Simple History “Quick diff” – a super efficient way to see post changes in WordPress

As the developer of the Simple History plugin for WordPress, I do use it a lot myself too. And one of the most common messages I see on my sites are this one:

post-edit-before-using-quick-diff-crop

While it’s great to see what’s going on inside a site, the lack of context and detail of this message have bothered me for some time now. Sure, someone updated a post, but what changes was made?

So I thought of this for a while, and finally came up with the concept of Quick Diff:

Quick Diff: your daily time saver

post-edit-after-using-quick-diff-crop

Quick Diff is a very simple and efficient way to quickly see what’s been changed in a post. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like:

  • it’s a diff that shows the differences between a post and its previous version
  • it’s small and quick because it does not show all the text of the post – just the parts that have been changed

Unlike most other activity tracking plugins, Simple History have always given you more than just the basic info. And with this latest update it will finally be more easy than ever before to follow the updates of a site.

Quick Diff will be available in the next version of Simple History that should be released in the next days. Stay tuned!

Simple History: 50,000 downloads + preview of v2

This week my WordPress plugin Simple History passed 50,000 downloads.It feels great to see that there is an interest in this type of plugin.Also, by looking at the reviews, I know that the users of it find it very useful.

Actually, one of the most happy users of the plugin is… me!

Yep, I develop the plugin, but I also use it a lot. I install it on most client sites, where it helps me keep track of plugin installs, post updates, and similar. When a client contacts us to let us know something is broken or wrong with their site, we can usually track down the problem fast by going through the site activity using Simple History. It’s a real time-saver!

Anyway, the current version of the plugin works good and looks pretty good too. There are however several aspects of the plugin that could and should be improved. Memory usage is one big thing. Extendability another. And looks a third. So slowly, quietly, I’ve been working on a version 2 of the plugin, that will improve these things, and more.

It may be far from complete, but to celebrate 50,000 downloads I want to share some details of the next version with you:

First we have the looks. Version 2 of the plugin is nicer and clearer…

Screenshot of Simple History 2

…and is shows more information (context) about an event where needed, such as in this case after I installed the plugin Autoptimize:

Screenshot of Simple History 2 showing an example of some detailed output

Then we have the API: more easy to use than before. It’s simple, yet extendable:

// Most basic example: just add some information to the log
SimpleLogger()->info("This is a message sent to the log");

// Log entries can be of different severity
SimpleLogger()->info("User admin edited page 'About our company'");
SimpleLogger()->warning("User 'Jessie' deleted user 'Kim'");
SimpleLogger()->debug("Ok, cron job is running!");

// Log entries can have {placeholders} and context
// When the log is displayed all placeholders will
// have their values replaced by the key in the context
SimpleLogger()->notice(
    "User {username} edited page {pagename}",
    array(
        "username" => "jessie",
        "pagename" => "My test page"
    )
);

Well, that’s a short intro for version 2 of Simple History. I will add more info on its new domain simple-history.com, so visit that page for more up to date information.

New thingie: JavaScript widget to show WordPress Plugin info

Recently I stumbled upon a very nice GitHub jQuery widget. I liked the GitHub widget so much that I decided to create my own widget, to show WordPress Plugin info. It’s called jQuery WordPress Plugin Widget and it looks like this:

jquery-wordpress-plugin-widget-screenshot

You can view a demo of it and you can download and view the source at GitHub.

Over and out.