Note to readers- mostly tedious details on WordPress nuts and bolts to follow- click next for the usual shallow barking and whining)

WordPress Plugins are awefully powerful to let you easily add/subtract functionality form your own hosted WP site. But sometimes, they become a marriage that may be difficult to extricate yourself. For the NMC Campus Observer, our WP powered site for our Second Life antics, since its inception on March 2006, I had used PodPress, a rather full featured plugin to handle the embedding of audio, sometimes video.

It has a huge list of features, and if you have ever looked, adds a lot os “stuff” to your pages. It has a lot of updates, and each replacement is a not so moderate upload of scads of files. Adding the audio/video content is not done via editing your content, but via a separate editing pane. But more problematic, I’ve had numerous incidences where the site’s display was mangled on certain browsers– sometimes Safari lost a sidebar, more recently the site was totally wrecked in Internet Explorer, the sidebar pushed down to the bottom, bottom of the post/comments field cut off. If I disabled PodPress, the display issues went away. But then also, did all of my links to the media. And one of the recent WordPress updates seemed to have a conflict with PP as well.

So its been on my list for a while to get myself out of this relationship. I have been using Anarchy Media Plugin on other sites which is one with less overhead, no mucking of display (well I did discover the Gregarious plugin has a conflict that disables Anarchy), but better it works simply by replacing a simple hypertext link to your mp3, .mov, etc with a player icon. This way, should you ever move to another plugin, your content is in tact.

If you are looking for a simple plugin to just convert mp3 links to a nice small player, I like Taragana’s Del.icio.us mp3 Player WordPress Plugin.

So the task was I’d have to find every post that had a PodPress managed media, and rewrite the post to have a normal href link that Anarchy could pick up.

The PodPress data, as mentioned is in its own pane:

podpress-removal.jpg

So I’d have to cut and paste the URL from here on each post and then create a link in the body of the post. But I had to find a way to identify all the posts that had embedded PodPress content. This meant diving into MySQL via PHPmyAdmin, and running the query:

PodPress and other plugins store extra info it needs into the wp_postmeta table.

This returned to me a list of the post ids for all of the entries that had PodPress stuff– 69 of them! Yikes!

So now I had a list of post ids, like:

How do I get to those entries to edit? Aha, Remember that when you use WordPress’s features for Permalinks, you convert the actual URLs that look like http://sl.nmc.org/index.php?p=967 into something pretty like http://sl.nmc.org/2008/01/10/edugrid/ which is really just an alias to the URL with a post number in it.

So I took my list of 69 exported post ids, one per line, into BBEdit and did a search and replace- replacing every line return \r with \rhttp://sl.nmc.org/index.php?p= so my list above became:

Now I had full URLs I could copy to the browser, then click my edit link in the entry, modify the post, remove the PodPress data, and save. It took about 2 hours.

But I was not done.

The other problem was the way I had done my Quicktime links- usually in my post I had a still image embedded in the page with a link to the Quicktime media on that image, plus an additional text link to the Quicktime video itself. The problem here was that Anarchy uses each occurrence of a link to a *.mov file as an embedded player, so I would lose the image and then have 2 stacked players.

The solution was to remove the IMG tag, remove the second links, and then put the JPG in the same directory as the video, so for a video named my-cool-movie.mov, you stash next to it a image file named my-cool-movie.mov.jpg. This tells the Anarchy player to use that image as a preview, I had the JPG already in the post, so I just had to download the image, name it right, and upload it to the video directory.

Its also an issue because any link to a *.mov or a *.wmv, sometimes we provide as a download link, Anarachy turns into an embedded player. I got around those by converting the URLs to a TinyURL which thus Anarchy does not see as a video link.

So to find these occurrences, I had to search the blog for entries that contained “Quicktime Video” and thus had another 10 entries to clean.

Last step was to disable PodPress plugin, goodbye!

I don’t mean to criticize PodPress, it has all kinds of features like iTunes integration, and it likely works great for others; but for this site, over the years, it continually created havoc on the web layout. The divorce from the plugin is now finalized, no hard feelings, I’ve just moved on to someone else.

Sometimes it is as easy as unplugging a plugin, but other times you are in much deeper.

The post "WordPress Plugin Divorce: PodPress I’m Left You For Anarchy" was originally zapped with 10,000 volts and declared "It's ALIVE" by Dr. Frankenstein at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2008/01/bye-podpress/) on January 12, 2008.

1 Comment

  • D'Arcy Norman darcynorman.net

    the custom moviename.jpg preview trick doesn’t always work – I set up my 2007/365 blog post with that, but it kept using the Anarchy default preview. Not the end of the world, but a but ugly. Not sure why it was borking (perhaps it didn’t like the – in the filename?)

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