Category Archive: Development

Question: Adding GIT To My Workflow As A Designer

This is a bit different than my usual post, since I’m looking more for feedback than I am trying to teach something.

My typical workflow for doing a WordPress theme is as follows:

  1. Design PSD Mockups
  2. Develop HTML/CSS from PSD
  3. Weave WordPress boilerplate theme into HTML/CSS
  4. Take it server-side
  5. Finish up with functions and loops not already inserted

I know that somewhere in there is a spot for a version control system, but being on a Windows machine that has a few drawbacks… namely, since I’ve managed to get GIT working to sync up the entire WordPress install, once I run the sync it refuses to run locally (or vice versa).

My question is: are there any resources for developing themes with a version control system (like GIT) and [two part question] would I be better off only adding the theme folder as a repo and going from there?

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How To Search A Specific Custom Post Type (Only!) in WordPress

If you’re like me, you use custom post types a LOT when you’re doing projects (or on your own site, if I’ve done it for you!).  There’s a lot of value in having a type of content that’s unrestrained and flexible.  Sometimes, however, you want to be able to search a particular post type, and leave out all of the other results (pages, blog posts, etc).  Here’s a handy snippit that will let you do just that.

[code]

<form id=”searchform” action=”<?php bloginfo(‘url’); ?>/” method=”get”>
<input class=”inlineSearch” type=”text” name=”s” value=”Enter a keyword” onblur=”if (this.value == ”) {this.value = ‘Enter a keyword’;}” onfocus=”if (this.value == ‘Enter a keyword’) {this.value = ”;}” />
<input type=”hidden” name=”post_type” value=”VALUE” />
<input class=”inlineSubmit” id=”searchsubmit” type=”submit” alt=”Search” value=”Search” />
</form>

[/code]

Line 3 is the key – it’s a hidden field that defines the “post_type” as whatever value you have there (the query variable, not the name mind you).

As an added bonus, this particular search button clears the default text on click so as not to have an awkward empty search box when you first access it.

Add this into any template and you’ve got yourself a laser-specific search box for your custom post needs.

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Logged In? Or Not? WordPress Can Check!

Today’s a quick post, but it’s worthwhile if you’re using WordPress as a Content Management System.  A lot of times people utilize the built in account system (user logins) to showcase membership data, ecommerce data, and a whole lot more.  I found a need at one point to show different data to people depending on whether or not they were logged in.  Turns out, WordPress has a built in function for it:

[code]

<?php
if ( is_user_logged_in() ) { ?>
<!–Logged In Stuff–>
<?php } else { ?>
<!–Logged Out Stuff–>
<?php } ?>

[/code]

You could replace those with menus to have separate menus that show up depending on whether you are logged in or not.  You could even have a log-in button for people who aren’t logged in, and a welcome text message for anyone who is.  The possibilities are endless, and it’s as simple as pasting the template tag into your theme files.

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A Few Amazing Sites That Can Be Built With WordPress

I always tell people that, in my mind, there’s no question that WordPress can take anything you throw at it.  I’ve been building websites on it for nearly 4 years now professionally and I’ve found quite a few fun little projects have come my way.  It’s always a challenge to make WordPress work in a way that is outside the box.  So, I thought I’d share a few of the projects I’ve had the privilege to work on over the years.

1. Church Websites

CCF Edmonds

The website I did for Community Christian Fellowship was definitely one of the more complex projects I’ve done.  It includes:

  • 4 Custom Taxonomies
  • 5 Custom Post Types
  • An event calendar built entirely out of custom posts
  • A customized podcast feed (also built out of custom post types)
  • Ministry pages that call data based on a matching taxonomy/page slug system

The event calendar was fun, mainly because it uses a little known WordPress function: meta comparison.  You can take custom field data and compare it against a variable to sort and display data that is greater than, less than, equal to, or NOT equal to a specific variable – it’s great for displaying top rated movies in a review database, for example.

2. Dating Website

Editor’s Note: Some pictures may be slightly NSFW – nothing fully exposed, but you may not want your boss seeing these. I wasn’t aware of content when I started the build, but it’s too technically awesome to not include. You’ve been warned.

Yes… a dating website – who knew, right?  Also built using custom post types and custom taxonomies, this allows the website owner to fill in data for his client’s profiles and tag them to a specific geographical location.  Since the service is invite only, specific user accounts are created for each member.  If a user is logged in, they see all the available profiles (and all of the data in that profile).  If they are not, they are redirected to a page to ask them to become a member, and are only shown a sample of the available clients.  (if you’re curious, the function is the is_user_logged_in() function).

3. Real Estate Site

Tennessee Valley Homes

Built again on WordPress, this has a testimonial section built on (surprise) custom post types.  The kicker, however, is the “Options Showroom” – which has javascript galleries built on top of the main WordPress photo gallery, as well as DSIdxPress running to pull in RealTracs user data.  Basically, any homes they have for sale that are in RealTracs are automatically updated on their site in real time.  We can limit the agent codes to just their office, however, since they are more focused on building.

