Monthly Archives: November 2008

Plugin Updates

Did some additional work on the Netflix-X2 plugin for wordpress over the last couple days. It’s been downloaded over 30 times already this week and I’ve had some nice feedback from users…

1 – Widgetized it. This is something I always wish would have been available – and now it is. Use the widget by A: having a widget ready theme. B: Setting the Netflix-X2 options from the plugin configuration section. C: Add the widget to your favorite sidebar. Right now it’s pretty bare bones, but I will be adding some configurable options to make the widget easier to use.

2 – Added a new display option in the netflix function. You can now use the option ‘text’ to retreive the text section of the feed item. Previous options included images, title, link, and raw. This new option will display your movie reviews directly when using the reviews feed; and will display the movie summary/description if using any other feeds.

Check it out if interested

Introducing Netflix-X2

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce to you Netflix-X2, a plugin for WordPress that will allow you display content from your Netflix account into your WordPress website.

For a couple years, I’ve been using a plugin called “Netflix” – a very cool plugin written by Albert Banks. His plugin allowed WordPress users to display Netflix content in their blogs. I’ve always used it to show movies in my queue, the movies I have at home, and my recommended movies.

As I’ve used his plugin, I’ve grown very familiar with it. I’ve tweaked it to work with different themes, exercised and exhausted nearly every variable, modified every possible configuration option, and just overall have really enjoyed using the plugin. Mr. Albert Banks has genuinely written one of my favorite WordPress plugins ever.

However, Netflix has since offered a few new RSS feeds including a feed for the “Watch Instantly” queue; and in particular, the “Reviews” RSS feed that displays any reviews I’ve written within Netflix.

I emailed Albert a few months ago requesting that he add new functionality to support these new feeds – but it unfortunately seems like those requests have gone unanswered and the plugin is starting to fall behind. I don’t blame Albert – his plugin works great – It just needs a freshening up to catch up to the new options available to use.

With that, I decided to download his plugin and write these enhancements myself. Albert licensed his plugin under the GPL, so I took his PHP code as the base, wrote in support for the new Netflix feeds, and essentially split it into my own published plugin called Netflix-X2. The process has been harder than I would like to admit, because I would rate my PHP experience at a 4 out of 10. It took me about 4 hours to complete and I believe a seasoned PHP developer could have done it in about 45 minutes. Nevertheless, it does work and seems to work very well.

By no means do I intend to try and compete with Albert… after all, his hard work and impressive development skills have laid the foundation for my plugin. In fact, this emphasizes the very meaning and beauty of open source software.

I don’t want to call Netflix-X2 a ‘fork’ of Albert’s plugin… I’d like to call it an extension of an already great product. But, I will be taking on maintenance of this version, So I’ve decided to rename and reversion it as my own.

If Albert ever happens to read this, Thank you very much for contributing to the WordPress community. And, for everybody else – please check out the plugin! 🙂

I’m using it now on my site, and I’ve updated my ‘Movies’ page to use some of the new functionality I coded in. So, feel free to check out my movies page and check out the reviews I’ve written for some of my Netflix movies.

Says it all

Tonight, Barack Obama won the election to become the next President of the United States.

After the events unfolded tonight, both candidates gave closing remarks to mark the end of their campaigns.  As McCain spoke, he mentioned Barack Obama a couple times.  He mentioned that he called to congratulate him, that he was honored to run against him, and really he was pretty gracious and respectful in defeat.

Obama’s closing remarks were similar, being respectful of McCain and focusing on uniting the nation regardless of political party.

There was one huge difference that literally says it all about this whole campaign and candidacy on both sides.  One gleaming ray of perfect clarity that shows everything wrong with our economy, our country, and us as a collective citizen.

As John McCain mentioned Obama during his speech, it drew astoundingly negative reaction from the crowd.  The sound of the crowds “boo” of disrespect was enough for even McCain to call out “Please… Please….” and signify them to stop.  It might have seemed insignificant to most viewers and listeners, but to me it was a very bold and underscored point of low that shouldn’t exist.   It’s extremely sad and shows how naive, disrespectful, and inconsiderate so many of us are.

I am proud to say that I voted for Barack Obama.  And I’m even prouder to say that there were no disrespectful reactions from his crowd when he mentioned John McCain with his closing speech.

This, in my mind, says it all.

Mr. Obama – if you are ever in Grand Rapids Michigan I am going to buy you a beer.