WP-Snippets has gone through a few changes as of late. Among them is a responsive design, a button to mark snippets as favorites, better ways of filtering snippets, and a few other enhancements. WP-Snippets is one of those really cool ideas that I talked about during the early days of WordPress Weekly and I’m stoked to see someone out there actually turn the idea into a reality.
By Jeffro on January 16, 2012
By Jeffro on January 16, 2012
WordPress did not create the concept of content management. Such systems have been around since before the internet was a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye. But true innovation rarely effects the greatest change. WordPress took an existing concept, made it highly useable, and introduced it to the masses (free of charge).
By Jeffro on January 12, 2012
Earlier this morning, I discovered that while moderating comments, a small little X icon appeared that I’ve never seen before. After inquiring on Twitter why WordPress never gave me a new feature pointer to explain to me what this feature was, I was told that it came with the newest version of Akismet. On January 5th, 2011 Akismet released version 2.5.4 of their plugin and amongst the changes was the addition of a button that allows site administrators to easily remove the commenter URL. This particular feature is something I’ve become used to using as it’s part of the Ajax Edit Comments plugin. I think it’s pretty slick that this feature is now available despite it not actually being in core. In fact, if you didn’t know any better or forgot that you recently upgraded Akismet, you might think that it was added with WordPress 3.3.1 like I did.
I use this feature quite a bit because even though a comment may come across as spam, it appears relevant enough to the post that I publish it without the benefit of the commenter URL. Some folks don’t like this behaviour and would prefer that either the comment is deleted or published in its entirety. Are you one of those people?
By Jeffro on January 12, 2012
WordPress consultant, Konstantin Kovshenin has published an excellent guide describing what theme/plugin lock-in is and how to avoid it. This is a topic I’ve been thinking about for a long time but have never been able to put into words for a post. The biggest culprit in my opinion when it comes to lock-ins are themes, especially commercial ones. These themes not only come with features that make it unique, those features sometimes store or alter data in a way that makes it very difficult to switch themes or even upgrade WordPress. The first comment on that post by Diane illustrates my point exactly.
This problem is even more pervasive than articulated here. The theme options of many commercial themes create functionality unique to that theme and then if you want to make a change, boy are you screwed. We see this problem with clients all the time.
Looking back at my history of using WordPress, choosing the right theme based on looks, options, and functionality was one of the toughest decisions I would have to make. I think I’ve only switched themes five times or less for both my personal site and WPTavern.com. Quite frankly, switching themes is a giant pain in the ass. Widgets become messed up, the layout is screwed up and although I like themes with options, I have to read the manual to figure out how to get the layout I like or at least, witnessed on the demo theme. Once I have a theme configured both functionally and aesthetically, I try not to do anything to disturb it. I get sick of the layout sometimes but the thought of switching themes and how much work that entails always settles me down into sticking with the current implementation.
Definitely read the comments at the end of the article as Mike Schinkel carries on an interesting conversation on ways or methods on which this entire situation could be improved.
By Jeffro on January 11, 2012
Dev4Press has an interesting post that contains performance benchmark numbers that show just how much of an impact certain plugins have on loading times within WordPress. Amongst the 35 tested plugins are bbPress, W3 Total Cache, WooCommerce and a few of the plugins developed by Millan. I as well as many others were shocked to see bbPress with such poor numbers thanks to it loading everything on every page load instead of only what it needs. Keep in mind that it’s not about how many plugins you have installed on your website, but which ones. It only takes one poorly coded plugin to cause you grief.
For some additional reading on how to optimize plugin loading, please see this tutorial by Millan.
Hat tip via WPCandy.com.
By Jeffro on January 10, 2012
@WraithKenny – #WordPress plugin repo should have a favorites button. – via Twitter
Now THAT’S a good idea! Stretch it further by giving us the
option decision to make our favorite lists private or public on WordPress.org. There are all sorts of things you can do from there on in.
By Jeffro on January 9, 2012
If you’re the owner of an iPad, you’ll likely love the sound of Touch Punch which is a newly released plugin by David Gwyer that enables users to use touch screen gestures to control the WordPress administration area. For example, with Touch Punch, you can now drag and drop widgets using your fingertips. Here is a list of activated WordPress admin pages that the gestures will work on.
- Admin dashboard – Drag to re-order admin dashboard widgets.
- Widgets page – Drag new widget instances into widget areas, and sort existing widgets.
- New posts/pages – Drag to re-order meta boxes on new post/pages.
