Matty, Y U NO BLOG THIS WEEK?

Greetings, Wally watchers… long time no chat.

You may have been popping in here this week and thinking, “why isn’t he blogging every day, after he said he’d aim to do a post a day for the whole year?”. I’ll explain why I’ve been quiet on here for the past few days. 🙂

Over the past few weeks, i’ve been working with Michael Krapf and Mark Forrester over at WooThemes on our new theme (released today), “Unsigned“. This theme, geared primarily at bands and solo musicians, is a theme that’s near and dear to me, as music is a great passion of mine, as is the independent music industry in South Africa. More on “Unsigned” in another blog post though. Back to Project 365 and the “post a day” concept.

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Filtering the Options API in WordPress

The Options API in WordPress is one of the many APIs we all use every day when developing with WordPress. A quick use of get_option() is not uncommon. What if you could filter those options? You can.

Adding filters in WordPress is also a common practice. Combining this with the Options API can allow for, as an example, changing an option when in preview mode without committing to the change.

In the “Magazine” template in the Canvas theme by WooThemes, for example, WooTumblog “image” and “video” posts are aware when they are present in the magazine-style grid. This is an example of filtering the Options API.

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Daily blogging, what to write and who to blog for

So, now almost a month in and Project 365 is still going strong. At this point, I thought it a good idea to touch base and get some feedback from you all on this month’s posts so far.

It’s often said that one should blog first and foremost for oneself. If you like a topic or post, you should write about it of you want to. While this is true, the next question I ask myself is, why share thoughts and ideas if I’m blogging for myself and, by association, not for readers?

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The world according to Generation-O

In today’s world, we have so much at our disposal. Technology that previously occupied room upon room of space to do a few calculations now makes up a small part of even a common calculator. Let me ask you this… is having all this technology always great?

Occasionally on Twitter, I read tweets along the lines of “20 years ago today, I was climbing trees” or “#whenIwasYourAge I rode my bike to school every morning”. Is technology part of what has caused this generation shift?

Many people refer to “Generation-Y”… the youth. The “young people” who are to “make a difference in the world”. I’d say that we’re entering a new age of “Generation-O”- the “plugged in” youth of today who seek to optimise every facet of their lives through technology.

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How to improve web developer coding practices (and code)

Every developer approaches their day to day development tasks from a different angle. In addition to this, each developer “designs” their code to suit their own personal preferences and approaches towards specifics in a project. When developers examine code written by other developers, we’re often critical (sometimes hyper-critical) of the code itself, mostly according to our personal preferences. While there is a place for being critical of code, and it should be encouraged, there are a few aspects of this criticism that should be left at the door… namely, the personal preferences.

While we all have our own preferences, it’s important to solidify a few areas when approaching code and to, ultimately, hone the developer’s mindset into certain guidelines. Below are a few thoughts I have running through my mind constantly while developing:

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Presentations using SlideRocket

In the last week, Jeff and I presented a workshop at the GROW Academy’s BootCamp, discussing website design & development and focussing on using WordPress to do this. For both our introductory session on Monday and our more in-depth theory discussion on Wednesday, we needed a slideshow presentation to work through the various areas of website construction. Lets zoom back to Monday morning… I needed some slides… in a hurry.

As many of you know, I like to keep my computer as clean as possible. If I don’t use an application, it gets removed and everything that could go onto the machine is thought through before it’s loaded on. Thus, I don’t have PowerPoint, Keynote or anything of the sort… because I don’t need it. Suddenly, I did. Enter SlideRocket.

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Re-thinking the concept of the “impossible”

In today’s society, it seems to be a common occurrence to use the word “impossible”. For example, after climbing a mountain, one might say something like; “wow, that was impossible”. No it wasn’t… you just did it. Nowadays we seem to have a tendency to over-exaggerate (pardon the tautology there) and, in many cases, start to believe what we’re saying. Surely, this affects how we approach tasks and situations. Why should it?

Over the past few years (I’d say, since about 2008), I’ve decided to approach tasks day to day from a different angle. How can we say that a task is “impossible” if we haven’t even yet attempted it?

This is quite a common occurrence in web development… developers looking at a task, attempting to analyze it, getting “stuck” at one point and then moving on, deeming it “impossible”. Why does it have to, all of a sudden, be “impossible”, if you haven’t even attempted it yet? Why settle for the “shortcut” when you could just sit down and develop it how you envision it in the first place?

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Musicians know how to promote

When making observations, I make a point of looking at and learning from both positive and negative observations… taking the lessons and learning from them. I also quite enjoy relating one industry to another, taking a lesson or observation from a certain industry and applying it to another. Today’s topic is around promotion, pushing your brand and creating public awareness around what you’re trying to achieve. Much of this, I’ve observed and learned through the music industry.

In the music industry, there are many layers. The layer I’ll be focussing on here is that of the independent artists. The guys who run their own show and manage themselves and everything that goes along with being in a band or performing as a solo artist.

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E-mail is broken

While sitting down to write what was likely to be a completely different blog post, I found myself compelled to write this, so here goes…

E-mail, as a technology, is broken… and we broke it.

E-mail (electronic mail) was originally intended as a means of sending messages digitally in a similar form as a posted letter. A nice simple envelope with a hand-written or typed up letter, possibly to a pen-pal or maybe a notice to cancel an account of sorts… only digital.

As the internet became more popular, it became more a commonplace item in our lives. Nowadays, we almost assume that someone has at least an e-mail address, let alone a Facebook or Twitter account. E-mail is a common form of communication amongst the majority of us who are hooked into technology… so why can’t we use it correctly?

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