Category Archives: Web Development

Theme Change: Twenty-Twelve

After several years of using Inanis’s I7 theme (Styled after Windows 7), I decided to go for a cleaner, more modern look – stepping away from the slower and chaotic I7 to WordPress’s own Twenty-Twelve. I’m really enjoying how it makes the content stand out more, rather than get lost in the distraction the theme itself creates. It also loads faster and by being responsive, looks a lot better on all of my devices. I’m sure that over the next year, I am going to end up creating a child theme based off of it as I find small things I would like to customize but for now, I’m exceptionally happy with how it’s working and I’m absolutely loving the clean, minimalistic view!

Tools I Use: S3 Browser

Disclaimer: NetSDK Software provided me with a free Professional License of S3 Browser as I am a freeware developer in exchange for an unbiased review. I was going to publish a review anyway but when I was given a Professional License, I modified it to include the additional unlocked features. However, my original thoughts and feelings about S3 Browser have not changed.

With the release of Custom Paper Deployment Tool last August, my server was flooded with users trying to download it. If you have used Custom Paper Deployment Tool at all, you know that it is a fairly hefty program with more than 500 MB of required files (This is due to the 32 PDF Notepads included within). My VPS (Virtual Private Server) with 384 MB of RAM and a 100 mbps network connection was unable to cope with the stress. I was forced to restart the server once per hour and the vast majority of users were unable to successfully download the program as the Apache Web Server would cut the connection when it got overwhelmed.

Needless to say, this was not a viable solution at all! As I was searching for something cost effective with the scalability needed to handle the load spikes when many people want to download Custom Paper Deployment Tool at once, I remembered that I had been playing with Amazon’s S3 (part of the AWS platform) and that it was designed to do exactly that! After verifying that S3 would allow me to utilize Microsoft’s ClickOnce deployment technology, I next needed a way to reliably move 500 MB of data to S3 and update it as necessary.

At first, I looked at S3Fox a FireFox extension I had used back when I still used FireFox. However, I was not thrilled with the idea of firing up FireFox (in addition to Google Chrome, my daily-use browser).

This led me to look for desktop clients for Amazon S3 and the two that I tried were CloudBerry Lab’s CloudBerry Explorer for Amazon S3 & NetSDK Software’s S3 Browser. After trying out both of them, I decided to use to S3 Browser primarily because I preferred it’s user interface and it felt more comfortable to use (at least to me). I disliked Cloudberry Explorer’s dual pane approach (local and remote storage) as it led to confusion during my informal testing. S3 Browser allows me to upload the files I need to quickly, efficiently and reliably.

The freeware version allows you to transfer 2 files simultaneously to Amazon S3 while the Professional version eliminates that restriction and allows you to transfer as many files simultaneously as your internet connection will support. S3 browser easily allows the creation of new buckets and completely and simply manages your entire Amazon S3 account.

S3 Browser has been the perfect solution I have been looking for. So far, I have published several updates of Custom Paper Deployment Tool to S3 after testing them locally and each time S3 Browser has quickly and efficiently uploaded the relevant files to Amazon.

I would most definitely recommend S3 Browser to anyone who needs to quickly move files to and from Amazon S3. I have attached a comparison table showing the differences between S3 Browser’s Free and Professional versions as provided by NetSDK Software.

Provided by NetSDK Software

Why I Switched Back to Intense Debate for Comment Management

Previously, I wrote Why Intense Debate Still Isn’t Ready for WordPress Use! Since then, my view on Intense Debate has changed. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always been a big fan of Automattic’s attempts to combine user accounts between various services allowing us as blog holders to simplify the number of logins we need to remember. Nearly two months back, Intense Debate attempted to add themselves to the Autommatic “account combined” list.

