NextGEN Facebook Replaced by WPSSO

The NextGEN Facebook plugin was forked in 2014 and replaced by the WPSSO Core plugin — they’re both Free and available on WordPress.org, have the same author and developer, the same solid core features and code-base, but WPSSO Core is distributed without the social sharing buttons and their related features. Social sharing buttons are distributed separately, as optional extensions for WPSSO Core. WPSSO Core also provides several other useful and optional extensions:

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NGFB / WPSSO – “Social Settings” Metabox Renamed

The “Social Settings” metabox, shown at the bottom of every post / page, term, and user editing page, has been renamed to “Social and Search Optimization” in the latest version of NextGEN Facebook (aka NGFB) and WPSSO (v8.46.0 and v3.46.0 respectively).

The “NGFB” top menu item has also been renamed to “NGFB SSO” and a “Social and Search Optimization” tagline has been added to the top of every settings page (50% transparent). The top menu item for WPSSO has not changed, and is still named “SSO”. :-)

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NGFB / WPSSO – What are “Meta Property Containers”?

The NextGEN Facebook (NGFB) and WPSSO plugins offer a “Meta Property Containers” option that you can enable / disable under their General Settings > Specific Websites and Publishers > Google / Schema tab. There are several ways to include Schema markup in webpages (see an Introduction to Structured Data from Google for examples):

  • JSON-LD machine-readable scripts for Google (see WPSSO JSON extension).
  • Microdata and RDFa markup of HTML tag attributes in theme templates (not recommended).
  • HTML meta tags in the webpage head section.

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NGFB / WPSSO – Improvements & Video Autoplay

NextGEN Facebook (NGFB) version 8.17.0 and WordPress Social Sharing Optimization (WPSSO) version 3.17.0 have been released.

I’ve started work on a new auto-posting extension for WPSSO, which has led to a few improvements in NGFB and WPSSO. A new “Show Tabs in Social Settings Metabox” option allows you to remove the Social Preview, Head Tags, and Validate tabs from the Social Settings metabox. The meta tag listing under the Head Tags tab has also been improved to include additional schema and JSON-LD code blocks. A new “Force Autoplay when Possible” option has been added to force video autoplay when possible — the Vimeo and Wistia integration modules have been updated to use this option. The All In One SEO Pack and all video integration modules have also been refactored to standardize their code.

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NGFB / WPSSO – New “head_attributes” Filter

NextGEN Facebook (NGFB) version 8.16.0 and WordPress Social Sharing Optimization (WPSSO) version 3.16.0 have been released.

Continuing work on the Schema markup improvements from the last version, the “<head> Attributes Filter Hook” theme integration option has also been improved — Previously, the Schema itemtype was added to the <html> element attributes using the standard “language_attributes” WordPress filter. This defined the Schema itemtype for the webpage as a whole, which might be ok, except that some themes also define a second itemtype later in their template. The proper location for our Schema itemtype is in the <head> element attributes, to define the itemtype only for the meta tags being added by NGFB / WPSSO. Unfortunately WordPress and most theme templates do not have a standard filter for that element. In this new version, NGFB and WPSSO will check the header.php template for a standard <head> element, and if found, will suggest updating it with a new “head_attributes” filter. As an example:

And in context, here are the first three lines found in most header.php templates:

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NGFB / WPSSO – Product Rating Schema

NextGEN Facebook (NGFB) version 8.15.0 and WordPress Social Sharing Optimization (WPSSO) version 3.15.0 have been released.

A new “Use Meta Property Container(s)” option has been added to the Google / Schema settings tab to include additional schema properties in webpage headers (product ratings, for example). Support for WooCommerce and Yotpo Social Reviews for WooCommerce product ratings has also been added.

To take full advantage of this new Schema markup, make sure your “<head> Attributes Filter Hook” option under the Theme Integration tab is set correctly. If your theme does not offer a filter hook for the <head> element attributes, consider adding a call to the wpsso_schema_attributes() function in your theme’s header.php template instead (or ngfb_schema_attributes() if you use the NGFB plugin). Example:

Leave the “<head> Attributes Filter Hook” option value empty if you add this function to your template.

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NGFB / WPSSO – Pre-defined Meta Tags for CPTs

NextGEN Facebook (NGFB) version 8.14.0 and WordPress Social Sharing Optimization (WPSSO) version 3.14.0 have been released.

Using WPSSO as an example, this latest version provides an easy way to connect WPSSO to Custom Post Types (CPTs). If your theme (or another plugin) uses the following CPTs, WPSSO will pre-populate its Open Graph meta tags array with standard meta tags for that type. The following CPTs are recognized:

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NGFB / WPSSO – Manage Social Columns

NextGEN Facebook (NGFB) version 8.12.0 and WPSSO version 3.12.0 have been released.

These new versions add a Show Social Columns option on the Advanced settings page to enable / disable the the “Social Img” and “Social Desc” columns for Posts, Pages, Taxonomy, and Users list pages. NextGEN Gallery’s (NGG) image object format has changed in recent versions, breaking some filters that NGFB and WPSSO required to correctly detect NGG image IDs. The detection of NGG images in the content text has been improved in these versions by adding support for NGG’s “data-image-id” attribute. A possible undefined index error for Media Library images has also been fixed by adding a check for the full width and height attributes (which may be missing).

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NGFB / WPSSO – French Translation

NextGEN Facebook (NGFB) version 8.11.0 and WordPress Social Sharing Optimization (WPSSO) version 3.11.0 have been released.

WordPress recently announced an initiative to import all plugins into their translation system, which means that most plugin and theme authors will have to modify their code to make it compliant, if they haven’t done so already (removing variables from the translation functions, for example).

The translation of NGFB and WPSSO has been on my To-Do list for a while now, so after being notified by the WordPress team that NGFB and WPSSO would be imported into the translation system, I decided to update all the code to make it translation ready. Little did I know it would take more than a week of serious coding — while at the same time testing the new code by translating the plugins into French myself. There were almost 500 text strings to translate (from a few words to several sentences) — and that’s without counting all the help popup text (which will be completed in a later version). Hopefully the new French (fr_FR) translations of NGFB and WPSSO will be useful to some. :-)

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NGFB / WPSSO – Twitter Card Updates

NextGEN Facebook (NGFB) version 8.10 and WordPress Social Sharing Optimization (WPSSO) version 3.10 have been released. The Photo Card, Gallery Card, and Product Card were deprecated by Twitter on July 3rd, 2015. NGFB and WPSSO continue to support all current Twitter Card formats, including the Summary Card, Summary Card with Large Image, App Card (exclusive to WPSSO), and Player Card — in both the Free (New) and Pro versions.

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