My Portfolio

longrendev

I finally have one!

I’ve known for a long time that I need some type of portfolio, especially since I’m doing freelance web development full-time now.

A potential client wanted to see my portfolio. I explained that I didn’t have one for various reasons, and instead described to him some of the more interesting projects I’ve done.

After the long email describing previous projects, I decided to create an online portfolio. I had recently bought the domain longrendev.io, but wasn’t using it for anything. So, I found a nice Twitter Bootstrap based portfolio WordPress theme and got to work. The theme needed some tweaking, the grid displaying the projects was a bit messed up and needed fixed, which was very easy.

The theme I chose was StanleyWP, a simple, minimalistic portfolio theme. The best thing about it was it’s price, free.

It’s built with Twitter Bootstrap 3.0.3, which is a little old, but still gets the job done. The current version of Twitter Bootstrap is 3.2.0.

Once I get some client projects finished up, I’ll probably take some time to update StanleyWP to use Twitter Bootstrap 3.2.0, or whatever the newest version is at that point in time.

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think. There’s a LOT of projects I still need to add, so the list of projects right now is fairly minimal. I am also going to be using that site to take project requests.

If you need a portfolio site and would like to use StanleyWP, let me know if you need help fixing up the grid issues. It’s very simple to do, but may not be so simple for someone who isn’t a developer, like a designer. :)

Meet Unyson, A Drag & Drop WordPress Framework

unyson

Features a visual drag & drop page builder that will let your users create countless pages at a drop of a dime

Got an email from Olga at ThemeFuse yesterday announcing the release of their new drag & drop WordPress framework named Unyson.

Unyson comes with many built-in extensions, and the documentation seems to be very helpful and complete. Some highlights from the Unyson home page:

  • All the built in extensions & options work in perfect harmony. You’ll find developing on Unyson a breeze.
  • Your users will love the drag and drop page builder and the customization options built into
  • All you need to do is download the Unyson WordPress framework and start developing your theme.
  • We have a lot of tools ready to help you along the way: developer manual, Trello, GitHub Support and more.

unyson-docs
Unyson also includes an extensive list of customizations and options:

  • Page Builder
  • Option Types
  • Styling
  • Sidebars
  • Megamenu
  • Backup
  • Sliders
  • SEO
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Portfolio
  • Custom Widgets

I enjoy this theme so much because it has many features that premium or paid themes have, but Unyson is free! You can download the source on GitHub.

Getting started with Unyson is extremely easy, but slightly different than how you’d typically upload a theme. Installation of Unyson is like so:

  1. Download the framework archive from the framework’s GitHub repository
  2. Extract it to your parent theme directory. After this you must have framework/ directory in parent theme. It’s mandatory to have this exact same folder structure otherwise it will not work.
  3. Include the Unyson framework by adding this line in your theme’s functions.php:

require_once TEMPLATEPATH .'/framework/bootstrap.php';

After that, you’ll need to add some more code to the beginning of all the PHP files associated with your theme. I suggest you go over the Getting Started guide and really pay attention so you get a good understanding of what Unyson can do. The documentation is really awesome, most issues or questions you could have are more than likely covered in the docs.

I haven’t had much of a chance to play with Unyson, but will get the opportunity to on an upcoming client project, so I’m really looking forward to that.

Unyson is quite new, so hopefully we will see more features as it matures. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Growth Hacking WordPress Plugin from Qunb

qunb

I’ve been using qunb for quite a while. They generate what they call datastories for your sites using Google Analytics data. The datastories include data like number of visitors, top countries, and most viewed pages. They do a really nice job of presenting your analytics data in a more human readable fashion, a good birds-eye view of it all.

I got an email from qunb announcing the release of their WordPress plugin, Growth Hacking Analytics by qunb.com. It’s available in the WordPress plugin directory.

After installing the plugin, you’ll need to authorize it to use your Google Analytics account. You can also connect your Facebook page and Twitter account, but those don’t require any special permissions.

Qunb has also setup a Google Group that will host discussions about bugs and ideas for improvements. As of this post, however, the Google Group gives me a page titled “Authorization Failed“, with a message stating “Please sign in with an authorized account to view this content“.

