Of Walls and Gardens

20120909-111922.jpgI spent the last year building on the Twitter platform. Dashter was my vision to bring blogging and “tweeting” together – and the result is a fun blend between the two platforms. When our team got together, we had grand visions for what each platform could mean: We dreamt of a symbiotic platform experience that blended the depth of blogging with the expediency of tweeting. The data security and independence of self-owned self-hosted long-form content with the network effects of twenty-million twitter users.

We knew that the crux of our project was really rooted in the fact that we were dependent on Twitter to provide consistent API calls – and to keep the platform open and unrestricted.

So when I saw this tweet from Jeff, I knew what he was trying to bring to my attention:

The article Jeff shared (perhaps ironically, on Twitter) is not going to be the last we hear about the Twitter of the future. It tells the story of a Twitter developer who was subject to the demands of corporate clients who require understanding how apps are going to affect their bottom line – and who foot the bill for a project with the expectation that the work will live beyond tomorrow.

Continue reading Of Walls and Gardens

The New HeyDaveCole.com

This week I decided to give my site a makeover… My previous site had several very cool elements, but overall it wasn’t focused on what I wanted to focus on: providing you a clean & readable format for what’s on my mind. Too many sidebars, too much navigation, and not enough reading room.

Well, that’s all changed with this new theme. I’ve thought quite a bit about how I want readers to engage with me and my posts, and this is the outcome. I can also attest to several key influences during this re-design, including the super-barebones homepage of Jason Schuller, and the clean barebones WordPress framework Wordplate (which this site is built upon) by Nathan Staines. Continue reading The New HeyDaveCole.com

The WP Feedback Dilemma

So I was thinking a bit about what keeps us all from posting more frequently on WordPress. Though obviously there are numerous reasons, a couple of basic ideas came to mind…

You know… This is one of the most compelling reasons I started working on Dashter, and it gets forgotten (or more correctly; overlooked) by me so frequently. The bridge between blogging and modern social media seems more related to the time to get a response + engagement than about anything different in messaging. On Twitter, you post a tweet, and either something happens or it doesn’t. In 5 minutes, you’re over it. Essentially the same is true on Facebook… Your “friends” will like or comment on the things that they like or find comment-worthy. The other stuff will just drift in to the abstract. On a blog post – well, for most of us – we click the “Publish” button and then go in to some sort of odd purgatory. We’re banished to the realm of marketing and self promotion. We’re wondering which keyword phrases Google will pick up in 5 months. We’re stuck.

This tweet caught my eye just because it both proved my point; and also happened to be titled something I reasonably agree with. In this case, the author is apparently either (a) planting the seeds for his audience or (b) just wanted to share that he wrote a post. Both are legitimate uses for Twitter. Again, publishing on WordPress is a strange double-edged sword. You’re creating WAY more content, you’re likely articulating a vision or an idea, and you’re able to add rich media elements to amplify your point. But, unlike social channels (which typically don’t let you choose layout & style, don’t let you cross-pollinate media types, and generally have some sort of limitation (either strict or etiquette-driven)), blogging doesn’t provide that fast-feedback mechanism. Creating after-publishing immediate gratification + immediate feedback is kinda a big deal. But it’s so frequently overlooked as a subject of concern in the WP development field.

The Life of Publishing Posts

And then once it’s published; time to wait for it to get read! The waiting never ends.

Ahh, the famous “I’ve forced myself to be compliant with myself” problem. Featured images are a double-edged sword in WordPress. The better WP themes should provide clean support with or without, so you can just get through the writing process.

Thanks for Reading!

Let me know what you think – is WordPress post publishing too arduous?

OC WordPress Dev Night Dec 5 2011

This post was generated by Dashter (which is available now, by the way!) It’s been a while since I posted a round-up – so here we go!

OCWP Dev Night

Cooking up some good geek knowledge here at the Zeek Interactive / Dashter offices. Let’s get started!

WordPress Network Sites

Tonight’s first topic is WordPress Network (formerly MultiUser) sites. If you want to get started using them on your site, there’s a great WP Codex page for getting started: http://codex.wordpress.org/Create_A_Network

Suzette FranckSuzette Franck – @suzettework
#ocwp Can’t wait to set up a multisite! Awesome demo!

Yep, multisite are a lot of fun. Also great for playing with multiple client projects – if you want to offer a variety of different theme options or choices, you can setup multiple “multisites” and then show off a full range of choices. It’s typically easier and more understandable from a client site if they’re choosing things like how many columns or where navigation will go. You can copy the source database of content and share it between as many sub-sites as you want.

Jeff HesterJeff Hester – @jeffhester
PJMedia.com is a great example of a site using WordPress multisite. #ocwp

Steve (@zengy) quickly showed off Pajamas Media – the author sites are “network sites” so that each author can manage and maintain their own content. It’s a clean install that demonstrates how MU / WordPress Network can be used for large-scale content sites. (Photo of Steve also courtesy Jeff Hester)

Jeff HesterJeff Hester – @jeffhester
Skateboarding.com (and the other TransWorld sites) use WordPress multisite, too! #ocwp

Yeah, that was cool. Awesome addition to the discussion.

[brief pause between sessions for pizza!]

BuddyPress Presentation by Suzette Franck

Suzette is sorta known ’round these parts as the “BuddyPress” queen – she’s got a great presentation prepared featuring a good walkthrough of why you might want to use BP, what some of the limitations & capabilities are, and how to do a successful install.

BuddyPress is available here for your WordPress site. For the developers in the group, there’s a full BuddyPress Codex available as well.

