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.

The SitePoint Podcast, Live from BlogWorld Expo 2010

SitePoint has just announced that the SitePoint podcast will be airing two live shows from BlogWorld Expo 2010. The first show will be on Friday, October 15th from 2:00-3:30 PDT and the second on Saturday, October 16th from 10:30-11:30 PDT.  This will be a monumental event for the SitePoint podcast because for the first time ever Patrick, Stephan, Brad, and Kevin will be chatting in the same room!  Kevin is traveling all the way from Australia to join the rest of the guys for this special live event and, of course, to attend BlogWorld Expo 2010.

These special live airings of the SitePoint podcast promise to have many special guests and cover many of the great topics being discussed and happenings of BlogWorld Expo.

For more information on the SitePoint podcast please visit http://sitepoint.com/podcast/.

Thesis to Genesis Conversion Sale!

Due to the recent WordPress licensing controversy many people are rethinking their theme choice.  WordPress and the WordPress community has always been great to us and to show our support, WebDevStudios is offering to change your theme from Thesis to Genesis at a discounted rate of 50% off.*

With this special you are not only receiving a theme conversion at a hugely discounted rate, but you can also get the new theme for free! Yesterday Matt Mullenweg offered to buy the theme for anyone looking to switch off of Thesis, so the theme license is waived.

When we are done your site will look exactly the same, but you will be running on a GPL-friendly theme that is in full compliance with the WordPress software license.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this promo or would like more information contact us and be sure to mention the Thesis to Genesis promo!

* This offer and discounted rate is only good for exact conversion. Any additional alterations to your website will be billed at our regular development rate. Prices may vary depending on complexity of site design. This offer is good for a limited time and ends Thursday, July 22nd at midnight, Eastern time.

WordPress Security

The most important part of any website is your website security.  Imagine losing all of your content, including posts, media, and comments. Even worse imagine spam links hiding in your content. Keeping your website safe from hacker bots should be a top priority for anyone running their own website.

Last week I gave a WordPress Security presentation at the NYC WordPress Meetup. We covered some very important security topics, including my list of top WordPress security tips. One of my tips was to stay current on your WordPress version.

Many out of date WordPress installations were hacked by an internet worm a few weeks ago. This hack affected any WordPress websites running versions prior to 2.8.3. The latest version of WordPress is 2.8.4 so basically any site older than two versions was vulnerable to the security exploit.

WebDevStudios offers WordPress Maintenance Packages to keep you safe from such an attack. All current support package clients were safe from the attack and had no reason to worry. This is the peace of mind every website owner should have. Why worry about security? Let WebDevStudios do it for you!

Be sure to check out my WordPress Security presentation for essential tips below:

Top 10 WordPress Plugins You’ve Probably Never Heard of – 2009 Edition

WordPress Plugin LogoWe have a nice stockpile of lesser known plugins that we use on websites we build. I wanted to share that list with you in the hopes these plugins will help you as much as they have us!

All of the below plugins have been tested compatible up to WordPress 2.7.1

10. SEO Slugs – The SEO Slugs plugin removes common words like “the, a, in, to” etc from the post slugs (permalinks) when you create a post or page.  This helps search engine optimization by only using the keywords you care about in your URL.

9. Sidebar Login – Plugin allows the ability to easily add a sidebar login widget on your WordPress website.  Once logged in the plugin will display a “Welcome” screen with admin links and a Logout button.  Very nice touch on a user-focused site.

8. Top Level Categories – Plugin gives the ability to remove the category prefix in the URL to your category page. Instead of http://domain.com/category/web  it would use http://domain.com/web  Great for SEO and CMS like taxonomy by category.

7. Author Image – Allows your WordPress users to upload a custom avatar to use as their author image.  Image can easily be used inside your WordPress themes to display post authors image next to content they have created.

6. Featured Content Gallery – Creates an automated, customizable rotating image gallery anywhere on your WordPress powered website. Most famously used in the Revolution themes.  Flexible styling options let you set the size and color of the rotator.

5. WP Hide Dashboard – Hides the dashboard from users assigned to the Subscriber role on your WordPress powered site.   Only options available is to edit profile so users can still edit their details/information.

4. Exclude Pages – Plugin adds a checkbox “include this page in menus”, checked by default. If field is unchecked the page will be hidden from your navigation menus.

3. Duplicate Sidebar Widgets – WordPress by default only lets you use a widget in one location on one sidebar. This plugin allows you to duplicate sidebar widgets across multiple sidebars. This is handy if you want to use the same widgets on different sidebars within your site.

2. Search Regex – Adds a powerful set of search and replace functions to WordPress.  Easily find any value within your WordPress content and replace with a different value.  Great for website migrations from different platforms.  Also has the ability to use Regex patterns.

1. External Links – Forces all outbound links on your site to open in a new window. You can also add an external link icon and add rel=nofollow to all outbound links for SEO purposes.

Some of these plugins are more known than others, but they are all excellent plugins that make life easier on all of us! Enjoy!

WebDevStudios is Attending DrupalCon 2009!

Drupal Con is a bi-annual mass gathering of Drupal developers and enthusiasts. This year the event will take place March 4-7th in Washington DC.

I'm Going to DrupalCon 2009 BannerThe founders of WebDevStudios.com, Brad and Brian, will both be attending the developer conference this year. We are really looking forward to the event and can’t wait to meet other Drupal enthusiasts.

We love working with Drupal and utilizing it’s endlessly flexible open-source framework. Drupal is a powerhouse and if used correctly can build some amazing sites including E-Commerce and Social Networking websites.

With over 100 sessions on the schedule, DrupalCon 2009 is guaranteed to provide a wealth of knowledge and information. We pride ourselves on staying current with the platforms we specialize in. We are always looking to expand our knowledge and skill set and DrupalCon is the place to do it!

If you would like to meet up at the show please drop us a line or leave a comment on this post. See you at DrupalCon!