I am please to announce that AZIndex version 0.6 has been released. Along with a number of bug fixes, I have made three major functional improvements to the plugin with this release:
- Support for excluding posts from an index using tags or categories.
- An option to include all the children of the categories you specify in the settings.
- Support for the WP Super Cache plugin for full HTML caching of index pages.
The rest of this post goes into more details about how to use each of these features.
Excluding Posts From an Index
This was probably the most requested feature for AZIndex, and it took a bit of head-scratching before I figured out how to do it without slowing down the rest of the plugin too much. In the end, though, I’m quite please with the way it worked out, and it should be of great assistance to those of you who want to exclude a few posts from a very large index.
Very simply, if you want to exclude posts with a tag or category, just put a “~” sign in front of the tag or category name. For example, if you want an index of all the posts in your blog except a few posts you used to make some announcements about the blog itself, then tag or categorize the posts you want to exclude with, say, announcements and then put ~announcements in the “Included/excluded tags (or categories)” field in the index settings. You can also mix included and excluded tags and/or categories in the same index.
Here are a couple more examples:
You can mix and match as many included/excluded tags/categories as you need and, as you will see in the next section, you can even exclude posts in categories that are children of another, included category.
The only thing you cannot do is exclude a category and then include some of its children.
The Child Categories Option
Until someone pointed it out to me, I had completely overlooked the fact that if you are using a heirarchy of categories to classify your posts, when you include a top-level category in an index, you probably want the index to include all the posts in the children of that category too. D’oh!
Now you can.
I have made it an option you have to select because it’s possible some users have come to rely on the existing behavior of the plugin (i.e. child categories not being included). To turn on support for child categories simply select the following option:
As mentioned above, when this option is selected, you can exclude a child category from the index by adding it to the category option field with a “~” sign in front of it.
Note: Tags do not have a heirarchy in WordPress, so this feature is exclusively for categories.
WP Super Cache Support
Support has been added to allow you to use the WP Super Cache plugin with AZIndex pages. All you have to do is install and configure WP Super Cache correctly, and index pages will be cached along with the other pages of your blog. However there are a few things to bear in mind:
- AZIndex also uses its own internal caching. While it is not as fast as the caching WP Super Cache provides, it should be fast enough for all but the most heavily used blogs out there. There is no real reason to install WP Super Cache just for indexes created by AZIndex, but if you find users complaining about how slow your site is, then it’s probably time to install a caching plugin.
- While the caching provided by plugins like WP Super Cache is fast and efficient, sometimes it can be a pain for bloggers who are constantly tweaking their web site. If you are making a lot of changes to your blog (e.g. you are still playing with your theme or stylesheets) then it’s easier not to use a caching plugin so that your modifications show up as soon as you refresh the web page.
- Getting WP Super Cache set up correctly is not a trivial task. While it is not too difficult, there are several configuration steps involved which may be hard for the novice WordPress blogger to follow. If you need help in setting up WP Super Cache please go to the WP Super Cache plugin‘s WordPress site or the plugin owner’s home site. I cannot provide support for setting up WP Super Cache.
- You will know when you have WP Super Cache configured correctly when you see the “cached pages” counters on the WP Super Cache settings page increasing when you access pages on your blog. If the counters stay at zero, then your configuration is still incorrect.
- There is an option to disable the internal AZIndex cache on AZIndex’s index settings page. Selecting this option (not recommended) does not turn off the WP Super Cache caching. Index pages will still be cached by that plugin unless you turn all caching off, or add the index pages to the “Rejected URIs” list in the WP Super Cache settings page.
- If you are using a different plugin for your caching and really need AZIndex to support it, please leave a comment here on my blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a longer, more technical discussion on AZIndex and caching, please see AZIndex : The Lowdown on Caching Index Pages