I’ve been saying I wanted to do this for a long time now, particularly as WordPress had classified my plugin as abandoned after three years of no updates and the TCPDF engine I use has been steadily updated. So today I released a new version of Kalin’s PDF Creation Station, version 3.2. I added a couple little new features, like now you can specify which type of name you want with your post_author shortcodes instead of being stuck with the login name. I also added a couple options to the post_thumb shortcode so you can select a size or set it to try to scrape the post and pull out the first image it finds. I wanted it to be a bit more advanced than that, like being able to specify exact sizes instead of just “small”, “medium” etc, but WordPress doesn’t seem to want to let me do that even though it says it can in the documentation. I also wanted to be able to have an option to randomly select an image scraped from the post instead of just the first image, but that would have taken a lot more work and I figured it wasn’t worth the effort.
Most importantly, though, is the upgrade to the TCPDF engine. I’ve been told this new version is much faster, so hopefully it will be more reliable as well and allow you to create much larger documents, as the old version seemed to conk out if you tried to compile more than 100 or so posts into a single PDF. I was hoping it would have better handling of images and fewer of those weird empty spaces in the final PDF. I think it may do better with the empty spaces, but the image support is still spotty. I’m not sure if that’s the fault of TCPDF or WordPress. It seems like both systems have been steadily updated so I’m not sure why this is still a problem.
I was also working on a plugin called Advanced Post List, which is a fork of Kalin’s Post List, but we both seemed to have burnt out on that one for some reason, even though I made the same two shortcode changes to that plugin that I did to Creation Station so I may wind up updating Kalin’s Post List as well. These plugins did always bring in a lot of traffic to my site, even if the visitors aren’t here to read my stories or opinions, it’s nice to have someone coming here for something.