Tag Archives: features

WordPress News: How to use GIT for WordPress Development

Do you like Time Travel? Do you also like saving your work files? Well now you can do both at the same time by using Git to save your files while keeping track of each change, to each file along the way. Once you’ve saved (committed) a file in the project, the old version is saved forever allowing you to travel back through time to make changes or revert back to old files when needed.

Imagine your just uploaded your beautiful new custom theme to your WordPress site and you realize that you forgot to save your old CSS file and you’ve just overwritten the old one on your web server. You now have no way to revert back to your latest version of the old layout in case you have problems with browser compatibility in the new layout.

Git is a very powerful version control system that allows you to keep track of all your files during a project so losing file version along the way will never happen. This requires a few extra steps during your saving process, but it has saved the skins of many programmers from all over the world every day. Now, we should all try to save backups of our projects and files to protect from data loss and keeping old versions. Git takes that idea but saves each version of that file since it was created. It also protects someone from editing a file at the same time someone else is, preventing overwriting of each others new version.

Let’s take a look at the Git structure to get a clear picture of how the system checks out and references each file.

Git file reference structure
Git file reference structure

This table shows us how Git associates each file to the master project. Each time a change is made, a “snapshot” of the entire file structure is made. This allows us to see our project in front of us, while old versions are saved and hidden from view unless we physically use our time travel capability to revert. Additionally, if no changes were made to a file in a new commit, the old version will automatically be referenced instead of uploading the unchanged file into the project commit. These basic features are why Git is so powerful and efficient, that might explain why 42.9% of professional software developers reporting that they use Git as their primary content version control system.

To learn more about Git the features and the benefits, please refer to these links from which this article was sourced.

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WordPress Words: Trackbacks

A trackback is one of four types of linkback methods for website authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents.
Wikipedia.

Example: If I’m writing about a subject, and I find an article that I think makes a bunch of good points about the issue, I can link to their page as usual. But if both my site and the owner of the linked site are trackback-enabled, then my link automatically creates a notification that will inform the linked site of the new connection. This notification also provides links back and forth between the two pages, allowing readers to easily follow related streams of information

About The Word

Trackbacks have been in use since 2002, and there are currently efforts to make it’s usage an internet standard through the IETF. Though trackbacks can be very helpful, many bloggers have stopped using them. This is mostly due to some companies who have abused the feature, linking to spam sites. Though spam filters exist, the headache of having to sift through spam has led to a decline of trackback usage. On WordPress, trackbacks must be created manually, this process is explained by the first “More Information” link below.

Here’s what a trackback looks like on a site:

A trackback displayed on a website.

For More Information

Installing WordPress on Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services  (AWS) offer a way to host your own WordPress sight with no hardware and little to no expense on a small WP blog site. This is ideal if you want to start working with a self hosted WordPress site for developmental purposes, monetization of your blog, or just good ol’ bragging rights.

In this article I will go into an overview of the EC2 service and the various Virtual Machines (referred to as instances from here on out) that are free and paid. Some may be free to download and initially spin up but may incur an additional cost to the AWS price tier even if you are in the Free Tier. Even though I discuss the free tier exclusively and micro-instances it should be mentioned that the AWS allows for scalability of your WordPress site so it can grow as your site(s) grow.

Bitnami Logo for WP instance.There are various pre-made instances for use with your AWS account that are configured for just about “one touch” configuration. Some are free, others are free to upload to AWS but incur a usage cost, and others cost for upload and usage. A few of the providers are; Bitnami, JumpBox, and Turnkey Linux. If you do choose to go with these “one click” solutions be sure to read all the print to verify if there are any charges for the instance or use of and how the charges are calculated. Continue reading Installing WordPress on Amazon Web Services

Domain Name Services: Postman of the Internet

Domain Name Services (DNS) is a service which exist to help us humanize the addresses of networked resources. Humans remember words as a whole easier than numbers representing octal based Internet Protocol addresses of those same networked resources be them across the Wide World Web or just an arms length away on our local network.

That was a mouth full. Essentially through DNS you can type in a URL into your favorite web browser and through the process of name resolution your system contacts a server acting in your behalf to find the correct IP address that matches the human oriented address you type in.

Sounds simple but a lot of chatter between various servers near and far may happen just to pull up that favorite site that you wish to view. First your own system will see if it has the particular IP/URL pairing locally in it’s own tables. On your computer this information will be kept in a host.txt file and depending on the operating system the location varies. Continue reading Domain Name Services: Postman of the Internet

How to Create and Use Abbreviations in HTML

Our friend the <acronym> tag has been deprecated with the release of HTML5, so how does this affect the use of acronyms generated with HTML? Well, we have a new friend! The <abbr> tag joins the HTML element list with HTML5. Continue reading How to Create and Use Abbreviations in HTML

Interview with WordPress Web Designer Brian Balla

Brian Balla a WordPress Web DesignerRecently, I had the opportunity to interview Brian Balla. Brian is a WordPress Web Designer located in Portland, Oregon.

