Archives for March 2012

Caching a downloaded file

It’s often useful to download external files such as RSS feeds, Twitter feeds and so on. But you’ll also want those files cached, so that you’re not downloading them on every page view. Thankfully, WordPress provides two functions that make downloading and caching files very easy — wp_remote_get and set_transient.

The function below tries to act intelligently — the file will be cached for the time specified in $cache_time, which defaults to the time given by the ‘Cache-control’ header; and if the cache-control time is overridden, the ‘cache-control’ and ‘expires’ headers will be modified before being returned/cached, so that you can easily output the most appropriate headers if you need to.

* Downloads a URL, or returns it from the cache
* The function tries to act intelligently:
* 	(1) The file will be cached for the time specified in $cache_time, which defaults to the time given by the 'Cache-control:' header.
* 	(2) If cache-control time is overridden, the 'cache-control' and 'expires' headers will be modified before being returned/cached, so that you can easily output appropriate headers if you need to.
* @param string $url - the URL to be downloaded or returned
* @param integer $suggested_cache_time - the time to cache the file for (in seconds). If the time given by the 'Cache-control:' header is longer, this value will be overridden. If no time is provided by this variable or by the header, then the time will be set to 1 day
* @param boolean $also_return_headers
* @return mixed - if an error occurs, returns WP_ERROR. Otherwise, if $also_return_headers is true, returns an array with the keys 'body', 'headers', 'response' and 'cookies', otherwise returns the body as a string. See the documentation for wp_remote_get for examples.
function emw_get_cached_url ($url, $suggested_cache_time = 0, $also_return_headers = false) {
	$name = 'egcu-'.md5($url); // A short, unique name for the file to be cached
	// Return from the cache if possible
	if ($item = get_transient ($name)) {
		$v = unserialize(base64_decode($item));
		if ($also_return_headers)
			return unserialize(base64_decode($item));
			return $v['body'];
	} else {
		// Download the file
		$download = wp_remote_get ($url, array ('timeout' => 30, 'sslverify' => false));
		// Check for error
		if (is_wp_error ($download))
			return $download;
		else {
			// Calculate the cache time from the headers
			$actual_cache_time = $suggested_cache_time;
			if (isset($download['headers']['cache-control']) && ($start = strpos($download['headers']['cache-control'], 'max-age=')+8) !== FALSE) {
				$headers_cache_time = substr($download['headers']['cache-control'], $start);
				if (($a = strpos($headers_cache_time, ',')) !== FALSE)
					$headers_cache_time = substr($headers_cache_time, 0, $a);
				if ($headers_cache_time > $suggested_cache_time)
					$actual_cache_time = $headers_cache_time;
			// If no cache time is specified in the headers or the $suggested_cache_time variable, set the cache to 1 day
			if ($actual_cache_time == 0)
				$actual_cache_time = 86400;
			// Modify the headers to take account of the new cache time
			if (!isset($download['headers']['date']))
				$download['headers']['date'] = gmdate('D, d M Y H:i:s \G\M\T', $t = time());
			$download['headers']['cache-control'] = "public, max-age=".round($actual_cache_time*1.01);  // Multiplying by 1.01 ensures the browser will cache the file for slightly longer than the server. This ensures that by the time the browser requests the file again, it will have definitely been refreshed.
			$download['headers']['expires'] = gmdate('D, d M Y H:i:s \G\M\T', $t+(round($actual_cache_time*1.01)));
			// Cache the download
			set_transient ($name, base64_encode(serialize($download)), $actual_cache_time);
			// Return what was requested
			if ($also_return_headers)
				return $download;
				return $download['body'];

(The data is stored base64 encoded, because I’ve encountered bugs when simply storing it as serialised data.)

How to remove deprecated widgets from the Genesis Framework

The latest version of Genesis has deprecated two widgets, but they still annoyingly show up in the widgets panel even if you’re not using them. Thankfully it’s easy to remove them using WordPress’s unregister_widget function. Just place the following code in your functions.php:

add_action ('widgets_init', 'emw_remove_deprecated_widgets', 15);

function emw_remove_deprecated_widgets() {
	unregister_widget ('Genesis_Widget_Menu_Categories');
	unregister_widget ('Genesis_Menu_Pages_Widget');

How to add excerpt support for WordPress pages

Adding a custom excerpt in WordPress posts is easy – when you’re editing a post, you can turn on the excerpt metabox in screen options and away you go. But that option is not available when you’re editing pages. Thankfully, the add_post_type_support function makes it very easy to add.

add_action ('init', 'emw_add_excerpt_support');

function emw_add_excerpt_support () {
	add_post_type_support('page', 'excerpt');

Or, if you want it in one line:

add_action ('init', create_function ('', "add_post_type_support('page', 'excerpt');"));

How to make sure your custom CSS is cached by the browser

If you’re writing a custom theme, you’ll want to make sure that the browser properly caches the CSS, so that it’s not requested each time. To solve this, you add a cache-control header to your .htaccess file:

<filesMatch "\.(css)$">
Header set Cache-Control "max-age=290304000, public"

But what if you subsequently change the CSS? If you’re not careful, users who have previously visited your site will still be using the old, cached file. The easy way to solve this is to use PHP’s filemtime to provide a version number to the wp_register_style function. This version number will be appended as a query parameter to your CSS request. When it changes, it will force the browser to re-request the file. The code goes something like this:

$timestamp = @filemtime(get_stylesheet_directory().'/style.css');
wp_register_style ('custom-style', get_stylesheet_directory_uri().'/style.css', array(), $timestamp);

If you’re not able to edit .htaccess to add the necessary headers, there is a simple solution. Rename style.css to style.php (and do the same in the code above). Now add the following lines to the top of the style.php file:

header ('Cache-Control: max-age=290304000, public');
header ('Expires: '.gmdate('D, d M Y H:i:s \G\M\T', time()+290304000));
header ('Content-type: text/css');
$date = @filemtime(__FILE__);
if ($date)
	header ('Last-Modified: '.gmdate('D, d M Y H:i:s \G\M\T', $date));