Let’s Tilt The Pods Framework Conference!

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Pods Framework, it’s a relatively simple concept that introduces some really neat, advanced features into WordPress.

Pods Framework Homepage

Straight from the website:

The goal was to create an interface and PHP codebase to easily create, extend, and manage content types within WordPress. While the normal WordPress content architecture is limited to the built-in tables, a primary feature of Pods allows you to base content types off of their own custom tables designed around each content types’ needs.

Neat, right? What’s even cooler is that the Pods development team is hosting their very first conference this October in DFW.

Of all of the people who are working on Pods, I know two people relatively well:

But these two are any representation of the type of people who work on Pods – and they are – then it’s clear there’s a stellar team.

You Said Something About a Conference?

Yep – the first even PodsCamp is fast approaching.

It’s bound to be a great time for all who are involved; however, if you’ve any worked on hosting a conference in any capacity, you know that it’s a lot of work (which comes in the form of time and money).

Though I personally believe that the conference would be able to raise the money needed to cover all expenses, I’d love for us – as the WordPress community – to be able to help raise some cash to help the Pods team host their very first conference.

  • know the guys working on Pods are fantastic people both in the product they are creating, and the work they do elsewhere.
  • I know that the conference is going to be an amazing time for all people involved both those who are hosting and those who are attending (regardless of your skillset).
  • I know that the WordPress community is generous because I’ve seen us raise enough funds for a variety of different causes.

To that end, I’d love for us to help these guys put on their first ever conference in order not only to establish themselves in the conference space, but also to make sure that they have everything they need in order to make the experience memorable for all attendees.

Let’s Tilt It!

With that said, I’d love to see us Tilt this conference! I know that a number of you have likely already purchased a ticket, donated money, or helped in some capacity and that’s awesome – can you please help spread the word?

If you’re still unsure about it, be sure to read the article on WP Tavern as well as on the PodCamp Homepage.

For those who haven’t heard of the conference, are looking to go, or are looking to help out, then please consider donating to the conference in order to help raise money to put on an incredible event.

The team is doing great work, so – as those who are also looking to do the same within the WordPress economy – let’s help them do the same.

Let's Tilt PodsCamp!

You can visit the Tilt page to make your contribution and to read more about the event. All funds will go directly to the Pods Framework organization in order to help fund their first conference.

What About Sponsors?

If you’re looking to sponsor the event (rather than make a contribution to the event via Tilt), then please see this page, instead. It has everything you need to know.

Regardless of if you opt to make a contribution via Tilt or via the sponsorship page, let’s do this – I know that we, as those all involved in WordPress, can make this happen.

Removing HTML Comments in WordPress

Some time ago, I began removing the HTML comment label from beneath the standard WordPress comment form (no, not the Jetpack-enabled form – the one that ships with a default WordPress theme).

Most of you are familiar with the form as it generally looks something like this:

HTML in Comments

HTML in Comments

Generally speaking I find that that block that usually sits between the textarea and the submit input to introduce complexity and likely cause more confusion than anything else.

Adding Plugin Config Files to WordPress

Almost everyone who has worked with WordPress has dealt with wp-config.php. I know – there are a lot of managed hosts out there that take care of a lot of this for you – but even though a person may not have directly edited the file, they have definitely interacted with it.

For those who are unfamiliar:

This file is located in the root of your WordPress file directory and contains your website’s base configuration details, such as database connection information.

Anyway, for sometime now, I’ve been working on a relatively large plugin for a client and have recently taken to introducing a similar type of configuration files. So this raised that question, do what you think of plugin config files?

Tips for Saving and Retrieving Post Meta Data

One of the common things that I’ve seen – and personally done – is mismanaging $_POST data as it comes into the server-side from a form or some type of input element from the front-end. This may be in the case of sending data via Ajax or by doing a standard page refresh.

Chill Out, Veruca. We're getting there.

Chill Out, Veruca. We’re getting there.

Whatever the case, whenever you’re dealing with $_POST data in WordPress and you’re looking to save information into the database, there may be times where you’re interested in saving empty values, and there maybe times where you’re interested in savings values only if they are not empty.

If you’re going after the latter, there are a couple of safe guards you should introduce in your code to make sure that rows are only being written when there’s data to actually be written.

For the Copy and Paste Programmers

One of the things that has been absolutely fantastic about the web is how much information we can publish and how much we can access it at any given time. I don’t know many who would disagree with that.

