WordPress is often accused of being slow, and you can definitely get it to grind to a halt if you try. But in true WordPress fashion, it also comes with interesting building blocks that helps speed it up to all the way to ludicrous speed. WordPress is like Lego, and I’ve been playing with a couple of interesting new bricks that promise to seriously improve performance.
More Experimenting with Memcached and Batcache
On October 5th, 6th and 7th, I attended the first ever WordCamp Europe. As I’ve come to know them, WordCamps are usually city-based WordPress events where developers, designers and bloggers meet to listen to talks, discuss the future of WordPress and – of course – party. In many ways, WCEU was no different. Except for scale. Around 700 people attended, from all over Europe (and far beyond).
More WordCamp Europe 2013
Ever since pages got added to WordPress in version 1.5, wp_list_pages has been the way to get a list of pages. In the pre-widgets era, it used to be coded into pretty much every theme’s sidebar or header to generate the site’s menu.
Nowadays wp_list_pages is at the heart of the Pages widget, and it’s perfect for blog-type sites with a modest number of pages. But if you’re using WordPress as a CMS, and most of your content is written as pages, using wp_list_pages can cause serious performance issues.
More Taming wp_list_pages
As a long time member of the WordPress community, I go to a lot of WP meetups, WordCamps and other WordPress-related gatherings. Often, people will pull out their laptops and start hacking away together. It’s a great community. What strikes me as somewhat odd however, is that the majority of those laptops are usually MacBooks. Now of course, everybody is completely welcome to use whatever type of computer they prefer, but to me there’s something strange about this situation. A WordPress developer with a Mac is a little like a church-going atheist.
More The WordPress-Apple Paradox
Ever since tags were introduced in WordPress 2.3, people have wanted to add tags to pages, not just to posts. For years now, Page Tagger has allowed you to do so. It’s a great plugin, and I’ve used it often. However, since it was created, WordPress has made it a lot easier to add tags to pages, and that new approach has some significant advantages.
I’ve been working with Bjorn Wijers on a project that uses Page Tagger, and we’ve found it to have some small – but pesky – issues. Bjorn gradually improved and simplified the code, and sent patches to the plugin’s author. Most of those changes are now part of Page Tagger, but Bjorn has decided to also release his own plugin.
More New WordPress plugin: Tag Pages
The previous two years, I’ve helped put together a WordPress meetup in Amersfoort. While this was fun to do, it didn’t really make sense, because I do not live in (or even really near) Amersfoort. As a result know very little about essential things like venues there. It looks like this year, local WordPress people will take over “their” meetup, and I’ve been thinking about setting up a brand new one in “my” 035 area of The Netherlands.
Ideally, I’d like to do something that’s a little more informal than the Amersfoort ones were, and probably also more frequent. If there’s anyone who’d like to help organize, speak at, or simply attend such a meetup, please let me know in the comments. Oh, and despite the little joke I pulled with the logo, I’m hoping to keep it as low-key and relaxed as possible. Suit and tie entirely optional, perhaps even frowned upon :).
One of the biggest, and most useful additions to WordPress in recent years has been the introduction of Custom Post Types. Before CPTs, all the content in your site needed to either be in pages or in blog posts. If your site needed a lot of different types of data, you’d typically use categories (or even tags) to tell them apart. I’ve seen (and probably built) examples where “products” and “news” were post categories, and the site’s front-end would continuously filter out one of the two. In hindsight: madness.
Since the introduction of Custom Post Types, it makes sense to declare separate types for different types of data. When doing so, there’s a crucial argument (passed to the register_post_type function) called “supports”. This argument tells WordPress which post features should be available for the new post type. This allows you to mix and match various features. No need for an excerpt? Require a “featured image”? Need custom fields? No problem. But there’s a catch.
More Custom Post Features could make WordPress even more flexible
This week, some of the brightest minds in WordPress – and me – are co-working in Sitges, Spain. As I wrote before, I’m part of the first WP On Tour, organized by Karim Osman of Automattic. We’re in a very nice villa and, compared to back home, the weather is excellent here. But more importantly, it’s really nice to be surrounded by fellow WordPress users and devs for a change.
We’ve set up a Flickr group, but at this time there’s very little in there. On Twitter, we’re using the #wpontour hashtag.
WordPress has recently been described as “the dark matter of the web”. It’s absolutely everywhere. The WordPress ecosystem is probably bigger than Facebook. But at the same time, most of the WordPress people I know are “flying solo”. There are a lot of freelancers out there who work with a small team, or none at all.
More WordPress On Tour
It’s spring again. Temperatures are on the rise, trees are blossoming and birds are tweeting. Time for another WordPress meetup. Just like last year, Kaj Rietberg and I will be putting together a meetup in Amersfoort. If you’re a WordPress fan and you’re not too far from the geographical center of The Netherlands, please join us on the 10th of May.
More Join us at the WordPress meetup Amersfoort 2011!