Moving Beyond the Codex: Learning WordPress from Itself

Today I delivered my talk, Moving Beyond the Codex: Learning WordPress from Itself at WordCamp Providence. Here’s the abstract from my talk:

The WordPress Codex is a great resource for new developers, but as many have noted, it is far from complete and isn’t necessarily always accurate. While there are myriad web-based alternatives that can serve as a guide to WordPress’ inner workings, there is no better aid than Core itself.

Intimidated by all of those files? Don’t be. They’re actually rather well organized, and with a bit of guidance, one can easily locate the appropriate function for a given task.

As you’ll find, there are even many useful functions that don’t even appear in Core. I’ll provide an overview of how Core is organized, discuss why certain functions exist only in wp-admin, and highlight some of the exceptions to the organizational rule that lead to frustration when first exploring Core.

With this understanding, not only can one more efficiently identify the proper function for a given situation, but also give back to the community by updating the Codex; it’s just a Wiki after all.

Slides are available at http://slides.ethitter.com/moving-beyond-codex/. I’ll add a link to the video once it becomes available.

The Power of WordPress’ Roles and Capabilities–WordCamp Toronto 2012

Today, I presented an expanded version of my latest talk, The Power of WordPress’ Roles and Capabilities, at WordCamp Toronto 2012. I first gave this talk last month at WordCamp Chicago, but today’s version included additional information for users just starting out with WordPress.

Abstract for my talk:

WordPress’ roles seem simple enough on the surface, but behind the Administrator, Editor, and the other default roles is a powerful system that can be customized extensively. While some have said that other CMS’ have an advantage when it comes to security and customizing capabilities, I’ll demonstrate in this talk that that isn’t true.

Starting with a walkthrough of how to modify existing roles and create new ones, I’ll then cover how to leverage custom roles in your code. I’ll wrap up with a discussion of some powerful filters that will prove WordPress has as flexible and able a roles and capabilities system as the popular competitors often touted as having superior implementations.

Slides are available at http://slides.ethitter.com/wcto-roles-and-capabilities/.

The Power of WordPress’ Roles and Capabilities–WordCamp Chicago 2012

Today, I presented my newest talk, The Power of WordPress’ Roles and Capabilities, at WordCamp Chicago 2012.

Abstract for my talk:

WordPress’ roles seem simple enough on the surface, but behind the Administrator, Editor, and the other default roles is a powerful system that can be customized extensively. While some have said that other CMS’ have an advantage when it comes to security and customizing capabilities, I’ll demonstrate in this talk that that isn’t true.

Starting with a walkthrough of how to modify existing roles and create new ones, I’ll then cover how to leverage custom roles in your code. I’ll wrap up with a discussion of some powerful filters that will prove WordPress has as flexible and able a roles and capabilities system as the popular competitors often touted as having superior implementations.

Slides are available at http://slides.ethitter.com/wcchi-roles-and-capabilities/.

The video is also available at http://wordpress.tv/2012/12/02/the-power-of-wordpress-roles-and-capabilities/.

Moving Beyond the Codex: Learning WordPress from Itself (WordCamp NYC 2012)

A few weeks ago, I presented a new talk at WordCamp NYC 2012. Here’s an overview of what I covered:

The WordPress Codex is a great resource for new developers, but as many have noted, it is far from complete and isn’t necessarily always accurate. While there are myriad web-based alternatives that can serve as a guide to WordPress’ inner workings, there is no better aid than Core itself.

Intimidated by all of those files? Don’t be. They’re actually rather well organized, and with a bit of guidance, one can easily locate the appropriate function for a given task. As you’ll find, there are even many useful functions that don’t appear in the Codex.

I’ll provide an overview of how Core is organized, discuss why certain functions exist only in wp-admin, and highlight some of the exceptions to the organizational rule that lead to frustration when first exploring Core. With this understanding, not only can one more efficiently identify the proper function for a given situation, but also give back to the community by updating the Codex; it’s just a Wiki after all.

The slides from my presentation are available at http://thinkoomph.com/slides/wcnyc-ethitter-moving-beyond-codex/ or http://slides.ethitter.com/moving-beyond-codex/.

I’ll be giving the same presentation at WordCamp Boston next month (http://2012.boston.wordcamp.org/).

How to Scale WordPress (WordPress Phoenix)

Today, Chris Lauzon (@squireX2) and I presented a talk at WordCamp Phoenix entitled How to Scale WordPress. Here’s how we described our talk:

Developing and managing an optimized WordPress site can be challenging for anyone not familiar with how to scale a site. This presentation will cover some of the basics of putting together a WordPress site designed for excellent performance and scalability, followed by discussion about more advanced infrastructure topics.

Running a high-scale WordPress site starts with code optimization, including effective use of WordPress’ APIs. We’ll discuss WP_Query and the advantages of using it instead of direct database queries. We’ll also delve into the appropriate and effective use of WordPress’ two native caching APIs, which will lead into the infrastructure portion of our talk.

There are a million options when it comes to hosting your WordPress site, such as shared hosting, managed hosting, VPS, etc. Each has its advantages, which we’ll explore while discussing when stepping up to the next level becomes appropriate. We will also cover different methods of caching, including using database optimization methods, and implementing a content delivery network (CDN).

Our slides are available at http://goo.gl/p92Ja. The video is available at http://wordpress.tv/2012/03/04/erick-hitter-chris-lauzon-how-to-scale-wordpress/.

Caching and Scaling Using Fragment Caching (WordCamp Miami)

This morning, I delivered a revised version of my caching presentation from last November’s Boston WordPress meetup. Using what I’ve learned working on the WordPress.com VIP platform, this presentation discusses caching techniques applicable to WordPress installations of almost any size.

The HTML version of my slides are available at http://slides.ethitter.com/wcmia-caching-scaling-2012-02-18/. A PDF version is available on SlideShare and is embedded below.

On Being Unemployed, Six Months On

Having recently passed the six-months-on-unemployment mark, I’ve been thinking a lot about what this experience has meant for me. Overwhelmingly, my thoughts turned to whether or not I’m using my unintentional freedom to identify and further my career goals, improve my mental health, and expand my social network. Even though I still find myself without a job, I believe the answer to all three inquiries is yes.

After taking a rather circuitous route to becoming an accountant, I never identified the role I saw the degree playing in my career path. I assumed that at some point I would become a CPA, but beyond that, I had no plan. My intentions were always focused on the near future, on matters such as where I would live and how I would pay the bills. For some months after losing my job, my nearsightedness continued. I was content to travel, put off studying for the CPA exam, and tinker with WordPress.

Continue reading On Being Unemployed, Six Months On

WordCamp Boston 2010

For the past few months, I’ve helped organize the inaugural WordCamp Boston, happening this weekend in Cambridge. For the uninitiated, WordCamps are community-organized events for users of the WordPress platform of all experience levels (WordPress just so happens to power this site).

Having never organized a conference before, the experience has been enlightening, to say the least. Luckily for our attendees, my fellow organizers have much more experience with these types of things, ensuring this weekend’s event will be one of the coolest, most unique WordCamps thus far.

If you can’t make it or couldn’t get a ticket, be sure to keep an eye on wordcampboston.com throughout the day Saturday for a glimpse into what the camp holds. In the weeks following the event, videos of the sessions will be available online, likely at WordPress.tv.