Today marks the one year anniversary since I released the first version of the WP Hide Dashboard plugin.

WP Hide Dashboard Extend

The plugin started out as a hack to fill a need that I had on a website that I was developing. I tried the version that Thomas Schneider had released as an add-on to his Role Manager plugin, but it required that Role Manager be installed for it to work. This was the only functionality that I needed, so I set out to make it work on its own.

At the time I only planned to use it on my websites, but during the research that I had done for the fix, I found so many people who were needing the same thing and didn’t want to bloat their WordPress install with an unneeded plugin just to obtain this functionality. That convinced me that I should release it publicly.

So I went to the wordpress.org Extend section on 10/18/2008, and applied for an account to set up the plugin on their repository. On 10/19/2008 my request was approved, and on 10/20/2008 WP Hide Dashboard was born.

WP Hide Dashboard Trac, Version 1.0

Now, one year later, the plugin has been through four revisions since the initial release to add functionality and ensure that it continued to work with the latest version of WordPress. I have helped people rework the plugin to extend the functionality beyond the Subscribers role, including hiding other menu items for both WordPress core and other plugins. There have been some situations where I was unable to find a resolution for a user’s issue, but the majority of issues have been resolved successfully.

Downloads for the plugin are currently at almost 10,800, and still climbing. The average number of daily downloads is around 30, with obvious spikes whenever a new version has been released. The image below shows the download stats from wordpress.org as of the time of this post:

WP Hide Dashboard Download Stats

To be honest, I never expected the plugin to have the response that it has. I knew that it was needed by some people, but to have almost 11,000 downloads in a year’s time is awesome.

I plan to continue developing the plugin, and have already done preliminary testing on the nightly builds of WordPress 2.9 – so far, so good. I’ll also be testing against the WordPress 2.9 Beta and RC versions when they are released, and will update the plugin if needed.

If you’ve used the plugin, like it, and would like to help me celebrate, head on over to the WP Hide Dashboard plugin page on wordpress.org and rate the plugin (there’s only been 14 people give it a rating in all of those downloads).

Thank you to everyone who has downloaded and installed the plugin, blogged about it, linked to it, and supported it. You rock!

Until next time…

WordPress, WordCamp Columbus and Friends – freedom designs

I have been excited about the opportunity to attend my first WordCamp ever since WordCamp Columbus was announced last December, and was among the group that was able to register for the free tickets when they were first announced.

The opportunity to meet and talk with other WordPress users and developers, as well as finally meet some of the wonderful people I talk with from the WordPress community made this a must-attend event for me.

Unfortunately, my good friend Murphy had other ideas about what I would be doing on May 16th.

About 2 weeks ago, while outside mowing, I pulled several tendons in my right foot. I’ve spent the time since trying to rest and get them healed up so that I could still go, but last Friday evening I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Driving/walking were still quite painful, so I knew there was no way I’d be able to attend. Needless to say, I was very disappointed at having to miss WordCamp Columbus.

I let Alvin Borromeo (@wyliemac) and Jeff Chandler (@jeffr0) know that I’d be unable to make it via email Friday evening. Alvin is one of the organizers of WordCamp Columbus, so wanted to be sure he knew so that someone else could take my place, in case there was a waiting list to get in. Jeff and I have become friends over the past several months as a result of my participation in the WP Weekly podcast that he hosts at 8pm ET on Fridays. We had planned on meeting up at WordCamp, so I needed to let him know that I wouldn’t be coming.

Fast-forward to Saturday morning. Watching the clock, knowing what I was supposed to be doing at that time, made it that much more difficult. I checked the WPTavern forum, and found a post from Jeff saying that he would use a forum thread and probably the chat box, along with Twitter, to provide updates throughout the day. Not the same as being there, but better than no info at all!

About 8:45am, Jeff decided to try and livestream the keynote presentation by Jane Wells via uStream. He got his webcam set up, video and audio up and working. Everything was coming through clear as a bell! I may not be there, but I’d at least get to see/hear it via the live stream.

I set up Seesmic Desktop to follow the #wccbus hashtag, as well as the #wordcampmidatl hashtag, so that I could track what everyone was saying about both events. The more info, the better!

Several other people showed up at the Tavern that morning – Kit Singleton, Ryan McCue, conorp – and we were all talking via the forum chat box, waiting for WordCamp to get started. Good friends, good conversation and WordCamp via live stream – hmmm, maybe this day wouldn’t be so bad for me after all.

Then, good old Murphy decided to rear his ugly head once more. Just a few moments before the kickoff by Alvin and Jason to open up WordCamp, the internet went down completely at the facility, and the live stream disappeared. Not sure exactly why, but I would venture to say it may have been everyone trying to get online at the same time putting a strain on the wifi.

Unfortunately, the internet didn’t recover until after Jane’s keynote speech was over. But it did finally recover, and Jeff was able to livestream an advanced WordPress installs session being presented by Mike Krotscheck. He even managed to swing the webcam around a couple of times so that we could finally “meet” Will Anderson! lol

The internet finally stabilized enough that Jeff was also able to bring me the impromptu session in the main hall during the lunch break led by Lorelle VanFossen and Mark Ghosh, as well as Lorelle’s session afterwards. He was even kind enough to show what was in the boxed lunch – sandwich, chips, apple and chocolate chip cookies – and let all of us know just how good the cookies were!

Between Jeff’s livestreaming of some of the sessions, the tweets in the #wccbus timeline which provided links to other attendees’ pics (like Mark Ghosh and Alvin Borromeo), Matt Mullenweg’s Shoutout to WordCamp Columbus, presentation slides, and the unconference session notes, I was still able to be a part of the event.

Lorelle asked the question during the impromptu session “How has WordPress changed your life?”. Here’s my answer: WordPress has given me a solid platform to publish with, both on a personal level and for my clients. My involvement with WordPress has allowed me to be a part of a vibrant community of designers, developers and passionate users, challenged me to learn new things, and given me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people who have now become friends. Those friends bring something good to my life every single day, and I would never have met them without being involved with WordPress.

And some of those friends, through their kindness, helped to take a lot of the sting out of not being able attend WordCamp Columbus in person on May 16th. Thank you! Until next time…

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