Interesting bit of survey results published by Kieran Masterton on Smashing WordPress today. According to her survey results, a lot more focus and education needs to be done surrounding the professional deployment of websites as well as the use of version control. If you’ve ever found yourself having to use a Find And Replace plugin or MySQL snippet because you switched environments with a WordPress site, I highly recommend reading the comments to see how so many others have faced the same situation and their solutions. ∞
By Jeffro on December 19, 2011
While browsing for specific plugins today on WordPress.org, I noticed a link at the top of the site that took me to a short survey where the answers will be used to improve the WordPress.org website. Please consider taking part in this survey as the WordPress.org website is one of the weakest links of the project. My opinion of the site and the islands around it is that it’s all one giant messy room that I have to wade through to find what I’m looking for. Hopefully, the responses in this survey give the team the necessary info to completely restructure the content on the website to make it easier to find. The last question in the survey asked me, Do you have any suggestions for how we can make the WordPress.org site better/more useful? My answer is blockquoted below.
Personally, I think the biggest weakness of the current website is the lack of organization of the data that it presents to the public. There is a lot of good information strewn about multiple pages but it takes too many clicks to get to. Also, some information needs be brought out from the depths of the site and made more public facing.
Placing the WordPress software aside, the WordPress.org website is one of the cornerstones of the project that I feel needs to be an awesome public face for the project.
By Jeffro on December 9, 2011
WPshout which is one of many sites devoted to WordPress has published the results of their early 2011 survey that asked readers to review their webhosting company. The results are from 252 independent reviews. In the grand scheme of things, this is a miniscule number but it’s cool to see so many independent reviews from WordPress centric customers in one place. WPTavern is running on HostGator and so far, I don’t have anything to complain about. When I’ve needed it, support has been great. The live chat actually works and for the most part, gets my issue settles without it being escalated. Unfortunately, it looks like many people who reviewed HostGator didn’t like the performance of their site. I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum where HostGator performs very well for me out of all the previous hosting providers I’ve used.
Hostgator had 23 reviews and, impressively for such a large number, everyone rated their experience and support as “good”. A couple of people had had “some” problem with downtime, but comments gave the impression support was quick and friendly. However, a number of people had moved away from Hostgator to another host and commented that their new hosting was much faster, suggesting Hostgator’s a bit slow, just you don’t really notice when you’re hosting with them. For this reason, I’d consider the other hosts with more solid performance across the board.
It’s no surprise to me that GoDaddy ends up in last place with most of the reviewers mentioning that they switched hosts. Just as everyone has an opinion, they also have their choice of which webhosting provider to go with. Ask 100 people in a room which place should host your website and 75% of the answers will be different. With that said, you can add these independent reviews from WPShout to your list of legitimate researching material when it comes time to decide on a webhosting provider.
By the way, for those that have an opinion on which host to go with, WPShout is still conducting the survey and has plans at some point to release more detailed information regarding the reviews.
By Jeffro on March 7, 2011
PollDaddy must be doing something right as the early results from their customer survey point towards a large majority (91%) would recommend the service to others. Survey, poll, quiz, and rating users all responded that PollDaddy was easy to use.
While the comments and results point towards PollDaddy being an excellent service, it’s the negative comments or complaints that really help out a company when offering these surveys. If you have a PollDaddy account, consider taking the survey which is still ongoing via the PollDaddy dashboard.
By Jeffro on July 15, 2009
PollDaddy has now added survey filters to their polling service. These filters enable users to create more meaningful reports based on your specific needs. Here is a good example of a filter in action:
As an example, you may have a question in your survey like, “What is your gender?”. If you then created a filter on this question and specified the condition to be; all respondents that answered ‘Male’. After you enable this filter, all the reports will display just the answers given by the respondents that answered male.
Sounds like users of the service will now be able to dig into the data a bit easier based on these filters. I wonder if these filters will make Jane’s life any easier when she dives into the surveys that are published on the WordPress development blog. For more information regarding survey filters, please see this support topic on the PollDaddy forum.
By Jeffro on July 7, 2009
The feature priority survey for WordPress 2.9 has been published on the WordPress development blog enabling users to pick and choose which features they would like to take higher priority over others. Results of the survey will not be published however, the anticipated feature list for WordPress 2.9 will be later on in July.
There was one question in the poll that had me scratching my head.
Every time I think I have this term canonical plugins figured out, I read something which throws my understanding out of the water. So far, my understanding of the term is that these plugins would be recommended so to speak where a number of people would be contributing to these particular plugins. However, when I read the answers to the question seen in the image above, I start to think that canonical plugins are blocks of functionality that instead of being directly in core, are actually just a plugin. In fact, I do a great job confusing myself trying to think of what the heck this all means.
So now, I have no idea what canonical means. Can someone help me out?
