WordCamp T.O. 2014

I attended my first WordCamp on the weekend and had a really great time. Though the talks are fairly short and somewhat introductory (at least in the Advanced Developer track which I was following) there is a lot of information given, and it is a good overview of where WordPress is headed. I now have a pretty good list of topics I need to delve into, and am already figuring out where I can apply some of the new knowledge in a practical way.

Some of the topics on my list:

Backbonejs – Since WP has now included Backbone in the core (for the admin area for now) I think I should get familiar with it. The demonstration was great, and it really made things look slick in the dashboard. Since it is bundled all that is required is to enqueue it in the usual way and have it there ready to do my bidding.

Angularjs – I have been fiddling with this a little anyway, but again, though not part of the core, a very powerful javascript framework that offers some great features useful to WP. The syntax seems simpler than Backbone, but then I haven’t really explored enough to know what I’m talking about just yet.

WP-CLI – I have looked at this before and passed it over, even though I love command line stuff. But so many of the developers at WordCamp swore by WP-CLI that I realise I better give it another look. Anything that improves workflow, speeds up development and helps eliminate the mundane is tops in my book.

Unit Testing – I have a bit of experience with unit testing in straight php environments, but never in WP. I didn’t even know that WP has unit tests built in, for both php and javascript. Very cool. Need to get this built into the flow as well.

Vagrant – I’ve played around with Vagrant after being introduced to it in my php meetup, but have not made it a regular part of my workflow. Generally I am in control of the server environments that I work with, so I haven’t seen it as being all that useful. However lately there have been a lot of problems related to FastCGI, Nginx, Plesk, etc. that I am reconsidering. I would like to at least experiment, and see if it does indeed improve the dev environment.

SASS – I have used SASS before and loved it, but have not touched it in awhile. It’s used a lot now, and significantly improves performence. Plus it’s pretty fun from what I remember, and seems to integrate well with other tools. Definately on the ‘brush up’ list.

All in all it was a great experience, well worth it. I would highly recommend attending a WordCamp when one comes to your town. And of course it is all recorded, so you can ‘attend’ anytime by going to WordPress TV.

CPT Auto Menu now handles multiple custom post types

Version 1.1.0 of my Custom Post Type Auto Menu plugin is out, and I am happy to say it now handles multiple custom post types. This is a feature that was requested, and frankly does make a lot of sense. It took quite a bit of reconfiguring, so any previous users of the plugin will have to re-do their settings in order to make it work, even if they just update it (sorry about that!). But with only a single custom post type, that is an easy fix.

In the announcement post I explained how the plugin works. It is still basically the same, except that multiple post types, and therefore multiple menus and parent menu items can be selected.

An image of the CPT Settings screen

In this example three custom post types have been chosen: Motorycle, House and Project. After selecting CPTS’s it is neccessary to save in order to launch the Menu Settings tab.

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Plugin: Custom Post Type Auto Menu

NOTE: The plugin has been updated since this post to handle multiple custom post types. This article still gives the basics but the settings have changed since then. Read about it here.

While working on a recent site, I realised that a simplified method for adding a new custom post type post to a menu was needed for the sake of the clients, who are not used to working with a CMS. In this case, the ‘Projects’ custom post type is used to encapsulate all the photos and information they would like to display related to each of their construction projects. The projects are listed on the ‘Projects’ page and displayed in the corresponding menu.
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Mobile First Frameworks

The philosophy is catching on, the market if catching up. Mobile First has taken root and for us developers things are getting easier. The Foundation framework by Zurb has adopted the principle in version 4, its latest incarnation:

“Mobile First: Now you can build for small devices first. Then, as devices get larger and larger, layer in more complexity.”

Next to follow is the very popular Twitter Bootstrap, when version 3 is released:

“Go mobile first. Responsive CSS is no longer separate and all responsive features are now compiled into the core bootstrap.css file. Separate files are no longer required, and have thus been removed.”

With these two productivity tools pushing the Mobile First mantra, we can expect the whole web landscape to start becoming a lot more responsive. This is a great opportunity for developers, and a great way to get left behind for businesses who don’t consider how important having the right site for the right device really is.