Getting started with Vagrant & VVV for local development

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When I started doing web development, I think I started the way a lot of us did. You have a site you want to work on, so you connect with FTP, download a file, modify it, upload it back up, and then refresh the page to see if your changes worked. This process doesn’t really work when you’re working with a team of people, or on a site that people are actively going to. If your teammate edits the same file as you, someone’s changes may be lost, and if you upload something with an error in it, you may break the site for people currently browsing it. This isn’t a fun process.

The solution to combat this “cowboy coding” is to not work directly on a server, but rather on a server that is on your local machine. There are a ton of ways to do this, and I’ll walk you through what I do.

When doing any sort of design or development, you want to work locally. This is the best way to develop, and has tons of benefits. Like these:
  • Faster. No waiting for files to upload via FTP before you can refresh your browser and see your changes.
  • Easier debugging. Because everything is running on your system, setting up and using xDebug or other debugging tools is quite a bit easier.
  • Don’t need an internet connection work on things.
  • Less fear of screwing up. When working locally, you’re free to experiment and play around, as your work is not affecting current users.

I use Vagrant and a nifty tool called Varying Vagrant Vagrants (VVV) to power my local development. This, coupled with some tools I’ve written to make my life easier, is a very enjoyable way to work locally. I’ll walk through setting up VVV, as well as a helper tool VV, and how to use both.

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Welcome in the New Year with WebDevStudios

If you were wondering whether WebDevStudios has a new look, you have one keen eye! What better time to start fresh than at the beginning of the year? For many folks, the new year is a time for reflection, reassessment, and setting the bar that we each measure ourselves by just a little bit higher, and WDS is no exception.

webdevstudios, web development, WDS, wordpress,

We have been around for quite some time now; for those of you who aren’t familiar with our history, WDS started as a two man operation that is now a team of over thirty folks. The site you are familiar with has been our mainstay (with a few updates here and there) for the last five years; we’ve grown so much since then and we wanted to launch a new site that reflected not only who we’ve become, but who we plan to be.
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Have you Tuned into WP Late Night?

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WP Late Night is one of the newest WordPress podcasts hosted by Dre Armeda, Ryan Imel and WebDevStudios’ Brad Williams. Each week the guys sit down (sometime with a special guest!) and discuss current events in the WordPress world such as WordPress updates, new products, WordCamps, and more.

WP Late Night is certainly not your average tech podcast. The hosts say that WP Late Night is the closest you can get to a WordCamp after party, in handy podcast form and this is no exaggeration. Along with normal WordPress chat there are plenty of beers, sound effects, costume changes and all around tomfoolery.

Get in on the WP Late Night action by joining in the live interactive chat. Find out about upcoming episodes on Facebook or at WPLateNight.com and listen in live on the WP Candy livestream.

Missed out on the live recording? Tune in to the latest episode (or any past episode) on YouTubeiTunes, or download the MP3 file.

WP Late Night airs live every Wednesday at 8pm Eastern. Tune in tonight!

Make a Resolution to Maintain a Secure Website in 2012!

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WDS WordPress SupportWelcome to 2012! As a new year begins many people make resolutions to start the year off right. At WebDevStudios, we think that great new year’s resolution should also apply to your websites! Many people use WordPress to power their business websites and blogs, but they are not securing their websites from potential security breaches and hackers.  All it takes is a little malicious code in order to completely turn off your readers or shut down your site completely. In order to encourage everyone to keep their sites up and running and secure, we are offering a special for the month of January.

For this month only we are offering a $25 off each support hours purchased this year when you sign up for one of our annual maintenance packages!* Our maintenance packages give you the peace of mind that you always have a recent backup of your website and it is running on the most recent and secure version of WordPress.

By signing up for one of our maintenance packages you have the opportunity to purchase some support hours at a discounted price and get those little miscellaneous tasks you’ve been thinking about completed!  Support hours can be used to update your website with design changes, additional features, speed improvements and more!**

Read more about our Maintenance Packages, Support Blocks or Contact Us now for more details on signing up!

* Maintenance package purchase must be completed by January 31, 2012. All packages are sold on an annual basis.

** Valid on any support hours purchase before December 31, 2012. Support hours are sold in blocks of 5 hours.

WDS Heads to Austin, TX!

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Brad and Brian of WebDevStudios will be heading down to Austin Texas this weekend to attend South by Southwest Interactive. South by Southwest (SXSW) is a conference that encumbers all things creative and is divided into three parts, music, film and interactive.  The interactive portion of the event is a five day conference that covers everything from social media strategies and emerging business models to the latest in web design and development.  If you are part of any web-related industry SXSW is a not-to-be-missed event. The event provides great presentations from experts, amazing learning opportunities and the chance to meet tons people who are interested in the same things you are!

