PlugIn: Read &
Understood

Response to the “Read and Understood” demonstration of Web Site Integration on the Mantos I.T. Consulting web site has been positive and surprising.

Many people have asked about using RnU as a way to hold employees accountable rather than having an “All Hands” meeting or conducting formal training.

In response, we’ve developed a beta version of Read-And-Understood as a plugin for WordPress.

The plugin is not ready for wholesale use, but WordPress users are invited to try it and to give feedback.

  1. Download: You may download the plugin here or search for “Read and Understood” at WordPress.org .
  2. Install: Extract the files into the /wp-content/plugins folder of your WordPress site.  There is a readme.txt, a php file, and another css folder that contains plugin.css
  3. Activate: Activate the plugin by logging into your WordPress site as an admin, select Plugins and look for “read and Understood”.  Activation will create a table in your WordPress database that will be used to store acknowledgments.
  4. Configure:  Use the Settings link on the WP Admin page and look for the Read and Understood menu
    1. The beta version allows for posts in a specific category to be acknowledged.  Chose a category.
    2. You may also optionally allow users to acknowledged postings in that category without having a login to your WordPress site.  If you chose that option, you may also restrict the format of the usernames that people enter when acknowledging a post.  If you know what a regular expression is, you may configure your own format for usernames or just use the default which allows for a 1 to 10 character username using capital letters only.
  5. Use: Users will then see a READ AND UNDERSTOOD button at the bottom of posts that are listed in the category selected during configuration, (unless there is already a record for the logged-in user acknowledging that post.)  When the button is used, a record will be placed in the database for later export by administrators using the plugin’s settings page.
  6. Administer: Administer the acknowledgement records by exporting records and then purging old records from the database.  Administrators will see an EXPORT button and PURGE button on the READ AND UNDERSTOOD settings page.  These work using a date range in which all records within that range may be exported (to a CSV file) or deleted from the database.

The Comma-Separated-Values (CSV) file are suitable for use by many spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft’s eXcel or OpenOffice’s Calc and are easily imported to your own database system.

However, the underlying data is housed in your own MySql database used on your own WordPress site to which you have access using a number of tools such as PHPAdmin.

Even better, it’s relatively easy to access that data directly from spreadsheets, databases, or custom programs for you to use from your office desktop, or cloud-based application, or mobile app.    If you’d like help doing so, please contact us at Mantos I.T. Consulting, Inc.  We’d be happy to help you access the read-and-understood database, or any other database you may wish to integrate.  Remember, it’s almost as easy to populate your web site with data from your office systems as is it to read data from your website.  We can help.

The beta program was just completed 1/8/2013 so expect many revisions over the coming week.

Your feedback is appreciated.


Comments

PlugIn: Read &
Understood
— 9 Comments

  1. Hi, Your RnU plugin could really go places. I am testing it now for use in a transportation website where employees who are on the road need to get latest safety updates etc from the company. As yet though I am unable to Export a list of acknowledgements. When I click it does nothing?

    Will you be doing anymore development on this app?

    Cheers
    Ben

    • Ben,

      Thanks for the encouragement. It sounds like acknowledging safety updates to employees is a perfect application of this plugin.

      A person recently reported trouble exporting. It had to do with the fact that the person did not use the default “wp_” prfeix for the WordPress database tables and the program foolishly expected that to be the case during export. You can read about this at http://wordpress.org/support/plugin/read-and-understood. The error has been corrected in version 1.3

      Please confirm that you have updated to v1.3 of the WordPress read-and-understood plugin.

      If you have upgraded and are still experiencing trouble with EXPORT, please advise me and I would be MORE than happy to work with you to correct the program

      Regards,
      Peter

    • > When I click it does nothing?

      If the date range is blank, the Export button does nothing. Maybe it should assume all entries. Meanwhile just fill in a start date eg 1/1/2014 and today’s date. Good luck!

  2. Can this be put into a Post that is inside a Category? I do not want public access to the post but want employees to access it after they log into the Category that is password protected.

    • Yes, part of the configuration of read-and-understood is that you pick the category of posts to which the RnU button appears. Ideally, the plugin is used on password protected pages. That way, the plugin automatically associates the acknowledgement with the logged-in user.

  3. Hi – your RnU plugin for WordPress is a very promising solution to the need for HR departments to issue new and updated policies, and get an audit trail of employees’ acknowledgements.

    A suggestion: add a Settings option to enable/disable the Purge button; it can too easily be activated, leading to the unintentional loss of data. A quick and dirty fix is to edit FALSE & into line 517 like this:

    if( FALSE && isset($_POST[ ‘rnu_PurgeBtn’ ]) && ($date_error_msg == ”) ) {

    It would be much nicer to have a boolean variable in Settings, instead of FALSE, and also use it to hide the Purge button.

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