I’m preparing a talk for our local WordPress MeetUp on January 6, 2016. You’ll learn why WordPress is getting a REST API, why it’s in JSON format, and what do all these acronyms mean.
WordPress JSON REST API Post-Holiday Extravaganza
You may have heard that WordPress has begun the process integrating a JSON REST API in version 4.4. In this presentation we’ll cover these topics:
- Why it’s important for WordPress to have an API.
- What is CRUD, REST, JSON, and how to interface with a REST API.
- How to configure and interface with the JSON REST API in WordPress
WordPress started as an open-source blogging tool. The introduction of custom post types meant WordPress could be used as a full-fledged content management system. The JSON REST API is a new opportunity for WordPress to become a web application platform. Come learn about the future of WordPress web development.
See you there. WordPress Dev Seacoast Meetup, January 6, 2014.
The new Calypso app for Mac was built for WordPress using React, Flux and node.js.
Another day of great people and interesting conversations. Lunch was amazing today, for a conference. BBQ chicken, beef brisket, corn bread! Soda! Not just water, ha. The after-party at Lucky Strike bowling alley was perfect. Open bar, catered food, fun people, though I couldn’t find the ping pong tables. I wanted to challenge Derek Smart (Automattic Table Tennis Champion) to a game.
Make WP_CLI Work For You: Extending WP-CLI With Custom Commands: A talk about writing code to build tools to build websites. Geek heaven. If you’re not using WP-CLI, get started.
Gamify WP: A fun talk on gamification, and how a developer Automattic used the technique to motivate people to test using Calypso to write blog posts.
High Performance WP: A quick talk on all the things one should do. Yes, I need a better checklist.
Low Tech is Future of WP: Another solid talk by Eric Mann now how slow WIFI, slow internet connections are an opportunity for WordPress websites. And l learned Chrome Development Tools can mimic a slow connection for testing.
HTTP API: Use REST, CRUD in communication with 3rd party APIs? WordPress has built in functions to make this stuff easier to use.
WP and Museums, Mel Choyce: A great 2 person talk with a client and a developer and their approach in putting together a website for a museum collection with 40,000 potential pieces of data. These case study talks are great.
WP for Enterprise, Taylor Lovett: 10up has the best employees, and they give away their best practices. Cool company.
State of the Word: Matt Mullenwegg maps out the potential future of WordPress. Great stuff. Watch this.
Best. WordCamp. Ever.
From the beginning, this WordCamp US felt a little different than the WordCamps I’ve attended previously. Many people I’d seen as speakers previously were attendees. Many popular WordPress twitter folks and bloggers were there, just walking around. The topics of the talks seem higher level, more for developers and there was a lot of ‘I wish I could be at 3 talks at once’.
The attendees were friendly and every person I spoke to had something interesting to say about their work with WordPress. All the organizers were kept solving problems, especially when the WIFI was overwhelmed in the first few hours of the conference. Volunteers were everywhere and also helpful.
Philadelphia is a great city. Easy access to downtown via Septa train from the airport, AirBnb rentals were plentiful if hotels aren’t your thing. We stayed in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood just SE of downtown. An easy walk to the conference. My new favorite hangout in Philadelphia is Monk’s Cafe, an excellent Belgian Beer bar with great food too. Heaven. Downtown has some amazing architecture, interesting sculptures, great food and drink. Even the restaurant staff were down-to-earth in the city, though you felt like you were in Manhattan.
Curing a Critical Security Bug: This talk was about the MySQL vulnerability fixed earlier this year. It feels good to know such experts are working on core.
WordPress + The Internet of Things: Lots of opportunities for WordPress here, and RC Lations always give a great talk. How does he stay so chill all the time? Must be that clean Maine living.
The Future Stack: Runnning WordPress with Tomorrow’s Technologies: This covered Http/2, php7, CSS4, Free SSL, JS2015. Very fun presentation, and the talk made potentially dry material very interesting. Short take is that WordPress is ready for all the changes coming down the road.
