Summer Reading List Must: Professional WordPress

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Hey, happy summer! It wasn’t too long ago that we did our last giveaway, but the weather is getting toasty, and we figured you might need a good summer read. Plus, we find these giveaways to be a lot of fun, and we hope you do too!

By now, we assume you’re familiar with the Professional WordPress books written by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern. The third edition of Professional WordPress was released in January, and since then we’ve done two giveaways of the book (and a few other small goodies). To kick off a bright and beautiful season, though, we wanted to go bigger. Like the sun.

This time around, we’re giving away a copy of Professional WordPress (signed by Brad, naturally), and in addition to that, we’re also giving away a one year membership to the Apple Developer ProgramYup, you read that right! We are mighty privileged to be a part of this community of developers and designers and WordPress lovers, and we wanted to give something back that’s extra sweet for you folks.

Let’s keep this short and sweet and simple: As per usual, click through to the Rafflecopter to enter! As we did last time, if we beat 250 entries, we’ll give away some rad Maintainn t-shirts and stickers and other goodies as second and third place prizes.

Good luck!


The Questions You Need to Ask When Building a Team

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Building a team is one of the hardest things to do, and yet it’s so crucial to creating a sustaining, successful business with happy employees. We’ve heard Brad share his basic philosophy on this a few times, and the value of it cannot be overstated: Work with people you like.

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While that’s a simple foundation to start from, there are also some key questions to ask and qualities to look for when you’re building up your team. One of the best things about WDS is the fact that it has so many amazing team members, many of which have backstories that, from the outside, may not make them look like the obvious best fit for a web development agency. The reason that we have such an eclectic crew, though, is because the questions that our folks ask themselves (and of prospective team members) when expanding are often questions that cannot be answered by reading a resume.

Today, a few WDS leaders share their insight on how to effectively build a skilled, capable, and downright rad team. All three of our Project Managers, Cristina Cannon, Melissa Hoppe, and Jaimie Olmstead, chipped in, as well as our VP of Operations, Dre Armeda, and the founder of Maintainn, Shayne Sanderson. Each person comes at this from a different angle, not only because of their own personal perspective and past professional experience, but because the various roles they have at WDS can vary wildly, so the answers are all a little different, and may help you next time you’re looking to expand your recent venture.

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WDS Github Releases for May 2015

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Every month, WDS releases a bunch of goodies over on Github (and occasionally and elsewhere). While we typically share the links on social media, we know that it’s easy for things to get lost in the noise, so we will be bringing you our top releases of every month. While the vast majority are on Github, we’ll sometimes also be featuring non-Github releases as well.

Catch up on last month’s releases, and check out our choice releases for May 2015:

WP Contributions

WP Contributions provides an easy way to display your Themes, Plugins, Core tickets, and Codex contributions with handy widgets and template tags. It was also featured on the Tavern!

CMB2 Date Range Field

MORE CMB2 GOODNESS FOR YOU, this time from Dusty! CMB2 Date Range Field adds…well, a fancy CMB2 date range field type. This is particularly great for events, bookings, and the like.

WDS Custom Login Page

Ever want to have a login page for your site that’s not the wp-login.php page? This plugin gives you the ability to have a page in the WordPress admin act as, and override, the default wp-login.php page. It works with any workflow you might be comfortable with; you can use a custom page template, you can use a named page template (page-login.php), you can use a template tag to display the login form, or you can use a simple shortcode.

WDS Simple Page Builder

We already featured this, but Chris wrote a blurb that may give some greater insight to those who want to learn more about what WDS Simple Page Builder is about:

WDS Simple Page Builder is a plugin that allows you to build and arrange custom layouts for pages out of template parts in the theme. It’s designed primarily with custom WordPress themes in mind and was originally built for the new Maintainn redesign. Instead of overloading content editors with layout and formatting options for widgets and component types and forcing them to learn or use HTML to create custom-designed elements, these things are built by the theme developer and all the content manager needs to worry about is arranging them on the page. Recent updates remove the requirement for an already-existing CMB2 installation and the ability to set a global template part configuration that can be used for all pages instead of requiring each page to be set up manually.

WDS Browser Detect

Here’s a lightweight plugin to detect browsers, operating systems, and devices. It’s powered by a (slightly) modified version of Chris Schuld’s

Yeoman WordPress Plugin Generator

This update has three new sub-generators for creating widgets, custom post types, and options pages to be bundled with your plugin-wp generated plugin…and many bug fixes too!

And as per usual, special thanks to Justin Sternberg for helping me put this post together!

Did any of you out there use any of these this month? Did you see other Github releases that tickled your fancy? Tell us! 


