and if used on a production site, definitely limit its use to only active when needed.
The plugin supports WP standard installs, but also Multisite and BuddyPress (and WP-Members!).
Critical when considering a plugin is support. John is active on the wordpress.org forum, so support issues are addressed in a timely manner. This also tells you that the plugin is continuing to be maintained. The plugin’s most recent update just last month and it has ongoing downloads, 81,397 as I write this. The ratings are impressively high with 79 5 star ratings and only 1 each 4 and 3 star. The non-5 star ratings were before the new wordpress.org review system, so we don’t know the reason for that, but clearly those individuals were out of touch. This is a 5 star plugin.
Where To Find It
Get it in the WordPress Plugin Respository: