Get Information About Top-Level Pages in WordPress

About a week ago, someone commented on my post about styling top-level pages differently in WordPress, asking how to get the slug for a top-level page while one of its descendant pages is being viewed.

It just so happened that I was in the process of working on a WordPress theme that needed to display the title of the top-level page on all of its descendants. As part of that process, I wrote a quick function that retrieves the top-level parent of any page on a WordPress site as a WordPress post object.

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WebShell Hack – An Update

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the fact that one of my website’s was hacked and exploited by a script apparently known as “WebShell by oRB”. At the time, I was hoping that the issue had been fixed, but I quickly learned that it hadn’t. At least once each day, the hack re-appeared on our website in different ways through different files.

After a bit more research into the matter, I found that the issue seems to be related to a vulnerability in phpThumb, a widely-used PHP script that dynamically resizes and manipulates images. The vulnerability was identified as early as 5 years ago according to some reports. Unfortunately, the developers of phpThumb have yet to do anything about it.

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WordPress: Creating Custom Permalinks for Plug-Ins

Over the last week or so, I’ve been working to develop a new WordPress plug-in that sets up bi-monthly archives (to be generated for the first and fifteenth of the month by default). As part of that process, I needed to create custom permalinks to display these new archives. Unfortunately, the amount of information available on this matter is fairly limited. I had to gather information from a few different places and then use some of my own experience to finalize the process.

It’s entirely possible that there’s a better way to handle this situation, but this is what I was able to do.

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Free HTML5 Mobile Training From O’Reilly

Beginning on October 6, 2010, O’Reilly will offer a free 10-week HTML5 mobile course. The live sessions will be held each Tuesday at 3PM Pacific Time. It appears you can download the sessions at a later point but there will be a fee for the download.

Here’s an overview of what the instructor notes you will learn during the course:

  • Discover what’s new in HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for mobile development
  • Build your own Twitter App with these technologies
  • Create apps that detect the orientation of mobile devices
  • Use geolocation and maps in a location-based app
  • Enable mobile users to use your app offline
  • Use HTML5 web forms to create an address book app
  • Create drawings and animation with JavaScript and HTML5′s canvas element
  • Use HTML5′s audio and video elements to build a movie trailer app

You should have some basic knowledge of CSS and HTML for the course. They also recommend that you are on a Mac but you can participate if you use a PC or Linux.

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Creating a Favicon for Apple Devices

I’m making this post as much for my own reference as for anyone else’s. As you may or may not be aware, Apple devices (the iPod Touch, the iPhone and the iPad) use their own icons for bookmarked websites and apps, rather than utilizing the standard favicon.

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Check Your Sites With Google

Earlier this week, I received a report that something fishy was going on with one of my websites. The report indicated that some sort of spam had infiltrated the site, informing users about great deals on pharmaceuticals. Needless to say, since we had not recently gone into the business of selling drugs (legal or otherwise), this was a bit suspicious.

I headed to the page that was included in the report and checked it out in about 20 different ways. I opened it in each of the five browsers I have installed; I viewed the regular source of the page; I viewed the generated source (after the JavaScript has run and modified the source) of the page and couldn’t find anything about the pharmaceuticals reported in the message.

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Customize Your WordPress Admin Area

Have you ever wanted to customize the administrative area within a WordPress installation? Maybe you want to change some of the terms used within the menus (such as changing the word “Posts” to “Articles” or something). Maybe you want to change the color scheme. Maybe you want to add some custom help text or a new box to the Dashboard.

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Some Handy Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

The other day on Friendfeed, I noticed Matt Mastracci posted a link to an article explaining how and why additional keys were added to and removed from Mac (and PC) keyboards. It is an interesting read, but I found something even more interesting to me in the comments at the end of the article.

One commenter posted a handful of keyboard shortcuts you can use in Windows. Before reading the comment, I always thought that the “Windows” key on my keyboards did nothing more than open and close the “Start” menu (as did the author of the article, it seems). The commenter, however, pointed out that it also can be used to perform some pretty handy actions in Windows (I have only tested them on Windows 7, so I can’t comment as to how far back they are compatible with Windows or whether or not they are compatible with Linux in any way).

Following are the shortcuts he pointed out:

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MiFi – My First Impressions of Broadband2Go

About a week ago, Virgin Mobile USA announced a new unlimited cellular broadband package. For $40/month (no contract), you can use one of their mobile broadband devices to connect to the Internet and use as much bandwidth as you desire.

Since I am still stuck with satellite broadband service at home, I decided to try it out. I’ve been looking into mobile broadband packages for quite a while, but the thought of signing a new two-year contract, paying almost as much as I’m paying now (the satellite package I have is $79.95/month – most mobile broadband packages are around $60/month) and being limited to around 2 gigabytes of downloads each month (my current plan allows 17 gigs on a revolving 30-day basis) really didn’t appeal to me.

This new plan from Virgin, though, had me intrigued. No contracts, apparently no bandwidth limits (I have seen no official word from Virgin as to whether there will be “reasonable use” limits imposed at any point, but, right now, it doesn’t look like it) and a price point half of what I am paying now all really appealed to me.

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Custom WordPress Page Templates

WordPressCustom templates are becoming the key factor for any content management system out there. Possibility to create custom front end lets many developers to offer their own custom templates, be it game website templates, eCommerce website templates or others. But have you ever had the need to create a custom template for a specific page on your WordPress-controlled website? Maybe you have created a page on your site that needs to include a customized sidebar, or maybe you want to create a custom archive page for specific categories of blog posts? Whatever the reason, it’s something I am constantly doing within my WordPress websites.

So, how is it done? Well, there are actually quite a few different ways to develop a custom page template for WordPress.

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