WordPress Development: The Theory

Published on Dec 31, 2008   //  Development, WordPress

WordPress Development

Another day, another new series: WordPress Development. This series will focus on – you guessed it – developing plugins for the popular blogging platform – WordPress. This week, we’ll talk about the theory behind developing for WordPress.

Introduction

WordPress contains a very useful Plugin API (Application Programming Interface), where you can change, add and even remove almost anything, anywhere within WordPress (within reason, of course). As WordPress is written in PHP, plugins must also be written in PHP. The API works by “hooking” into filters and actions which are placed all through WordPress at key places.

Differences Between a Filter and an Action

In WordPress, a filter is something that you would hook into if you want to filter data, being passed through a certain point, before it reaches its final destination. A filter will always give you data. An example of this would be if you wanted to remove cuss words from comments before they’re display, you would use a filter.

An action would be used when you want to simply output something to the user at certain places or points of time. An action will never give you data. An example of this would be if you wanted to add a CSS stylesheet (on-the-fly) to the Plugin user’s theme’s header.php.

Whether you’re using a filter or an action, you always return your data for it to get back into the “data stream”.

There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of filters and actions contained within WordPress, the majority of which can be found on the WordPress Codex. The Filters reference is here and the actions reference is here.

That’s It

The entire WordPress Plugin API is simply made up of filters and actions. There’s nothing else to it, it’s just all up to you to make good use of those filters and actions.

Top 10 WordPress Plug-Ins of 2008

Published on Dec 31, 2008   //  WordPress

WordPress is the preferred CMS for a lot of bloggers, both amateur and professional alike. Part of the appeal of WordPress is the ability to customize and manage the platform through a series of plug-ins and other tweaks. Listed below are some of the best and most valuable WordPress plug-ins of 2008.

1. Akismet – This is not exactly a new WordPress plug-in anymore, but if you only run one plug-in on your blog, Akismet is an absolute must-have. Without it, your blog will be literally inundated with mountains of spam comments.

2. Comment Approval Notification – Developed by our good friend Matt Freedman, this sends out a notification email when a comment gets approved through the moderation queue. This serves as a reminder to the visitor to come back and visit your blog again.

3. CommentLuv – In an effort to encourage more comments on your blog, you may consider using this plug-in that provides a link to the commentator’s most recent blog post.

4. Smart Archives – You don’t want your hard work to disappear into obscurity, right? With Smart Archives, visitors to your blog can more easily access some of your older material, rather than fumbling through the full text of every post.

5. No Self Pings – While it is important to deeplink to your own blog articles, you may not want these trackbacks to show up in the comment section. This plug-in prevents self-pings from appearing.

6. If Older Than – Would you like to treat your older posts differently than the more recent ones? Perhaps you’d like to monetize those more so that you can keep a better user experience with the current stuff. This plugin lets you do that.

7. Social Profiles – We all have multiple presences on the ‘net, so why not encourage even more comments on your blog by letting visitors feature their social networking profiles. This way, they not only get love for their blog, but also for their Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and so on.

8. KeywordLuv – Further continuing with the task of increasing visitor interaction, this allows the “name” in the comment field to be replaced by a keyword instead. If you institute a dofollow strategy on your blog, this provides even more incentive for visitors to leave a comment.

9. My Top Commentators – Keeping track of who leaves the most comments on your blog can be a bit of a challenge, but this plugin tracks all of that information for you. Month-end roundup posts are a lot easier as a result.

10. WpTouch – People don’t just surf the Internet on their computers. They do it on their iPhones too, so this integrated plug-in and theme make any blog much more iPhone-friendly.

Top 10 Business Books of 2008

Published on Dec 30, 2008   //  Business Topics
Off

While there is certainly a lot to be learned on the Internet when it comes to running a successful blog or starting up a successful business, sometimes you need to turn to more traditional media, like books, to get the best and most useful information. Especially with the economic slump that we all seem to be experiencing right now, it is a very good idea to invest in some good reading that can point your business in the right direction.

1. The Snowball – Warren Buffett is easily one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. Learning from his “business of life” and how he is able to profit during financial crises.

2. The Orange Code – We’ve all seen their commercials, but how did ING Direct manage to get some much attention (and market share) so quickly? By being a “rebel with a cause.”

3. Click Here to Order – Joel Comm is a trusted authority on the Internet and for good reason. In this book, he describes the stories of some of the Internet’s most successful entrepreneurs.

