/ July 31, 2015 / Comments Off on jQuery is Undefined

jQuery is Undefined

For those who have been in web development for sometime – especially those who have seen the rise (and stuck with) jQuery – then you’re likely all too familiar with some of the potential errors messages that you may see when working with the library.

But if you’re someone who is just starting out and perhaps you’re learning JavaScript and/or jQuery and you’re getting familiar with the developer tools that ship with your browser of choice, you’ve got your plate full of things that you’re having to debug.


And sure, Google is your friend and being able to ask questions on sites such as Stack Overflow and other similar sites is nice (though the community may not always be such), but it’s not always fruitful.

In those cases, I think those of us who have gone down the same road that you’re traveling have some obligation to help educate what the problem is, why it’s happening, and how to resolve it.

And that’s what I’ve tried to to do in my most recent article for Envato.

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One of the things that I’ve begun to think about as I move through my career in development is what it means to be truly pragmatic about the work that I do.

But first (and no, this is not an affiliate promotion), I think it’s worth noting that The Pragmatic Programmer is a book that I think every person who is a developer of some sort should reading (maybe several times, even). It’s an easy read and brings up a lot of good points as it relates to being the best programmer that you can be as it relates to best practices (whatever that may look like for your slice of the industry).

Anyway, I’ve talked about the tension of having to stay on top of every new technology that’s released as well as the importance of going deep rather than wide as it relates to the work that we’re doing on a day-to-day basis.

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Self-employment, freelancing, and/or contract work can be a funny thing especially if you’re a one man shop. I think that the freedom that comes with working alone has its benefits – I mean, you’re running the whole show – but it also has its drawbacks – you’re running the whole show.

By that, I mean when it comes to working on contracts for others, there’s a lot of satisfaction to be found is providing solutions for them, but it’s also a lot to juggle behind-the-scenes (payroll, accounting, expense reports, etc.).

And yes, I absolutely recommend finding people who are skilled in that area and then paying them to take care of that stuff for you (after all, it’s what they like to do) so that you can focus on what you like to do.

But that’s just one aspect of what it means to running your own business and it’s not the aspect that I’m interested in talking about right now.

What about the part where you start growing your business? Or the part where you’re looking to partner up with someone else or have additional contractors or employees come on board so that you can expand what it is that you offer?

As exciting as that can be, it also carries its nuances, as well.

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If you’ve been following along with this series so far, then you know I’ve been working through a series of posts that aims to show how to integrate your own button into the WordPress post editor.

My very own copy TinyMCE Editor. Show spectacular.

My very own copy TinyMCE Editor. So spectacular.

When doing this, we’re specifically working with both TinyMCE and WordPress. That is, we’re writing a TinyMCE plugin that is then wrapped in a WordPress plugin that will then allow the user to click on the button and add their own content (whatever that content may be).

In the next couple of articles, we’re going to take a look at how to do exactly that. First, we’ll start with simply connecting the result of clicking on the TinyMCE button with WordPress and then we’ll look at how to do some more advanced work.

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The hook system that’s built into WordPress is great and really powerful once you fully understand now only how the default actions and filters work, but how you can leverage them in your own themes and plugins to have others work for you.

But there’s a problem that comes with this: Other developers can often abuse them. Perhaps they will name a hook like one that already exists, or perhaps they’ll trigger a hook outside of the normal WordPress lifecycle.

When you’re working on building a plugin that’s adhering to the best practices of using a predefined hook and another plugin ends up breaking the usual flow of control, it can be extremely frustrating.

You – or at least I – can literally spend hours trying to isolate and trace down the source of the problem.

Frustrating, right?

Anyway, I’m not in the business of “calling other people out” or identifying problematic plugins on this site (though I don’t mind to discussing one on one), so this post is not about a plugin that’s doing things in a way that I don’t recommend.

Instead, it’s about finding ways to find a solution when you’re faced with a similar problem.

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/ July 24, 2015 / Comments Off on My Suite of Apps: Telegram

My Suite of Apps: Telegram

Outside of the normal messaging applications that are available on our phones – regardless of if you’re on Android or in iOS – there’s no shortage of options when it comes to having yet-another-messaging-application.

And maybe that’s what this particular post will be about, but out of all of the messaging apps that I’ve tried, I’m big fan of Telegram.

