WordPress 10th Anniversary Party PGH

WordPress 10th Anniversary

Six years ago I registered this url and installed my second installation of WordPress. Previously I was using iWeb to make quick sites that I needed here and there. Prior to that (and going way back), I was using Microsoft Frontpage to make wysiwyg sites and generally bad interfaces. Thank the Lord that I am now out of that dark age and have better tools at my disposal. Hey WordPress.

Next week Monday we will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of WordPress at Franktuary in Lawanceville.

In those past six years I went from blogger to, WordPress advocate, to budding developer. While I’m still learning PHP I’ve got a ton of WordPress experience under my belt and haven’t run into a web situation were I couldn’t use WordPress. Though WordPress I’ve gotten into coding, podcasting, server configuration and other random topics that I wouldn’t have dabbled in 7 years ago. What can I say WordPress has been my gateway CMS.

Coming from a print design background all my serious web creation experience lay in juvenile tools. I developed an understanding of html in high school but didn’t do much with it thought college or after. Today I’m constantly polishing my web skill set through code academy and a plethora of web projects. I’m even composing this post in text mode because it is just easier to create this way.

OK enough about me and my love affair with all these php files. I hope to see you and and hear your WordPress story next week.

Hey Facebook Enjoy Some Good Old Fashioned…

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Because your official plugin kind of stinks.

Connecting the Blog to Facebook

Note: As of right now this plugin is pretty awful. I wasted a bunch of time trying to understand how it works and it does look promising, but I couldn’t publish anything to my timeline with it. Right now Jetpack is the way to go.

Facebook Plugin
Getting my hands dirty with Facebook’s WordPress plugin.

The integration of Facebook and your blog is pretty awesome and brought to you by Facebook so it should work flawlessly. What I’m most interested is how when you publish articles on your blog they will show up on your Facebook timeline (automatically) or on a page. You can also add recommendations, the like and share button, Facebook comments, and you get insights as well. Pretty much everything you want in a Facebook app.

I’m still learning the ropes because you need to get into the developers.facebook.com area to get things setup. I found a good How to Use Facebook for WordPress post and I was able to get things configured without too much trouble.

UPDATE: The app isn’t working yet. Probably because I need the app with Facebook to be approved (which is different than the plugin).

Adding Existing User Database to BuddyPress

One of the things I’m learning about BuddyPress is that by default it only wants to add new users to your site through the BuddyPress registration process. Never mind that you might have a bunch of existing users on your blog or need to bulk add users. I spent a good part of yesterday and today figuring out how to activate users so BuddyPress would all them to login to the site.

My situation is that I imported users from another database on our server via mysql. Which is the best and fastest method to do this. Once I have all the new users imported there needs to be a record of that user in the wp_usermeta table. So I bulk edited their user roll in the admin dashboard. Changing their roll from “none” to “subscriber.” (that step might not be necessary for bp to view them as “active.” The key step is in the wp_user table you need to make sure that the user status is 0 instead of 2. Apparently 2 indicates that they are an inactive user. I used a mysql script to update that field in the table.

UPDATE wp_users SET user_status='0' WHERE user_status='2';

I had some help figuring this out on the wordpress.org forums. I was originally looking an Pending Activation plugin to make the change, but unless the user registered through BuddyPress the plugin wouldn’t see inactive users.

Bubble POP

The devil is in the details. The details.

I was able to bribe a friend into helping me out for some beers. After taking one look at my mysql script he removed one comma and the it worked perfectly. Half a day lost to a comma.

Next step. While I can now move the data from one table to another it doesn’t mean I’m in the clear. I need to register my users and custom post type with the respective wp_usermeta and wp_postmeta tables. I’m not sure exactly how to make this happen but I’m glad that I know what the next part of the process will be.

In non tech news our Red Ale is going to awesome.

Moving from Joomla to WordPress with FG Joomla to WordPress

If you have talked to me in the past few months you know that I’m working on moving iTwixie from a Joomla environment to WordPress. Choirs of angels should chime in every time I utter that phrase.

The Method

Today was my first attempts testing the transition of any part of the database to WordPress. I have done a fair amount of Googling the subject and settled on FG Joomla to WordPress as my first attempt. This WordPress plugin reads your Joomla database and imports posts, categories, media and users.

How it Went

I started with the free version and then upgraded to the premium version to import the users. The premium version is more stable, way more stable as it executed the transfer faster, and I could tell it ran better than the free version. I am working via local host with XAMPP, so I was able to quickly create multiple instances of WordPress and run the plugin a few times.

Moving the articles to posts went smoothly however the plugin failed to move the media. There is probably an issue with how I have the Joomla site setup locally but when the images weren’t move all the tags in the posts had the src=”xx” removed. Which was kind of dumb because I could manually move the media folder and reassign the path in each post. So I’m still working on that. The plugin developer did respond to a few of my emails today so that is a good sign we can work this out.

Moving the users went smoothly as well except the plugin only moves username, name and email. We might need more database tables moved here in the end but I haven’t finished our testing. When I did import the users into our BuddyPress test site the users weren’t automatically setup as BP users. So that is something I’ll have to figure out as I move forward.