REST in Action: The Live Coverage Platform at the NYTimes: This talk was a bit of a disappointment since the title topic was only covered in the last 5 minutes of the talk, and no technical tips, no time for questions. I think the speaker was busy making sure WordPress 4.4 would get out the door 3 days later as its lead developer, so it’s understandable.
A great first day, and I still need to see the talk by Nacin. Always listen to Nacin. Cheers, and off to Monk’s Cafe.
Being self-employed also means being a self-starter, and keeping yourself motivated, because no one else will be there to tell you to get started. I’ve read a lot of books and increasing productivity, and tried a lot of things.
The best productivity book I’ve read recently is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Letting go of distracting projects is maybe the most important thing to do, because it allows you to focus on the important projects. Also, ask oneself, What’s Important Now? (WIN) I find that simple question stops a lot of time wasting. I highly recommend this book.
Some iOS apps that I use for productivity: Calm, the directed meditations really help me clear my head when my wheels are spinning. Yes, meditation can really help when you’re stuck on a project. The Simplenote app is a great way to keep a quick list, or take some notes. The best part is that it’s shared among all one’s devices. Build a shopping list through the week as you think of things when on your laptop? Then the same list is with you on your smartphone at the grocery. I find the similar shared device aspect for To Do lists on Wunderlist to be similarly effective. I have To Do list for Work, Personal stuff, and quick focused projects, like taking a trip, or launching a site.
Caffeine is an obvious productivity tool for programmers, and I have to say the Starbucks app is pretty useful. They’re going to get my money either way, so I may as well use their digital equivalent of a frequent buyer card.
My new favorite Chrome browser Extension is Momentum. It shows up on your new tab, rather than the default bookmarks. It allows you to type in your focus for the day (see Essentialism). Gives the time, which is easy to lose track of. Show the local weather, prevents checking the weather sites.
MyNoise.net is a website that provides any kind of background noise you might need while working. Nature sounds, ambient noise, industrial drones, event cats purring. Great stuff.
Email is unavoidable, but it has it’s problems. Looking and finding information in email, and being distracted by new email is a common problem. Tools like Slack are good if there is a defined list of people in a project. It’s quick and cuts down on the email noise. Using the P2 Theme by WordPress to organize projects is nice because it leaves a history of ideas, and decisions.
My programming environment has changed over the years. Currently most of my work is WordPress Theme development. I’ve switched over to more of Linux command line environment along with Mac OSX to achieve a better workflow. I use the Grunt Task Manager running on node.js. Grunt compiles my SASS files, and SASS is a productivity boost in itself since it’s easier to write CSS. I use twitter Bootstrap as a CSS framework to get mobile responsive websites right out of the gate. I use the latest version of the WordPress.org Underscores starter theme to make my themes consistent over projects, and waste less time fixing incompatibility bugs.
For learning new techniques Google search is the obvious choice, but finding the right tutorial can be exhausting. Google is best for quick, small solutions. For ‘big’ learning I’ve had excellent results with Lynda.com classes, EdX.com (MOOC), and good old-fashioned books from the Public Library.
A travel efficiency, that is kind of obvious, is carry on luggage only. I’m a big fan of RedOxx, and their Sky Train carry on bag is perfectly suited to me. Great sticky single shoulder strap, and backpacking straps as well.
That’s if for now, time to be productive, and motivated.
After introductions among a dozen folks we learned we had a mix of developers, users, and those curious about WooCommerce.
David Long is talking about his experience with WooCommerce and WordPress. WooCommerce (WC) is the rare, really solid WordPress plugin that is used to create online stores using WordPress. David had a client with an existing website with static pages and lots of tables. His task was to convert the site into a catalog/shopping site. The client didn’t want financial transactions, so WC was used a customer ‘request for quote’ system. No prices! The products required an interaction between the client and customers before a sale. David had to customize WC a lot to turn off checkout, shipping but that’s what is great about WC. He used TablePress for converting grids of data into product lists. Excel data was transformed into tables and then integrated into WooCommerce. David went over the administrative backend of WooCommerce looking at settings, products, orders. The customer had a lot of requests and customizations which lead to 41 active plugins, a very high number, yikes. David was very happy with the plugin that does rollbacks (WP-Rollback). The combination of the complexity of WC and all the plugins can lead to incompatibilities when there is an update. Rolling back is a great tool for that situation.
