Can you believe this is yet another blog post about SPLOTs? Has anyone stuck a fork in them yet?

Not me.

I’m considering a rather major change which ultimately make them less complex to set up. This is all about the need for them to use a secret authoring account that the user never sees. So when you go to write something on TRU Writer, or share something in TRU collector, the SPLOTs actually log you in invisible as a user. You never see it; the admin bar is hidden, and a plugin prevents you from seeing the Dashboard.

This is all done to enable the drag and drop uploading of media that you get as a normal WordPress user:

Screen shot of a  text editor with arrows pointing to the Add Media button, then pointing to the media uploader interface, then from an icon in the media library to where it is inserted in body text

This is most useful in TRU Writer for uploading and adding images to the text being written.

For uploading a featured image, or as in TRU Collector or SPLOTbox, a single file upload, this could be replaced with a simple File upload interface, and not require an authoring account secret login ( I use this in the DS106 Bank theme, where there is a featured media upload, but no authoring login needs to happen).

Taking this behind the scenes login would greatly simplify the code, the setup. This has come up with an issue at one university where all WordPress logins require a single signon action, and so the behind the scenes invisible login borks.

I’m wondering in general if most SPLOTs even need this. For the TRU Writer, I could enable the TinyMCE image button, which allows inserting of images hosted at other URLs. All the regular WordPress automatic embeds are still available (like images from flickr, giphy. I could probably add in some kind of auto embed for image URLs (or suggest a plugin that does this).

The parts where a single file upload is done would be done via an HTML input=file form element but I’d roll n something like dropzonjs for drag and drop file uploads.

The question is how important is it to people who use these themes, to have an image uploader in the composition area?

SPLOTs could be way more simple to set up this way.

Thoughts? Bueller? Bueller?

Featured Image: Edits of SPLOT logo and screen shot of WordPress uploader added to Image by Kirk Fisher from Pixabay 

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An early 90s builder of web stuff 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) Tooting as


  1. For me, there are two big advantages to how you do SPLOTs, with respect to tools that allow for public contributions like Gravity Forms or Toolset.

    Your approach does not require a premium paid plugin. (Yet?)
    Those tools don’t give access to the media area. Yours does.

    I need to kickstart my blog game so you aren’t solo SPLOT blogging. These tools are brilliant and now that you have moved authoring to a plugin…man…

  2. Brian makes a great point above about the current model giving access to the Media Library, but on balance that doesn’t for me outweigh the benefits of the approach you’ve outlined which would get rid of the need for the secret account (I might *also* know a Uni that has a blog setup that enforces SSO for all logins).

    If featured images still work for SPLOTBox and TRU Collector, and inline images\media still work in TRUWriter, albeit hosted elsewhere, then that’s an acceptable compromise for me. Let’s face it, mostly we’re using openly licensed images and media from elsewhere anyway, and definitely not stealing things from the internets and uploading them. No sir. Not at all.

    1. Thanks for that. SPLOTs will always be un-requiring of paid plugins.

      I thought about weaving this in as an option, but am thinking that the need for inline media image adding is pretty small compared to the benefit of a simpler setup. I will do up demo site shortly.

  3. I think I phrased my comment stupidly. I totally see why you are looking to simplify things, and can’t wait to see what your demo looks like.

    Love the way you SPLOT me baby.

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