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TL;DR: I’m what you’d call a social networking skeptic and I have little trust in the services we use to house our data.

I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for sometime. It’s not controversial and it won’t result in a lot of discussion, but it’s something important to me and it took a while to articulate everything it is that I wanted to say.

Originally, it started off as something like this:

When it comes to working with data and applications, it’s important I have the ability to own my data.

But that isn’t completely true, so hear me out.

I know some people believe that open source gives them the ability to own all of the information that they give to the application, but that’s not always the case.

First, I think using nothing but open source as a personal philosophy is great. It’s not something that I personally choose to do, but I absolutely understand it and it does have a certain allure to it.

Secondly, when working with open source software, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the information that you’re giving an application will continue to be own solely by you. Take, for example, Instagram.

It’s a closed source application that uses third-party libraries several of which are open source:

Instagram's third-party libraries.

“We thank the open source community for all of their contributions.”

And that’s also fine. Using other libraries rather than writing your own – under the right circumstances – is one mark of good software development.

But do they let you maintain the ownership of your images and videos? This isn’t meant to call out Instagram specifically, but any of the social sharing services that are currently available (especially those that are popular).

To be clear, applications like Instagram do let you maintain a copy of your image on your Camera Roll (or whatever equivalent application your phone or device calls it), but that image is now stored on a third-party server where it may or may not persist from the moment it’s shared and whether or not you delete your account.

And sure, the terms to which you agree – whether you’ve read them or not – are subject to change at any time such that perhaps the rights you have today are not the rights you have tomorrow.

Again, for what it’s worth, I use Instagram as an example not because I’m out to vilify them, but because they were the first example that came to mind.

Anyway, the more I began to think about data ownership as it relates to social applications, the cloud, and basically any other application, the more I began to realize that my problem isn’t that I want to own all of my data – I mean, of course I want to own all of my data – but that I’m skeptical as to what some services may do with the data that I give them.

In this case, I’m specifically talking about social networking services.

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Throughout this series, I’ve been talking through the process of how go about adding a TinyMCE button to WordPress – specifically, adding a custom button to the post editor.

Up to this point, I’ve covered a number of different things. Namely:

The thing is, we haven’t actually made anything happen in the editor let alone even introduce a button into the actual editor yet.

In this post, we’ll do exactly that.

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It’s one thing to have a local copy of the latest version of WordPress installed on your system – don’t get me wrong, it’s really cool to be able to see some of the new features – but it’s another thing to want to get involved in contributing to the codebase.

Sure, it’s completely possible to get started by trying to implement your own desired feature, but the likelihood that it’s going to be merged into core is very, very small. Those type of decisions have a process through which they undergo before being merged. Plus, that’s taking on a lot if you’re just getting started with contributing code to WordPress.

But what about trying to fix WordPress bugs? That is, what if you were to want to try to take your chances with fixing some of the existing problems with the software?

That’s a bit easier.

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There’s a lot going on as it relates to working with WordPress right now: People are discussing things ranging from dependency manage (via tools such as Composer) and talking about the up and coming REST API (which is really exciting).

I’ve also recently read that the object-oriented programming approach is just now making its way to WordPress development. Personally, I don’t fully agree with that, but I do think that there are some advanced topics that are making there way over such as inversion of control, dependency injection containers, and so on.

All of those are important things to be discussed, shared, and taught to others, for sure. But sometimes, I think that we forget that there are some basic things about WordPress that those who are just getting involved need to learn before getting into those topics.

These things include how to grab a copy of the latest version of WordPress from the trunk (let alone explaining what “trunk” – or source control – even is), how to get started with working on your first set of issues, and so on.

WordPress Trunk

This is something that I think those involved in WordPress development could do a better job of teaching. To be clear, I think some do a fantastic job. Some are also very quiet – and that’s fine, not everyone cares to blog and many people are heads down on important work.

But as much as we want people to be involved in open source, I think we should make sure people are educated as well as possible to get involved and have a clear understanding of what to do.

Opting not to share information doesn’t mean you’re greedy; however, as I’ve been thinking about the wide range of topics that exist for those who are trying to get involved in WordPress or who are looking to up their game as it relates to object-oriented programming, I thought it might be worth sharing some shorter articles on how to get started with some of these topics.

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