After six months almost 1,000 readers have registered for a commenter account here at Smarterware, either using Facebook Connect, OpenID, or just by creating an account. Obviously SW readers are the best-looking commenters on the internet, so it’s about time we see each other’s faces. After a little WordPress hacking, I’ve added Facebook profile pictures and Gravatar support to comments and user profiles, plus a few other tweaks that help you get to know your fellow readers.
How avatars work: If you registered to comment here via Facebook Connect, your Facebook profile picture now shows up in comments and on your profile page with the telltale blue F on the lower right hand corner. (See Miguel’s profile as an example.) If you registered via OpenID, you’ll see an OpenID icon (like Socraton); if you created an account with your email address, your Gravatar will show up (like infmom). If you don’t have a Gravatar, a generic grey avatar will appear.
Read more from and about a particular user: In comment threads, if a user has made other comments beyond the one you’re looking at, you’ll see a number (like the +49 next to my name pictured above). If he or she has said something brilliant and you want to hear more, click on that link to read the person’s other comments on other posts. Also, if the commenter has filled out a description, if you hover over their username you’ll see it (as pictured above).
How to add your avatar and description: OpenID users, if you add an email address to your account, and set up a Gravatar, your avatar will appear here. Same for anyone with the generic gray avatar–just set up a Gravatar associated with the email address you registered with here, and you’ll be all set. Also, edit your profile and add a description and a web site to put more information on your profile page.
Who’s using what: Deciding what identity systems to support was a tough call when I launched the site, but happily Facebook and OpenID seem to accommodate both the hardcore open source crowd as well as social networking fans. Of 969 registered users, 327 registered with Facebook Connect, and 126 with their OpenID.
(Note: The Facebook Connect integration still isn’t as smooth as I’d like it to be; you still have to refresh the page or navigate to another post to get sign in and out to stick. My apologies–I’m continuing to look at ways to get that working better.)
What else is changing: I’ve also changed post timestamps to relative dates, so you’ll see things like (“Posted one hour ago”) instead of (“Posted on June 19, 2009 at 10:11AM.”) I’m going to continue making little tweaks like that as we go along to make the reading experience as good as it can be. Post your requests for features in the comments here.
What plug-ins I’m using: A few people have asked, so if you’re into this sort of thing, check out a list of the front-end WordPress plug-ins that are powering this soirée. Thanks to all the developers for making this useful functionality free for all to use.
This isn’t the entire list–I’ve also got backend tools like WordPress Database Backup and WP Super Cache activated. Also note I’ve modified several of these plug-ins for my own purposes (like Relative Dates and Facebook Connector), so they may not work for you out of the box exactly the way you see them working here.
As always, thanks for reading! See you in the comments (for real now).