Author Archives: Jess G

Manga+Press 4.0 Changes

It’s not released yet. Probably not until the end of September at this rate. Anyway, I wanted to add some information because like 3.0, Manga+Press 4.0 has breaking changes, this time surrounding the Latest Comic and Comic Archive page functionality.

The goal behind these changes was to bring these two pages back inline with how WordPress handles archive templates. The vast majority of issue reports I’ve had has had to do with these two pages, so the main goal for this release was to fix them.

There is an alpha version for download if you want to take it for a spin. DO NOT—I repeat—DO NOT use this version in a production environment because it will break things.

Comic Archive page

This is actually easier to deal with than the Latest Comic page was, because the fix was simple: enable the has_archive option on the Comic post-type, and give it a custom slug. Which should have been done way back when I updated Manga+Press to use custom post-types. So now, the Comic Archive page follows the WordPress template hierarchy. Which means, that there’s no custom work going on in the backend to create the comic listing, other than the switches to change the templates, and grabbing all comics instead of a per-page amount. However, I may change “unlimited” to “per-page” with an option to override, because I can see “unlimited” causing potential performance issues if an end-user has a lot of comics.

Latest Comic page

After some consideration, I realized that this page didn’t fit into the standard WordPress template hierarchy, so something different had to be done. I decided (for now) on creating a custom end-point with its own template. With the custom end-point, there’s a base $wp_query object that can be overridden by using the pre_get_posts action. So I’m overriding that query to add the most recent comic.

I’m still thinking about creating a new custom post-type to handle Latest Comic page, which have the added advantage of having its own archive, which means that in theory, a comic author can run separate series.

Either way, the Latest Comic page functionality is still up in the air right now. What ever I decide on, I want to maintain some form of backwards compatibility.

Other changes

After taking inspiration from WooCommerce, I’ve added new actions to allow other theme developers to better integrate Manga+Press templates. I’m also using another WooCommerce concept: theme compatibility. Basically, it eliminates the need for a child-theme if you’re using one of the standard WordPress themes, and I’m also providing a hook for other developers to add their own compatibility markup. What this means that I’m going to sunset the original child-themes, and keep compatibility going back to the TwentyFourteen theme.

Finally, with this next release, I’m no longer supporting versions of PHP older than 7.0, since WordPress itself now supports PHP 7.2. If your host doesn’t have the minimum requirements as recommended by WordPress, and if they won’t update their server to meet those requirements, then it’s very likely time to move on.

Blame Me, I Broke the Docs

Well, not really. You can still access the docs at docs.manga-press.com, but I may be moving them back to GitHub Pages in the near future. GitBook changed some things recently, and I’m not particularly happy with the changes. The end-result is that I merged the developer docs and the guides into one repo, and the new GitBook experience is rather lacking.

In the meantime, what started as a simple fix for the issues with the Latest Comic and Comic Archive pages has turned into a full-on refactoring of the plugin. Which means, guess what? The original 4.0 roadmap is postponed. The refactor will become the new 4.0, which will have breaking changes. I realized that I was doing the archives wrong, for one. The Comic CPT was configured wrong, and considering my years of professional experience using WordPress, I should have caught that. You can have archives for CPTs in WordPress, and you can even customize the slug used. So that bit of WordPress Core functionality has been added—should have been added years ago, and should lead to a better experience all around. The Latest Comic page has been changed to a custom endpoint—branching from an idea that I had in my last post. So the next release will feature templates for both pages, but still maintain the original Comic Archive sub-templates for the three supported styles.

So, no release date yet. I’m hoping it’ll be soon, though.

Updates and Thoughts on Recent Error Reports

So what’s happened? I’m back working again—finally. So that leaves me little time to work on personal projects, including Manga+Press. Which is probably a good thing because that leaves me a little time—even though I barely have any time haha—to plan. The version 4 and 5 road-map is postponed. I realized that there are some things I’m going to have to change about Manga+Press, primarily the way that the Latest Comic and Archive page is handled. I’m getting error reports about those two pages, and I think it’s all due to the use of the_content filter to modify the output of the content of those two pages. Tl’dr—my approach needs to be re-architected. Heh, ironically, I think I realized that around 4 years but forgot after the upheavals in my personal life these last few years. Basically, the ideas I have are:

  1. Remove the pages, and just use custom end-points with their own templates (this was my original idea but never got around to implementing it). This one comes with its own headaches. The WordPress Rewrite API was a bear to deal with—at least that’s what I remember from dealing with it when I worked on Arctic Cat’s website.

  2. Make the Latest/Archive page into their own post-type. It opens up a can of worms, though—there can be only two, for instance. However, it also opens up a realm of other feature possibilities, like refactoring the Series taxonomy. It brings us back to that can of worms, though. If I do that, I end up changing the entire architecture of the plugin in a way that it won’t be backwards compatible.

  3. I do (actually, should have done) what WordPress is doing with its static front-page functionality. One page is set as a static front-page (Latest Comic)—except the difference is that it pulls in the most recent comic, and then the other page is a post listing page (in this case, Comic Archives). If I remember correctly, WordPress overrides the admin for these two pages, letting the user know that they can’t be edited.

So, we’ll see. Rest assured, I’m aware of the issue. It’s just going to take time for me to find a workable solution.

Needed A Break

A quick update, and to keep a long story short, I needed a break from Manga+Press to work on other projects. I also needed a break to see what I wanted more clearly. To put it bluntly, I am not giving the project up for adoption, nor am I going to abandon it. I do need help with bug-hunting, providing support on the WordPress plugin forums, and I especially need help with documentation.

I also know that there have been a few WordPress updates to Manga+Press since the last update. I’ll need to check and make sure that those updates haven’t caused any breaking changes in Manga+Press.

And yes, the road-map for versions 4 and 5 is back on but I likely won’t get started until later in the spring.

Stay tuned!

Updates and thoughts

I put the roadmap on hold. Long story short, I’ve been off learning new things and improving my artwork. I’m foreseeing that I’m probably going to be away for a little bit longer. How long, I don’t know. Which means that I’m not answering support questions on the WordPress forum while I’m on this break.

Which leads me to this: I’ve given thought to a few different plans regarding Manga+Press:

  1. Actively bring on help
  2. Give the project up for adoption
  3. Simply abandon the project

Honestly, I’d rather do Option 1 but I can’t seem to get anyone interested in taking on development, testing, or documentation writing. All of which I need help with. Which leads me to give some consideration to either Option 2 or Option 3.

So, thoughts?