It had mixed success because while it allowed those of us with WordPress.com accounts to comment through Intense Debate, we still had two profiles. There was an Intense Debate profile and a WordPress.com profile. This created confusion because we now had two accounts instead of just the one that we were supposed to. The intentions were to fix this soon, but it still hasn’t happened. Here’s why it affected me:

I decided to try out Intense Debate myself to see if it would fit the needs of this site. I ended up creating a new Intense Debate account, not realizing that I could just sign on with my WordPress.com login and password. I linked this site to and my comments synced perfectly with Intense Debate. Then of course, I read this post and decided that I wanted my Intense Debate profile to be the same as my WordPress.com one. Of course, I deleted my Intense Debate account and then reset the plugin. I tried to connect it to my “new” account but of course, it wouldn’t let me do that. It seems that you need to disconnect your WordPress blog from Intense Debate before deleting or switching accounts. Now I’m stuck, without Intense Debate. My hope is, that when the merger goes through properly, they will realize that my orphaned blog belongs to my WordPress.com account and attach the two together. That would save a lot of hassle for all of us who don’t read directions properly before beginning.

Since then, Intense Debate support have looked into my accounts and have combined the two of them under my wordpress.com account and I no longer have two accounts, :) They believe that all other accounts should be combined by the end of the year, which with the volume of accounts they have is understandable.

So, here I am: running Intense Debate again except this time with only 1 account!

Why Intense Debate Still Isn’t Ready For WordPress Use!

Intense Debate is definitely one of the best debate/comment systems out there. There’s no question of that here! Automattic has done a brilliant job with Intense Debate but it still needs a lot of work. I love the fact that one Intense Debate account allows you to login to many different sites to post comments because of their diverse and widespread plugins for many different platforms. It certainly is easier to users and to webmasters because they don’t have to worry about pruning for spam and checking on their spam plugins. Sure, a webmaster still needs to look into those but with Intense Debate, the pruning is all handled by them and not by you. The time needed to clean up the spam is greatly reduced.

I for one was very excited when Intense Debate announced WordPress.com Sign In. I don’t know if you have noticed but Automattic has slowly been implementing that across all of their platforms. However, across their other platforms, they have also included account mergers, merging accounts between services with the WordPress.com account with identical email addresses. That is where they really shine. I’ve had a WordPress.com account for a while, because I needed the API Key for Akismet. I’ve also had a Gravatar because I love not having to set my avatar up on every site I start up. Late last year, they merged the databases of Gravatar with WordPress.com and my two accounts became connected. There was no longer a disconnect.

However, the Intense Debate implementation failed in this context. Account Mergers are not possible at this time. The Intense Debate Team said:

If you already have both IntenseDebate and WordPress.com accounts, don’t worry – we will be merging your accounts in the next phase of our integration, so keep commenting!

That’s good, it means that integration is coming but it’s still not quite ready for mainstream use. Let me give you my own story.

I decided to try out Intense Debate myself to see if it would fit the needs of this site. I ended up creating a new Intense Debate account, not realizing that I could just sign on with my WordPress.com login and password. I linked this site to and my comments synced perfectly with Intense Debate. Then of course, I read this post and decided that I wanted my Intense Debate profile to be the same as my WordPress.com one. Of course, I deleted my Intense Debate account and then reset the plugin. I tried to connect it to my “new” account but of course, it wouldn’t let me do that. It seems that you need to disconnect your WordPress blog from Intense Debate before deleting or switching accounts. Now I’m stuck, without Intense Debate. My hope is, that when the merger goes through properly, they will realize that my orphaned blog belongs to my WordPress.com account and attach the two together. That would save a lot of hassle for all of us who don’t read directions properly before beginning.

Therefore Intense Debate isn’t quite ready for WordPress use. It’s very close and it’s getting closer, but there is still a short ways to go. Once they manage to complete the merger, I for one will be quite pleased with them. I’m just hoping the “next phase of [their] integration” happens soon!

Switching from WordPress MU to WordPress

For almost a year now, I ran a WordPress MU site with BuddyPress, and bbPress, all running the latest bleeding-edge SVN releases. Unfortunately, I soon learned that this is not an easy task at all. Bleeding-edge releases, while fun and full of new features are very disaster prone. In the process of fixing things,  other things break and then, it’s just not a happy application. The amount of time I spent fixing things, searching how to fix things, and scratching my head because I just couldn’t fix things was just too much. Obviously, running bleeding-edge software on a production site isn’t the best of ideas.