In 2009, Brian Balla left a 9 to 5 corporate design position to embark on a career as a freelance web designer and WordPress specialist. Since then, Brian has been able to retain a client roster of over 55 small to medium sized businesses in five states and two continents. With a background in small business, Brian is passionate about helping business owners and scrappy start-ups make their websites work harder for them. From one-page informational websites to complex enterprise level applications, Brian offers his clients expertise in a variety of areas including web design, WordPress development, standards compliance, analytics interpretation, and search engine marketing and optimization.

How did you get introduced to WordPress?

During high school and college, most of my free time was spent either writing or building websites.

After college, my web design hobby went to the “back burner” and laid dormant for several years as I immersed myself in suits and ties and 8 o’clock meetings. Fast forward to the fall of 2006. As I was searching for a restaurant for dinner later that evening, I came across a website with the link “Powered by WordPress = Code is Poetry”. This reminded me of my days designing and developing. I skipped the menu and I followed that link. Fast forward again to several weeks after that. I had fully immersed myself in the world of WordPress and began building and breaking things faster than I could keep track. Continue reading Interview with WordPress Web Designer Brian Balla

How to Use the WordPress.com Reader

WordPress.com Reader is ideal for the WordPress.com member who needs to be updated 24/7, those who work in industries where changes occur repeatedly such as news or finance, or just the average person who likes to have all the information they need at there fingertips. Can you just imagine having all this information fed into your computer or mobile device as it is happening? Well, this is what WordPress.com Reader will do for you.

The WordPress.com Reader displays all the posts in order as they are published with the most current blogs at the top of the list. You will see just a small excerpt of each post, as an introduction to the blog, with thumbnails of images. When you want to read more, just click on the blog title and you can read the full blog. Here is an example of what you might see from a blog excerpt:

WordPress reader blog feed example.

At the bottom of the WordPress.com Reader feed you have the option to Like and/or Reblog  by clicking on the icons in the bottom right corner of each post. Continue reading How to Use the WordPress.com Reader

WordPress Improves Human Time Difference

WordPress has improved the “Human Time Difference” feature that displays on posts. Up to 60 days the posts will say “Posted 33 days ago” as before, but on posts older then 60 days instead of “Posted 3 months ago” the line will now display the exact date it was posted on, rather then an arbitrary month count. Themes had individually done this before, but this has now become a WordPress standard.

A Well-Dressed WordPress Widget Sidebar

I can’t resist using a quote from our professor Lorelle VanFossen to introduce this article:

“Your sidebar is not your junk drawer.”

Keeping your sidebars clean of Widgets that are unnecessary to your site is essential to maintaining a clean, professional look to your site. There are many Widgets that have their place and time, but should not be used injudiciously. It can be a common misstep (particularly among those who are new to WordPress) to use all of the cool Widgets that you can find. This can be a disastrous mistake, as it clutters your site with needless information, and hinders its navigability.

It should be obvious that this applies not only to the main sidebar present in all WordPress themes, but also to the other areas that are available for placing Widgets.
Continue reading A Well-Dressed WordPress Widget Sidebar

Child Theme Applied to Reverse Reverse

This is an article for a graded assignment covering the process of styling a Child Theme, changing the look and feel of the Parent Theme on a WordPress site.

The overall purpose of my blog site is that it will be a static page with 9 blog posts in reverse chronological order so when the page is done it will start with #1. Its working out so the videos will show my kids growing up.

The first screenshot is the desktop version in its entirety. I am keeping the meta section in so I can easily log in. This widget will be replaced by a longer list of recent posts. I’m leaving the Tags section in because it looks cool. I still need to put more thought into the menu pages.
Continue reading Child Theme Applied to Reverse Reverse

How to Cite More than One Contributor on a Post

So if you have more than one author on your site, and more than one author working on a certain post, how do you give credit to multiple authors? When creating the post, there is only room to add one author. Well fear not, there is actually more than one solution making it as easy as “plugging in” the authors name.

As you can see below, there is only room to add one author into your post. Well that is about to change for good.
Only one line to select an author for a post
Continue reading How to Cite More than One Contributor on a Post

Screen Options Feature in WordPress

So what is that Screen Options tab at the top of most pages in WordPress? It’s not really too intrusive, but what does it do exactly? Well, for those of you who have not been daring enough to click the little guy, I am going to cover what that little tab does.

Before I begin, I want to make it clear that different pages have different options inside the “Screen Options” tab. It only makes sense that you don’t have the same options in the Media window as you do in the Posts or Pages window. So keep in mind that we will be covering a lot of different options in different windows, but the only way to really know and understand what each one has, is to click it. Don’t worry, any changes you make can be changed back with a simple click of the mouse.
Continue reading Screen Options Feature in WordPress

WordPress News: 10/7-10/15

WordPress 3.7 Beta 2 Released

WordPress 3.7 Beta 2 is out and ready for download. If you downloaded the Beta 1 then in theory Beta 2 should have updated automatically. This is still in development (a.k.a. lots of bugs!) so I do not recommend running this on your main site but to run it on another site or at least do not run on ones with high traffic.

WordPress 3.7 Beta 2

The new features are as follows:

  • Automatic background updates – so when beta 3 rolls around no need for another download!
  • Search results – now ordered by relevance other than date.
  • Password Meter – Strong passwords are important and this new meter will help get better passwords.

They need more beta testers so get on the downloading!
Continue reading WordPress News: 10/7-10/15