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 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.


WordPress and Business Intelligence with Anca Mosoiu

As WordPress becomes more and more useful as an application engine, developers will be expected to provide useful reports from systems driven by WordPress. Reports go beyond site visitor metrics – they provide domain-specific information about an individual business. 

In this workshop, we will examine the decision-making needs of organizations, and how to plan a WordPress project so it includes reporting. From this higher level, dive into the WordPress information architecture and database to look at strategies for creating reporting tables and information dashboards tailored to a specific business function.

Anca Mosoiu is the founder of Tech Liminal, where people with various skills and backgrounds come together to learn and build using technology. She is a programmer and consultant who loves complex, large-scale technology projects, where her curiosity and ability to translate between technical and non-technical helps teams get things done.

Her clients include the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Cisco Systems, Nike and Sony.

Anca works with small teams and individuals, coaching them to utilise software that helps them grow their business and complete projects. With a combination of tools like Google Apps, WordPress, a text editor and a sense of humor, she helps her clients automate their business, interact with their stakeholders, and manage their intellectual property online.

She is a graduate of MIT, where she studied Computer Science. 

This is our first meeting at Tech Liminal’s new location in the Port Workspaces in the Kaiser Center Mall. Access is by key card, but we’ll arrange to have people available to open the doors and to post signs to help you figure out where to go. There’s a large parking structure integrated into the mall, but you do have to pay for it.

Pricing and Packaging Your WordPress Services

All freelancers (and agencies) face the question of how to charge and how much to charge. 

When is an hourly rate appropriate–and what’s a reasonable hourly rate (for you; the clients will decide for themselves what they think is reasonable)? 

What is value-based pricing and how do you implement it? Do you charge for discovery? 

How detailed should cost breakdowns in your quotes be? 

What kind of payment schedule do you use? 

Have you created packages (e.g. a maintenance package, a basic install package), and if so, how has that worked for you?

I’m looking for volunteers to contribute their experience on this subject, so email me if you want to participate in a pricing panel.

Managing Multiple WordPress sites

I have more than 20 sites of my own to manage (production sites and dev/test sites for my own research, and a couple of sites for family and friends), plus a bunch of client sites. Most WordPress developers and consultants are in the same position. What do you do if you don’t want to spend all your time logging into sites and updating them?

The good news is, there are many tools and services out there for this. With the Mill team visiting from France, now seemed like a good time to talk about them. (Mill is a new tool for managing and deploying WordPress and Drupal sites.)

We’ll start with a demo & Q&A from Mill, and then move on to some of the tools that our meetup members have used. Please feel free to join in and share your own experience with these or other site management tools.

Sonja London will talk about how she uses InfiniteWP and MainWP to manage client websites and why they chose these two solutions.

Sallie Goetsch will talk about iThemes Sync and ManageWP.

Dec 2015 Meetup Notes: Page Builders and Pet Peeves

To lay the groundwork for the main presentation about making WordPress easier to use, we asked attendees to share their WordPress pet peeves. Several people mentioned the need to learn JavaScript, while at least one looked forward to being able to work more with JavaScript and less with PHP. Others talked about the constant maintenance and updates and the way things can break after a major update. Those newer to WordPress addressed the massive amount of trial and error involved, even when following detailed tutorials like those produced by Tyler Moore. And several people talked about the way WordPress was sold as an easy solution, even though it’s really not that easy.

Robby McCullough talking to the East Bay WordPress Meetup

Robby McCullough from Beaver Builder joined us on December 20th to give a demo of his product and answer questions from skeptics and enthusiasts alike.

Meetup members wanted to know how Beaver Builder ($99 for personal license) differs from Visual Composer ($34 for single-site license), apart from the fact that you can use Beaver Builder on unlimited sites. Robby said that people who had used both had told him the Beaver Builder interface was nicer and easier to grasp, but that the biggest thing is that if you deactivate or uninstall the plugin, your page is not left full of meaningless shortcodes.

Instead, Beaver Builder converts your content into HTML within the WordPress editor, removing all divs and layout information but retaining heading tags, italics, lists, and media.

There was some discussion about whether it might be possible to export specific layouts for use in building themes, without requiring the plugin. (ACF does something like this.)

As there are several Genesis fans in the group, people wanted to know about using Beaver Builder with Genesis. Lots of people in fact do this, and some also use Beaver Builder with the Dynamik website builder for Genesis. (Beaver builder aims to modify the content within a post or a page, rather than your theme as a whole, which is what Dynamik tweaks.) There is a free plugin called Genesis Dambuster to make integration easier.

You will, however, have to use the Beaver Builder theme in order to take advantage of the pre-made templates.

Sallie found she was able to create a simple landing page for a client based on one of said pre-made templates after the 5-minute tour, though she needed help with turning off the sticky header. Fortunately there’s a helpful Beaver Builder community on Slack to answer questions like that.

Chris Burbridge is actually teaching classes on using Beaver Builder, for anyone interested.

Thanks to A2 Hosting for the pizza, Pagely for the hosting, and O’Reilly for their partner discounts.