WP Chick Kim Doyal covers content marketing, content promotion, lead generation, and Google Tag Manager.
This is an expanded version of the “Not Everyone Is a WordPress Expert” talk that I gave at WordCamp Sacramento in November. In it, I cover the developer-client disconnect about the difficulty of WordPress and several approaches we can take to making WordPress more client-friendly.
For the December meetup I added a discussion of Calypso (not yet released at the time of WCSAC) and more in-depth coverage of the Editus plugin from Aesop Interactive. (TL;DR: Calypso is cool but as is won’t be likely to help our clients much, whereas Editus is extremely promising.) I also briefly mentioned the Snowball plugin from the Open HTML Group.
I also had a chance to use Beaver Builder on a real client site, from which I concluded that in most cases this is a tool to make WordPress easier for the people who build the sites than the people we build them for.
Fred Meyer from WP Shout joined us via Skype to give his presentation (also seen at WC Denver) on “What I learned about WordPress development by interviewing
15 13 of the best WordPress developers.”
Good WordPress code is not distinguished by difficulty, innovation, or cleverness. The key to good code is clarity. Will someone who looks at your code know what you were trying to do and why? Will you know if you come back to it 6 months later? Can your code serve as a good example for people who are learning to code?
Persistence and curiosity are qualities you need in order to become a good developer. The need to understand why and how code works, it will motivate you to learn. You develop skill through continued practice. You don’t have to be a genius to be a WordPress developer. You just have to keep working at becoming better.
Don’t chase the shiny. Once you have found tools that work for you, you don’t need to try every new one that someone mentions. Just because something is new and popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than what you’re already doing. Before you jump in, make sure there’s going to be an advantage over what you’re already doing.
The Codex is your friend–and so is the code. Almost everything you need to know is in the WordPress Codex, but to really understand how WordPress works, look at the core code.
Fred is a huge fan of the CSS pre-processor SASS. We had a presentation about CSS pre-processors at the meetup a few years ago. SASS makes writing CSS more like writing PHP. There’s a free cross-platform SASS compiler called Koala if you’re not big on the command line.
Jermaine Holmes won the free copy of Up and Running: A Practical Guide to WordPress Development.
WP Shout has produced handy stickers with tips on some of the most common WordPress conditional tags. Trivia for the day:
is_dynamic_sidebar does not check to see whether you are in a sidebar file, but whether there are any widgets activated in any sidebars on the site.
WordPress Hosting Resources
Prior to Fred’s presentation, the group had a discussion about site speed, performance, and hosting. The single biggest factor in your site’s performance is your hosting company. The best caching and performance tools (e.g. memcached, OPcache, APC) have to be installed on the server and are not available with most cheap shared hosting accounts.
Fortunately, there are now many hosting companies that specialize in WordPress.
The first was our sponsor (and host of this site) Pagely, which still has options for small businesses even though they have transitioned primarily into enterprise hosting. Pagely uses Amazon’s servers. They have been fantastic in terms of up-time, support, and security.
There are plenty of other options, however, including the Turbo service from our new sponsor A2 Hosting, Flywheel‘s option to stage a site for free before transferring it to a client, and GoDaddy‘s new inexpensive managed WordPress hosting plans. Each of these different providers offers something unique.
To help you decide, here are some recent comparisons of managed WordPress hosting providers:
The focus of the July 2015 meetup was Modern Tribe’s plugin The Events Calendar and its companions, Events Calendar Pro, Community Events, Facebook Events, and Tickets/Eventbrite Tickets. Rob La Gatta from Modern Tribe spoke first, providing an overview of the plugins and answering questions about the projected roadmap.
After that, Sallie Goetsch provided some examples of different ways she has customized The Events Calendar and Events Calendar Pro on client sites, including importing events from another plugin, setting up an event slider with Meta Slider Pro, integrating The Events Calendar into a Genesis child theme, using shortcodes from Event Rocket, creating a horizontal list widget with photos, and modifying the Photo view to show an equal-heights grid instead of a masonry grid.
Notes from Rob La Gatta’s Presentation on The Events Calendar
What is The Events Calendar? A free plugin on WordPress.org, one of the most popular plugins there (not just among event plugins). Since 2010 when the plugin was launched, there have been more than 2 million downloads.
Premium Add-ons for The Events Calendar
- Events Calendar Pro (new views, recurring event)
- Filter Bar (front-end)
- Community Events (submissions from users)
- Facebook Events (imports FB events)
- Eventbrite Tickets (integrates Eventbrite ticketing)
- The Events Calendar Tickets (WooCommerce, EDD, Shopp, WP e-Commerce)
The Events Calendar in Use
TEC (not pro) customized, using the basic calendar month view, event descriptions with videos, custom ticket solution with TicketFly
TEC Pro, Filter Bar, WooCommerce. Filter bar is in the sidebar doing a Facet-Type narrowing of results. List view on events page.
TEC, Pro, Community. Fairly standard implementation of the calendar itself. They’ve customized the form with a nice photo background. Yes, you DO get to moderate the submitted events. The next step with the Community plugin is to monetize: allow people to submit tickets AND charge for listings. You can allow the community members to edit their events later.
TEC Pro plus Category Colors (free plugin available from the repo).
They’re even using the experimental Agenda View add-on from GitHub. (But it appears to be broken!)
Feature Requests and Roadmap for The Events Calendar
The new version of Events Calendar Pro supports multiple organizers for the same events.
Feature request: multiple costs per event, and ability to show different prices to members and non-members.
Eve Lurie asks about multi-day events that don’t happen at the same time every day. (Another feature request?)
Note that you can add the top-level events page from the Menu UI.
Feature request: booking add-on. Rob says it’s been requested a lot.
Next release, due this week: iCal importer, new coding standards, performance enhancements. On the roadmap we have custom recurrents, WPML integration, time zone support, iThemes tickets, attendee info, Community Tickets, QR codes.
Custom reporting/bulk registration request: suppose your admin is registering for multiple tickets and the attendees are different people: they are the ones who should be getting the confirmations and other info. Carleigh wants to be able to report on people as a group and also to save attendee profiles and registration history. Rob says Modern Tribe IS working on bulk registration features, but it’s not done yet. It will be built into the WooCommerce add-on (called something like Attendee Meta).
Feature request: live/continuous import of Google Calendar events. They have it in The Events Manager.
Feature request: create an event with the date To Be Determined. You just can’t do that right now. You have to have a date in order to create an event.