As adults, some times I think it comes off as weird to talk about looking for “role models” as we usually look for people who are like mentors, advisors, influencers, etc. But for the purpose of this post, just assume that I’m talking about someone who influences us, or someone who’s further down the road than we are and from whom we can learn.

In so many other areas in our lives, especially when we’re younger, we often look for (or are told to look for) role models – you know, those people to whom we can look up and aspire to be like one day. Sometimes it’s in music, sometimes it’s in sports, sometimes it’s in writing, and in other times it’s in other areas.

Maybe this is a bit of a cynical stance, but sometimes I think it’s hard to find someone that’s worth looking up to for inspiration regardless of the arena.

But then I remember that when we look up to people, we often look up to people for what it is that they do versus who they are. For example, perhaps a person conducts their personal life in ways that you don’t agree, but they may conduct their professional life in ways that’s inspiring.

I think it’s important to divorce the two so that we know what it is to which we’re being inspired.

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Over the years, it’s been really neat to see how the WordPress project has incorporated the TinyMCE editor into the software. That is, it’s one thing to include it into the core project, but it’s another thing to add features to it (and around it) that help improve the writing experience.

My very own copy TinyMCE Editor. Show spectacular.

My very own copy TinyMCE Editor. So spectacular.

But as developers, we’re often tasked with introducing another feature into the software. Sometimes this comes in the form of adding something like custom taxonomies or custom post types.

Other times, it comes in the form of having to introduce a new button to the TinyMCE editor. When you do that, you’re working simultaneously with the WordPress API and you’re working with the TinyMCE editor API.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to outline the process that I take whenever this is needed. Ultimately, this will aim to provide a foundation and set of steps that can be followed if you need to do the same thing, as well.

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Most of the technically-minded folks in WordPress are familiar with Pagely: They provide managed hosting for WordPress-based sites.

In addition to that service, they also publish a blog that highlights a number of different topics – anything from running case studies on WordPress SaaS products to covering the new features they are releasing to their customers.

Over the past few weeks, they’ve been running a series in which they highlight people who are involved in WordPress in some capacity and, as of yesterday, I had the honor to be featured on the blog.

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I realize that the majority of what I write here has to do with WordPress development and topics that are tangential to that (like my opinions on certain issues around the software). But one thing that I rarely talk about is how things are going with respect to running a business that’s built on top of said software.

Right now, in technology, it’s hip to be a part of a startup, to aim to be something that’s emulating what’s happening in Silicon Valley, or that’s trying to create the next big thing by bootstrapping your business or by accepting some type of capital.

And all of that is completely fine. For whatever it’s worth, I think it’s really neat reading how others approach building a business and developing their product or service whatever it may be. My story simply isn’t like that – it’s not the kind you’re going to see on Product Hunt, Hacker News, or any of those other types of sites.

All of that’s okay with me. It’s not – nor has it ever been – what I’ve aimed to do with Pressware.

In short, Pressware would be classified as a bootstrapped company (that’s undergone a few name changes since the LLC was formed – a story for another time) and out of which I work in order to help provide solutions for other people using WordPress.


That’s it all there is to it.

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting – if anything – to begin sharing my experience as to what it’s like running a business based around WordPress and how I deal with some of the challenges that it presents outside of development.

I don’t know if any of this will be helpful to those who are working within a larger company, running their own business, or serving as a contractor in any other type of industry, but who knows?

Some of the posts that I’ve written in the past that I thought were boring and almost never published ended up becoming those that resulted in interest and genuine discussion. (This is also why I think other people need to speak up and contribute to the blogosphere. :)

With said that, one of the things that I’ve had to learn how to handle as the years have passed is handling red flags as they come up.

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I love it when I see tweets like this show up in my timeline:

And it’s for multiple reasons, but I’ll get to those in a moment.

First, if you’re involved in WordPress in any capacity and you’re not following Nikhil, then he’s a solid recommendation. He’s representative of the type of developers and contributors that we need coming up to continue working on WordPress.

He’s smart, he gets things done, he shares his work, he’s constantly looking to learn, he’s constantly looking to help others, and he’s had the opportunity to intern at places like iThemes and Rocket Genius.

By the time he’s out of college, he’s going to have the education and experience to continue to do great things from the project (if he so chooses).

