Cowboy Coding To Professional Developer – WCKC 2015

WCKC2015_Speaker-150x150Notes and slides from my WordCamp Kansas City 2015 presentation ‘Cowboy Coding To Professional Developer’.

(these are my presentation notes straight out of Evernote… please ignore formatting and grammar issues)

The first half of the talk has general tips on being a better developer and the second half of the presentation is focused on a professional WordPress developer’s workflow and quick tips. The goal of the presentation is not to tell you how to develop – but to provide singular tips that will, individually, make you better. You don’t need to adopt them all at once. Use them as needed as each is generally independent from the next.

Don’t code live on your production server (yeeeee-haw). Use version control. Be nice, use standards, and avoid shiny object syndrome.

This presentation contains bite sized nuggets – suggestions where if you take one thing away from this talk you will be a better developer. You don’t have to do everything at once. Incremental improvements are easier to turn into habits. I’m not going to take to big of a deep dive but have added a ton of references in the presentation notes so you can explore on your own. 

What is cowboy coding?


Cowboy coding is flying by the seat of your pants development – editing files live on a server just to see what happens. There’s nothing wrong with it – unless you are getting paid. It’s an essential part of learning a programming language, framework, library or platform. It’s a great place to start… but it’s also dangerous when you are dealing with other people’s systems, websites, and codebases.

Continue reading Cowboy Coding To Professional Developer – WCKC 2015

Style Disqus Comments in Twenty Fifteen Theme

I’ve recently moved several of my content based WordPress sites over to the Twenty Fifteen theme. It’s just so clean and neat … and focuses on content rather than features. Paired with Jetpack you can run a pretty awesome blog.

Anyway when I started applying this theme to my sites already integrated with the Disqus comment system I noticed the style was all off. A bit of Googling found me at Alex’s website reading about how I can apply some custom CSS to fix the issue. That’s awesome but not a simple feat for your average WordPress user and somewhat of an annoyance for someone that doesn’t want to install a Custom CSS plugin or create a child theme just to apply some custom CSS rules.

So … I turned it into a WordPress plugin to make it easy to fix for everyone. Hats off to Alex Dresko and ultimately Joshua Granick whose CSS I actually used  (he left a comment on Alex’s post – which runs on Disqus… how meta).


Twenty Fifteen Disqus Comments


Twenty Fifteen Disqus Style


Download on / Fork on Github

Zendesk Helpdesk Widget in WordPress Admin

When managing dozens of WordPress sites for dozens of different users, streamlining the support process using an excellent help desk system quickly becomes a priority.

If you are not familiar with Zendesk, it’s a help desk / ticketing system on steroids allowing you to manage support requests, setup response macros, manage a knowledge base, and more.

My Admin Zendesk Help Widget plugin (ya … bad name) utilizes Zendesk’s web widget which you can configure via a simple plugin settings page. Customizing the widget is easy in your Zendesk dashboard – you can change the colors, position of the Help button, and much more. Information about the current logged in user auto populates the fields and when a user submits a support requests it shows you what page the request was made from in the Zendesk ticket.

Installing, activating, and configuring the plugin can be done in 60 seconds. All you need is a Zendesk account and to know your subdomain (that will make sense if you have already signed up).

Download on WordPress Plugin Repository / Fork on Github

Add Terms and Conditions to Restrict Content Pro

TL;DR – I wrote a WordPress plugin to add Terms and Conditions to the registration form when using the Restrict Content Pro plugin .

I just recently built a WordPress membership site using the Restrict Content Pro plugin and a few add-ons. However since they were taking money (via Stripe) in the registration process the user wanted a terms and conditions checkbox to ensure the customer knew what they were getting with the membership.

I figured this might come in handy so I built and released a plugin for it.

Upon installation and activation, you will see a new submenu item under “Restrict” called “Terms”.

RCP - Terms and Conditions

Under “Terms” you will see a simple admin settings page that allows you to set the label for the Terms and Conditions checkbox that shows up on the registration form as well as the link to your terms and conditions (whether that’s a page on your site or a PDF on a CDN).

RCP Terms Settings

The code and idea for the plugin is loosely based on this blog post Add a Agree to Our Terms of Use Field to Restrict Content Pro from @pippinsplugins.

Plugin code on Github: Restrict Content Pro Terms and Conditions

Install via WordPress Plugin repo: Restrict Content Pro – Terms and Conditions