Julie Kuehl

There’s a lot that can be said – both good and bad – as it relates to those who work within the confines of WordPress.

Sure, there are those who spend our days building things for others and who don’t generally converse with the rest of us via whatever social network we prefer, but there’s also a lot of us that do chat daily.

And though the conversations aren’t always as pleasant as they could be (but what conversations are?), one thing that WordPressers (is that what they’re called?) are exceptionally good at doing is coming together for a common cause to help someone go further in their career.

Case in point: Follow along with what’s recently happened with Julie Kuehl and her desire to become a better WordPress contributor.

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WordPress Style Guide

When working on custom solutions for others – be it for themes, plugins, or some other extension for WordPress – one of the things I think is important is to make sure the Dashboard has the same look and feel as the rest of the native components of WordPress.

That is, I dislike and I disagree when developers and designers deviate from the core WordPress look and feel.

But even for those who try to adhere to using the right elements in the right place and for those who try to stick with laying out dashboard pages using the natural patterns as defined by WordPress, is our best place of reference actually using other pages that exist throughout the dashboard?

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Call Me Maybe

Yesterday, I was chatting with a fellow WordPress developer and, as we were reviewing some code, we came across the use of maybe_unserialize. You can read more about it in the Codex, but the short of it is this:

Unserialize value only if it was serialized.

Seems a little odd, doesn’t it? I mean, shouldn’t we know if a value has been serialized?

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Source Code

As programmers, one of the things that we often hear is how we need to expose ourselves to other languages and environments in order to become more diversified in our experience. Or maybe it’s presented in a way that says we need to get to know other environments so we don’t get stale in the areas in which we currently work.

Whatever the case – whatever you’ve heard, or however you’ve heard it – I don’t necessarily disagree with it.

do think it’s important that we stay up to date on a lot of the new technology that’s available and I do think that it’s important that we learn some of the ways other languages do things. It helps us to become better thinkers.

And by becoming better thinkers, we can become better programmers and we can bring all of that experience back to the place where we started – in the environment in which we work best or in that we like most.

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Remember when operating systems came out and the big feature that they touted was their ability to offer a “true multitasking experience” or something along those lines? I mean, this happened within the last 20 years, give-or-take, so it wasn’t that long ago.

But if you ever used a machine prior that did not allow for multitasking, then it really did introduce an entire change into your workflow.

What?! Multiple applications open at the same time and I can share (read: copy and paste) data between them?

Now we can’t really imagine not having that, right? Our phones even do it. But short of whatever the next big technological advancement that we have in the computing industry may be, I think we have hit a massive point on the curve of our ability to multitask.

I know there’s research that says that we – as humans – are not actually able to multitask that well – and I think there is some truth to that – but I also have peers be able to do a much better job of it than I am. That’s completely fine with me, but the point of me bringing it up is that, you know, what works for some doesn’t work for others.

We’re all very different in our abilities to take advantage of this, but I don’t think I’m actually that great at it.

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Expand The Blog

According to Jetpack, I officially started working on this site back in December 2012. To be clear, this is not my first blog nor is it my first attempt at this particular domain, but December 2012 marks when I first began to get really serious about blogging.

And by “serious about blogging” I mean having a distinct set of goals that I wanted to achieve, topics that I wanted to cover, and how I wanted to go about growing the blog over time. Granted, we all have different metrics of success. Some of us want hits, some of us want low bounce rates (or high time on site), some of us want comments, and some of us want all or some of what’s been mentioned.

To be honest, the main things I set out to do with this blog was to provide a resource on what it’s like to work as a professional WordPress developer (which is a discussion in its own right) and to share my experiences along the way. I have no plans of stopping, but I’d like to think I’ve done a fair job of that over the past couple of years (with the last year being the most notable).

But, just as we do with software projects, the time eventually comes in which you have to remove features, improve features, add new features, and so on in order to continue making whatever it is that you’re doing – be it a service, a product, or even a blog – better.

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How Others Find You

If you’re working on starting a business – be it a side-income, freelance, agency, or whatever – and you want to build it on top of WordPress, one of the considerations that you have to make is how to actually attain clients.

To be clear, this is not a post on client acquisition, marketing, or anything like that. That’s not the type of stuff I discuss here (nor is it my forte). If you’re really interested in that, check out my friend Curtis McHale’s blog.

Helping you answer the hard questions about your business

Helping you answer the hard questions about your business

Instead, this is more about how you help others find you if you’re not entering the product space.

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Yesterday, I talked about some of the advantages of using IDs when working with various pieces of WordPress data and populating different input elements, saving it to the database, and more.

For certain types of data, this works well; however, this may not always be true especially as it relates to data types such as taxonomies. This is going to be most notable in WordPress 4.2.

Taxonomy Term Splitting

Taxonomy term splitting coming in WordPress 4.2

If you’re an experienced developer, then I recommend reading the blog post linked above; otherwise, suffice it to say that using IDs may not always be the best option depending on if you’re doing a database migration (and how that migration might be done).

So what else are we left to do?

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One of the features that I’ve often found myself having to implement when building custom solutions for others is implementing some type of select box – be it multi-select or single select – or another similar input element that’s [naturally] populated with a list of option elements.

These options may consist of posts, pages, custom post types, categories, taxonomies, etc. It doesn’t really matter what type of information it includes, but it does matter how the information is populated.

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Use Your WordPress Powers For Good

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to speak at WordCamp Atlanta about the Importance of Following The WordPress Coding Standards.

I had a blast talking with the audience, meeting new people, answering questions, and being exposed to some ideas and techniques that I’d not previously considered.

Following The WordPress Coding Standards

During the talk, a friend of mine happened to snap a picture of two young guys – between 11 – 13 years old or so – sitting on the front-row of the presentation.

Since I tend to be protective about sharing pictures of my own kids online, I’ve opted not to share the picture here, but it doesn’t matter – the important thing is that there were young kids present at this WordCamp soaking up every word that was being present and even asking questions.

This is something that I’ve yet to see at a WordCamp – at least in Atlanta – and it’s really got me excited for the future of computer science, of WordPress, and of programming in general.

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