WordPress Developer tools to increase productivity

I traveled to Kochi today to attend WordCamp Kochi 2017, the first ever WordCamp to happen in South India. I am waiting in the airport to return home as I write this.

Even though this was the first WordCamp in Kochi, the organizer did a wonderful job and it was planned and executed perfectly. Kudos to the organizers and volunteers.

Remote working culture in India

I was very surprised and happy to note that remote working culture has really taken off in India.

When I attended WordCamp Pune in 2015, apart from my colleges who worked at 10up, there were only one or two other people who worked remotely. But this time I found more than 10 people who are working remotely.

There were lot of foreign companies and even some local Indian companies that have adopted remote working.

I don’t get the eyeballs that I used to get earlier anymore when ever I mention that work 100% remotely πŸ˜‰

My talk about increasing your productivity as a WordPress developer

I gave a talk about the different developer tools that I use to increase my productivity as a WordPress developer.

Instead of just listing down the tools or just talking about how to install/configure them which anyone can find out easily by a simple web search, I talked about my experience using these tools and the reasons why I choose these tools.

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Posted in Events/Conferences, WordPress | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Cleanup old version of installed boxes in Vagrant

I use Vagrant with VVV extensively for setting up local development environments and have a couple of Vagrant boxes setup in my mac.

Recently I was running out of disk space in my Mac which prompted me to look around to see if there are any unnecessary files that can be cleaned up.

This let me to find out that Vagrant stores all versions of boxes that were downloaded even after upgrading them.

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Looking back at 2016

2016 just ended (Let’s just pretend that I wrote this post 6 weeks ago πŸ™‚ ) and like the last 8 years here is my year-end review post.

Usually I publish this at the beginning of the year, but this year had been crazy so far and I am publishing this after a delay of about 6 weeks. Better late than never right? πŸ˜‰

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Tamil Nadu Road Trip

After my recent US Road Trip (I am yet to write about it, should write about it soon) I decided to spend the year end time off on a road trip covering historical and religious places around Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry instead of going to typical tourist places like Ooty, Kodaikanal etc.

I planned the trip such that I will be driving mostly along the coast, since I have a huge affinity to the ocean πŸ™‚ Some of these historical places have confirmed recorded history dating back to more than 1800-1500 years and mentioned in religious texts from millennias ago.

In this trip I also wanted to visit some of the places mentioned in the famous Tamil historical fiction book Ponniyin Selvan.

I did the entire trip in my car (Ford Figo) with my wife and 3 year old son.

Here is my travel log in case you are planning to visit some of these places.

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Posted in Travel/Trek | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Email Log WordPress plugin v1.9.1 released

Just a quick note to let you all know that I have released v1.9.1 of my Email Log WordPress plugin that allows you to log every email that is sent from WordPress.

This released fixed a minor security bug that allows logged-in unprivileged users to view content of the logged email.

Since it is a security fix, it is a mandatory update.

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[Book Review] Why Do Buses Come in Threes?

If you look at my Good Reads profile, you will know that I have read lot of fiction lately. I wanted to take a break and so I picked up Why Do Buses Come in Three: The Hidden Mathematics of Everyday Life by Robert Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham.

I came to know about this book through Good Read’s recommendation and added it to my to-read list probably a year ago. When I wanted to read a non-fiction book for a break I found it in my to-read list and immediately picked it up.

I found that alternating between fiction and non-fiction books is a nice way to read books from different genre and I have followed it up for the last couple of years.

why-do-buses-come-in-threes

Synopsis

Why Do Buses Come in Three: The Hidden Mathematics of Everyday Life tries to explain how Maths governs most of the things that we experience in everyday life. It answers some of the questions that we have everyday like why do buses come in threes (mentioned in the title), or why showers are always either too hot or too cold or why do clever people get things wrong etc using Maths.

In addition to answering these questions, the book also mentions the theory behind answers in simple terms.

