Use the Transients API to List the Latest Commenter

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Transient API

The Transients API is a WordPress feature that I had never heard of until a few weeks ago, when I wrote a post on getting your Twitter follower count in plain text.

On that post, Otto left a comment with a different way of getting the same result, using the Transients API. Instead of using cron, which can be complicated, transients allow you to use just one or two lines.

In this post, I want to show you how to use transients, and to do that, we’re going to build a simple script that will list the latest commenter on your blog, along with their avatar. The end result will look like the image above.

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Elements of a Uniquely Personal Blog Design

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Unique In yesterday’s post I discussed how the design of a personal blog can be an enjoyable experience because of the many design freedoms it offers. The key with a personal blog design is to let your personality shine through.

There are a number of ways in which this can be done through your writing and commenting style, but it can also be done in your design. Listed below are just some of the different might use to go about making a design that little bit more unique.

  • Header design. The blog’s heading is arguably the best place to be creative. Let your heading reflect who you are. What are your hobbies and interests? Why not put photos of them in your header?

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Why Your Sidebar Plugins Don’t Work

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Many WordPress users have been finding that a large number of the plugins they have tried to install in their sidebars lately aren’t working. In most cases, this is purely because your theme is widgetized.

Widgets were originally a plugin that allowed you to easily edit your sidebar content. As of version 2.2 of WordPress, it comes as default. Widgets can be very useful, but they have caused some people some trouble. Thankfully, there is an easy solution.

The Problem With Widgets

The problem is that some people forget about widgets when they add their plugins.

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Make Your Template Unique

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Unique Template
Image by Thiru Murugan
There are some obvious dangers to using a template, like malicious coding and such, but there is another, not so obvious danger. What if your template causes your blog to vanish into the blogosphere? What if it makes you boring?

The very best looking template in the world is the very worst template you can use, because everyone else is already using it. If your blog does not stand out from the dozens of others in your niche, how will your readers remember you? And if they do not remember you, why will they come back?

The key to successfully using a template is to make it your own. The great thing about a template is that the bulk of the work is already done, but the finishing touches are still up to you. You need to make enough adjustments to make your version clearly distinguishable from the original.

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