An Alternate Git Flow for Client Work


We’ve mentioned it before, but at WebDevStudios, we use git flow–a specific git workflow first proposed five years ago, though the original author, Vincent Driessen, says he had been using it for a year before posting about it. Git Flow works best when you are developing a product that has definitive releases, but this gets really gray when you have a handoff process where you build a complete site and then give it to a client. We’re working on developing a Git Flow process that adapts Git Flow for use in client work.

First, let’s review how Git Flow works.

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WordCamp Philly 2015 is Nearly Here!

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I know you didn’t think we’d miss announcing the next big event we know we’re stoked on! WordCamp Philly 2015 is THIS WEEKEND, June 13th-14th!

Although I find it hard to believe that any of our regular readers are unfamiliar with WordCamp (come on, now!), for those of you that are completely green: WordCamps are events held all over the world where WordPress nerds unite to share their skills, insights, and learn a whole lot from a bunch of other smarties.

This is a big one for us since Philly is where WebDevStudios HQ is located! This is the fifth WordCamp Philly, and not only will a bunch of WDS folk be there, but there are some other special events taking place that we hope those of you attending will participate in. Rami, Justin, and Brian will be speaking, and Brad, Corey, and Jaimie will all be attending as well, so make sure to grab them and say hello!

Here’s what you won’t want to miss:

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Say hi to our new developers, Rommel and Brianna!

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Oh snap! That’s right! We’ve added two more to our team! Join us in welcoming Rommel Castro and Brianna Privett! Rommel is joining the Maintainn team, and Brianna will be here over at WDS!

Here’s a little bit more about them:

Rommel Castro

Rommel got into Web Development when he was 15 and started building websites with just HTML & CSS. Since then he’s been passionate about web technologies and has worked with multiple platforms including NodeJS, .NET and PHP on the back-end and front-end side.

He’s been in love with WordPress since version 2.7, and loves building solutions based on WordPress.

He started a local WordPress group in Costa Rica and is also active on forums helping people with their issues.

When he’s not solving problems with code, he’s reading or probably traveling. You can follow him @cleanXcoder.

Brianna Privett

Brianna Privett is the founder of and the TechnoSiren Pattern Library for WordPress.

She has been building websites and applications since 1996, and developing for WordPress since 2005. She lives on a small farm with her two sons, fifteen chickens, three pigs, two rabbits, and a greenhouse with killer wi-fi. You can follow her @briannaorg.

And lastly, we’re still hiring! Take a look at our jobs page and if you think you’d be a good fit, submit an application!

Lesson Learned: PHP Memory Limits

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If there is one thing I really love to do, it’s migrations. While the requirements for a migration vary from project to project, the purpose is generally the same: Get data from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time, and automate it as much as possible. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized I hadn’t ever recognized the impact of full-on automation, and the implications of forgetting about PHP’s memory.
In this post, I’m going to try and give you some insight on what goes into a migration, the memory implications, and hopefully you can learn from my forgetfulness!

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The Death of Design is Highly Exaggerated


I am a humble designer. I am part of a wonderful craft that is often times misunderstood or oversimplified. I want to take the time from a designer’s perspective to illustrate why design will never die, but rather just be what it is.

There has been a trend regarding something I love — design. Ads on TV pitching how one can “design your own website,” starring former Green Bay QB Brett Favre and even some in the “usability” community saying web design is dead. What’s the connection and why are these pitches and messages trending?

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Creating Custom Templates for BuddyPress

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On my first day working at WebDevStudios, Greg Rickaby told me that one of the best things about working here is that I would constantly be getting to learn new technologies. He wasn’t lying.

In my second week, I was tasked with creating a custom profile page for BuddyPress users. No problem, right? Wrong.

Up to this point, I had never used BuddyPress in any way, let alone customize it.

Lucky for me, there are a lot of awesome people who work at WDS who are all about helping each other, even the new guy.

In this post, I want to share with you what I have learned about creating custom templates for BP. I will provide an overview of how you can customize BP out-of-the-box, and then show you how we do it here at WDS using the BP Project Framework plugin.

This is not the ‘be all, end all’ of BP templating, but more of a brief look at it through the eyes of someone who is also in the process of learning!

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WordCamp Orange County Plugin-a-Palooza Entry: WP Art Store


This year, WordCamp Orange County (coming up on June 6th and 7th) is doing something a little different. Plugin-a-Palooza a plugin-building hackathon/competition that they first announced back in February. The rules are pretty simple: pitch a plugin idea, get it approved, write a plugin, submit it by a specific time, make sure it’s GPL, and then talk about it.

I volunteered to help Suzette Franck build out a plugin to submit to Plugin-a-Palooza that would let artists easily sell their work from their website without having to do a lot of technical inventory management stuff.

The result is WP Art Store, and you can check it out on or GitHub. The plugin is a fairly simple custom post type plugin that adds a new post type for works of art along with several ways of grouping those art works together–by medium, by theme or subject, or by technique.

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