Git version control for the complete n00b

Git is a free and open sourcedistributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.

(Version control, if you’re not familiar with it, is a tool to allow you to revert to an earlier version of your code if you mess something up.)

Adam LaBarge has kindly agreed to walk us through setting up Git for development and teaching it to play nicely with your IDE or text editor.

Cross-platform Git clients you might want to install:

SourceTree

GitHub Desktop

You can also use Git within KomodophpStorm, Coda, Eclipse, and Sublime Text.

Improve Performance and Security with Let’s Encrypt and CloudFlare

Your website is under attack from thousands of bots–and so is everyone else’s. Here are two free services to help with that.

Let’s Encrypt offers free SSL certificates so you can serve all your content over HTTPS. Since you’ll probably pay $70/year to your hosting company otherwise, this is a great deal. Some hosting companies even offer one-click installation of Let’s Encrypt certificates. (Otherwise you will need to do a little command-line work.) Just add the Really Simple SSL plugin for WordPress and you’re golden.

CloudFlare provides an awesome free service to protect your site from DDoS attacks and improve performance through a combination of a CDN (content delivery network) and caching. They deliver your site over HTTP/2 if you have a secure connection (hence the need to start with Let’s Encrypt).

At the May 2016 East Bay WordPress Meetup, we’ll walk through getting your SSL Certificate set up with Let’s Encrypt and then setting up your free CloudFlare account.

Accessibility for WordPress Developers

“Today, 25% of the web runs on WordPress and our mission is to democratize publishing. That is why we will keep moving forward on the accessibility of WordPress: to give everyone, including people with a disability, an excellent and easy to use tool so they can maintain their own website or application.”

Ozzy Rodriguez will provide an overview of the what why and how of accessibility for WordPress:

• What is accessibility?

• Why should I make my/my client’s website accessible?

• What are the WordPress accessibility standards?

• Where can I check the accessibility of my website?

• What do designers need to know about accessibility?

• How do I make my theme accessible?

• How do I make my content accessible?

• How does accessibility tie into SEO?

• Are there any WordPress plugins to help make sites more accessible?

April 2016 Meetup Notes

Here are some links and notes from the open Q & A part of the April 2016 East Bay WordPress Meetup.

Analytics for Landing Pages

SumoMe provides an awesome suite of analytics tools. There are WordPress plugins, but you can use SumoMe on any website. There’s a free version, a $40/month version, and a $100/month version.

For A/B testing, try Unbounce, which lets you build landing pages as well as testing them. Plans start at $49/month. 30-day free trial.

Opinions on Visual Composer

Page building tools like Visual Composer can add a lot of overhead to your site and decrease performance. They’re also not wonderful for SEO. If you deactivate Visual Composer, all that’s left of your content for those pages will be a collection of shortcodes. And there may be times when it’s actually a lot faster to write code than to build something with Visual Composer.

That said, Visual Composer is very popular and it can help non-coders to create different page layouts quickly. If you are going to use it, make sure you install it as a separate plugin rather than having it bundled into a theme. Plugins that have been bundled into themes can’t be updated separately and pose a security risk.

Creating your own SEO-friendly HTML output

If something like Visual Composer is giving you trouble with managing your on-page SEO, have a look at Rendera from Heroku.
Type in your HTML code and see it rendered in realtime. Then style it with CSS. You can use any of the HTML5 or CSS3 tags your browser supports.

How to tell bots to go crawl themselves

(A nice trick courtesy of SiteGround support, explained in more detail on the WP Fangirl blog.)

# BEGIN Tell bots to go crawl themselves
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} (bot|crawl|robot)
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} !(bing|Google|msn|MSR|Twitter) [NC]
RewriteRule ^/?.*$ "http\:\/\/127\.0\.0\.1" [R,L]
</IfModule>
# END Tell bots to go crawl themselves

Mac tool for creating diagrams

Omnigraffle is for creating precise, beautiful graphics. Like website wireframes, an electrical system design, a family tree, or mapping out software classes. For artists, designers, casual data-mappers, and everyone in-between.

Mac desktop: $99
iOS: $49

The East Bay WordPress Meetup has a new location

Tech Liminal has been the venue for the East Bay WordPress Meetup since late 2009. In 2012, Tech Liminal moved from 14th Street to the Ask.com building at 11th and Clay. Now Tech Liminal has moved again, to The Port Workspaces in the Kaiser Mall at 344 Thomas L. Berkley Way (a.k.a. 20th St).

What you need to know about the new location

Access to the building is by key card only. There will be someone at the 20th Street entrance (the one under the big “344”, next to CVS) to let you in. If you’re late and no one is at the door, contact Anca or Cindy.

floor plan for Port Workspaces

The parking garage is closed on Sundays, but it’s not too difficult to find street parking. (You probably didn’t want to pay for the garage anyway.)

The escalator doesn’t run on weekends, so you need to take the lift elevator to the third floor. Walk straight through the lobby and you’ll find the elevator on your right just before the escalator appears on the left.

The roof garden is also closed weekends, but there’s an outdoor patio next to the space we’ve been using to meet.

Our exact meeting location may change depending on the number of RSVPs. Right now we’re on the third floor, past the bar, next to the outdoor patio.

We’re still getting pizza thanks to A2 hosting.