I’ve noticeably been absent for most of the second half of 2012, though I doubt anyone really missed my blog that much. ;P
My new job has been going well, and I’ve been kept actively coding and learning new languages enough that I haven’t been interested in doing any side research or other projects. Sadly, this also included my plan to do a WordPress theme from scratch, but oh well, another year gives me another opportunity. Later this month I’ll be giving a presentation on CouchDB, so I’ll post my presentation notes for that afterwards in case anyone else is interested in them.
In regards to the iContact API and Plugin, I’ve stopped development on it; I decided that there wasn’t much of anything else I could do for the API to make it easier without also making it harder, and the WordPress Plugin wasn’t something easy enough to truly be of help to the average user without coding experience. I hope those that are using it enjoy it and it helps.
Happy New Year and a blessed 2013 to all!
On the top-right of the site, just under the Search bar, there should be a Quick Question for my site visitors about the iContact API. I started to update it to version 3, and then lost track of my exact requirements…
- Do I make it for plugins and forms, or just make different versions for each?
- Do I make it flexible and extensible, or leave it pretty rigid in purpose and form?
- Do I want to make the variables hard-coded in-line, in a separate file, or forget it and soft-code?
So I have options where I take this, but am looking to the people who use it, and I’m assuming some of you do since it those posts are my most accessed, for feedback on how they use it so I can optimize the code for the majority!
Take 30 seconds to answer the poll and help make iContactAPI better!
Phoenix, AZ might not technically be the desert, but it will be some dry heat and farther West than I’ve ever lived before. Mid-July I’ll be starting my employment at a company called Unicon out in Gilbert, AZ, thus the change in location. I’m looking forward to both the social and educational opportunities this will move will afford me, because like the 45th Rule of Acquisition states: "Expand, or die."
This has been part of the reason for my lack of posts during the second quarter, so I hope to be back and writing here more frequently starting in September. By then I hope to have my iContact API updated to version 3 which will also be compatible with my iContact Widget for WordPress. If anyone is interested in helping me develop or test it, just leave a comment here.
I’ve been wading in some new code since yesterday and decided I’d make a quick post to tell you about what I’m currently working on: iContact API v2.2 and a WordPress plugin for a widget that uses it!
The widget will be a simple form that lets you get quick, AJAX sign-up form for an iContact list. We have several blogs at work, each with their own newsletters, so the widget was designed with those in mind… It will use the new version of the API letting you pick which client folder and associated list, from the chosen folder, you want the front-end form to be connected to. There will also be two optional fields that will let you assign an additional iContact field name and value that will populate with each addition; the idea for this being used to track which websites that they came from.
With more versions and upgrades than I ever really intended coming out, I’m probably going to do a massive re-write of class with some more sensible names through-out. While that thought is bouncing around my head, I’m too busy to do that for now, so it will be later this year or maybe some time next year before that happens.
Back into the code I go!
I have a working version of the widget and using it on several work blogs, but it is not yet ready for public release yet. One of the major factors is that it still requires some file customization based on the host and theme, so I will still need to create an Options (Settings) page for the plugin before publicly releasing it. If anyone wants to help me beta-test it for other feature requests, just say so in a comment!
As I mentioned before, I am re-working my CMS administration layout and styles. In the process I decided that I disliked having simple checkbox inputs, so I tried jQuery-UI’s .button() method, and while it wasn’t bad, I didn’t get the main feature I wanted1: a graphical check that should (dis)appear.
Well, I’ve made my own jQuery checkboxes before using uniquely laid out HTML divs and a beastly jQuery function I wrote; the script was only 17 lines, but it made too many calls for my tastes.
“Frag that” I said figuring I could make it simpler, and so I did.
Hail and well met!
Last week I mentioned some common features missing from paid WordPress templates, and this led to a lot of research into the WP Template Hierarchy. To prove to myself I wasn’t just complaining, my goal for the year – since it is just a self-challenge – is to try to make my own WP theme for either book reviews or a website portfolio; while I am sure these already exist, it is more about challenging myself to something I’d find worth the effort in the end.
For the last month I have been updating my custom CMS layout and a project I hope to finish by the 16th of the month. This client provided a purchased HTML template that was originally designed for WP, so it was interesting to recreate the functionality while also updating some of the features that were limited by WP version of the template – I know because a friend purchased the WP template after seeing a demo of the HTML template I was working on. As for the CMS, I’ve also been going back over my database connection and frequent functions to improve them. From these improvements has come a MySQL connection class, with all of my typical methods and possible error reporting, and some others that I am still tweaking as I consider all the possibilities for them.
