Transparency Reports

Print My Blog Transparency Report – October 2019

This month the display of YouTube videos in printouts was significantly improved, the printout header content was made more customizable, fatal-error protection for PHP 5.2 sites was added, and policies about free support were added.

This is the 7th monthly report for Print My Blog WordPress plugin. This month the default display of images was improved, a bug for tiny printouts was fixed, and Print My Blog achieved 1,000 active installs.

What Happened in October 2019

Open Collective Stats

  • Hours:
    • 30.75 (+1.5) support
    • 44.75 (+6) copy writing
    • 73.5 (+2.5) development
    • 13 (+5) management
  • Expenses: $5, 466.32 (+$508.73)
  • Donations: $80 (+$20)

Plugin Stats

  • Downloads: 12, 760 (+1,570)
  • Active Installs: ~1, 000 (+200)
  • Languages: 3 (unchanged)
  • Five Star Reviews: 18 (+2)
  • Releases: 41 (+1)

Overview of What’s New

The Details

Better Default Layout of Images

Print My Blog 1.13.1 improved on the default layout of images.

Admittedly, before you didn’t really have any good options for images: either you selected that they be Full Size, in which case they defaulted to taking up the entire page width (which was huge), or you selected one of the smaller sizes, in which case it defaulted to left-aligned and looked ugly.

For example, these were your options before 1.13.1:

Neither one was a great option.

It turned out centering the images makes them look much better, in my opinion. So much better, that I thought it appropriate to make half-width images the new default. This is what the same page will look like in 1.13.1:

Since Print My Blog 1.13.1, images default to being centered and half-width.

I think it looks much better. Further enhancements I think could be made though:

  • “Half Width” images are still quite big if they’re portrait orientation images, making them at most half the page height too would be great.
  • They could be more intelligent with white space— it’s too close to the text above it.
  • It would be nice to sometimes automatically left-align or right-align images AND fill the whitespace with text. I think that will be difficult to make it look good all the time though.

Update November 5th 2019: the two first two bullet points got implemented in Print My Blog 1.13.2.

If you have any suggestions on how to layout images better, I’m all ears!

Fixed Occasional Errors in Small Printouts

If you make a printout from only a few posts, but your site has lots of categories, you could sometimes get an error when Print My Blog finished loading the posts before it finished loading the categories. This issue was also fixed in 1.13.1: Print My Blog first loads the categories, then the posts. This can make the printout take a second or two longer, but it’s better than having errors.

1,000 Active Installs Milestone

Like I blogged last week, Print My Blog just reached the 1,000 active installs milestone!

The number of active installs in October jumped up 200 (previously it was steadily moving up by about 100 a month). That’s pretty cool! Ironically, it happened the month I probably did the least actual work on the plugin… (I think that’s a testament to sometimes the effects of improvements aren’t always immediate.)

Thinking Out Loud

So, What Have I Been Doing This Month?

Besides doing more billable work to help pay for the house we recently moved to, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Let me explain why.

I think Print My Blob has been quite successful at enabling most people to very easily get a low-tech copy of their blog’s contents, which should make it more likely to be readable in the future.

In other words, it works well for personal use. But it doesn’t produce anything professional: the PDFs and printouts aren’t terribly well laid-out or customizable, and the eBooks all need to be done with dotEpub which adds their logo in a few places. You can’t put either on Amazon and sell them.

So I’ve been reading up on the principles of good book design, especially from

I’m also reading through this post from How to Have a 100k WordPress Product Launch. It’s a really long one, so I used dotEpub to convert it into a Kindle eBook, then I can track my progress through it (because I haven’t been able to read it all at once), and add highlights and notes.

What’s Next for Print My Blog?

As I’ve been saying for a while, I’d like to make a pro version. But what exactly will it do that the current version doesn’t? Here’s the ideas floating in my head:

  • Save settings because, if you use it regularly, I can understand that it gets tiring entering them each time you use the plugin.
  • Add a PrinceXML integration, which would allow for creating PDFs that do cool things browsers don’t support, like: automatic table of contents with page numbers, automatic replacing hyperlinks with footnotes, and customizing each page’s header and footer. Basically it would be ready to publish as a printed book on Amazon.
  • Do my own eBook creation, with: no dotEpub branding, replace hyperlinks to the blog with hyperlinks to the correct page in the eBook, custom cover image and metadata, and keep all the images (dotEpub isn’t really meant to handle an entire book, so it stops including images once there are over a dozen or so).
  • Have book-only content before the main body of the book, like a cover page, a forward, introduction, etc; and other content afterwards.
  • Allow for reordering posts in the book, and selecting specific ones.

But again, I don’t want to build just the features I think would be useful , but what other real customers are willing to pay for.

So before embarking on that, I’m hoping to do a survey and get more input. Stay tuned!

That’s It for Now

My day-job boss Seth shared a relevant article: How to Create a Book Out of Your Blog’s Content. That describes a lot of the process I’d like to simplify with Print My Blog Pro.

Got thoughts on progress this last month? Or suggestions for the future of Print My Blog?

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