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

Update april 28, 2015: This feature is now available since version 2.0.29 of the plugin. Download here.

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.

Give my WordPress Plugins some Review ♥

A new and nice feature over at the WordPress plugin directory is that you starting from this week finally can give your favorite plugin a review. Since I have a lot of plugins I would reeeeealy like to have some review. So if you use my plugins (and well.. like them!) please head over tot the plugin directory right away and give them a good and honest review.

My plugins are, in case you forgot:

Plugin Simple History is starting to look good – check it out if you haven’t already

Simple History is one of my own favorite plugins for WordPress. It’s a plugin that let you see what the users of WordPress has been working on: what posts have they been working on, what attachments has been uploaded, what users have been created and what plugins have been installed, etcetera.

Screenshot of plugin showing a history of recent changes in the wordpress installation

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time and work making it better. If you haven’t tried it yet I really recommend you to try it out. The latest version really looks like it’s part of the WordPress Core and it’s working just marvelously great I think. And one of the best part of it is that it stays out of your way until you need it. If you don’t know it’s installed, the chance is big that you dont even notice it at all. And I like that; plugins should be discrete and stay out of your way.

So: please give it a try. Download the zip directly of visit the WordPress plugin repository for more info. And after you tried it: please let me know if you liked and what I could change to make it even better. Thanks!

Simple History is a new history plugin for WordPress

Yes (but no “Oops!”), I did it again: I created a new plugin for WordPress. I’m really starting to get the hang of this now :).

This time it’s a history/change log/audit/recent changes-plugin called “Simple History”. Just take a look at this screenshot and you will get the hang of it:

It fits perfectly on your dashboard – or on a separate page, if you prefer that – and it shows you the most recent changes that has been made within WordPress. What articles have been created, modified or deleted? What attachments have been uploaded, modified or deleted? And so on. It’s a pretty good plugin to have on websites where several people are involved: “Has someone done anything today? Ah, Sarah uploaded the new press release and created an article for it. Good. Now I know.” 🙂

And it’s a beta version!

I don’t want to start to sound like Google here, but the plugin is in beta. Until it’s available on wordpress.org (I’m waiting for “approvement”) you can find the plugin here: http://eskapism.se/code-playground/simple-history/