Amanda Giles was up next to show up some code used with WooCommerce. Amanda likes all the customizable templates in WC. Amanda is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get into the code. We went over all the action hooks and filters (100+) in the templates that allow a programmer to change what’s output, and how the data looks in the existing templates. Figuring out what template is being used by WC is half the challenge before making a change. WC is solid product and will be around for a while. It was just purchased by WordPress.com and WordPress team members are taking rotations through WooCommerce learning the code.
Next month the group will return and hear a talk about the WordPress JSON REST API done by yours truly.
Time to write some code.
A Seacoast NH WordPress Developers Meetup took place on June 3, 2014 and, due to a last minute schedule change, we had no presentation. This gave us the opportunity to switch to an open forum, because there’s nothing easier for us than to talk about WordPress development for 2 hours. Thanks to Alpha Loft on Green Street in Portsmouth, NH for providing our venue.
Custom Templates for Custom Post Types
We started off talking about an issue David Long was having with creating custom templates for custom post types. David found himself generating a bunch of templates to query a custom post type for different meta values on a meta key. David wanted to re-use WordPress Loop code and not repeat the code in the templates (DRY). One solution (of a few) was to pass in the desired query meta value in the page URL and use the HTML/PHP $_GET[ ‘value_name’] variable . Code was then written to grab the value of this variable (with error checking) and pass it to the Loop query. Now David could write one template to handle all the queries.
A Seacoast NH WordPress Developers Meetup took place on May 7, 2014 and Amanda Giles gave a presentation on some simple tricks to customize and improve the WordPress Admin pages. Thanks to Alpha Loft in Portsmouth, NH for providing our venue.
The meeting was well attended with 10 WordPress developers. Brief introductions from around the table spurred a conversation about the best WordPress plugin to use for backups. BackupBuddy and UpdraftPlus were recommended, but we all agreed the wide variety of client server configurations made consistency a challenge for backup plugins.
Tonight’s presentation was very PHP code-based and Amanda dove right in with some working demos. The functions.php file and other data can be found on our Meetup page.
Amanda covered the following topics
In the Beginning WordPress Was For Bloggers
WordPress has a reputation for being blogging software based on it’s history, and the current 60 Million+ bloggers on WordPress.com.
The open-source version of WordPress comes from WordPress.org. The widely used blog engine is found on WordPress.com. Confusing? Read WordPress.org vs WordPress.com to understand the difference. We’re discussing the open-source WordPress.org version. This version has evolved into a flexible content management system (CMS) that is widely tested, supported, and secure.
Pages, Not Blog Posts
95% of my clients use WordPress to display static pages about their businesses or organizations. There are no blog posts on these sites. I encourage clients to have a business blog, showing their expertise, but blogging is not for everyone.
WordPress shortcodes are a way of creating code macros within WordPress post and page content. These simple codes, surrounded by square brackets, can be dropped into text within the WordPress Dashboard editor. Shortcodes provide 2 solutions for web developers:
- DRY (don’t repeat yourself), i.e. write code once and re-use it in WordPress posts and pages. Future updates are in one spot.
- Shield non-tecnhical clients from arcane PHP/HTML code.
Here’s a talk that was created for the Seacoast NH WordPress Developers Meetup that took place on April 2, 2014.
We always like to see working, live code, so here are the examples used in the talk:
Update: Now it’s 25% and rising …
Did you know that WordPress is currently being used by 21.8% of all websites, by far the most commonly used content management system (CMS)? This is due to its flexibility in the hands of a good website designer or web developer, and its ease-of-use for clients, the vast majority of which are not technical.