If you are looking for more information about SXSW be sure to check out their website, Twitter account and Facebook page

WordPress and Ajax 2nd Edition Released!

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The WebDevStudios team has worked very hard to obtain its reputation as a reputable WordPress development company. We are proud to be known among the top developers and designers in the WordPress community.  On that note, we want to congratulate our very own Ronald Huereca who authored and recently released the must-buy book, WordPress and Ajax 2nd edition.  The WordPress and Ajax e-book details (from a fairly advanced perspective) how to use Ajax with your WordPress installation.

While the book does touch heavily on Ajax techniques, it goes much deeper. The book lays the foundation before a developer even begins to consider Ajax, such as:

  • How to load scripts and styles
  • How to use proper page detection (to improve site performance)
  • Why and how to use WordPress’ built-in security measures
  • Which WordPress actions and filters to use to set up Ajax calls
  • How to set up, structure, and load necessary JavaScript files

In addition to this extensive foundation, there are three real-world examples of Ajax use in the wild including an overview of two released plugins and a proof-of-concept Ajax registration form.

One of the neat special features of the e-book is syntax highlighting, which more books should definitely utilize. It makes reading and understanding the snippets very easy.

The e-book also contains some standard features such as a in-depth table of contents, bookmarks, page thumbnails, and the structure for double-sided printing.

The website, wpajax.com, also contains several additional resources including:

If you are interested in purchasing Ronald’s e-book, please visit wpajax.com.

The New WebDevStudios.com!

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We are proud to announce that we recently released the new WebDevStudios.com! Over the years WebDevStudios has kept up with the latest technologies and resources to provide their clients with the best in website design. What started as two Marine’s offering custom website design has evolved to a great company focused on all things WordPress.

One Stop WordPress Shop

With the new year we have decided to change our business focus to one that provides the absolute best service for one specific platform, specifically WordPress.  WebDevStudios is now solely a full service WordPress shop.  We still love other open-source software such as Drupal and Magento and believe that they are great platforms, but we feel that WordPress provides the most versatility in a very user-friendly package.  Focusing strictly on WordPress allows our team to be absolute experts on every aspect of developing and designing a great WordPress website.

One other great highlight of our new business model is our dedication to making sure that YOU, the user, are getting the most out of your website.  We have created new, updated maintenance packages that are wallet-friendly and assure that your website is up-to-date and safe from past security vulnerabilities.  We have also started offering WP Training for all levels of users.  Initially, we only offered this service to our clients, but we realize there are many more people out there who can benefit from WordPress training!  If you are just starting out with WordPress and looking for training on basic skills we can help.  This also goes for more advanced users who may be interested in installing plugins or customizing themes.  We will also be teaming up with WP Classroom to provide group training at a great rate!

The Technical Stuff

When we set out to redesign WebDevStudios.com we wanted to also show off some of the great features WordPress has to offer.

Our great new look, designed by our designer Chris Cochran is a child theme of the default WordPress theme Twenty Ten.

The frontend of the website is not the only thing that was redesigned.  We started with an all new install of WordPress, copied over all of our blog posts and restructured the entire menu.  We also took advantage of the custom post types feature and even linked them to work together One example of where we linked the custom post types can be seen here with our Clients and Work Portfolio.

Our menu is a great example of menu management. We used a mega menu that allows the visitor to see all of our service options at one time and eliminated the need for multiple sub menus.

The image rotator on our homepage is much more than a group of images. It is a featured custom post type rotator which pulls posts that are categorized as featured.

We hope you like the new WebDevStudios.com because we love it!  Click around the new site!  If you have any questions or comments about the new site feel free to contact us.

To see screenshots of the redesigns WebDevStudios.com has gone through over the years click here.

Professional WordPress Book Signing at BlogWorld Expo 2010

Do you have a copy of Professional WordPress?  Have you been wishing you could have your copy signed by one of the authors?  Well now you will have that opportunity!  Wiley will have a booth setup where you can purchase all of their amazing books and Brad Williams will be signing copies of Professional WordPress at Blog World and New Media Expo 2010. The Wiley booth will be set up at Booth # 421 on Saturday, October 16th at 1:00pm PDT!  Bring your copy of Professional WordPress or buy a copy right at the book signing!

Professional WordPress is a great companion and reference for anyone interested in developing amazing websites using WordPress!

This book covers some great topics including:

  • Creating custom plugins and themes
  • Database management and interaction
  • Using WordPress Core as a reference
  • Installing and configuring WordPress
  • WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS)
Professional WordPress is the highest rated WordPress book on Amazon!

This book is part of the WROX programmer to programmer series. It was written by developers, for developers, and will teach you how to program WordPress in easy to understand tutorials and explanations.

You’ll also learn how to use the WordPress core software as a resource. The book covers how to read WP source code and inline documentation to learn new functions and classes.