I was unable to keep up with the updates and eventually the sites just died. Some programs on the Virtual Private Server insisted on filling up the virtual hard drive with lots and lots of statistical data. Unfortunately, statistical data on several dead websites is hardly useful at all. Once the virtual drive was full the server basically destroyed itself. Isn’t that just lots of fun?

After several months and several domain expiries, I decided it would make sense to get rid of a testing ground and only keep production sites. I reasoned that if a testing ground was needed, it would be easy enough to build on my local virtualbox setup of Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server Edition. I reloaded the VPS with CentOS 5 and happily was greeted with an empty hard drive again. Last time, my VPS was running Kloxo from LXLabs. Unfortunately, after the great HyperVM and Kloxo vulnerabilities of 2009, I was very wary with installing Kloxo again. It also had the “great” statistical tendencies.

I decided to install Webmin and it’s module virtualmin for administration because I have used it before and it is a truly much better alternative to Kloxo. Virtualmin, though has a paid version, however, in my experience, the GPL one works just fine. Admittedly, I do know my way around Linux and could easily run all of these commands through an SSH terminal but it’s much easier to just use a web-based control panel.

The install was quick and painless, just a simple bash script that needed execution and everything was working fine. I logged in to Virtualmin, created a new account for this domain, after modifying features per domain and set up was complete. I simply had to install WordPress and then upload modified sections of my database from the WordPress MU install. From there, it was simply configuring permissions, installing plugins, setting themes, and embedding functions.

In an afternoon’s work, I managed to backup all of my data from WordPress MU, BuddyPress, and bbPress, reload my Virtual Private Server, install a new control panel, set up new DNS with XNAME, and restore my backups to WordPress (Single User). Hopefully here, problems will be virtually non-existent and with some luck, everything should work for good this time.

Domain Change…

When I first started this blog, I owned the domain http://rohan-kapoor.com. I wanted the domain https://rohankapoor.com but unfortunately for me (at the time) the domain was owned by another Rohan Kapoor who co-incidently wasn’t using it for anything. Strangely enough, when I checked the whois records last June, I surprising found that the domain https://rohankapoor.com was available! I bought it at that time and have since been redirecting it to http://rohan-kapoor.com. Some of you may have noticed that now the exact opposite has happened. Instead I’m now redirecting from http://rohan-kapoor.com to https://rohankapoor.com. My reasoning behind that change was that the domain https://rohankapoor.com looks much better than the same domain with a dash in it. It also makes it easier to find according to many of my friends. Therefore to make it easier for friends and colleagues to find me online, I decided to move my blog over to https://rohankapoor.com. On the webserver end, this is actually so easy it’s almost a joke! As I’m running Domain Mapping to map the blog to the domain, I just simply removed the dash that the domain was mapped to and it just works! I’ve requested google to make the needed changes on their end to move the site over within their database. According to Google’s Webmaster Tools, this process is likely to take 3 months to get completed! Additionally, I need to change out the links on many of the sites I’ve worked on to say https://rohankapoor.com instead of the old address. There should be no problem contacting me because of the domain change as the two email addresses and domains are run seamlessly through Google’s Apps Service! My plan is to keep everything on https://rohankapoor.com for now!

In regards to the many subdomains of http://rohan-kapoor.com, currently they are going to stay at http://rohan-kapoor.com though at some point I will transition them over to https://rohankapoor.com. The old addresses will be seamlessly redirected with 301 Redirects which should cause no problems to the end users!

It’s good to finally be moving everything to the https://rohankapoor.com domain name! It seems more professional, you know?

Released bbPress Favicon

I just released bbPress Favicon the companion plugin to WordPress/MU Favicon. It does exactly the same thing WordPress/MU Favicon does except does it for the bbPress sitewide and the bbPress admin pages. You can see the Changelog for those that are interested!

—————————- Changelog: —————————-

1.0

  • First Release
  • Working with 1.x