We all have our little private toolboxes. A set of services, plugins, and tools we use every day. They are far from perfect, but if we use something every day it can’t be all that bad, right? This is a part of my toolbox. Nothing more than that. It’s a set of tools that save me time and money on a daily basis. Hopefully, they’ll help you too.
Installing a plugin (or theme) means that you are entirely trusting your site into the hands of their developers. There are no restrictions on what the code you’re putting on the site can do. Regardless of where you’re installing plugins from, official WP repository or some shady site, you’ll be left wondering – what changes did a plugin make to my site? Database snapshots can answer that question with ease.
Developers often underestimate the time it takes to debug something. Consequently, we are too lazy (and proud) to get a proper debugging environment going because, well, it’s a simple problem & will only take “a few minutes” to fix. This is where
console.log() comes into play. It might be dirty debugging, but it works. Years of experience have thought me a few tricks with
console that save serious amounts of time & nerves.
PHP namespaces are almost ten years old (yes, you’re getting old). Despite a decade passing by since PHP v5.3 was released many developers still don’t have a basic understanding of namespaces. Truth be told WordPress doesn’t use namespaces so “you don’t need to know how to use namespaces.” You don’t need to be a namespace ninja but getting a grasp on the basics is simple and will do you good.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a machine that refuses to do what you tell it. “Reload the page” – a simple action, that can cause so much frustration because it just doesn’t work. CSS files often don’t get reloaded. Yes, we all know cache is to blame but how to get around it without drastic measures? Years of frustration have led me to this simple one-click solution that always works.
It’s a nightmare not being able to login to your WordPress site. You’re sure you have the right password, you even tried resetting the password, but nothing works. You’re locked out of your site. Thankfully there are fast methods of regaining access by modifying a few database records or a few files via FTP. As long as you have some access to the underlying server resources, you’ll be back in WP admin in no time.
Despite the widespread belief that can be distilled from rude comments & reviews on the wp.org plugin repo, maintaining a free plugin is not free. It doesn’t matter whether you charge for a plugin or not, hours still go into it! Due to an overwhelming amount of abandoned plugins in the repository, I decided to clarify a simple premise – how do free plugins get financed and why the lack of money is the number one cause of abandoned plugins.
Getting users to do anything is hard. Be it filling out a form or just performing a few clicks. Even if that action is for the users’ own good, they won’t do it. Same applies for getting users to install a required plugin, or even worse, replacing an active plugin with a new one. Thankfully, with a bit of code, we can download, install, activate, deactivate and even delete WordPress plugins. This automated process, can drastically improve user experience and increase conversion rates.
People are visual creatures. They like to see pretty things. I’m not saying this likely or because I enjoy it! It’s a hard, cold fact. Couple it with an ever decreasing attention span and rest assured your application is judged by appearance rather than by features or quality. If you’re a developer that can’t afford to pay for a custom GUI design for an app, this is especially devastating. Thankfully there are ways around this problem.
WordPress core ads quite a lot of code in site’s HTML
head section whether you want it or not. That code is far from useless and serves a purpose on most sites. However, if you are a clean-code freak or using WordPress to power a SaaS you’ll want to clean up the HTML. As with most things in WP, it’s just a matter of removing a few actions and filters.
Things break down. It’s a fact of life. Cars, refrigerators, phones, and websites – it’s all the same. However, nobody expects you to change the oil in a vehicle without having physical access to it. But some customers do expect you to debug and fix their websites without giving you complete admin access including FTP details. Crazy? It is! But it’s also not an uncommon scenario. Fortunately, there are ways to support such customers, if you decide to do so.
Adjusting a plugin, to user’s needs is one of the main agendas every plugin owner has to follow. For a front-page slider that means more visual options. However, if you’re catering to developers, admins, and other power-users sooner or later, they’ll want CLI support. They’ll want to ditch the mouse and work only with the keyboard. Thanks to the WP-CLI project adding CLI support to your plugin is a piece of cake.