Post Notif v1.2.0 – An Overhauled Notification System

Good evening!

As the clock ticks incessantly forward, toward the first of December, I am happy to announce that Post Notif version 1.2.0 is now available! You can grab it via the customary avenues: the WordPress.org plugin directory, on its GitHub page, and here, on this site.

This version contains not only additional functionality but some overdue improvements to the underlying architecture, as well.

In an attempt to be completely transparent about what is NOT included in this release, I’ll acknowledge, sadly, that shortcode functionality did not make it in. I had every intention of adding it to the plugin for this version but a couple of factors conspired to prevent me from doing so. First, the reconstruction of how the post notification send process, overall, works, was far more involved, both in design+implementation and testing (this was extremely painful, due to the [inevitable] explosion of test cases that has resulted from adding more unique paths through which authors can trigger notifications) and then the changes to shortcodes and widgets, introduced in the newly released (11/15/2017) WordPress 4.9, added to my discomfort endeavoring to hastily implement this additional functionality.

Consequently, I have pushed the inclusion of a shortcode, for collecting Post Notif subscription requests from site visitors, to the next minor version (i.e., 1.3.0).

In the meantime, I anticipate there is likely to be a version 1.2.1, consisting, at a minimum, of some translation updates, a small enhancement or two, and obviously, if needed, bug fixes. (I’d like to think my code is flawless but I know, with certainty, it is not 🙂 and with the quantity and scale of the changes, which warranted making this release 1.2.0, rather than 1.1.6, I won’t be terribly surprised if there are issues that need immediate attention and repair).

With all of that out of the way, here’s the list of what is new:

  • Added functionality to check the status of, pause, or cancel post notif processes
  • Replaced the old, read-only, View Post Notifs Sent page with a new Manage Post Notifs Sent page. This page, as did the page it replaces, displays an audit trail of the post notifications sent. However, it also contains additional (sortable) columns that display, in more granularity, the status of (future) scheduled and in-process notifications. And, finally, it allows actions to be performed (pause/resume and cancel) on individual notifications, based on their status.
  • Added a clickable link, inside the Post Notif meta box, which routes authors to the Manage Post Notifs Sent page
  • Bolstered the underlying send post notification process code to avoid PHP timeouts (thanks to Ashley Rich for inspiration)
  • Added batch mode options (batch size and batch pause), accessible via Settings >> Post Notif, to account for host throttling (i.e., limiting the number of emails sent by an account, per hour, in the name of spam prevention)

What has been removed:

  • The progress bar (and related send status indicators) has been removed from the Post Notif meta box (where it was visible when triggering post notification via “Send Now”). This was necessary due to the added PHP timeout prevention handling. I realize this may be annoying to some of you but I hope the addition of the (aforementioned) link to the Manage Post Notifs Sent page (and the expanded capabilities available on this page) provide some consolation.

And what’s been fixed:

  • Code has been added so that, when Post Notif is deactivated (via the Plugins page), all WordPress Cron events for future (scheduled and batch-paused) post notifications are deleted. In conjunction with this action, the send_status, of the corresponding post_notif_post rows, is updated to “Cancelled”.

A hearty thanks is owed to Wolfgang for his tireless patience in providing feedback and testing throughout the nearly year-long(!) ideation, implementation, and testing of the guts of this release!

As a reminder, if you are interested in the current status (and pending release target dates) of the next version of Post Notif, please monitor the Projects page – the Post Notif entry is maintained as a link to the current development version page, which contains details about what new functionality, fixes, and improvements are slated for inclusion in the next release, as well as links through which to download beta versions. Alternatively, you can always pull down the latest version (GA or beta) of the plugin from the GitHub page.

Finally, I know it goes without saying, but please do get in touch, either here, or in the WordPress.org support forum, if you run into anything weird or problematic with this release.

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