New Release – Steam ™ Sign In Plugin for Vanilla 2.0

Steam ™ Sign In Plugin for Vanilla 2.0 is now available for purchase. This simple plugin allows your Users to register and log on your forum using their Steam ™ profile. This plugin relies on the OpenID plugin which is shipped with Vanilla.


The OpenID plugin shipped with Vanilla contains a bug which doesn’t allow Users to enter an Email address to associate with their forum account. A fix is being discussed on Vanilla Community, but it’s unofficial. Use it at your risk.

Birthday Discount!

From 16/11/2012 at 7.10 AM (GMT), you can avail of a 10% discount on the total of your shopping, by using coupon code HAPPYBDAY-1211. Discount is available for just 24 hours, and for the first 10 purchases. After all, birthday comes only once a year! 🙂

New Release – LoginGuard for Vanilla 2.0

LoginGuard for Vanilla 2.0 is finally available! Just in time for Samhain, the Celtic New Year.

LoginGuard puts an end to brute force attacks against your Community, by tracking repeated failures and temporarily banning Users who are subject of suck attacks. More information can be found on product page.


To celebrate both the release and the Samhain, you can avail of 10% discount by using coupon code THEGUARD-1211.


New Release – Basic and Advanced Logger for Vanilla Forums 2.0

It took a while, but it’s finally ready. Basic Logger for Vanilla Forums 2.0 is available for download.

Based on the powerful Apache Log4php, it adds much needed logging capabilities to the already excellent Garden framework, allowing Developers and Administrators to keep track of activities with extreme ease. I strongly believe that, in this era of expected 24/7 website availability, having a log for every website is a must, as one cannot always be present to spot issues as soon as they arise.

Available Versions

Logger plugin comes in two versions, Basic and Advanced. The Basic version of the plugin and has a a few limitations, but it’s perfect to get started, before moving to the more powerful Advanced version. In the latter, I added several features that will help also non-developers to easily configure the plugin and manage their logs.

What makes the Advanced Logger very powerful is the ability of sending log messages to remote log servers, such as PaperTrail and Loggly. Being an Administrator myself, I can save hours of work by having all the logs in one place, rather than having to collect files via FTP and merge them, or parse and import them in a database.

If you are still unsure if this plugin can help you, just give it a try: Basic version is free!

New Release – Cron Jobs Plugin for Vanilla Forums 2.0

Today is a big day, I finally released my first plugin for Vanilla Forums. It was about time, I started using Vanilla in February, and worked on several plugins for many weeks, but they were all “work in progress” and I never felt that they were ready for release. It’s so typical of Developers, looking for an unreachable “perfection”.

Two words about Vanilla Forums

If you don’t know it, you should try it. There are many forum frameworks available on the market, but, in my opinion, Vanilla is by far one of the easiest to use, and one of the fastest. It’s not as widespread as phpBB or vBulletin, but it’s powerful and well designed. Although its documentation is somewhat scarce, such issue is more than compensated by Vanilla Community. Even though I joined only a few months ago, I feel that I already became famous, considering the plethora of questions I asked. Still, not a single one had been left unanswered.

 The reason behind the plugin

Unfortunately, one of the features that Vanilla is lacking (as of version 2.0) is the possibility of running scheduled tasks. If you’re familiar with CMS like Drupal, you’ll know that they expose a special URL which, when opened, will go through all the Cron Tasks registered by plugins and executed them one by one. Although many Users won’t miss such feature, it becomes very important for bigger communities, where the need of regular maintenance tasks acquires a higher level of importance.

I, for one, needed exactly that feature for the first plugin I developed. In its simplest form, it will query forum’s live tables to create statistics, but it will become slow once enough data will be collected. Its Cron Task will, therefore, involve consolidating older data and produce snapshot summaries, to be queried instead for better performances.

More details

I won’t go into much technical detail in this post, as all the information on how to use the Cron plugin is on its download page, on Vanilla Addons website. If you use Vanilla, feel free to download it and give me your opinion. Should you like it and find it useful, feel free to buy me a coffee. 😉


A new section is open: Downloads

Over two months have passed since my last post, and I realize that the backlog of the things I wanted to write about is growing every day. However, I’m stubborn and I won’t get discouraged, especially now that I learned how to stop making goals, and I switched to projects. Much better feeling, stronger sense of accomplishment, definitely a better way of planning. If you’re a supporter of the idea the one should set goals, you definitely have to try working on projects instead. I promise you won’t go back to goals, ever. This is a topic for my other blog, though, and I might discuss it there.

Back to the original topic

As written in the subject, I can finally open the Downloads section, and I’m doing it by publishing a script that will hopefully save a good amount of work and some serious headache to all Developers who, like me, start working with the powerful, yet very complicated, Magento E-commerce framework. Read more