TextPattern CMS Plugins: Introducing wet_parachute


Textpattern CMS core developers all make plugins to extend its functionality without bloat. One of these plugins is wet_parachute; an extension to Textpattern to warn authors that they are leaving the Write tab when unsaved text is present. Some browsers already have this functionality baked in and others will ignore the plugin completely, so this is an ideal example of something that works for some people some of the time. If it’s not a good fit for a particular situation, for example with an incompatible browser, then it need not be installed.

The key takeaway here is that it’s not adding overhead into the core. Cramming more functionality into the core product has a knock-on effect with speed, responsiveness and resource usage, which can impact the level of web hosting required to run Textpattern satisfactorily. As it stands, Textpattern is perfectly content and capable with even the lowest cost Arvixe hosting, and long may that continue.

This plugin is another example of an FTP-free Textpattern plugin install. No muss, no fuss. As with the previous two plugins, there’s a chunk of text to copy + paste, then an activation, and the new functionality is working. There’re no new tags with this plugin, so there’s nothing new to learn, but it might just save your article if you mis-click or mis-tap. Think of it as an insurance policy.

Start by getting the plugin from Robert’s website. You’ll download a .txt file with the contents of the plugin contained within. It looks like this (trimmed for brevity):

# wet_parachute v1.0
# Confirm dismissal of unsaved changes on the "Write" tab.
# Robert Wetzlmayr
# http://awasteofwords.com/help/wet_parachute
# ......................................................................
# This is a plugin for Textpattern - http://textpattern.com/
# To install: textpattern > admin > plugins
# Paste the following text into the 'Install plugin' box:
# ......................................................................

Per the header instructions, paste the whole content into Admin → Plugins, click or tap Upload, then Install to confirm. Activate from the Plugins tab by clicking No, which will then toggle to Yes to indicate the plugin is ready for action.

The net result of this plugin is that, with a compatible browser, when a user navigates away from the Write tab with some unsaved content, a dialogue will be displayed requesting confirmation. In this example with a factory-fresh Mac/Chrome 36, I was not asked for confirmation to navigate away from the page before the plugin was installed – with wet_parachute, I am prompted to confirm navigation. Note that I see the dialogue text in UK English; the multi-lingual nature of Textpattern will use localised language translations where available, currently around 40 different languages.

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Author Spotlight

Pete Cooper

Pete Cooper has been using Textpattern since 2005. Textpattern is his preferred CMS weapon of choice. Its logical and flexible approach to content management makes Pete happy, as does its lightweight core and helpful user community. Pete's website - petecooper.org - runs on top of Textpattern and chronicles his day-to-day experiences from his home near the Atlantic in north Cornwall, United Kingdom.

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