A couple of days ago, I upgraded the server that runs this site. It was running an older version of PHP, and some other components could use some update love too. I’m using a SecureDragon Virtual Private Server (VPS), which allows me to create a snapshot of the server before doing stuff like this. In case anything went wrong, this would allow me to go back to the way things were that morning.
More Backup bingo
Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of helping a large government organisation here in The Netherlands implement WordPress. Eventually, this project became the largest multisite network I’ve ever been involved with. As more departments joined my client’s WordPress-based intranet, we added plugins and widgets to enable their communication goals.
Eventually, the network grew to hundreds of sites, and it became increasingly important to keep track of things. Things like which widget was being used where. This little plugin attempts to help multisite admins do just that.
More New WordPress plugin: RT Widget Statistics
Yesterday, I blogged about the 5k Awards. I mentioned that I managed to find the “Blocks” project that Wouter de Jong and I entered, but that it didn’t work in modern day browsers. Of course, that was rather unsatisfactory.
Like the 2000 version, it lacks some basic HTML things – like a doctype declaration – to keep the file size down. It’s functionally and visually identical to the old version, but it now works in recent versions of Chrome, Firefox and IE. And thanks to modern day minifiers, the whole thing is now under 4 kilobytes.
Check it out here:
Yesterday, Jeffrey Zeldman posted an article on the A List Apart blog about the 5K Awards. I actually entered this competition in 2000, so this post brought back memories. Fond memories of a competition that would be as relevant today as it was back then. Also, it’s not every day that you interact with both @zeldman and @stewart in a single Twitter thread :). So I thought I’d recap.
More It’s been 15 years since “The 5K”
Sparkling is a popuplar free WordPress theme on wordpress.org right now. It’s nice an clean, and I recently recommended it to a client. The one thing both my client and I didn’t really like about the theme is how it handles static front pages. There’s a specific template file for them with a full-width layout, that also hides the page’s title. This is probably great for some users, but my client preferred to keep the sidebar and display the page’s title.
To work around this in a way that didn’t require a child theme or modyfications to the original theme, I wrote a little plugin. All it does is call the regular page template instead of front-page.php, when a page is set as the front page.
If you’re using Sparkling, and would like to try the plugin, you can download it from Github. The plugin will work for other themes as well, but I’ve not tested this.
RT Bypass Sparkling Front Page Template
I love WordPress. It’s the easiest Content Management System to use, and it’s also very easy to develop for. Out of the box, WordPress is so intuitive that most of my clients require little to no training in order to use their new website. But there’s one thing that I find hard to explain to novice users. The concept of a “posts page”.
More New WordPress plugin: RT Hide Posts Page Editor
Last weekend, at WordCamp Europe in Sofia, Siobhan McKeown gave an excellent talk about the fundamental principles that underpin WordPress. For me, the most essential one is freedom. Being an open source Content Management System, WordPress is both “free as in beer” and “free as in speech”. And while the former has probably been a big factor in WordPress’s amazing growth, it’s the latter that we should all really be thankful for.
More A fifth of the web now runs on Freedom
Last weekend, Björn and I spoke at WordCamp Netherlands, and while preparing the presentation I figured that one of the things I was going talk about would probably work as a WordPress plugin. It’s been ages since I last released a plugin, mostly because there’s a solution out there for almost everything you can possibly run into. This specific little fix however proved to be an exception to that rule.
More New WordPress plugin: RT Filter Page List
The fourth edition of WordCamp Netherlands took place last weekend, and I had the pleasure of speaking at this wonderful event. With Björn Wijers, I talked about the intranet project we were involved in at the Dutch tax office (Belastingdienst).
More WordCamp Netherlands 2014 slides
If you know what Dynamic DNS (DDNS) means, you probably also know that the most popular provider of DDNS services is terminating its free plan. For years, Dyn (formerly DynDNS) has been the go-to service for anyone wanting to access their private LAN though an easy to remember (sub)domain name. I don’t use their service frequently enough to warrant moving to a paid account, so I’ve been looking for an alternative.
No-ip.com is often recommended, and is probably a great service. They say it’ll be free forever, but I guess that’s what Dyn used to say. I’d prefer something a little less commercial. That’s why I liked DuckDNS. Duck has a fun name, a slightly clumsy website, and no apparent business model. Its update clients aren’t as polished as Dyn’s, but they’re still pretty easy to set up. With the website’s help, I’ve set up a cron job on my NAS that does the updating.
You get four free domains, but there’s no paid plan. If you donate (which I certainly will), you get bumped to ten domains. Plenty for home users and small businesses. Easy, simple, fair.