These sites are only a sampling of what can be done with WordPress, some design knowhow, and a little time.  If you want specific information, or have questions, about replicating some of the functionality on a project you have in mind, or want to see what WordPress can do for you, then all you have to do is ask!

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WordPress Needs iOS Enthusiasts

There was a post titled (albeit linkbatingly) “Tumblr is Killing WordPress” on the Smedio blog about a week ago.  The comments have kept coming in one by one, with the majority of commenters showing their support for WordPress.  However, one comment that came up struck me as sort of telling on how the story stands thus far:

From Matthew:

I agree. But where WordPress fails in comparison to Tumblr is in ease of publishing. While I can enable WP to be Tumbl-like, I still can’t use the official iOS app to post using those post formats. The Tumblr app supports these formats with ease. While I wish I could export the content, it’s a minor issue because of the to how easily I can create said content.

And you know what? I agree. (at least with the bold statement above – the rest… eh…)

The WordPress iOS App

Let’s face it – the iOS app does a great job in getting your WordPress blog on your iDevice.  Unfortunately, that’s about all it does.  Media remains cumbersome to upload.  Images work well enough, but audio and video support is next to nonexistent – with good reason, mind you.  Tumblr has those supported at the site level, whereas WordPress needs plugins to do them effectively.  What’s left is a great app that’s lacking some pretty substantial features to really be a go-to app for on-the-go blogging.

Express

The guys over at WooThemes released Express not too long ago, and it does fill a bit of a gap by utilizing the post formats built into their themes and any theme running the WooTumblog plugin.  It still doesn’t do audio/video, but it makes the experience more seamless – images are treated as a separate post type and are allowed to be formatted as such.

It still lacks video/audio support… and it still has a hole that needs to be filled.

The Big Secret of the iOS App

Apple’s apps aren’t known for being open gateways, but WordPress has lovingly open-sourced the app that it holds.  What does that mean? If you love WordPress and iOS development, they NEED you to get in there and make the app what you want it to be.  I would venture to say that they would give you whatever help you needed (within reason) to make the iOS app shine.

With the right third party support (YouTube, for example), you could build into the app a pretty easy way to get video from your phone to WordPress.  Even hooking into WordPress’ own VideoPress would be a step in the right direction, even though the service is pay-for – the people that need it know they do, and would more than likely pay for such a great service.  Same goes for audio.

So, if you love WordPress, and are fluent in the iOS world, jump in and start working.  There’s an untapped potential that exists that will turn a good app into a fantastic one.  It’s one of the major stumbling blocks keeping quite a few tumblr fans from jumping over.

Edit: Forgot to show you guys where to go to get involved.  The iOS team has a site set up with instructions on how to get in on their Trac system to help with development. You can find it here: http://ios.wordpress.org/development/.

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Thursday Conversations: HTML5

html5

(Yes, I inked and typed the above graphic – a little fun while I learn the ins and outs of inking digital graphics)

I realize I forgot to do a Tuesday Conversation this week… so I’m moving it to today.  I want to get your input on HTML5.  More specifically, do you know what it is, do you care what it is, and what does it mean to you?  Any and all comments are welcome.

The best place to find the basics is on the new logo discussion site, but a quick search around Google will get you any and all information (and more than you need to know) on the subject.

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Internet Explorer 6 (Or, “Death and all his Friends”)

Wow, a new blog post – what gives?

About a year ago I stopped supporting IE6 completely.  Unless a client specifically asks, there are only five browsers I support fully: Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and IE7/8 (and even IE7 is starting to take its toll on designs).  But, why?  Why eliminate a browser completely from a support list? Do people still use IE6?

According to the W3Schools Browser Statistics page, only 4.8% of Internet users still use IE6.  Most use either IE8, Chrome, or Firefox (the overwhelming majority – although Chrome is rapidly gaining value)

image

Why NOT use IE6?  Well, for starters it takes the newer web standards and chucks them out the window (and we’re talking basic items like CSS – don’t even attempt to try HTML5 or your browser may explode) as well as disallowing newer technologies such as some javascripts.  It was so bad, Google created a plugin called Chrome Frame that is installed and will hijack IE6 to look nice.

Second, any modern design will look horrible in Internet Explorer 6.  Since aforementioned scripts and CSS won’t display properly it will look awful in IE6. Design has advanced so much since it was released that It’s worth looking at the most beautiful web that you can – one that is offered by Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

Finally, there are so many security holes in IE6 (Internet Explorer, period) that you will actually be better protected by getting rid of IE6.  Exploits, backdoors, all can be prevented with a good virus scanner and a better browser.

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