By Jeffro on April 7, 2009
Developing a WordPress theme from the ground up is a big task. Sure it might not take long to throw up the basics, but there are a lot of small details that can go into a site. Frameworks are a tool to make developing a theme easier and quicker. Their not something that everyone needs to use, but it’s an option for people. However, getting going in this field can be confusing. The theme development community has some issues to get through and it really messes up some ideas about what is what.
Lets start out with the general terms and move inward. Themes are a part of WordPress that make displaying content possible. Through themes, all information is formatted, styled, and structured into a website design. But because of all the features that can go into these themes, two types of master themes were created. The first type are called frameworks and like its name, are designed to be a starting point for theme developers. The second type should be called base themes, but instead are also referred to as frameworks. These base themes are designed to be parent themes for other themes and allow for easily modifying the visual look of a site. Or from the other side, allow core code to be updated without messing around with the details about what makes a website unique. However, to be technical, it’s not this black and white. Frameworks and base themes could be regular themes or vise versa.
I would like to compare and contrast some of the most popular WordPress Frameworks and Base Themes. I believe it’s something that people picking between different themes would like to see and that it needs to show the answers to important questions in a simple way. However, this comparison is going to over simplify things and hide the reasoning behind the choices made by these developers. Theme Frameworks and Base Themes are not a case of right and wrong, good and bad, or even rich and lacking, but a choice in opinion. I’m hoping this comparison points people that are considering a framework to the developer and to the project that has similar goals in terms of what should be in a WordPress Theme. I would also hope that this comparison points out how much more thought goes into these themes, then the majority of other themes out there. This comparison doesn’t look at the style of the design or arrangement of sidebars, because the answer to those questions would be “How ever you want“. Instead, I want to look at the initial and little details. These are the themes that every theme should be based off, because they aren’t a quick project, but a collection of every detail, that a theme should include. These themes are also developed continuously, not just patched up so they work on the current version of WordPress.
For people developing themes or interested, I would suggest thinking of themes like computers. No one company makes the whole package. The Processor, Operating System, Programs, and assembly is all made or done by different companies.
|Type 1 Classification||Theme Framework||Theme Framework||Blank Theme|
|Type 2 Classification||Base Theme||Base Theme||Theme Framework|
|Author:||Ian Stewart||Justin Tadlock||Alex King (Crowd Favorite)|
|Is it licensed under the GPL?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Last Version release date:
(As of April 1st, 2009)
|March 1st, 2009||March 29th, 2009||March 24th, 2009|
|Unzipped file size:||518 KB (Is this right or is it me?)||708 KB||529 KB (Is this right or is it me?)|
|How well is the code documented?||Section Titles & Inline comments in the tricky parts.||Section Tiles & version code was added.||Read Me files for each directory|
|Number of Custom Hooks:||18||31||23|
|Number of Custom Filters:||39||40-50||6|
|Visual aid of widget area locations?||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|Type of aid for hook and filter locations?||Visual||Documentation||N/A|
|Number of Publicly available Child Themes? (linked to by main site)||16||4||N/A|
|Number of (Default) widget areas:||13||9||2|
|Is a CSS Reset done?||Yes (with @import)||Yes||Yes (… N/A)|
|What plugins will auto insert if installed and activated?||
|What CSS grid system is used?||Custom (based on Blueprint, Tripoli and 960gs)||None||N/A|
|How is the footer content modified?||
|Body tag classes:||
||Supposedly has some|
|Has or uses IE hacks?||No (with the exception of one minor superscript/subscript fix)||No||No|
|Compatible with WordPress versions:||2.7+||2.6+||2.3 (Maybe)|
|Language Support (For non-English sites)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Is there a print CSS file?||No||Yes||No|
|Is there a default layout?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Modular Comment Section ( Can trackbacks and pings be seperated?):||Yes||No||Yes|
|Custom Comment code or taken from Kubrick?||Custom (based on Sandbox)||Custom||Custom|
|What are the backend options?||
|Resource to find out all hooks and filters:||Guide to customizing Thematic||Hooks (members only)||Included Readme|
|HTML doc type:||XHTML 1.0 Transitional||XHTML 1.0 Strict||XHTML 1.0 Transitional|
|Number of years the lead author has done PHP?||2 years||3 years||10 years|
|Number of years the lead author has done HTML & CSS?||3 years||6 years||12 years|
Hopefully this has answered most of your questions. My needs and wants likely differ from the majority, so I tried my best to be well rounded. Maybe this will get the ball rolling in terms of discussion. I really feel that showing the cards like this does take the work away of figuring it out for yourself and that it will show developers what everyone else is up to.
Some theme frameworks were left out. I wish I could have included them all. Blame Jeffro if you will, he made the page too narrow and I didn’t want to write small. So now I’ll hand it off to everyone else, what other interesting facts should we look at?