Sarah Gooding is a partner at Untame, a boutique digital marketing firm specializing in open source content management systems and social networking architecture. She enjoys staying on top of the latest WordPress and BuddyPress news. Get in touch with Sarah on Twitter @pollyplummer

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WordPress Chat Plugin Gets A Sleek Redesign and a Dozen New Features

We’re always busy improving our plugins at WPMU DEV and this week we’re very excited to announce the release of Chat 2.0. This release is a massive update of the plugin. Chat is now faster, sleeker and more customizable than ever before. We’ve added in nearly a dozen new features as well as several improvements that make the chat experience more solid.

Introducing Chat 2.0!

New and Improved Chat 2.0 Features:

campfire

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How NASA Is Using WordPress to Promote Open Source Technologies

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration has been a leading global pioneer in science and technology since its inception in 1958, boldly going where no man has gone before. NASA has produced technology that has been adapted not only for the grandeur of space exploration but also for non-aerospace uses in the private sector, bringing us everything from the moon landing and GPS navigation to improved breast cancer testing procedures.

But did you know that NASA is also an active participant in the open source community?

nasa

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Show Only The Best Plugins in the WordPress Dashboard

When searching for new plugins in the dashboard, it’s not easy to sort the results. You really need to search in a different window to adequately sort the plugins and get a better idea of how they stack up to each other in terms of rankings and reviews.

PlugIntelligence is a new plugin that gives you an intelligent way to filter plugins in the dashboard. Once installed you can use the settings panel to set minimum star ratings, minimum number of ratings and minimum tested versions:

The plugin currently includes the following options to filter plugins:

smartdog

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7 Deadly Sins of WordPress Development

There’s a lot of freedom in WordPress development to extend the platform to just about anything you could imagine. However, when you develop for WordPress you have to make sure your theme or plugin can play nice with other WordPress extensions. Coding in a vacuum is inexcusable and can cause you or someone else a lot of trouble down the road. Here are some of the major things to look out for:

1. Loading your own copy of jQuery
C’mon man…Seriously? Loading your own copy of jQuery is a great way to just ruin everything.

injection-feature

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WordPress Kills Post Formats UI For 3.6 Release

Mark Jaquith announced today that Post Formats UI will not be a part of the core in WordPress 3.6 but will be relegated to a plugin, similar to MP6. We’re referring to the fancy new display that would have been added to the post edit screen:

Why is WordPress Killing Post Formats UI?
It seems the attention to the post formats was holding up the 3.6 release date, so it’s been punted to a plugin. The core WordPress contributors are now hatching a plan for extracting it from this release.

postformats

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How To Customize The BuddyPress Activity Loop

The BuddyPress activity loop shows every kind of BuddyPress activity by default. However, the activity loop wasn’t meant to be a one-size-fits-all arrangement. In fact, the BuddyPress core developers have made it possible for you to filter the loop using a number of specified parameters.

You might be surprised by how many ways there are to customize the activity loop. Here’s a quick list of what’s possible, as outlined in the BuddyPress codex:

Filter activities based on scope – Show only activity for the scope you pass, ie. just-me, friends, groups, favorites, mentions
Turn comments off and/or change display – none, threaded, stream

bploop

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The Quickest Way to Create Custom WordPress Queries

When working with WordPress templates for posts and pages, WP_Query allows you to customize and order the information you want to display. The WordPress Query Generator is a new web application, created by the folks at Spruce Interactive. It’s a very useful tool for quickly spitting out customized queries to use in your templates.

The generator lets you easily select post status, type, order, etc via a dropdown menu. You can also type in your own categories and tags.

Here’s a sample query generated:

1
query-feature

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The WordPress Planet Has Been Replaced

The WordPress Planet news feed is in some serious need of revamping. In our recent post “The WordPress Planet is Pants – and here’s how to improve it”, James pointed out what everyone was already thinking.

The WordPress Planet has been cluttered with irrelevant content for a long time. As no initiatives to improve it have been made known, the folks at WPLift has taken it upon themselves to create “A Better Planet,” a feed that includes WordPress news sources based on merit and relevance.

Introducing: A Better Planet

planet

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