WordPress General Meetup Notes – WordCamp Recap and Intro to WordPress

This month at our general meetup we talked about our recent WordCamp and what we can do better next year. If you weren’t able to attend the meetup, but did attend WordCamp, please leave a note on what we can do better next year in the comments section.

Speaking of WordCamps, don’t forget to check out other nearby events. Oklahoma City is in July, Nashville in September, and  Cincinnati in October!

At our meetup we spent the rest of the evening talking about the basics of WordPress.  We shared a few resources I’ve shared below. It was a free-form conversation and we touched on a few big points and delved into a few nitty-gritty details (like importing content) as well.

One of the first things we discussed was the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The .org version is the self-hosted, you-can-do-anything version of WordPress. This flexibility comes at a cost. You have to set up your own hosting solution (where WordPress lives) and are responsible for testing, upkeep of WordPress, and maintaining your plugins and themes. However, it is by far the most rewarding way to use WordPress as the potential for adaptation and customization is limitless.

The other version of WordPress is the .com version. This version is hosted by a for-profit company (Automattic). They maintain WordPress, plugins, and themes. However, you are limited to a smaller selection of customization options, and on their free tier have other limitations (like ads being shown on your site).

From there the conversation went into talking more about the .org version. We discussed where to find themes (WordPress.org) and plugins (WordPress.org) and how to find themes and plugins that were well-maintained and supported.

We also reviewed the Codex, the “Mother Brain” of the WordPress community. The Codex is an encyclopedia of information about every bit of WordPress. From child themes, to specific functions, it covers it all. Any time you want to learn how to do something in WordPress (especially on the geeky side of code) start with the Codex.

Another great resources is WordPress.tv. Those WordCamps I mentioned earlier? Nearly every session from every WordCamp is recorded and shared there. If you want to know more about CSS or eCommerce, there are plenty of videos to peruse – for free by folks who know their stuff. Here’s one of the first videos you should start with. Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automatic and WordPress, gave a great overview of where WordPress is at, and where it is going, last year at the first WordCamp US event.

If WordPress.tv isn’t your cup of tea, and you live in the St. Louis region, you can also get access to the thousands of videos on the education site lynda.com. More info is on the St. Louis County Library site.

One of the questions was on managing WordPress projects. Something I hope we can talk about at an upcoming meetup. For now, I think Lucas Lima (a local St. Louisian) gave a great talk last year about this very topic.

A book recommendation along the lines of working with clients was my choice pick, You’re My Favorite Client by Mike Monteiro.

That was it for the eventing – a lot to digest I’m sure. If you’ve reached the end and still want more, view past topics on our Meeup.com page or peruse the archives here on stlwp.org. OR, if you’re really adventurous, join us at an upcoming meetup!

Photo by Armando Torrealba – licensed under Creative Commons

WordPress West Meetup Notes: Speeding up WordPress

Thanks to everyone that was able to make it out to the WordPress Meetup West on Monday night. We covered speeding up your WordPress site at the server level, theme level, and content level.

Next month we’ll be looking for speakers to give 5-10 minute lightning talks. So if anyone has a topic they’d like to share send me a message through the Meetup group and we’ll get things set up.

Here’s the notes:

Meetup notes from “What’s New in WordPress 4.4?” for December 2015

This month we talked about what’s new in the latest release of WordPress, version 4.4. Here’s a few notes from the evening’s presentation.

Little History

First a little history and reminder. With WordPress releases like 3.x and 4.x –  these are generally bigger updates to WordPress that include new features or large changes.

3.4.1 or 4.3.2 are smaller bug and security fixes – these are applied automatically by default. You won’t often find much outward facing in these updates.

Last Few Releases

Here’s a list of the last few releases of WordPress leading up to 4.4 and what they brought to the table.

4.2 – Bud Powell

  • Customizer came into its own
  • new languages!
  • better plugin installations
  • “Press This” got an update (bookmarklet that allows you to quickly post content from wherever you’re at on the web.)
  • emoji support (really a sneaky update for better Unicode support) for translations

4.3 – Billie Holiday

  • resetting password made more secure
  • menus added to Customizer
  • multisite changes
  • updated editor – switching between visual and text with less “ugh”
  • formatting shortcuts in visual editor
    • * or 1.

4.4 – Clifford Brown

That brings us to our most recent release. One little note, Eric Juden and Joe McGill are two local st. Louisan’s who are code contributors in this release!

  • New Default Theme – Twenty Sixteen
  • Responsive Images
    • supplies the relevant sizes to the browser
    • visitors only get the best image size
    • Built into core so themes and plugins can take advantage (like Twenty Sixteen)
    • Joe McGill!
  • oEmbed for WordPress
    • like embedding a YouTube or tweet, you can now embed WP posts from other WP sites
    • Added new services like Cloudup, Reddit Comments, ReverbNation, Speaker Deck, and VideoPress.
  • Taxonomists – terms now have metadata, just like posts and users
  • Rest API – you can speak to other websites and services using JSON.
    • Create you own endpoints to communicate with WordPress
    • Community member Paul Heirendt had a great video to share explaining APIs!
      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvQJcBBsi3k
  • Other – few multisite fixes, language updates

Read More

http://codex.wordpress.org/Version_4.4

https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wordpress-4-4/

See you in January!

Thank you to everyone who came out. Our next general meetup is January 20th. I hope to see you there!