Things I learned from this book

The major thing that I learned from this book is that some times common sense (or intuition) may not be correct. It is either your brain trying to do an approximation (and failing miserably) or some clever marketer who is using statistics to lie to you πŸ™‚

Some of the famous ones include

  • Why do clever people get things wrong?
  • Bad luck and number 13
  • Why am I always in traffic jams?
  • How can a TV program claim that it was watched by x number of people?

The other thing that I learned from this book are a couple of magic tricks based on Maths that were mentioned in the last chapter.

Things I liked in this book

The main thing that I liked about this book is that it took most of the common day problems that pretty much everyone would have witnessed and then answered it using Maths. I found it very appealing since you can easily understand as you would have already experienced them.

The other thing that I liked about this book is that the answers were explained in very simple language which means you can understand most of them with very limited knowledge of Maths.

Also I liked the last chapter that had some magic tricks based on Maths that you can try with your friends πŸ™‚

My Rating

My rating for this book is 4 out of 5.

The only reason that I didn’t give 5 stars was because some of the theory that were mentioned in the book were not explained properly. I agree that this book was not about the theory, but I felt that some of it could either have been removed or explained a bit more.

My next book

After finishing the current set of fiction books that I am reading, I am planning to read No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald. The author is the reporter broke who broke the story about NSA surveillance scandal based on the documents released by Edward Snowden and in this book the author explores the extraordinary co-operation between private industry and the NSA, and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s surveillance program.

Sounds like an interesting read πŸ™‚

Posted in Books | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Email Log WordPress plugin v1.9 released

I just released version 1.9 of my Email Log WordPress plugin. This released fixed an issue with pagination while viewing log files and various improvements at code level.

About Email Log WordPress plugin

Email Log is a WordPress plugin that allows you to log every email sent through WordPress and provides a UI where you can view them. The logged emails can be searched based on date, email address or subject.

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How to find if you are on the last page of a multi-page post in WordPress

Recently I came across a requirement at work where I had to find out if a particular post had pagination (page-breaks) and if yes then whether the user is on the last of those pages.

Even though this sounded simple, I had to dig into WordPress core source code to find out a way to solve it since there were no helper functions and you have to use global variables to figure it out.

I thought of writing about my findings here so that it would be helpful to others and I would also know where to look up when I need to do it again πŸ™‚

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Easy Retweet WordPress plugin v3.1 Released

As I promised in my year end review post, I have started working on my WordPress plugins. My Easy Retweet WordPress plugin badly needed an update to fix a couple of warnings and I just released v3.1 of the plugin with a couple of fixes and some new features.

About Easy Retweet WordPress plugin

Easy Retweet WordPress Plugin that allows you to easily add Twitter tweet buttons to your WordPress posts.

You can choose to add these buttons using any one of the following ways

  • Automatic way – Just configure the button in the settings screen
  • Using shortcodes
  • Using template functions

You can also enable Google Analytics tracking for the links that are generated by buttons created by this plugin.

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Creating custom tables with correct Character Set and Collation in WordPress

Sometime ago I wrote a blog post about how to properly create custom tables in WordPress that are also compatible with WordPress Multisite.

One thing that I didn’t mention in that article is setting the correct character set and collation for those custom tables.

What are character set and collation?

From MySQL docs:

A character set is a set of symbols and encodings. A collation is a set of rules for comparing characters in a character set.

You will be specifying the character set and collation as part of the CREATE TABLE sql query.

What values should be used for character set and collation?

WordPress has a complex logic to figure out the correct character set and collation for each instance and provides a way to override them in wp-config.php file.

WordPress also does a lot of security checks and rejects text-based on the character set and collation of the tables. So if you are creating custom tables in WordPress then instead of hard coding the character set and collation (or leaving it blank) you should use the one that WordPress had determined.

You can use the get_charset_collate() function in wpdb class to get this value. Append the value returned by this function at the end of your CREATE TABLE sql.

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