Aaron Brazell who heads up Technosailor.com has published a primer on how WordPress Subversion is organized. The primer explains trunk, branches, and tags with regards to what they mean for developing WordPress. Also worthy of reading is Andrew Nacins comment located under the article as he offers more clarification on the use of branches. ∞
By Jeffro on September 30, 2011
This episode was pre-recorded due to some scheduling conflicts at work. They should be fixed by next Friday so I can do the live show again. This episode features a trio of interviews. The first is with Andrew Nacin, one of the core developers for WordPress who gives us an update as to what’s going on with WordPress 3.3. The second interview is with Site5 CEO and WebPub Founder Ben Welch-Bolen who talks to us about what WebPub is and how it will help make managing web applications much easier. Last but not least, Brad Williams gives us the low down on what WPClassroom is and how it works. He also gives us some information related to WordCamp Philadelphia scheduled to take place in early November.
Next Episode: Friday, October 7th 9P.M. Eastern
Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe
Length Of Episode: 48 Minutes
Download The Show: WordPressWeeklyEpisode113.mp3
Listen To Episode #113:
By Jeffro on September 30, 2011
The much anticipated e-commerce product from WooThemes has finally launched. It’s called WooCommerce and it aims to be the best native e-commerce solution for WordPress. The plugin is free as well as licensed under the GPL. I decided to give the plugin a try on my local server which is running a recent bleeding edge version of WordPress 3.3.
WooCommerce has eight tabs that are part of the initial configuration process. Most of the configuration process was pain free although I found myself sometimes hovering my mouse cursor over certain items to see if a tool tip would pop up that would provide a little extra clarification for a text box. For example, when adding a product, you have the option of specifying a price as well as a sales price. Since my unit of currency was the dollar symbol, I entered the price of $50.00 while $40.00 was the sale price.
When I checked out the product page, I discovered that the regular price as well as the sale price were $0.00. Apparently, the format in which I entered the cash values was incorrect. The correct method was to remove the dollar signs and use whole number integers such as 50 and 40. A tooltip that showed the correct method of putting in the values would have been nice but it’s not a deal breaker. It’s a small touch that adds an extra piece of finesse.
WooCommerce makes extensive use of Custom Post Types but because of this, I sometimes get confused. After creating a product, I then have to publish it to the store. The publish button makes me think I’m publishing a post or a page filled with content, not a product. This bit of confusion is compounded when I see the text “View Post” once it’s published. When I view the actual product I published, it’s in fact a page with its own permalink. Since products are actually a custom post type, they have access to the categories (in this case product categories) tags, (product tags), and everything else a normal content post would have. If it weren’t for the nomenclature changes, you’d think you were simply just creating and publishing a post. This is the first time I’ve used something that makes extensive use of Custom Post Types so pardon my confusion. The similarities disappear once you reach the bottom of the page to configure the various options related to the product such as visibility, what type of product it is, and product data that controls the tax, inventory, etc.
Probably one of the most important aspects of any e-commerce store is how it looks. WooCommerce comes with it’s own set of frontend CSS styles but as I quickly found out, they don’t look good on every theme. On my version of Hybrid News called Tavern News, the shop looks terrible with and without the styles. However, on TwentyEleven the store looks great with the CSS styles while looking mediocre without them.
It’s a crap shoot on whether or not WooCommerce will look good on your site with whatever theme you’re using but if it doesn’t, you have two options. First, you can use a free WooStore theme called Wootique. Second, you can edit the WooCommerce CSS files until you get something that looks good. From what I can tell, if you choose to use a theme that is specifically for WooCommerce, that theme will end up being used for the entire website. This is great news for WooThemes but bad news for everyone else that just wants to have a seperate look for their shopping cart without the whole site looking the same. Perhaps at some point in the future, WooCommerce will have an option to allow for third party theme support. I can certainly see commercial theme authors adding WooCommerce support to their child themes as another selling point.
Actually Using WooCommerce:
Overall, WooCommerce is pretty easy to use thanks to the interface. It’s not the most exciting thing in the world to create/configure products but once it’s done, editing them afterwards is a breeze. The creation of coupons in WooCommerce is pretty cool. Instead of creating a coupon for everything, you get the option of choosing specific products that the coupon can be used for. Or, you can elect to apply the coupon to the shopping cart either whole or through a percentage. Of course, you also get your typical settings such as coupon amount, expiration date, usage limit, and whether the coupon has to be used individually or if it can be combined with others.
Probably one of the most important areas within WooCommerce is the Orders page. This is where all of the information regarding orders is located such as status, shipping information and notes regarding the processing of the order. From here, you can make sure everything checks out before the product is shipped. One of the coolest features of the individual order pages is the Order Actions area. This is where you can save changes to the order, reduce the stock count, restore stock count, email an invoice or move the order to the trash. When I questioned whether or not, a decrease in the amount of stock takes place automatically after an order, MikeJolley responded with: It’s automated once PayPal IPN works, it won’t locally. I’m not sure if the stock counts change automatically with a successful check payment or through direct bank transfer. Hopefully they do because I doubt store owners want to manually change stock counts after each successful order.
One of the best things about the back-end of WooCommerce is that it blends in seamlessly as if it were part of WordPress all along. They did a great job of using existing elements that are supported within WordPress such as the tabs, file uploader, and my favorite little feature, the calendar. I only referred to the readme file once during configuration but that was to see if there was any information regarding themes and whether they were seperate from WordPress or not. Other than that, I was able to configure WooCommerce without any issues.