WordPress Meetup West Notes: Dynamic Sidebars and Widgets

Thanks to everyone for coming out to the WordPress West meet up last night. If you weren’t able to make it or want to review what we covered in the presentation I’ve included the slides and some gists of the actual code used if you’d like to test it out yourself.

We went over registering sidebars, the difference between a “sidebar” and a “widgetized area” (hint: not much), displaying sidebars in your theme, and finally creating a custom widget.

Gists after the break.

Continue reading WordPress Meetup West Notes: Dynamic Sidebars and Widgets

Notes from Introduction to Functions and Hooks (Actions & Filters)

Thank you to everyone who made it out to our November General Meetup. We gave a basic introduction to how you can customize WordPress beyond Themes and Plugins using the WordPress Plugin API (Application Programming Interface)

These hooks allow you to include your own custom code within WordPress to do a myriad of things. You can use Actions to inject code, or compare variables and filters to run your own routine within WordPress (like say to pull data from an external source and format it for WordPress to ingest.

This modularity is what makes WordPress so functional for so many diverse user cases. Any plugin is really just a complicated set of functions that leverage the Plugin API to create Actions or Filters.

We gave a little demo, which I won’t repeat here as it was a little inaccurate. Instead I’d like to point you to a few resources that are far more elegant in presenting the basic concepts.

WebDev Studios has a great article on getting started with hooks with a few inline examples.

Pippin Williamson also has a good introduction to using filters, the more complicated of the two hooks (in my humble opinion).

Of course, there’s always the Codex entry on Hooks and the well-organized Code Reference library.

While a little more technical that our past General Meetup topics, we hope you enjoyed the meetup and look forward to seeing you at a future event!

Photo by Thomas Hawk – Licensed under Creative Commons

WordCamp St. Louis 2016

I’ve had many people asking me when planning for WordCamp STL 2016 was going to start lately. Well, I’m excited to say it officially kicks off right now!  The first step in getting a WordCamp up and running is getting the organizing team together.  If you are interested in helping us make #WCSTL16 awesome, fill out the form below and we will be in touch.  As in the past, we plan on having weekly organizer Google Hangouts and asking that organizers do their best to attend one of the two monthly STL WordPress meetups so we can have some face-to-face discussions.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email or twitter.  For more information about the organizing team, you can checkout WordCamp Central’s page on the topic.

You must be a member of the site to fill out an organizer response.

A Few Housekeeping Notes

We’ve had two great partners for the last few years that have graciously hosted our meetups. Lab1500 and Integrity have hosted our General and Developer meetups respectively in the past, but will not be going forward. Both locations have shifting priorities and we wish them the best in their future endeavors. We want to take a moment and thank them both for being gracious and giving us the space to meet – with no cost – for as long as they have.

Starting with our General meetup next Wednesday, October 21 we’ll be meeting at a new location. The Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) will be our new host for the foreseeable future. They’re located a little further West than Lab1500 and their space is gorgeous. Parking is street-level with no meters!

Moving forward our Developer meetup that has been meeting at Integrity will now be merging with our WordPress West meetup at OPO Startups in St. Charles. This means that our dev meetup is now happening on the 4th Monday of the month and at a new location much farther West than it has been in the past. The next meetup is scheduled for Monday, October 26th.

We know that changes like this have an impact on our community and attendance to our events. We hope you can continue to join us monthly to learn about WordPress and all it can offer. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please get in touch. If you would like to host another WordPress meetup, please contact us!

Photo by Tom Woodward – Licensed under Creative Commons

September Developer Meetup Notes – Making WordPress Plugins and Themes Extendable

Presentation

This presentation was about how to add your own hooks to plugins and themes. Code from the demo can be found here.

Other Cool Stuff Talked About

WordPress Plugins to Check Out

  • MinQueue – Plugin to minify and concatenate enqueued scripts and styles

Slack Stuff

WordPress uses Slack now. Check it out: https://wordpress.slack.com

  • Prowd – A Slack integration to recognize your team’s work.
  • Tatsu – Standup meetings for remote teams
  • Polls – Add polls to slack

Misc Stuff

  • GitUp – Makes git painless
  • Kanbanize – Online Kanban software
  • speetest-net – NPM package for running a speedtest from the command line

July Meetup Notes from WordPress St. Louis West – WordPress security using iThemes Security

Jason Yingling, Developer at Red8 Interactive hosted our first Meetup in St. Charles. The turnout was great for our first event. Thanks to OPO Startups and the rest of the Red8 crew for making us feel welcome. We’re looking forward to the next meetup out west!

Jason talked about WordPress security using iThemes Security, a popular security plugin. Even if you don’t use iThemes Security (and why not? It’s a really good plugin) there are a lot of tips and tricks that can help make your site more secure. Check out the presentation below.

If you’d like to know more, Jason is hosting the August WordPress St. Louis West on the 24th. He’ll be talking about how to go from a PSD to a WordPress template. RSVP today!

Westward Ho!

This month we’re going to try something new. A meetup for our Western community. No, we’re not donning cowboy hats and spurs, we’re having an event at the new OPO Startups building in St. Charles!

Nice place they have there, eh?
Nice place they have there, eh?

This is a trial to see if a more westerly event can sustain itself within the community. If things go well, this will be an addition to our existing Developer and General meetups on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, respectively. We’re going to try for the fourth Monday of the month.  For this first go-rough, the talented Jason Yingling from Red8 Interactive will be talking about security using iThemes Security.

Join  us!

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