The Adoption Symbol

The Adoption Symbol is comprised of a triangle – traditionally representing the child, birth parent(s) and adoptive parent(s) – and a heart which holds them all together.

And just like that, I am the new author of an old plugin! The plugin called Google 404 is now something that I will be maintaining moving forward.

There has been some buzz growing recently about the adopt-me tag in the WordPress plugin repository. The concept is simple: connect authors who no longer wish to maintain their plugins with developers who have the time and energy to pick up the ball and run with it. By tagging their plugin with the adopt-me tag, it tells the world “I’m looking for someone to take this over” (or, sometimes, “We’re looking for someone to join our team”).

The idea was intriguing to me, so I took a look and found Google 404 which was originally authored by Ben Huson. It seemed like a simple enough concept, applying a custom Google widget to your 404 page in order to provide a Google site search to site visitors who end up not finding the content they came looking for. I took a look at the code, saw a few things I thought I could do from what Ben had started, and decided to reach out to him regarding the adoption. He indicated the plugin was something he simply didn’t have an interest in anymore, and so we started the process of transition.

I’m looking forward to releasing my updates to the plugin soon: for now, I’ve simply updated the version within the repository with information about the adoption and to “formally” complete the process. This should be fun!

Click here to check out Google 404 in the WordPress repository.

Version 3.8.3 came out today of All In One WP Security & Firewall, and if you look through the changelog you’ll see a familiar name… mine!

We use AIO at my 9-to-5 on our client sites, and recently the plugin implemented a nice import/export feature for its security settings. It’s useful for just keeping a backup of your config around “in case”, as well as setting up one site once and then being able to rapidly deploy those same settings to other website.

Unfortunately, we ran into an issue in one of our hosting environments where we were running into inconsistent issues getting the import to work. Some sites would work, some wouldn’t, and we couldn’t track down any different PHP settings between the sites nor any other glaringly obvious things (they were all running the most up to date versions of the plugin, the most up to date version of WordPress core, etc). The problem seemed to be attached to failed fopen() function calls, but we still didn’t know why.

But that’s where the power of the open source community springs into action! Since I had access to the source code, I did some digging through their process and within about an hour, I had refactored some of their functions to support an alternate means of importing via an HTML textarea field. That way we wouldn’t have to worry about uploading a file to the server to be read; we could just copy/paste the JSON contents of our export file into the textarea and click the Import button.

After fully testing it, and using it ourselves, I decided to reach out to the plugin authors via their support forum on the wordpress.org repository and let them know what I had done. I gave them the source code to review if they wanted to consider it for a future version: and they did!

It may be a very small update, but it still felt good to contribute to another plugin author to help advance their plugin. And the tip of the hat in the release notes brought a smile to my face, too. Not bad for a plugin with nearly half a million users!

AIO 3.8.3 Update