Tag Archives: WordPress Meetup

Intro to WordPress Plugin Development : NYC Meetup Recap

Brad Williams addresses NYC crowd at WordPress NYC meetupIt’s been an interesting last few weeks for my personal development, and metaphorically speaking you could say that it has mirrored what's been going on with WordPress over the last few months. I’ve been optimizing, learning, and expanding the scope of how I see myself, and how others view me, plus I finally got around to launching some online design samples. As far as what’s going on with WordPress, the “little blog platform that could” has matured greatly and now launched (at the time of this writing) a full upgrade to WordPress 3.1.

Many consider WordPress to be a full blown Content Management System (CMS) even more than before, with the recent introduction of custom post types (and admin UI to match) and the fact that you can hack the admin interface to your liking with plugins like White Label CMS. It seems (at least for me personally,) all that remains is learning how to use the WordPress core smarter in my projects, plus figuring out whats a nice add-on (plugins, themes, hacks, and custom code) versus what practices should just be abandoned in lieu of improvements in WordPress 3. So, eager to find out what I could do with WordPress outside the norm, enter the latest WordPress NYC Meetup.

Oliver Wellington of Nrelate walks the WordPress NYC Meetup crowd through the Nrelate Related Content plugin and the design contest they are running.After missing a few WordPress meetups I really wanted to attend, I made time this week to head out to the WordPress Meetup NYC at it’s new location hosted at NYU Poly, and I made sure I RSVP’ed to get a slot. Especially, since in this edition the topic was a hot one, Brad Williams of WebDevStudios presented Intro to WordPress Plugin Development. Brad coincidentally runs the Philly WordPress meetup and if this presentation was any indication it’s also definitely worth attending on a regular basis as well.

A few changes since my last meetup were apparent this time around. NYU Poly is now the venue sponsor replacing Oracle in midtown. I must say the sunlight coming in through the window made for a nice feel. The environment definitely felt less corporate than the Oracle space and I recommend getting there early to find a good perch to view the screen.

Brad Williams’s slides were straight forward and focused on laying the foundation of good WordPress optimized code. He’s a great presenter that made nice with the NYC crowd sporting a “I Love NY” undershirt, and using fun examples like walking us through his faux plugin that engaged “Rage mode” on a mock blog to teach us his philosophy on plugin construction. There was a lively Q&A session but mainly the crowd wanted his slides. Other interesting things to note are – there was a heavy presence from designers, and a large group of newcomers to the meetup which was nice to see.

I won’t re-hash Brad’s slides but here are my main takeaways from the presentation and the Q&A:

  • A complete grasp of the anatomy of a plugin
  • Better understanding of introducing my own short codes
  • The concept of “conflicting” function names with other plugins and how to combat this
  • Two examples of high-selling premium plugins are Gravity Forms and Backup Buddy
  • Taking advantage of code hooks in WordPress and there are thousands of them, some undocumented in codex and detailed info only exists in WordPress core code.
  • His anecdote about the folks behind Gravity Forms “building a better mouse trap” contact form and then turning down client work to focus strictly on product development, hit home. In addition, his comments on finding plugins you like – which development has stalled on, might be a good place to start for ideas on your own plugins.
  • Brad also discussed “pay models” and licensing for your potential products: give it away free with paid support, versus pay up front and offer varying levels of support and upgrades, etc.

Brad’s presentation got people excited, after which the crowd broke up into two rooms: WordPress Newbies (in which Chris Cochran of Webdevstudios fielded questions) and the more advanced WordPress crew stayed in the main room with Brad Williams and Steve Bruner.

Steve Bruner addresses the crowd during WordPress NYC meetup.Sponsors Nrelate and Themeforest.net were on hand to make their presence felt. Nrelate is running a contest you can learn more about by subscribing to their newsletter on their blog, Oliver Wellington basically announced you can style (using css) the output from their Nrelate Related Content plugin anyway you want, which they boast can improve your click-through rates on your site by at least 5%. Submit your styling for their review and you can win some cash and credit in the source code if your styling gets integrated into the next version of the plugin. Also Steve Bruner and Mark Brodhuber of Themeforest.net handed out 23 t-shirts to some lucky early birds.
The other treat for the attendees was that 3 copies of Professional WordPress Plugin Development, and 3 copies of Professional WordPress (Wrox Programmer to Programmer) were raffled off after Brad’s presentation. Still bummed I didn’t win any.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next one, and seeing some familiar faces and meeting new friends. Especially, since I will have knocked out a “Hello World” plugin or perhaps my own “Rage mode” plugin by then. Cheers.