Gone are the days of using clunky E-Commerce software which seems to make every aspect of selling products harder versus easier. WooCommerce flips that trend over with beautiful execution. It’s not fancy but it shouldn’t be. It gets the job done without having me want to put my head through drywall. However, my review is based on setting up one product on my local server. To get a better sense of how this plugin really performs, it would be best to read a review from someone using it for a live store.
WooCommerce is free which is a price you can’t beat. There are already 9 extensions along with 6 compatible themes with more of both on the way. I think the WooThemes crew is going about this the right way by providing a stellar e-commerce product at a free price while offering pay for add-ons to increase the functionality. It’s pretty much the same model as WP E-Commerce although WP E-Commerce certainly has time on their side as they’ve been around for years. From a business perspective, WordPress end users now have two great free choices to serve their e-commerce needs. On the other side of the fence, Shopp Plugin has a price for single-site use along with add-ons that can be purchased for additional functionality. I’m very interested to see how the inclusion of WooCommerce along side WP E-Commerce messes with Shopps market share. Users now have two good e-commerce systems to choose from before even considering Shopp. However, the WordPress user base is huge and I don’t think WP E-Commerce or WooCommerce can cater to them all.
I can definitely recommend using WooCommerce for your e-commerce needs and since the plugin was audited by the great Mark Jaquith, you can be sure that it’s secure.
By Jeffro on September 27, 2011
A few days ago, I was linked to an article on ITProportal.com by Desire Athow who asked the question, When Will Microsoft Buy Automattic & WordPress?. The article is confusing to follow because the author failed to delineate between WordPress the open-source project and WordPress.com. However, the usual suspects cleared things up within the comments of the post. For everyone else, here is a reminder.
WordPress.com is a service that is owned and operated by Automattic, a privately funded company. WordPress.org which is also known as self-hosted software is an open source project that is owned by no one. WordPress is a trademark that is controlled by the WordPress Foundation. Therefor, the open-source project can never be acquired while WordPress.com and or Automattic could be.
Personally, I hope Automattic is never acquired but seeing as how they are spending someone else’s money to run the business (investors) and I don’t have any specific information with regards to company ownership, there might be a time in the future where acquisition becomes the exit strategy. When talking about who would or could acquire Automattic, Microsoft seems to pop up all the time. I think this would be a huge waste of cash by Microsoft and a terrible acquisition. Windows Live Spaces was Microsoft’s attempt at hosting a blogging service which after 4 years, ended up being migrated over to WordPress.com. So in a way, Automattic acquired Windows Live Spaces without spending any cash. But if Microsoft were to ever offer a billion or two for Automattic, who knows what could happen.
When we talk about acquisition, it’s important to note that at one time during the history of Automattic, the company was ALMOST acquired. Matt Mullenweg pulled the trigger but thanks to the lengthy time period during negotiations, doubts took over his mind. He eventually decided that it was best to stay independent and go for it. Thank goodness he did because Automattic has grown into a very healthy company. However, the question that I have is, would Matt be willing to pull the trigger again?
I don’t think so, not unless it was the nuclear option. Since 2007, Matt has shown glimpses that money is not the end all be all. It’s not his number one priority in life to be wealthy. Instead, it goes way beyond the materials of life. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading the Automattic creed which is tied to the company but it works for the open source WordPress project as well.
I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.
The most obvious thing to point out in this creed is the line I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. Between WordPress.com and the open source project, the impact those two things have had has been tremendous stretching from the world of publishing, to giving people a voice in which they might not have had one otherwise. When it comes to money, it’s easy to see from the initial rounds of VC funding that money is not the main priority. The first round was $1.2 million dollars which was secured in 2006 that lasted through 2008. On January 23rd, 2008 Automattic secured $29.5 million dollars. Compared to other rounds of funding for many other companies, this is pocket change. That money has been spent on service acquisitions, hiring more Auttomaticians, and generally making WordPress.com a better service which at the same time, helps to increase that IMPACT that was mentioned earlier.
Over the past four years, it’s become obvious to me that Matt and Automattic have lived by the company creed and take it very seriously. Automattic is what helps Matt pay the bills while at the same time, satisfy his passion for open source software through WordPress. Up to this point, Matt has done a great job of being able to balance the two and if you were to remove him thanks to an acquisition, I feel we would have one screwed up situation on our hands with that balance being ruined.
Despite my wishes for Automattic to never be acquired with Matt at the helm, I realize that everything has a price. I just hope that price is something very few people or companies can pay.
By Jeffro on September 27, 2011
I love the concept behind this list. WordCamp Orange County organizer and WordPress developer Brandon Dover has compiled a list featuring some of the craziest excuses he’s heard for not upgrading WordPress. However, the list also includes reasons that have been submitted by readers. As of this writing, there are 23 reasons listed. My favorites so far are 5, 6, 15, and 20. Keep in mind when reading the list that the page is a joke and while some of the reasons are certainly legitimate, others such as My mom told me not to are clearly not. The list certainly got me to laugh out loud a few times.
I hacked core and didn’t submit a patch. *GASP*
I like feeling vulnerable.
I’ve been living under a rock.
I don’t want to be a cool kid.
Maybe at some point, Brandon can find a catchy domain related to this joke and make a simple page that randomly shows a reason not to upgrade WordPress complete with a form that takes user submissions.