I realize that I’ve done a horrible job of posting here over the last year. I made exactly two posts in 2010. However, just because I haven’t been posting here doesn’t mean I’ve disappeared. I’ve still been working on WordPress, WordPress powered sites, WordPress plugins, and even some side projects built on WordPress (Like Beer?). My biggest problem is deciding what to write about, so I’ve come up with a solution. I’m going to answer your questions. Not only will this help me come up with ideas of what I should write about, it will also make sure that my content is specifically useful to you.
So, if you want to know how to best use WordPress’s built in http class to integrate with an existing API, how to add your own taxonomies to your site, how to make your theme more extensible, or almost anything else WordPress related, please just ask!
I know this post is quite delayed, but I wanted to get it out there anyway. Last year I went to WordCamp SF and attended several of the sessions. This year I went to WordCamp SF 2010, but things were a little different. I ended up spending most of my time at the Genius Bar helping the attendees with WordPress. The Genius Bar was organized by Lloyd Budd, and while I only volunteered for a single session there, I found it hard to pull myself away from helping the various interesting people that showed up. The questions ranged from how to scale up because of a large influx of traffic, to “How do I get downstairs?” (hint: we were downstairs).
Following the WordCamp event, my wife and I went to one of the best food and wine events we’ve ever attended. It was at a place called One Market, and was put on by The American Institute of Wine & Food. We had lamb starting with the tongue and cheek, working our way back to the leg. Each course was paired with one or two wines from the Zacherle or Fisher labels, and the wine makers were there to talk about each wine and answer our many questions (who knows what a “brick” is in wine making, and why some wines need fewer bricks than others?). It was a beautiful, fancy, entertaining dinner.
When we finished that, we caught a cab over to the Automattic Lounge at Pier 38 to catch part of the WordCamp after party. Talk about a shock to the system. We left a place where lamb was being served to people in suits and fancy dresses who were seated at tables with linens and full silverware sets, and within minutes we were at a party with blaring music and full of geeks, many of who had consumed considerably more alcohol than recommended. We spent a little time saying hi to everyone, having a few laughs at the expense of the imbibed (you know who you are), and I got my picture taken with several people (I’m not sure any of them knew who I was, they just seemed to like posing with someone and getting their picture taken). We left relatively early, around midnight, and headed back to the hotel. I knew from the year before that the developer day was going to be my personal favorite part of the event, and I didn’t want to be falling asleep at the laptop all day.
The following morning I arrived back at the Pier 38 lounge to find that I was the first to arrive for the developer day (I was a few minutes early). Ryan Boren was the next to show, but we ended up having to wait a little longer until someone with keys arrived. I’m not sure people really got the “unconference” thing, as everyone kept wanting to know what was scheduled for when, and where things would be happening. The basic idea is simply “find people that want to discuss what you want to discuss, form a group, and discuss it.” Eventually a group of us formed at one of the tables and began working on WordPress 3.0. I’m sure I can’t name everyone, but I know Dion Hulse, Ryan Boren, Andrew Nacin, Matt Martz, Pete Mall, John Jacoby, and Ptah Dunbar were all there. Dion and I spent several hours on an elusive bug with a rather simple fix, and it was really great to finally get to put faces with the names and handles that I see regularly on IRC, mailing lists, Trac, etc.
After the dev day coding, several of us walked down to Gordon Biersch, had dinner together and tried not to talk about WordPress too much (although Andrew Nacin’s like a machine…you just can’t stop the man!). So, what do you think we would do after a long day of coding? Well, we’re geeks, so we walked to one of the hotels were a few of the guys were staying, went up to their lounge, and started doing some more coding. As a guy who works from home and tends to work only with remote programmers, it was really nice to spend some time with people that understood what I was saying! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again next year.
It’s official (and has been for a few days, I’m a little behind schedule), the 15 students selected to work on WordPress this summer as part of the Google Summer of Code have been announced. The lineup is pretty great. There are some names on the list that will be familiar to those who are already involved in the WordPress development community. Andrew Nacin for example was given WordPress core commit access in February. Also,
Justin Shreve and Daryl Koopersmith both participated in last year’s GSoC (quite successfully).
This year there are a lot of great students and projects. I’m definitely excited to see what happens with all of them. However, I’m most excited about the student that I’m going to be mentoring. Jon Stacey is going to be implementing stream wrappers into the WordPress file API. He did a similar project for Drupal as part of GSoC last year, and this year we were able to woo him over to WordPress.
Not only does the project have great potential, but since stream wrappers were introduced in PHP 5, it will help push WordPress toward PHP 5 as a minimum requirement (which I’m all for). So good luck to Jon and all the 2010 GSoC students.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to write a simple plugin that adds a new widget to WordPress. We’ll be using the new WP_Widget class, which is the newest method but means that the widget will only work in WordPress 2.8+. I know that 2.8 isn’t actually out yet, but it will be soon and there’s no sense in learning the old method.
The widget we’ll be creating will display upcoming posts (scheduled posts). A lot of sites schedule posts to automatically publish at a specific time, helping them keep a steady flow of articles. I know that I use this trick on Web Developer News and Attackr, and I’ll use it on this site as soon as I get some more articles written. Since the articles are already there and ready to be posted, why not tease them and give your readers something to look forward to? That’s exactly what this widget will do.
There was a meeting in IRC for WordPress developers yesterday. A release date for WordPress 2.8 was chosen, and they made some great decisions regarding WordPress 2.9 as well. Here’s a quick summary of the things I found important.
For WordPress 2.9, they’ve decided to raise the version of MySQL supported from 4.0 to 4.1.2! That may not seem like much to those of us out there using the latest versions of everything, since version 5.1 is out, 5.4 is in beta, and even 6.0 is under development (and because 4.1.2 was released in May of 2004). However, the big thing that sticks out to me is that 4.1 support subqueries and unicode. Unicode should help for people that are using WordPress in non-English languages, and subqueries should help to greatly simplify queries. Also in 4.1 MySQL added support for the ‘INSERT … ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE’ syntax which will insert a new row unless that would cause a duplicate primary or unique key, in which case it updates the existing row.
I’ll keep this short. There was a meeting in IRC for WordPress developers yesterday. The quick summary is that you can expect the release of 2.8 on June 10th, 2009. However, while that’s what so many people are asking, that wasn’t the exciting part! Stay tuned for news about WordPress 2.9.
For those that don’t know, Google has been doing something called the Summer of Code since 2005. Google picks open source projects to fund development for. Then they accept applications from college students and then choose about 1000 winners in conjunction with the project mentors. Project mentors are experienced developers that are familiar with the project in question. Each student is paired with a mentor, who will help by giving direction and advise throughout the process. Google pays the students $4,500 each to complete their project over the summer, as part of their contribution to the open source community. The main requirements are that you have to be 18 years old or older and enrolled as a full or part time student as of April 20, 2009.
The process goes something like this. On May 23rd the students begin coding, and receive their first payment of $500. On July 13th they have “Mid Term Evaluations” where the mentor evaluates the student, and the student evaluates both the mentor and the project. At this point, if the student isn’t performing, they will be dismissed, but the vast majority of students will continue and receive their second payment of $2000. On August 17th the students stop coding. On August 26th there is a final evaluation which works just like the mid term evaluations worked. The student now receives their final $2000. On September 3rd, the code must be submitted to Google.