Caching, Scaling, and What I’ve Learned from VIP

Last night, I gave a talk at the Boston WordPress Meetup that talked about caching and scaling WordPress. Using what I’ve learned working on the VIP platform, this presentation discusses caching techniques applicable to WordPress installations of almost any size.

The slides from my talk are embedded below and available on Slideshare. The video is also available below.

Five Reasons Why I Love Developing with WordPress

I’ve been using WordPress for a few years now, and since March, I’ve worked at C. Murray Consulting, where I primarily develop websites on WordPress and BuddyPress. Originally designed for blogging, recent upgrades have transformed WordPress into a full-featured content management system. Thanks largely to its humble roots, WordPress has a number of advantages over its competitors. Below are the top five I’ve identified as both a user and developer:
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Introducing WordPress 3, Featuring Custom Post Types, A Native Menu Editor, and More

The following first appeared on my employer’s site,

Today’s release of WordPress 3.0 brings some exciting enhancements and new features that strengthen the software’s position in the realm of content management systems. For developers such as us, two sets of features in particular should prove invaluable in implementing WordPress-based solutions for our clients.

First, version 3 expands WordPress beyond the traditional blogging constructs of posts and pages by allowing users to specify custom post types. These custom types can function either like posts, organized linearly, or like pages, having a hierarchical structure. This feature builds on the custom taxonomies introduced in WordPress 2.9, which let users expand the organizational options for content beyond just categories and tags. Now, combining custom post types with custom taxonomies, users have complete control over how content is organized and displayed.

Custom post types don’t just let users segregate press releases from product pages, for example, but also simplify the addition of fields specific to each post type. A product post type could include pricing and availability, whereas a press release could hold media contact information. Following this example, separate taxonomies can be assigned to each, reaffirming a clear organization of content.

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No CAPTCHAs for Intense Debate

Since switching this site to the Intense Debate (ID) commenting system, one function I missed was the ability to integrate reCAPTCHA1 into my comment forms. While I understand some are not fans of the system that adds nearly inscrutable text to a form that then must be typed in to the accompanying box to continue, the mechanism does significantly reduce the volume of comment spam.

reCAPTCHA challenge - the obscured text must be entered into the box below it before a form is submitted

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  1. reCAPTCHA is one form of a challenge system, known as CAPTCHA or Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, developed at Carnegie Mellon University. More information is available on Wikipedia.

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.

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Plugins Move to

To better showcase my web development work, I’ve relocated the pages related to my WordPress plugins to Any future announcements concerning plugin updates and new offerings will be hosted at

As part of the move, my plugin development feed is now FeedBurner does not automatically redirect renamed feeds, so please update your reader accordingly. Anyone subscribed by email, however, should continue to receive updates.

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 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

Trackback Mystery Solved, At Last

I’ve written recently and with much frustration of the disappearance of trackbacks from my site.

At first, I erroneously attributed this problem to my theme’s omission of the trackback RDF and URL codes. After adding both codes to the Journalist theme, it seemed that trackbacks had returned, but I soon realized that the links were only intermittently appearing.

Then, in the process of upgrading my site to the latest version of WordPress, I identified the true reason for my missing trackbacks. As part of the upgrade, I eliminated a few redundant plugins, including WP Captcha-Free. This plugin, which claims that it won’t block pingbacks or trackbacks, did just that.

I can confidently attribute the cause of this mystery to WP Captcha-Free because trackbacks from uberVU and Topsy once again appear in the IntenseDebate moderation queue.

After a month of confusion and consternation, I can happily report that I’ve resolved the mystery of the missing trackbacks.

Trackbacks Mystery Continues

On Friday, I wrote about the mysterious disappearance of trackbacks from my site. At the time, I believed I’d solved the problem by adding the trackback RDF and URL codes to my theme, as neither is included in the original design.

Now, I’m noticing that trackbacks still aren’t appearing. So, the mystery continues.

Has anyone else encountered this problem with the Journalist theme, or any other theme for that matter? If so, were you able to resolve this issue, and how did you resurrect your trackbacks?