Are SPLOTs becoming a thing? Spotted this tweet this morning…

I’m thinking about this kind of request as I get stuff ready for the Staking Your Claim on the Open Web workshop I am doing with Kim Jaxon Wednesday at the DML Conference.

I don’t think the SPLOTs and assorted pre-built WordPress stuff I have done the last few years are terribly complicated to install, and I do try to write detailed instructions. But there are a lot of steps:

  • Set up a new WordPress site
  • Install a Theme
  • Download and install my custom child theme.
  • Install a few plugins
  • Set up some pages or options or settings in the customizer

And still you start with an empty site.

Now in the workshop, second year this has been offered, we have cut out all these steps, by using the StateU demo site offered by Reclaim Hosting. This site is insanely useful for introducing people to domains or making a case for it to your colleagues. On this site, you get a fully functional hosting package, everything on the cpanel (except email I think), to play with for 30 days.

When I found out from Tim Owens that they could offer install options for WordPress that were pre-built sites, I jumped on that and used it last year for the workshop. This means that rather than getting a generic Hello World in a Twenty-Seventy Theme empty site, you could get a fully functioning site with themes, plugins, content– e.g. more or less a clone from a master template.

This way, people can try out these sites that are already set up with everything needed to function. These are the options for this year’s workshop:

Look at all the splots and stuff you can on click install and take out on the web for a test drive

So I could say to Cristina now, that she and others can create a account now, install the TRU Writer, and experiment. You can even peek at the workshop materials, that has things like specific instructions for using this splot install (warning, editing currently happening there, no minute like the last 3 days).

But another idea started swirling in my head, like thinking of noodles in a cup… instant SPLOT?

I have used the All In One WP Migration plugin before to create a complete export of a site (the WordPress export only generates the sitre content, not the theme, plugin, and settings).

I am trying out now, in something only lightly tried, that would be an almost Instant SPLOT install. I have done this once as a quick test, but it works.

To use these you do need a web hosting package where you can install WordPress. These are the basic steps:

  • Install WordPress into a domain, subdomain, directory of existing domain, typically from your cpanel You do not need to do anything to it. Just make sure you can log in as admin.
  • Download the appropriate package file. Expand the zip for a file ending in .wpress
  • Install a Plugin. In your new site’s Dashboard, go to Plugins, and search for, install, and activate the All-in-One WP Migration plugin.
  • Import the Package. Once the plugin is installed, look for it listed in the left side of your WordPress dashboard- select the option below it for Import. Drag and drop the .wpress file to the importer. Wait for it to simmer/upload. You will be asked to confirm over writing an existing site. Agree.

That’s it. You will have to log in again as admin to start enjoying your noodles.

A new collection of these is being stocked at where you can find, for now, the package for creating a TRU Writer site.

This can take out a lot of the tedious steps of setting up a SPLOT or one of my calling card themes. I do wonder if not doing all the tedious steps will take away some amount of knowledge of how the parts work together.

But you tell me– do you like the idea of Instant SPLOT? This could be it’s year…

Featured Image: Modified from “Marcel Renault 1903” Wikimedia commons it should be public domain but look at all that fine print. Shrug. Check out the description, “This picture was taken during the Paris-Madrid race in May 24th 1903 driven by Marcel Renault who eventually crashed the car and died later during the race”

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


  1. Well, it is a fun time playing with SPLOTS. And sometimes it is a good learning time to see how all of the pieces go together. Sometimes, if all of the technology is sufficiently advanced, then it is like magic to the person, and then they don’t have a learning time.

    Still, when #TrueFriends are making learning fun for others, then it is a learning time for them because of when they say how they did it. So I say it is a good time whenever people have choices.

    PS. How is Felix? Does he eat strawberries if you grow them there?

    Your #StillTrueFriend,

    AKA @iamTalkyTina

  2. This is VERY helpful, thanks for that Alan.

    I think I am almost there, by now the most difficult part has been to convince the colleagues from the IT support service (they talk to me like Moss to Jen ) to grant me admin rights to the cpanel of “my” website.

    However, I’ve created a account, installed the TRU Writer, customized a little, enjoyed the freedom. Instantly, indeed. And it is so empowering, and yes, it is like magic.
    (I am struggling a little with All in one WP Migration, but I will make it as well at some point too)

    I’d be happy to celebrate the year of the Instant SPLOT, what a year to be alive!

    Best wishes

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