Thinking Back

This process took all day and mainly because it is my first and hopefully only time I will ever have to move a site from Joomla to WordPress. All in all this went as expected and I’m still have many loose ends to tie up with this database migration. I will say this though. When I added the 3,250 odd articles to the WordPress site on the server it took em like a champ and didn’t show any signs of slow or sluggish behavior.

Aside

On a personal note it is awesome to get my hands this dirty working with multiple databases and WordPress installs. I am so impressed with how robust these systems are and the fact that it’s relatively simple to do blows me away. I keep thinking why didn’t I get into this before. Well the answer is because I never had a reason to.

Using a local server like XAMPP or MAMP makes creating duplicate sites as easy as copying files into new folders. If you haven’t gotten into this get to it.

UPDATE

I couldn’t move the media folders because the plugin couldn’t write to the to “uploads” folder while it was inside Applications. Which is where XAMPP and its files are stored. So I had to edit the apache config file and change the XAMPP root directory and change user permissions. It is all explained not so clearly here.

Writing a Theme Named Duck

I want to write about all the projects I have in motion right now. Too many as usual. But when I go to write I either get distracted or don’t make time because I’ve actually working on stuff. I also realize right now I’m doing what no blogger should ever do, make excuses for not writing. Consider this paragraph a PSA.

Thanksgiving Project

Last week was Thanksgiving weekend and this year I traveled to Iowa. Which is about 13 hours travel time from Pittsburgh to my brothers house. Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about next steps for myself, mainly in the career department. As I spend more time with WordPress I want more and more to just be able to develop themes and plugins myself. Which requires a solid knowledge of PHP, CSS, and HTML.  So I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to take steps to become a super awesome WordPress developer. There is a high demand for the skills and guess what, I love WordPress.

First thing’s first. This year I have gotten familiar with CSS and can comfortably hack any theme while messing with the PHP and creating templates, but always on the shoulders of someone else’s work. Since I knew I had a long car ride (both ways) in front of me I decided it would be the perfect time to start building my own WordPress theme.

Rubber Ducky

I’m calling this theme Duck in honor of Photoshop’s rubber duck that is in every tutorial. If you have never cut this little guy out of the white background with the pen tool you haven’t lived.

This first theme is really me cutting my teeth on writing all the CSS and hopefully PHP for my files. In preparing for this mini project I’ve already learned a great deal about WP core and theme interactions. I’m using an old “build themes” for WP book from 2008 to get started. There are a lot of modern functions missing from this tutorial but it has been good because I can really focus on the basics of what I’m doing.

Here is where I ended after four hours of straight coding in the car yesterday. My four hour limit was imposed by the battery life of Mr MacBook Pro.

Not much to look at but it was an accomplishment for me.

WordPress 3.5

One quick note. The release candidate is out for WordPress 3.5. There are a lot of backend upgrades especially to the image/media uploader and manager. There are some things that I thought were missing but I didn’t read all the dev notes and I wasn’t sure what polish hasn’t been added. Over all it looks like a great update and I’m looking forward to it in the coming months. Also I really like the new TwentyTwelve default theme. Great improvement over the current default. Check it out if you have a chance.

wp-admin White Screen of Death

Dealing with a wp-admin white screen of frustration. Anyone else deal with this before? So far I’ve done the following:

1. Deactivate all plugins
2. close php tags in functions.php of the active theme
3. add to wp-config WP-CASHE=False
4. Install the last four versions of wordpress

I don’t know how to change the theme if locked out of the admin area. but I suspect that is the culprit. I haven’t contacted the host yet, but the problem started when I updated wordpress. The front end is working just fine.

Any have any ideas?

UPDATE

The solution involved contacting the host. They did something to the php.ini file and it was fixed in two minutes. Super annoying that it was on their end, but good to know. Next time I will bug the host first.

Updated PhP My Admin in XAMPP

Getting my hands dirty locally.

If you have ever wanted to create a local blog on your computer (meaning not online) for testing or any other reason you need to check out XAMPP or one of the local host applications. I had wanted to do this for a long time but always thought it would be too complicated to setup. When I finally started poking around I basically had the whole thing setup because it is that simple.

Today I’ve been digging through some pretty complicated database connection errors and have been living in phpmyadmin all day. My need to look at some database tables individually called for uploading them to my localhost (or local server) to save time and energy. While comparing tables I noticed that I had an outdated version of phpmyadmin running on the local host. The official download of XAMPP was still running the old version and it wasn’t clear how to upgrade from the phpmyadmin home screen. So I just downloaded the new version and copied the files into the phpmyadmin folder in the applicaition. Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple.

When I refreshed phpmyadmin the login screen appears no problem. Except the default is configured to require a password. Which is in conflict with how XAMPP is setup locally. With no password. This is for ease of access in a development only environment not online. Anyway after messing around I realized two things. To get the update to work you need to rename the config.sample.inc.php file to config.inc.php. Then open that file up and change the allow no password rule to “true” instead of false. Ha that worked.

Two parts of this process that I still don’t get.

1. I made a backup of the old version of phpmyadmin and when I copied it back in. I got an error on loading that said the config.inc.php file was corrupt and couldn’t be opened. I have no idea why.

2. Where does XAMPP’s mysql store the database tables? I’m assuming it is within the application folders somewhere. Are they hidden folders?

Anyway I’m pumped because tinkering here isn’t my strong suit.