Though with all of that said, it doesn’t explain why I enjoy seeing tweets like this.

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One of the things that we often hear about WordPress is that it has a low-barrier to entry for those who are interested in programming and/or for those who are interested in applying what they’ve learned about computer science or software development.

Generally speaking, I have a hard time saying that out loud. I’ll talk about this in more detail momentarily, but suffice it to say that I’m suspect of saying that.


Don’t get me wrong: There are some nice things about working with WordPress that are easier than working in other environments, but that’s all assuming you’ve worked in other environments before.

Secondly, I think it’s important to also know where you fall on the spectrum of developer maturity (that isn’t a real thing, so don’t bother googling it, but I’m using it for the sake of this post :). This has always been a fun topic to talk about, but Matt Briggs of Google recently wrote an article that did a great job articulating this.

I highly recommend reading it before continuing with this post, though I’ll be quoting a few parts of it.

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For the past few years, one of the areas of WordPress that has interested me the most is the area of the WordPress Coding Standards. Specifically, it’s one area in which I’ve tried to contribute and it’s one area in which I’ve talked about at my local WordCamp.

To say that I think they are a little important would be an understatement, so given the opportunity to talk about them – evangelize them, even – I will.

The short of it is this:

I’ve had a number of people help me to begin writing better WordPress-style code over the years, and I’ve seen a direct result of the impact that it can have when maintaining projects that are built with teams or even just myself.

Furthermore, there’s a lot of code that I’ve audited, reviewed, or seen suggested that does not follow the WordPress Coding Standards and this helps to perpetuate a problem that has a clear solution on how to fix.

To that end, I’m excited to share that I’ll be participating in an upcoming event at WP Sessions all about the WordPress Coding Standards.

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/ July 2, 2015 / Comments Off on Officially Partnering with WPBeginner

Officially Partnering with WPBeginner

As evidenced by this entire blog, one of the things that I enjoy most is writing about software development within the context of WordPress.

That is, I enjoy writing about taking techniques learned in computer science, software engineering, object-oriented analysis and design, and so on and then applying them in the WordPress space.

I’ll also talk about front-end development, and web application development. Sure, I’ll occasionally cover things like databases, though that’s not really my strongest area and I try to leave that to those who are far more skilled than I am.

But one of the tough spots that comes with having a site like this is making sure that you’re able to make the information as accessible to those who are just starting out in WordPress. As much as I would absolutely love to help bring others up to speed on where to start, it’s really hard to do that without giving them a strong foundation off of which to build.

Hopefully, we can change that.

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Comments are closed on this post.

I don’t know why I feel compelled to begin a post like this, but this is going to be a lengthy as it covers quite of a bit of the state of the culture of WordPress right now.

As someone who loves the software, makes a living off of it, and tries to follow along with everything going on with it, things have gotten really intense over the past few weeks – more intense than usual, that is – and it’s kind of a bummer to see.

Secondly, I’ve been told on a couple of occasions in the past that I don’t do a good job of staking my own claim in terms of how I perceive a given situation. That is, I’ve been told that I tend to hang out in the gray versus the black or white of a issue (so I try to weigh both sides of an issue – big deal :) – but I thought maybe I’d take this time to lean in one direction or the other a little harder than I usually do.

Like I said, I don’t know why I should preface what I opt to write about in this post (as it kind of enforces the point above), but I figured it was worth giving some background of where I’m coming from.

And my experience won’t be the same as yours and yours won’t be the same as mine or the next persons, but this is my take on what I’ve seen over the last few months all the way up until the last day or so on what I’ve seen going on with WordPress and the WordPress community.

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/ June 30, 2015 / Comments Off on My Time On The Grumpy Developer Podcast

My Time On The Grumpy Developer Podcast

Last week, I talked about The Grumpy Developer podcast, what it’s about, and why I like it. For those who didn’t read the post or who just happen to be stumbling across this page, here’s the gist of the podcast:

If you’re a designer or project manager, you can consider me your friendly developer translator. I’m here to help you bypass the Grumpy Developer Syndrome and achieve a happy transition from design to launch. If you’re a developer…well…you’re welcome. Let’s all celebrate a departure from Happy Designer Land to a world where design-dev-project managers can all get along.

Sounds fun, right?

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