I released Genesis eNews Extended 0.1.6 over the weekend. This enables, for all users, the ability to add fields for first or last name. If you downloaded the beta version (0.2-beta1 or similar) there are no changes. I downgraded the version number as my roadmap for 0.2 was too heavy given a desire to release new code often. The plan for 0.2 is to release near the Genesis 2.0 drop date in Spring or Summer and include HTML5 functionality, like e-mail field validation.
This site uses the new field, so subscribe to my site and tell me your name!
Additionally, Jesse Petersen had the great idea for a new plugin for those using the Genesis Minimum theme. The Minimum theme has a huge banner image at the top, which previously the Featured Image uploaded to your post determined the banner image. This works great except that same image would be what gets pinned on Pinterest or thumbnailed on Facebook or shown in the “grid” on the page. It is rare that an image looks great as the banner and as a thumbnail.
Jesse, along with myself and Robert Neu with contributions from Nick the Geek and Bill Erickson, put together Genesis Minimum Images Extended. This adds a new metabox to the post editor for you to upload a banner image. The traditional Featured Image would be used in all other featured ways. It’s a simple idea, but can greatly help you fine-tune your Minimum-powered site’s visuals.
The roadmap is to extend this concept to other Genesis themes. We may even have a mostly functional version that works with the Streamline theme…
Follow the fun on GitHub!
Why not FeedBurner? FeedBurner assumes a new window. The confirmation screen includes a “Close Window” link and it doesn’t smoothly transition you back to your own site. Why let folks take people off of their site without a way to get back? Other services, like MailChimp, allow you to define your own page as the confirmation, which is what I did. In this case, visitors don’t have to worry about the MailChimp name or what they’re doing on this site.
By default, it will use a new window, which is the previous behavior and what mimics the original widget.
Additionally, there ia a, um, hidden feature. The source code adds optional first and last name fields for those who wish to track names of their subscribers as well. If you un-comment five or so lines (two separate places), you can take advantage of this now. I don’t anticipate another release before enabling these new fields, but for full disclosure, an upgrade will remove any custom coding fun you have.
Why is it commented out? In short, this is a big change for the widget. Up to now, we’re assuming the styling conventions used by StudioPress. If you’re using one of StudioPress’ themes, you can use with widget without having to know/edit any CSS. Adding new fields would change that for users wishing to use them. For example, my site now has a small envelope icon in the e-mail field. You likely wouldn’t want your name field to include that icon–that requires some custom CSS somewhere along the way.
My original idea was to enable the fields and simply tell people to edit style.css to make it work. As I’ve fielded support for the plugin, though, I realize that many folks (at least, those who are seeking support) are generally using stock themes and may or may not have a strong sense of CSS styling. Honestly, I’m debating a) just having the fields in there and require style.css changes, b) having a settings screen to add custom CSS that would be applied to the subscribe area or c) some other solution.
In the mean time though, if you’re skilled enough to enable it, it’s there.
Have fun and enjoy!
I love StudioPress’ themes—they look great, have solid logical structure for customizing, and a great community surrounding the product.
Earlier this year, I ran into a problem. I wanted to use their stock themes in a couple of different places and loved the way their Subscription widgets fit into the theme. I use MailChimp—not Feedburner, the only supported option. The suggestion in the community forum was restyle in CSS, which is fine. I was helping a few different small groups get sites off the ground and restyling each of them was taking more time than I thought it should.
The end result: a Genesis eNews Extended plugin. The plugin is really simple. In addition to supporting FeedBurner (ver 0.1.3), the plugin works with virtually any mailing list service. MailChimp, FeedBlitz, Constant Contact, Aweber, and so on. You give it the info it needs and it outputs a form identical in markup to the native Genesis eNews widget—thus matching the subscribe fields in their theme demos.
Last week, the founder of StudioPress, Brian Gardner reached out to me and we discussed my plan for the widget and my willingness to help. In all honesty, I told him, I had been planning to ship it over to them as a core patch, but never got around to doing it. With their plan to focus more on the core product, suggesting the eNews Extended plugin made perfect sense.
If you’re dropping by here for the first time, welcome. Go ahead and try out the plugin. There’s a subscribe form on the right powered using it. 🙂 While keeping the plugin lean, I hope to continue to make it more useful for the Genesis community. The plugin, actually, is framework-agnostic. You can use it anywhere on WordPress, but the biggest perk of the plugin for me was not having to worry about CSS on Genesis themes. If you have any thoughts, drop me a line.
A quick note regarding support. While I’ve been known to reply to an e-mail here and there about the plugin, please direct all support requests to the WordPress.org forum for the plugin. Over time, between the forums and the tutorials, most users will find the answers they need without having to wait on me. My wife and I are expecting a baby any day now, so I’ll be off the grid some very soon.
Thanks for the Genesis community for the support and I look forward to meeting more of y’all as you begin using the plugin.