Better Plugin Recommendations for WordPress

Nick Hamze, a collaborator and friend goes into detail about why the WordPress plugin ecosystem needs some proper curation. I couldn’t agree more, the new user experience for WordPress users, in this regard is just not that great. That’s why I was eager to work with Nick on building out a very simple plugin + API to power a better “Recommended” tab for the plugins page in your wp-admin.

The current API is pretty simple and simply pulls a curated list of plugins (literally powered by a text file) and fetches data for those plugins using the WordPress.org plugins API (which was probably the hardest part of this project, as it’s very poorly and sometimes inaccurately documented — perhaps I should blog about the pieces I was able to figure out on my own). However, if the idea is well received in the community, I’d love to expand on it further and include some plugins from outside the WordPress.org plugin repository in our recommendations, as I think there’s some great third-party plugins that new users should definitely know about.

If you work for a WordPress hosting company, Nick’s inviting you to get in touch and discuss adding the plugin to your customer’s installations. Both the plugin and the small API server that powers the recommendations are fully open source as well, so feel free to fork them to create your own set of recommendations.

Read more about this on Nick’s Secret Pizza Party blog post

Let me know if you have any thoughts in the comments 💭👇

WooCommerce Connect

For the last few months, I’ve been working on a new project within Automattic. I’m pretty excited that we announced the alpha testing phase for it today. It’s called WooCommerce Connect, and it’s a new way of delivering services to extend WooCommerce, the e-commerce plugin for WordPress.

With Connect, we’re simplifying the way that shop owners manage various services. Starting off with shipping today but eventually with various types of extensions, we’re bringing a better UX, less configuration, faster integrations and a modern codebase to the WooCommerce ecosystem.

You can read more about it in the official announcement, and help us shape the future by testing it out on your test or staging site today.

And if you’re a developer or just curious about the code, we’ve open sourced the plugin, which will eventually be included in WooCommerce core, so you can read it, get inspired and maybe even contribute to it. It does set a bit of precedent from a technological stack point of view as it uses React, Redux, Webpack, and other Javascript projects and integrates with Calypso components. You can read more about it in our developer blog post.

Make sure to sign up in the announcement post to get updates as we get closer to a final release!

I also gave a presentation about this and other tidbits about WooCommerce at WordCamp Vernon just a few days ago, the slides are at slides.jkudish.com and the video recording will be up in a few weeks.

Geneva WordPress Meetup

I’m currently on a fun little tour of Europe and I got invited to speak at the WordPress Meetup in Geneva, Switzerland this evening. I joined a group of about 20 developers, of all levels and talked about WordPress plugin development. We then opened up the floor for questions and had a great ongoing conversation about development in general, the WordPress ecosystem, the open-source nature of the project, multilingual solutions and I even taught the group some Quebecois swear words 🙂

The presentation is almost identical to one I gave in Winnipeg in the spring, the slides are available as a PDF from here.

WordCamp Winnipeg

I am giving a presentation at WordCamp Winnipeg today. The presentation is pretty similar to the one I gave at WordCamp Victoria back in January; with a few small adjustments.

I’m showing power users and novice developers how to get started with plugin development. I think a lot of people don’t realize how easy it is to get started with plugin development or just how small and simple can be. It doesn’t require 100s of lines of code…

Many WordPress tutorials out there talk about copy this or that to your functions.php file in your theme. However, it’s just as easy to create your own functionality plugin; which makes for easier to maintain code in the future that isn’t theme dependant. I begin this talk with the basics of what a plugin is and how it’s structured. I then explain the hooks (actions and filters API), followed by a very simplistic demo. I then give some pro tips and talk about some of the most commonly used WordPress APIs in plugins, as well as promote coding standards. A second more in-depth demo is then presented. Finally, I discuss security in plugins and share some resources for developers and users to further learn from.

Here are the slides from the presentation, which you can also get as a PDF.

The Jitterbug

Went to the Jitterbug bakery today, which my coworker Jane runs and to which I contributed to during its Kickstarter campaign. Such a lovely cafe with delicious pastries and amazing drinks. If you’re ever in the Tybee Island/Savannah, GA area, I highly recommend it!

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P2 Hovercards

I absolutely love that at Automattic, we built in-house plugins that we then share with the world.

This handy little plugin is a huge speed-booster and convenience if you use P2 as your project manager (which you should!)

Developer Resources

We’ve released a new plugin for the P2 theme that we’re calling P2 Hovercards. Hovercards are like extra bits of information about particular links that show up when you hover the corresponding inline link or object (for example, check out our Gravatar Hovercards).

With this plugin you can add hovercards to your self-hosted P2 sites. A good example of this is core trac tickets. If you look at the Make WordPress Core blog, you’ll notice that tagged Core Trac tickets are automatically linked up. So, something like #12345 links to http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/12345.

With P2 Hovercards, we took this a step further. I can set it so that #12345 links to the right place, but then also show some additional information when you hover over the link. The following image is an example of what a hovercard could look like for that ticket:

You’ll notice that it gives all…

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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.