Even more so, for those who are interested in learning how to write software, there are various articles, podcasts, videos, tutorials, and so on all of which aim to teach a person the skills they need in order to actually get from not knowing how to write code, but knowing how to do so in a productive manner.

One of the downsides of this – and even more generally, open source – is that breeds this copy-and-paste mentality that completely undermines the very thing that it’s trying to teach: that is, how to write code.

Custom Meta Box Tabs in WordPress

One of the things that has become relatively common within themes that offer a lot of options is the use of tabbed navigation. That is, options that are related are logically grouped into tabs and then the user can navigate through each tab in order to select the options.

Whether or not this is a good thing for themes is outside the scope of this particular post; however, another place in which tabs may also be used is within the context of custom meta boxes.

That is, a custom meta box sits below the post editor and it offers several options or additions to the post meta data each of which is group together in their own tab.

Though I personally find this a bit more effective than using tabs of pages for screen options, that discussion is outside the scope of this post.

Regardless, there are ways to improve the ways in which custom meta box tabs are created such that they are organized in a more maintainable way, and each tab has its own view, partial, or template so that it’s easier to work with over time.

WordPress Theme Updates Are New Themes

I know that there are different ways that people approach building WordPress themes and I’m not one to argue that there’s a single right way to do it. Sure, some ways are better than others, but that’s true of a lot of things.

Personally, I approach building themes, plugins, and so on as I would as if I was building some type of software. That has to do with my background. Similarly, someone who has a background in design and in front-end development will conceptualize what they are building in a different way.

Like I said, all of that’s fine (in fact, I think it’d be interested to see how different people view building themes, but I digress), but I do know that one common thing we always have to think about as it relates to updated our WordPress themes is the actual front-end design.

Specifically, does it make sense to completely change the design of a theme for a different version of the theme?

How Do You Blog? (Wanna Have an Event?)

For those of you who blog regularly, you likely get a fair share of feedback and it probably comes in many forms.

  • Praises
  • Critique
  • Donations
  • Profanity
  • Love
  • Hate
  • …and anything and everything in between

You name, it’s been said either in comments, emails, and tweets. But yet, we still write and a bunch of people – perhaps more than ever – are interested in digital publishing in some capacity.

Keyboard

This may be writing a personal blog, this may be writing a business blog, this may be writing a technical blog, or this may be writing a blog about anything and everything. Whatever the case, there are a lot of resources out there that tell you how to be successful at what you do.

That is, they offer prescriptive solutions on what you should do in order to be successful in blogging, but I’d venture to say that if you asked 10 people what it means to be successful in blogging, you’d get 5, 8, maybe even 10 answers.

So where does that leave us, and where does that leave the people espousing all of the information on how to be successful doing it?

Single Page Tabbed Navigation in WordPress

In a couple of recent projects, I’ve been tasked with adding tabbed navigation to various WordPress templates. The thing is, these tabs work in such a way that all of the information is loaded on the page so when the user clicks on the tab, the contents of the page appear without having to do a page refresh.

Tabbed Navigation

 

In some cases, it may be best to load pages via Ajax, in some cases, it’s better to load things up all in the first page load. This particular post is about the best strategies for that (that’s a debate for another post).

Design Patterns for Refactoring: The Facade Pattern

For some time now, one of the things that I’ve been considering writing about is the idea of refactoring.

Not necessarily in an incredibly specific sense – because each project is different – but in the sense of using some strategies that can help to take an existing project that’s running in a production server and slowly begin to refactor it so that its architecture changes but the functionality remains the same.

Anyone who’s worked in the software world knows just how nasty a codebase can get, and WordPress is no different. And I’m not talking about WordPress core – I’m talking about plugins, themes, apps, or whatever else it is that you may be building on top of WordPress.

For the most part, we start our projects with the idea that it’s going to have a great architecture, a pristine design, and that it’s going to basically be the best thing that we’ve ever worked with.

At some point, usually due to external factors, the thing devolves into a pile that we no longer want to touch, and we hope that it holds together to continue solving the problem at hand.

But it doesn’t have to be that way and even if the code you end up working with – be it your own, or someone else’s – has devolved into a big ball of mud, there’s still a strategy (probably multiple strategies) that you can use in order to refactor it into something far more elegant.