ManageWP Service Update (publicly launching / premium pricing coming soon!)

Jeff HesterJeff Hester – @jeffhester
Holy cow! managewp.com looks awesome for managing multiple WordPress sites. #ocwp

Yeah, that looks like an awesome solution for folks running numerous sites. I was impressed by the fact that they’re getting two-way chatter from the sites – so for instance a plugin installed on one site can get logged in the ManageWP admin; and then you can review it directly from there. No more having to log in to 20 different places to manage your stable of sites! Nice. Also includes member management, backups, cloning / replicating, and more. May have to check that out soon!

WP Ajax

Brandon Dove shared a pretty quick hands-on with wp_ajax for plugins & themes – perhaps one of the most useful set of functions to get familiar with as a modern-day WP developer. Considering how much clients expect clean real-time user interfaces, AJAX is absolutely clutch to solve those problems.

Again, there’s a good article in the codex on wp_ajax – but I also suggest you check out the Professional WordPress Plugin Development book for some good explanation of the action as well.

So that’s about it for the evening! Had a good time – and good to see everyone. If you want to attend the OCWP (general audience) meetup – Subscribe to the Meetup Group on Meetup.com.

You Can’t Control What You Don’t Control

Over the past year, I’ve slowly but surely become a WordPress fanatic. My wardrobe now consists primarily of WordPress SWAG t-shirts, and my new business venture is built specifically to amplify WordPress.

I’ve attended 3 WordCamps this summer – San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles (I would’ve attended OC but my lazy ass forgot to buy a ticket). I follow most of the WP core contributor team on Twitter, have met many of the Automattic team members over the past few months, and even had Matt himself punish me with a not-Irish car bomb shot in San Diego. I also attend the bi-weekly WP events here in Orange County at the OC WordPress group meetups, and enjoy the opportunity to learn and share what I’ve learned with fellow WP geeks.

Attendees at WordCamp San Diego

Today I caught a tweet in my stream that caught my attention (predominantly because I think the world of Jane and perk up any time she posts something to Twitter):

Jane WellsJane Wells – @janeforshort
DevPress, WPCandy, and Why I’m Now 80% Blonde: Part the First http://t.co/NM6JPCCc

At first I figured this would be a funny post – perhaps she’d lost a bet to someone and was forced to bleach her hair. The other side of the link, however, was hardly a cheerful post. Rather, she unfolded her side of a story I hadn’t even heard about until today. But once I got the grasp of what was going on, I felt compelled to share my perspective. Though I have no association or affiliation with anyone involved, as a “WP fanboy” and member of the community, I think I’m at least part of the target “community” that could potentially be affected by the discussion – so I might as well get in my $0.02 while it might be heard.

Continue reading You Can’t Control What You Don’t Control

Limiting WordPress Post Loading on Mobile Devices

Earlier today, I caught a quick post to the Orange County WordPress group by Priscilla Christian:

Priscilla Gary Christian

This guy is harshing my (responsive design) mellow. What do you all think?

Considering I gave a quick chat on responsive design last night at our meetup, I wanted to delve in to the article and see what the big fuss was all about. Well, it turns out that several of the points were (rightly) targeted at load times and page optimization. Responsive design using media queries implies that you’ve using “display: none” or “visibility: hidden” to limit what’s being shown on the page – but as the authors pointed out – that doesn’t prevent the data from being downloaded. Hence, the bandwidth problem. The page might appear less bulky, but in reality the device / browser is loading just as much data.

So, that got me thinking about load times for mobile devices. If you want to reduce load speed, wouldn’t the easiest solution just be to load less stuff?

My solution is pretty straightforward, relatively un-tested, and I’m certain it’s not a good fix (for reasons I’m not even clever enough to think of) – but for the moment I think it’s not a bad fix. Continue reading Limiting WordPress Post Loading on Mobile Devices

OCWP Developer Day 8-15 Edition

Welcome to a new OCWP evening! This time, the full geeks are running the house… 🙂

Brandon DoveBrandon Dove – @brandondove
Sounds like we’re right on track. RT @RossTeasley: Omg… #awesomecount already up to 12 during intros #ocwp

The most important thing about WordPress is to make sure to say “awesome” many, many times. PixelJar seems to have serious concerns about first claim to awesome.

Jeff HesterJeff Hester – @jeffhester
Great ideas on how to make the most of ocwp.org at tonight’s #OCWP meeting. Looking forward with relish.

Yep, gonna be interesting to see what happens with the ocwp.org site over the next couple weeks. Think there’s going to be a battle-royale for super-super-super admin role. Continue reading OCWP Developer Day 8-15 Edition

OCWP RoundUp – June 27

A great evening here in Orange County to geek out on WordPress for a few hours! As always, special thanks to the Zeek boys for hosting this awesome event.

Jason TuckerJason Tucker – @jasontucker
We’re streaming now at Orange County WordPress meeting officially starts at 7pm http://bit.ly/lQs0XR #ocwp

Jason came through with a complete streaming setup for the event. Could this help put Orange County on the WordPress map for good? Does anyone even watch live streaming? 😉

Jon BrownJon Brown – @jb510
Am I the only one hearing cello in the background? #ocwp

Jeff Tuner decided to kick us off with some YoYo Ma… Apparently needed some music to soothe the crowd.


Jeff started off the evening demoing a pretty cool plugin called Front-end Editor. The editor allows you to make some modest changes to the posts, sidebars, and some other elements in real time, directly from the front end. Continue reading OCWP RoundUp – June 27