4. The 4-Hour Workweek – Although technically released in 2007, this book by Tim Ferriss is still an excellent resource for learning how to work smarter, not harder. Can you work just four hours a week?

5. Grown Up Digital – This generation has grown up surrounded by digital media and the world wide web. Learn how this changes society and how you can best run a business in a digital world.

6. Outliers: The Story of Success – Following up on The Tipping Point and Blink, Malcolm Gladwell describes how those who fall outside of the norm have become so successful. What advantages did Bill Gates have that his contemporaries did not?

7. Once You’re Lucky Twice You’re Good – The dot com bubble burst once, but Web 2.0 companies have risen back to the top to make mounds of money. How did they do it? Sarah Lacy tells you in this book.

8. Reality Check – Guy Kawasaki is back with another book, this time discussing different realities and how they affect the way that you run your business. He’s a renowned guru for a reason.

9. Tribes – Seth Godin teaches us not about business, per se, but among the strength of leadership and how you can lead your “tribes” to success.

10. The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein educates us on the rise of disaster capitalism, showing us where companies have profited from the woes and disasters that regular folks have suffered. Is this immoral or is it “just business”?

Everything PHP: Introduction

Published on Dec 30, 2008   //  Development

Everything PHP

Welcome to Everything PHP, another new series here on the BlueFur Blog. During this series we will be teaching you everything you need to know about PHP. To ensure everybody understands what PHP is and can be used for, we will be using this initial post to talk about PHP. Next week we’ll be getting into the code.

What is it?

PHP is a programming language intended for use on the web. It is an interpreted language, meaning it is not compiled ahead of time, which allows you to adjust code and deploy it quickly and efficiently. PHP’s syntax is based off of other programming languages such as Perl.

PHP is a recursive acryonom which stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

What is it used for?

PHP is used to create dynamic websites. It can either be used in conjunction with XHTML in the same file, and exists in it’s own file. PHP can be used to create user interaction or to make calculations on-the-fly. While that may sound daunting and complicated, it really isn’t. You could simply use PHP to output the current date and time onto your website, or dynamically rotate a set of pictures around with each pageload.

PHP can be used for the simplest or most complex uses; it’s a very flexible programming language.

Top 10 Sales Questions of 2008

Published on Dec 30, 2008   //  Business Topics
Off

We have collected the top 10 most commonly asked questions over 2008 to sales and here in no specific order are the top 10 questions and answers….

1. Will you be adding reseller hosting back to your services?

No we are narrowing our focus instead of growing it. We want to be specializing in area’s which we can and reseller hosting is not an area we feel we are experts in.

2. Where are your servers located?

We currently make use of Data Centers in Vancouver, Montreal, Seattle, New York and Dallas. All new accounts and servers are currently placed in a Canadian data center.

3. Can I add cPanel to the Xdev server?

Yes the cost to add cPanel is $29.95 a month.

4. Can I upgrade my service at any time?

Yes you can increase your package at any time just email billing with the package or specs you wish to upgrade to. The cost to upgrade is only the difference in packages.

5. Can I get a dedicated IP for my site? or multiple IP’s for my server?

Yes you can but all IP’s must be approved through ARIN. ARIN regulates the use of IP’s for specific reasons. Please note SEO is not one of them.

6. Do your servers use .htaccess?

Yes you can use .htaccess to make use of the various server settings.

7. Do you provide SSH or Shell access?

Yes just contact support for details on activating it.

8. Do you provide a web site builder?

No we do not provide a web site builder where you can build a site with a few clicks. We do though provide several content management systems like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal to create a site using freely provided plugins and themes.

9. Do you have a trial package?

No instead we do have a 30 day money back guarantee which you can use if you are unhappy with our hosting.

10. Is there any setup fees or hidden costs?

No we have all our fees listed on our site. There are no hidden fees.

Top 10 Commenters of 2008

Published on Dec 29, 2008   //  News Worthy

Our blog is made up of writers, readers and commenters. We thank everyone who contributes to making our blog the what it is. The following are our top commentators for 2008…

1. Matt Freedman

2. Andrew Flusche

3. Webkinz

4. Dr. Cossack

5. Derek Semmler

6. Rinko

7. Aaron Hall

8. Raul Pacheco

9. Tony Chung

10. Chuks Ugoji

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