Talk: Computing in UK Schools

In 2013/2014 the UK government made major changes to the ICT curriculum, most notably removing a lot of the traditional “how to use” content and replacing this with a Computing focused curriculum. As a former teacher at the time I went through this transition.

In this talk I outline what is now taught in UK schools at the moment along with some of the techniques and software programs used to get these skills and knowledge across to our youngsters. The talk touches on the role WordPress could and perhaps should play in the curriculum.

View the slides

View the video below. My talk starts at 18 minutes in as I was the second speaker.

Talk: Tremendous taxonomies

Taxonomies have been around in WordPress for a long time as a way of grouping things together, but did you know there is a lot you can do with taxonomies which you may not know? In this talk I will outline what taxonomies are and how you can create your own custom taxonomies. I will share some use cases for having custom taxonomies as well as some different and interesting ways in which I have used taxonomies on some sites in the past. In addition I will looks at some of the ways in which you can optimise the admin UI for taxonomies, making it more appropriate in some cases. The talk will also look at how you can associate data with different taxonomy terms.

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Talk: Publishing a plugin on WordPress.org

How do you get a plugin onto the WordPress.org repository? What steps do you need to take? Are there any specific requirements? These are just some of the questions this talk, aimed at anyone who wants to push a plugin to the WordPress.org repository will answer. We will go through the steps you need to take in order to prepare your plugin, some best practices in the plugin code and how to submit it to .org.

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WordCamp Speaking – Why?

During a discussion over on the WP UK Community Slack channels I was asked by Jenny Wong “I would like to know what drives you to be a WordCamp Speaker?” After a little discussion after I thought this would make a really good blog post – so here goes!

My WordCamp Speaking

I thought it would be a good idea to give you a little background on my WordCamp speaking. It all started back in 2014 when I was encouraged to speak at WordCamp Sheffield, a one-day WordCamp organised by Kimb Jones and others. I spoke about Customising the WordPress admin for clients and the talk went very well. I was very nervous before hand but I was made to feel very welcome and comfortable and it passed without incident!

Continue reading WordCamp Speaking – Why?

A New Chapter – Beyond Freelancing

Last year I spoke at WordCamp Manchester about freelancing. The talk went down well and I enjoyed sharing my experiences of finally being an established freelancer. Fast forward nearly 6 months and I am no longer freelancing. Today I can introduce my new business, in partnership with Keith Devon, we have launched Highrise Digital Ltd.

A New WordPress Agency

I have worked with Keith for 18 months now, as a freelancer on a number of projects. We met at the WordPress London Meetup in September 2014 where I spoke about my development setup. At the time Keith was on the lookout for freelancers to help him with projects that he had at the time.

We worked really well together with complementary skills sets. Keith very much more front-end focused and me liking to work in the back-end of WordPress. The projects we worked on were a great success and it became obvious that we should go into business together at the back-end of 2015.

So Highrise Digital Ltd was born on February 5th 2016, when we incorporated the business and set things up officially. We spent much of the early part of the discussions deciding what to call the business and agreeing on some branding. You can find out about this, on this post Keith wrote about the experience.

The last few weeks have been extremely busy getting the business setup and in the right place to trade correctly. However it is very exciting and I look forward to working with Keith for many years to come on lots of exciting WordPress projects!

Speaking at WordCamp London 2016

It is the time of year again where WordCamp London is taking place very soon and I am delighted to announce that I have been kindly selected to speak at the event. My talk is titled “Publishing a Plugin on WordPress.org“.

I started writing plugins a long time ago mainly for client work, however over the last couple of years I have been releasing some of the plugins I have built to the open source community via WordPress.org’s plugin repository. In this talk I will go present on the following:

  • The reasons why you may want to release a plugin on WordPress.org rather than keeping it for yourself!
  • The specific steps, setup and rules you need to follow in order to prepare your plugin for a WordPress.org release
  • How to actually submit your plugin, including the process itself and some things to think about to make the plugin review teams’ lives easier
  • A brief look at aftercare of the your plugin particularly around using the support forums etc.

If you have yet to purchase your ticket for WordCamp London, I would strongly urge you to do so. At just £30 they are an absolute bargain and I am sure you will get a lot out of the weekend.

Look forward to seeing you all there!

JobRoller Theme Broadbean Add-on WordPress Plugin

Over the last 2 years I have been building solutions to integrate Broadbean (and more recently LogicMelon) with WordPress websites. Starting with the stand-alone WP Broadbean plugin I have then started to provide integration solutions for some of the more popular job board plugins and themes. Continuing with this I have now launched, available for sale, my JobRoller Broadbean Add-on plugin for WordPress, to integrate WordPress sites running the JobRoller theme with Broadbean or LogicMelon.

Continue reading JobRoller Theme Broadbean Add-on WordPress Plugin

Flexible Featured Post Widget

Working on a number of sites recently, the designs I have been provided with have contained a “featured post” section [widget] in the sidebar. This got me looking in the plugin repository for a widget plugin to feature a post. What I found was lots of plugins but nothing that was flexible enough for me to use. Therefore I went about building my own Featured Post Widget to use on sites in the future.

If you do a search for Featured Post Widget in the WordPress.org plugin repository you end up with a number of different results, of plugins which indicate they do just that. Some I am sure are very good out of the box solutions for many people, however I want something flexible that I an use on all sites where the output markup and the options are perhaps going to need tailoring to the site in question. From a quick inspection of some of the plugins it as clear that I was going to have to write my own.

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Changes to Registering Custom Post Types in WordPress 4.4

Whilst building a plugin recently I found a change in WordPress 4.4 which actually broke my plugin, but was very easy to fix. The problem was with a custom post type that had completely disappeared from the admin menu. Here is why it disappeared and how I got it back again!

First a little background about the plugin in question. It used a post type in order for the user to add a single post. The content of this single post was then outputted with a shortcode and therefore I did not want the post type to have a permalink page at all. For this I had set the public argument used in register_post_type() to false. I also did not want the regular post type menu item to show in the backend, as I was adding my own menu item and therefore I had set the show_ui argument to false too. This worked fine in WordPress 4.3.1 and when I added my own menu item using add_menu_page() which used the edit post screen for the content for a post within the custom post type the menu item showed up no problem.

When I recently upgraded the site to WordPress 4.4 there was a large problem. The menu item completed disappeared. After some digging around and making some changes to test what was going on, I found the problem. The fix was to set show_ui to false but to set show_in_menu to true.

When I tweeted about this issue, John Blackbourn, one of the core developers kindly responded with a link to a post outlining the changes.

WP Skeleton – A Starter Repository for Building WordPress Sites

Being a WordPress developer I build a lot of sites and getting things started can take a lot of time. Getting your site, themes plugins etc. ready to go, seems to always take longer than it should, as well as being something that we keep repeating. I therefore went about solving this in a fairly low level simplified way. What I created, I am calling WP Skeleton.

View WP Skeleton Code Repository on Github

Continue reading WP Skeleton – A Starter Repository for Building WordPress Sites