WordPress Plugin Development Cookbook

WordPress Plugin Development Cookbook Book Cover

Last march, Yannick Lefebvre, fellow WordPress developer from the Montreal WordPress community asked me if I would be willing to be a technical reviewer for a book he was writing. I was delighted by the opportunity and decided to take part in the project. And so for a few months, Yannick worked incredibly hard on getting a chapter ready every few weeks while I was giving him feedback on the code samples and explanations provided within his writing. It was definitely a unique experience since I don’t typical review literature in my day-to-day work.

The book has just been published, and you can grab a print or ebook copy over at Packt’s website. I received my copy today, and it looks great:

WordPress Plugin Development Cookbook Book Cover

WordPress Plugin Development Cookbook Technical Review

Thank you Yannick for asking to participate in the making of this book. It was a great learning experience and a true pleasure to be part of the project.

new desk setup


picked up a Thunderbolt display last night 🙂

My office for the afternoon


My office for the afternoon. Lovely day in Vancouver!

Theme Weekend recap

This weekend was the first ever Vancouver WordPress Theme Weekend. I was happy and excited to be part of the organizing team along with Morten Rand-Hendriksen, Angela Chich and Pauline Lai. We had a total of 20 attendees, divided into 4 teams of 5.

On Saturday morning, we divided up the teams and then brainstormed some ideas. The teams had just under an hour to decide on theme ideas. Each team ended up picking a niche they wanted to gear their themes towards. The four niches were: recipes, restaurants, fine art artists and film festivals. It then took most of day 1 for ideas, wireframes and designs to get fully fleshed out. Coding began at the end of day 1 for most teams.

Working on UI and designs

Working on UI and designs

Throughout day 1 we gave themers several opportunities to present their progress, and ask questions & feedback from other attendees. On day 2, we minimized interruptions and let everyone work hard on their themes… writing html, css and php.

Working hard on building a theme

Working hard on building a theme

In addition to the organizers, we had 3 floaters, Christine Rondeau, Catherine Winters and Andrew Ozz who helped teams with any questions or issues they encountered; mainly technical questions but essentially anything that came up.

On saturday morning, I gave a quick Github 101 presentation. The presentation was well received but unfortunately the whole concept of version control was over the head of most attendees who were either advanced users or novice developers. Everyone was eager to learn but in the end encouraging everyone to use Github was more of a hassle than it was worth. We ended up dropping the idea and everyone was free to work with the files whatever which way they pleased.

Github 101 presentation

Github 101 presentation

Overall, the weekend was a success. None of the teams 100% completed their theme but they did get very close. After all, most people wouldn’t be able to build a fully-fledged theme in 2 days, yet they did get a whole lot done in just about 15 hours of work. Regardless, everyone learned something and more importantly, we, as the Vancouver WordPress community got together, got to know each other better and collaborated together. That’s an experience that I think truly represents what WordPress is about and I hope to see more WordPress local groups organize and encourage this kind of hackaton-style activities.

I’d like to give huge thanks to the WordPress foundation for helping us with costs (mainly feeding everyone both days), the Network Hub for giving us the space (and giving us beer at the end of day 2!) and the Pink & Yellow NFP Society for helping organize and take care of the finances for the event.

You can find the finalized code for the themes on Github, more photos (all photos by Morten) from the event on Flickr, and tweets from the event at #ThemeWeekend.

Theme Weekend

Twenty design­ers, devel­op­ers, and Word­Press enthu­si­asts will gather at The Net­work Hub in down­town Van­cou­ver for a two-day week­end event on June 30th and July 1st, 2012 to col­lab­o­rate and build Word­Press themes. I’m helping organize and run the event. We’re calling it Theme Weekend and you’re invited!

Take a look at the details on the WP YVR community website.

How I see Vancouver

I made an intro video for my coworkers at Automattic. This is the video w/out the speech. Shows Vancouver “in my eyes” 🙂

Beach day


My current status: hanging out at the beach in sunny hot Vancouver

Polyglot (un)conference #polyglotconf

Today I attended the first annual Polyglot (un)conference in Vancouver.


Unconferences are similar to traditional conferences; the main difference being that all the sessions are voted upon by the attendees and decided day-of. The last unconference I attended was not very well organized and took too long to get going. I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t the case today. Part of the voting was done online ahead of time using uvoice and organizers really took charge in getting things going in the morning.

In computer lingo, polyglot is the concept of writing programs in several different programming languages. The polyglot conference brought together developers from all kinds of backgrounds. Lots of ruby, .net, JavaScript, and erlang folks were in attendance. To my own surprise, not many people at the event work with PHP.

I also got the impression that many of the web developers who were here see WordPress as more of an amateur and hackish platform. I’m obviously deeply entrenched in the WordPress community so it’s interesting and even somewhat refreshing to get different perspectives; regardless whether the feedback is good or bad. That being said, most people I spoke with individually were actually really interested in the work we do at Automattic and WordPress.com, especially in terms of scaling.

I always love going beyond my comfort zone and learning new things. Highlights for me today were:

  • A really great presentation on various open-source mapping technologies chiefly Mapbox. I’m a huge fan of open data and tools that help developers work with it so this was a great learning experience for me.
  • Several great presentations and breakout discussions on open source vs. proprietary code.
  • Fun lunch on a bright, sunny , warm patio; with discussions on general programming idioms.
  • In-depth introductions to Erlang and Ruby languages; both of which I only had limited experience with.
  • Long coffee break facilitated by a fire alarm at the venue.

Overall a really great event that I was happy to be part of.


Maps presentation by Talyor Sherman


From consultant to product by Boris Mann


Great lunchtime chats

PS: this was the first time I wrote a blog post from the WordPress iOS app on my iPhone. Really slick experience, and a new version was just released, go check it out 🙂

Beautiful Vancouver Sunset

Vancouver Sunset

Went out on a stroll with Amy and the dogs tonight to watch the sunset. In the process, we gathered some video footage for the video I am preparing this weekend to introduce myself to my new colleagues at Automattic.

How does Evernote know where I am?

Yesterday, while I was at WordCamp Seattle (which was a blast by the way!), I wanted to quickly jot down some notes. I opened up Evernote on my iPhone, and clicked on new note, and the title of the note auto-completed to “Note from WordCamp Seattle”.


Some clues as to how this may have happened (I don’t know the actual answer):

  • I did have WordCamp Seattle in my calendar for that day
  • I checked in on Foursquare, but tagged my checkin as #wcsea not the words “WordCamp Seattle”
  • Other people there likely were also using Evernote and maybe they called their notes “WordCamp Seattle”

In any case, the app never prompted me to access any of my data from an external application, so I’m very curious how they were able to do this. I don’t really mind, because it was convenient to have that auto-filled and it amazed me at first; but at the same time, I really wonder how it knew, and how much of my data Evernote can access. Does anyone know how Evernote knew where I was?

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