- Edit posts/pages – Drag to re-order meta boxes on existing post/pages.
- Navigation menu page – Drag to re-order meta boxes, and individual menu items to change position/hierarchy.
- Add new links page – Drag to re-order meta boxes (Note: the first three meta boxes are fixed by WordPress but the others are sortable).
I don’t own an iPad so I’m not able to test this plugin but I know there are plenty of people within the WordPress community that do, so if you manage to try out Touch Punch, let me know in the comments what you think of it.
By Jeffro on January 6, 2012
Jane Wells believes that 2012 will be the year of the WordPress Meetup. During her quest to put together two different meetups, she’ll be publishing her experiences that will hopefully turn into a Field Guide to Organizing a WordPress Meetup.
Thinking back to the days in which I helped co-organize a WordPress meetup group for North Eastern Ohio, I can give you my two cents on putting the group together. Back in 2009, I made the discovery that WordPress ninja, Brian Layman lived in my local area. At the time, he was employed with B5 Media doing some heavy development stuff. I managed to get in touch with him via Skype and discussed the idea of creating a WordPress meetup. After determining that this would be a good idea, we had to think of a location on where to host the event. He lived closer to Akron/Canton while I lived closer to Cleveland which prompted us to find a location that was inbetween. Previous to our discussion, Brian Layman had been working from a place called Office Space Coworking located within downtown Akron. Thanks to Brian’s connections, we were able to use this space to house our first meetup.
We decided to use Meetup.com as the place to house all of the information regarding the event because it was already well established. It was a third party site which didn’t require maintenance on our part and based on a couple of searches, there were already a number of WordPress meetups happening all over the country through the site. However, there were no results for North Eastern Ohio when it came to meetups which is another reason we chose Meetup.com.
Once the group was created, Brian and I used our Twitter accounts and our websites to promote the event. This helped to get the groups first set of registered users. After the success of our first event, attendees helped us to spread the word. Due to space limitations, we couldn’t seat more than 30 people but none of the meetups approached that number. Sometimes, the meetup had 7 attendees while others had 16. Attendance was based on weather as well as other factors.
Speaking of attendance, this was by far the most complicated issue since I worked weird shifts at work and Brian was not available during the times when I was. We decided to shoot for the last Thursday of every month at 7PM. This way, the meeting was predictable and 7PM is still early enough to not be considered late. Since the meetups were generally around an hour or less, this worked out great.
That’s the short version of my experience with regards to running a WordPress meetup. If I had any advice for you, the first thing I’d do is check and see if a local meetup event already occurs in your area.
If not, gauge the interest level of such a meetup with folks in your area that you know are somewhat technology savvy. In my opinion, it’s better to get a meetup started with a nucleus of people who already understand WordPress than to start with a group of people who know nothing about it.
Certainly do your research when it comes to finding a location to house the meetup. I’d say this step is quite possibly the most difficult if you don’t know of any places off-hand. Make sure they can comfortably deal with 10-20 people without disturbing normal business.
Host your meetup with regularity so that I can memorize when it will be. Having it at different times on different days makes it more difficult to remember that the event is going to happen in the first place.
We debated on charging for the meetup to cover the cost of the meetup account but because it was through Office Space Coworking, we were able to control the account through them and therefor, didn’t have to pay. We kept the meetups free. If there were any drinks or snacks during the meetup, they were an out of pocket cost for Brian and I. In future meetups, I told Brian that if people want snacks or something to drink, they should just bring their own. That’s what we ended up doing.
Don’t limit your event to strictly the region your catering to. For example, while we encouraged those from North East Ohio to attend, we were grateful to have Kim Parsell from Newcomerstown, Ohio join us on a regular basis. We’re talking about a 70 mile, hour long drive. We also had the pleasure of having Jeff Lee from Norwalk, Ohio which is inbetween Cleveland and Toledo. Allowing those from far away to attend your meetup and giving them a good time will perhaps give them the inspiration to put together one of their own within their own neighborhood.
All in all, WordPress meetups in my opinion are like mini WordCamps but in some ways, much better. You get one on one time with people, can talk about anything you want regarding the software, forge new connections and bonds with other members of the community and at the end of the day, feel good about yourself after you helped a noob setup their first WordPress powered website. It’s these feelings and experiences which prompted me to go through helping to put together the North East Ohio WordPress meetup group. Unfortunately, things came up and I had to step away from attending these events but I’m hoping that in 2012, after a couple of things fall in line for me, I’ll be able to create and join these meetups.