Resources

A summary of useful links, applications, and tools that I find around the Internet.

Interested in SEO For Beginners?

One of the things that I enjoy about keeping up with friends who are involved in different areas of development than I am is all of the cool things that they’re working on.

Sure, many are doing cool stuff within WordPress, but there are also a lot of people who are doing things with other technologies in web development, with OS X development, with eBooks, with their blogs, and so on.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Andrew Mason (no, not of Groupon), for the past several years and he’s someone who’s always got his hands in something media related – be it video production, audio production, or something along those lines.

Recently, he was tapped to narrate several audio books on search engine optimization, and he’s been kind enough to offer up several codes for free access to the audio book SEO Like I’m 5: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization.

Using Tap WordPress Hosting (and a Giveaway!)

When it comes to running this blog, I’m not nearly as technical as some of my peers.

In fact, I try to keep the hosting environment has much of a black box as possible. I want to be able to focus on blogging – not tweaking servers, configuring settings, dealing with staging environments, caching, CDNs, and all that normally comes with major projects.

That isn’t to say I don’t do that for the projects on which I work – there’s a time and a place for everything – but my goal for this site is to focus on blogging. To that end, when it comes to hosting, I don’t look for something that offers the greatest feature set with all of the fancy knobs to turn and tweaks to make.

Instead, I look for something that works well, that performs quickly out-of-the-box, that has great support (when needed), that grants me S/FTP access to my files, and then let’s me get on with blogging with minimal hassle.

Tap WordPress Hosting

For the past few months, I’ve been trying out Tap WordPress Hosting and, generally speaking, I’ve been really impressed.

ThemeFuse Giveaway: Hosting, Theme, and Domain

Comments on this post have been closed and the winner has been contacted. Thanks to all who participated!

Every now and then, I try to offer up several giveaways or opportunities that I think will be beneficial and useful to those of you who regularly read this blog.

ThemeFuse

Today, I’m happy to be offering a pretty sweet deal from the team over at ThemeFuse.

Making The Switch To Postmatic

Earlier this week, I decided to install the latest Postmatic beta on this site in order to give it a try. For those who aren’t familiar, Post Status has a great write up about it and you can watch the promotional video for it below:

In short, I think that anyone who manages a blog with any number of subscribers and commenters wants an easier way to manage their comments.

Maybe not. Maybe that’s just a few of us. But I know that I spend a significant portion of my day in my inbox, and I know that I try to respond to every comment that I get on this blog.

Sure, some fall through the cracks and that sucks, but having everything aggregated into email should alleviate that problem, right?

A WordPress Plugin Boilerplate Generator

Since the release of the latest version of the WordPress Plugin Boilerplate, the top two things that people have requested are documentation complete with examples, and a generator to ease the pain of having to replace certain tokens throughout the boilerplate’s codebase.

And I’m all for it – I’ve even committed to begin providing this material in early 2015 (and not just via the project’s website, but a few other channels, as well – more on that later). The awesome thing about open source is the contributions that can come from other people.

Sometimes these come in the form of patches or pull requests, other times they come in the form of extensions, enhancements, and other types of projects that help improve the initial project.

It’s awesome, isn’t it?

Formance for Client Side Form Validation

Arguably, one of the most tedious tasks that comes with building pages – or just parts of pages – is form validation. And by that, I mean handling all information that users provide in a given form and making sure that it’s in the proper format and safe to write to a data store.

For the most part, we don’t build forms that freely accept any type of information. We’re usually looking for names, dates, addresses, phone numbers, and so on. Sometimes, we’re looking for more, like payment information, in the case of building an eCommerce site.

At this point, there are validation libraries in the majority of common programming languages. This means it’s pretty easy to hook up a library to our work, pipe the information through it, and then report any errors before actually submitting any information.

But in the context of web applications, good validation is usually two-fold:

  1. Client-side form validation
  2. Server-side form validation

Using Codeship For Continuous Deployment of WordPress Projects

For anyone who has worked on commercial software for an agency or an organization – either large or small – is likely familiar with the idea of continuous deployment.

And it’s a great thing, right?

At several points throughout the day, all of the code that’s been committed to source control is run through testing, compiled (if needed), and then deployed after which an email is sent giving statistics of the build.

When working with WordPress, I think that tools like that are far less common. Instead, we test things locally, maybe we deploy things to staging, and then we hand off the project to the consumer or to the client.

For very small projects, I think a case can be made that that’s acceptable – I mean, you can go overkill on nearly anything – but if you’re going to be working on something that has a lot of moving parts and will be used by a lot of different people, doesn’t it stand to reason that having some type of deployment strategy something we should all be using?

Why I Use GistBox

One of the tools that I’ve been using more and more each day is GistBox. As the website states:

The Beautiful Way to Organize Code Snippets GistBox is the shared code library your team needs.

This isn’t a bad explanation by any means, but if you’re a single developer and/or you’re looking for quick reasons as to how this may be useful in your day-to-day workflow, this particular sentence leaves something to be desired, right?

Personally, I was skeptical until I gave it a try, but now I can’t really imagine not using.

Using LighthouseApp For WordPress Issues

One of the things that I love about GitHub is how they’ve done a great job integrating source code, milestones, tickets, pull requests, and so on.

But if you’re working with WordPress, not all projects all on which you work will use GitHub.

Case in point: If you’re selling a theme on WordPress.com or if you’re working on a plugin that is hosted in the WordPress Plugin Repository, then you’re going to be using Subversion as your source control system. But this doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the work flow of milestones, tickets, and so on.

It just requires that you use a third-party solution. For example, for the past couple of months, I’ve been using LighthouseApp as my issue tracker of choice for Mayer.

Managing Email with Flywheel and Pobox Email Forwarding

Late last year, I migrated this site to Flywheel for managed WordPress hosting (which I talked a little bit about in this post). I’ve been incredibly happy with them for a number of reasons, each of which I cover at a later time; however, one of the features that they do not offer is email hosting.

Straight from their support channel:

At Flywheel we believe strongly in working with “best of breed” providers for everything we do, and we view ourselves to be a “best of breed WordPress host.” As such, we do not currently host email for our clients. We make a deliberate effort to focus on building a great WordPress hosting environment – and being the absolute best at it.

I love the mentality and the vision they’re after, but this does leave us needing to look for an alternative host.

They mention Google Apps, Zoho Mail, and Rackspace Email as alternatives, but the last thing that I wanted to do was setup yet-another-email-address.

I have a handful of email addresses all of which forward to a single Gmail box that allow me to respond from the address to which the email was sent, and I wanted to duplicate that for this particular domain.

So I tried one of the recommended solutions for a couple of months, and I couldn’t get it to jive with my workflow (for a number of different reasons, none of which I’m covering here).

This ultimately lead me to try out Pobox.