Finally, the need finally arose for using my old $fields parameter for iContact users, which figures since I took it out of the original API, so I’ll be adding the feature to add optional content to user record’s fields. With iContact’s e-mail announcement, on February 29th, about changing the hourly and daily API call throttling limits, I’ve also added in an optional method for tracking the daily call count. Since this feature is non-essential and purely for the curious, you either hardcode it for use everywhere or leave adjust it on a per-case basis through the non-initialization functions.
Just a little, huh? Look forward to it!
Took some time off from the books in March so I could enjoy some games and get some freelance work done, but I still read 17 books. I figure that is a good stopping point at it brings my 3-month total to 98, nearly two-third of my annual goal, so the books will be going on hiatus and I hope to have some more web development posts in here.
- Green Rider (Green Rider #1) by Kristen Britain
- Off Armageddon Reef (Safehold #1) by David Weber
- Greyson’s Revenge (Ashes of the Realm #2) by Saxon Andrew
- Raven Calls (Walker Papers #7) by C.E. Murphy
- Not only does Joanne meet family and time travel, but Gary has an adventure!
- Fair Game (Alpha & Omega #3) by Patricia Briggs
- Sheepfarmer’s Daughter (The Deed of Paksenarrion #1) by Elizabeth Moon
- Fair warning: if you read all three in the series back-to-back, have tissues ready!
- Aurora: CV-01 (The Frontier Saga) by Ryk Brown
After dealing with more than a couple incomplete/buggy WordPress templates clients have purchased, I am tired of dealing with common issues that should have been resolved by the author prior to selling their templates…
Here are my 5 major issues with WordPress themes:
- Make sure that tags/categories with non-alphanumeric labels work in all fields and feeds.
- Add in an update notification, if not an automatic update link, so we know when fixes are out.
- The homepage and front page are different, so an option for one should also be option for the other.
- Make sure that pagination works for all template files. If you are using something other than the default field, use/test it!
- Finally, add a link to a live documentation/support site… Just linking to the theme’s help won’t help fix most bugs that appear.
In closing: "Never cheat a Klingon … unless you're sure you can get away with it."
- The Tinkerer’s Daughter by Jamie Sedgwick
- After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
- Love Conquers All (Annihilation #1) by Saxon Andrew
The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations #1) by Michael J. Sullivan
- While there are 17 light novels, only 5 are currently translated in English.
- Spice & Wolf, Book 1 by Isuna Hasekura
- Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice #1) by Joseph Delaney
- Thief’s Covenant (Widdershins #1) by Ari Marmell
- Spirit Dances (Walker Papers #6) by C.E. Murphy
- Pleasure Model (Netherworld #1) by Christopher Rowley
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling
- Had a bit of nostalgia and ended my month by re-reading the series.
Earlier this month I completed a freelance project and launched a new website, AggieWomen.org. I’ll confess right now that this was one of my hardest projects to date. Why? Because I was not consulted in the initial development and had to pick it up after another developer quit in the middle of the promised work. Normally that might not be an issue, since I could just start from scratch or use modules I trust, but there were three problems from the client: 1) they was already expecting it ready soon, 2) they had already seen the WordPress back-end & liked of it, and 2) my client had been told that it could be made to do all their client wanted. No, I haven’t hunt the developer down yet, but they’re on my list…
Starting from where the other developer left off, I took 49 plugins down to 14 and 148 database tables down to 43. Why they felt the need to have four e-commerce plugins installed, I will never know nor feel the need to ask.
Although not a new release, I finished this mid-2011, I launched HHIBuckeyes.com for the Ohio State Buckeyes fans of Hilton Head Island, SC. The client did not want a graphic designer to do the template, so I presented several pre-made themes and had them pick one, then customized it to their taste and need. The homepage is content is completely controlled by the custom CMS, except for the bottom left graphic, with the image slider and all three text areas being editable. The newest feature for me, and my most liked feature, was the Schedule that shows the teams, kick-off times and scores for the season. For this I had to collect all of the logos and assign the teams to their divisions, but it was a custom module for the admin.
Yes, the headline is a joke!