More thoughts on WordPress, Custom Post Types, and Plugin Development

1. Brad William’s slides for Intro to WordPress Plugin Development

2. The CMS Power of WordPress

3. Tutorial – Custom Post Types for WordPress

4. Registering and Displaying WordPress Custom Post Types In a Very Easy Way

5. Ten Things Every WordPress Plugin Developer Should Know

6. How to Write a WordPress Plugin: 12 Essential Guides and Resources

7. Do we do enough to support WordPress Plugin Developers?

Read more on ChrisDigital's Digital Designer Blog:

1. My WordCamp NYC 2012 Recap : 800 WordPress fans assemble

2. The Importance of Social Media and Your Online Persona

3. Responsive Design: WordPress NYC Meetup Recap

Looking behind the curtain of WordPress 3.0

Exploring WordPress 3.0 and development issues raise questions about this important version updateI went to my first WordPress NYC Meetup yesterday, and I was pretty excited about it. It was serendipity that my work load started to ease up when this meetup was scheduled, and I wanted to hear directly from others what they were up to with WordPress. Since I’ve had my head down the last few months fine tuning this blog, I also wanted to know about issues I might run into down the line with the pending release of WordPress 3.0 coming later this year. At the time of this writing it’s currently in its second beta and a lot is still in flux. This topic was a hot one and it was reported 94 souls braved the rain and schlepped it to mid-town NYC to get some insight into what’s coming next for WordPress fans.
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So, how was it?

Many thanks to the presenters Steve Bruner and Boone Gorges (who covered WordPress 3.0 MultiSite functionality) for their time and energy. They kept things moving and hosted a lively discussion. I got the most out of hearing what people were actually doing with WordPress currently and possible answers to their functionality questions. In addition to covering the new standard theme for 3.0 "2010", how to retrofit old themes for 3.0, the new native parent/child theme functionality, custom taxonomies, custom posts, some minor changes to WordPress semantics, etc. (here’s a full list of announced features of WordPress 3.0), I also left with a short list of plugins I need to look into that might help me with some of my current work.

Do you need to care about WordPress 3.0?

The short answer is “No, not yet.”
To be perfectly honest I’ve been ignoring 3.0 since I heard about it because I haven’t worked on multi-user or a network of sites that require one back-end database, which is one of big selling points of 3.0. My indifference apparently is being rewarded as I heard the unofficial word yesterday that there will be support of WordPress 2.9.x for sometime even after 3.0′s release, while people sort out how their world is changing. As of right now and on the horizon, there is no immediate need to make the jump to the latest beta or new release as in the past (usually for critical security patches) because 2.9 is so stable. As you can see by this project plan 3.0′s release is a little behind, no doubt due to issues that pop up in real world application of the new release.

Laying the ground work for migration and upgrading

I did walk away with some sound advice from the Meetup, which is – there is functionality in the new release that makes your life a lot easier, ESPECIALLY if you’re running multi-user sites and doing advanced tweaks to your templates and themes. However, using a beta on live client sites is inadvisable due to the fact the product is still in beta testing. What you should be doing is copying your live sites in a “sandbox” environment or doing local installs of the beta and seeing how your data interacts with it. This will help you be ahead of the curve when WordPress 3.0 officially drops later this year. This is especially prudent if you have to describe functionality to others or train your clients on new features. You can peek behind the curtain on the WordPress development blog to get on idea of how furiously developers are working to get 3.0 released.

Is this app going to be a beast?

This is one of the questions that came up at the Meetup, and how your Website will scale is definitely a concern that WordPress 3.0 will have people talking about. Using this software certainly comes with the responsibility of understanding the hosting infrastructure you’re installing it on. There are sure to be some hosts that ban or at least discourage installing multi-user site features on their network for fear of them being resource hogs. Come on… who wouldn’t want a potential open faucet that could scale to thousands of users in a matter of months on each hosting account? The politics behind this should be interesting to watch. The first thought I had when this crossed my mind was the possibility of modified version releases or some ability to disable core functionality with tiered license keys so that hosts could feel comfortable that they can control the install base on their network. I’m curious if this will be a serious push to have WP 3.0 sites hosted on "cloud" platforms. It’s probably also likely a lot more Web hosts are going to get into the CDN business in one form or another as a result of WordPress 3.0′s release.

What’s next?

WordPress 2.9 is stable and fine for most people right now. WP 3.0 beta introduces functionality fixes, and some changes to UI quibbles users had with previous versions. But I’m really interested in what the WordPress plugin and theme framework developers will do with 3.0. I’ll take my cues from that community, which will most likely push WordPress very far from being known as a “blog platform.” For example, Steve Bruner showed a demo of RoloPress, his version of "Contact Manager" built on WordPress backend at last night’s Meetup. WordPress 2.9 introduced a lot of concepts and GUI goodness that will be in 3.0 final release, but 3.0 kicks it up a notch for 2.9 users with features like the "drag and drop" menu builder. In the past building something equivalent and having the associated admin UI to manage that feature would have to been a code hack or involved searching for a pretty specialized and heavy duty plugin. Doing less code hacks and slimming down on the use of plugins is always good because it simplifies your software upgrade path, giving you easier access to the next latest and greatest thing. Everyone likes that :-)

Notes

Looking forward to Wordcamp NYC later in the year (planning was announced for October or November 2010.) The book I mentioned in the Q&A that covers WordPress basics quite nicely is Building a WordPress Blog People Want to Readand having Jeremy Clarke there answering questions was awesome also.

More Thoughts on WordPress 3.0

1. WordPress 3.0 – What Lies Ahead? Awesomeness

2. What’s coming up in WordPress 3.0

3. What’s Coming in WordPress 3.0 (Features)

4. It’s coming! WordPress 3.0 – Pros and Cons

5. How to Enable Multisite in WordPress 3.0