The WordPress plugin will add a new sub-menu to the main Dashboard menu. It has 4 main parts to it. The first shows stats about visitors or pageviews, you can select which you want to view. The second part shows pageview stats on the most recent post. The third part, titled Tops of the day, lists your top posts, best social network in terms of referrals, and the best non-social referrer. The fourth and last part displays the growth comparison compared to the last week. You can also view growth comparison for the last month, but you’ll need to have a paid qunb account for that.

The starter plan is $5/month and includes unlimited datastories, and there’s no limit on the number of websites you track.

WordPress Tip: Specify a Primary Category using Advanced Custom Fields

acf

What WordPress custom fields should have been

I found Advanced Custom Fields (also known as ACF) about 6 months ago while working on a project for a client. They didn’t want to have to mess around with editing the Custom Fields that come native with WordPress, it just wouldn’t have worked as smoothly.

The client needed to require one image, one PDF, one year selection, and one category. The category consisted of two options, “Weekly” or “Daily”. If you’re wondering, it was a newspaper client who wanted to categorize their posts as being either a “weekly issue” or a “daily issue”. Makes sense for a newspaper!

Getting the native WordPress custom fields to play along well with files can be tricky, and probably not worth the effort, especially with a plugin like Advanced Custom Fields around.

So, enter the hero of this post, Advanced Custom Fields. I was able to set everything up with Advanced Custom Fields within about 20 minutes, and that even counts the time that I took to make various theme templates pull data from Advanced Custom Fields. The actual setup of Advanced Custom Fields took about 2 minutes.

I’ve since started using Advanced Custom Fields here at longren.io, too. Independent Publisher, the WordPress theme I’ve been using, likes to show one main category when you’re viewing a single post, even if it’s not the most relevant category. So instead of a post about WordPress having the Git category shown at the top, I can now specify which category I want to be shown. So, for a post like this, I would obviously choose WordPress as my primary category.

I’ve already added the necessary parts to my Independent Publisher child theme, and have sent a pull request to Raam Dev to get his thoughts. It’s a very easy thing to support in a theme, however, it requires that everyone using that theme use the same field name in ACF.

I named my field primary_category, since that’s exactly what it is.

Example field setup with Advanced Custom Fields

Example field setup with Advanced Custom Fields

After you’ve added your “Primary Category” custom field, you can then use the value of that field throughout your theme. I’ll have a short post later this week on exactly how you can display the primary category value in your theme. Or, if you want to know right now, you can see this pull request at GitHub.

As you can tell, Advanced Custom Fields is a beast of a plugin. I also love that Advanced Custom Fields is totally free, which is kind of amazing to me. I’ve come across many paid plugins that are nowhere near as polished and user friendly as Advanced Custom Fields.

Advanced Custom Fields doesn’t skimp on the documentation, either. Their documentation site is extremely helpful, I never once ventured away from it while getting familiar with Advanced Custom Fields for the first time.

You can download Advanced Custom Fields from the WordPress Plugin Directory, so you can also install it in just a few clicks, right from your WordPress Dashboard! Advanced Custom Fields is developed primarily by Elliot Condon, and can also be found on GitHub.

The great thing about this is that it can be applied to any theme, not just Independent Publisher. So, if you’re not using Independent Publisher, just setup Advanced Custom Fields as I described and make the necessary changes for your theme.

A follow-up post will have more details on using data from Advanced Custom Fields, no matter what theme you’re using.

How-To: Reset WordPress Database to Default Settings

wpdb-reset

Easily Reset Your WordPress Database

WordPress Database Reset is a WordPress plugin I recently came across that will at some point prove very, very useful to me.

It’s not often that I need to reset a production WordPress database to it’s default settings, but this plugin will make the task a whole lot easier. Chris Berthe, the author, describes the plugin like this:

WordPress Database Reset is a secure and easy way to reinitialize your WordPress database back to its default settings without actually having to reinstall WordPress yourself.

I can see this being crazy useful for WordPress plugin and theme developers. We frequently need a fresh database to work with, so I’ll be adopting this plugin in my WordPress plugin and theme development workflow from here on.

WordPress Database Reset requires WordPress 3.0+ and can be installed just like any other WordPress plugin. It’s in the WordPress Plugin directory, and can also be found on GitHub.

If you’re a WordPress theme or plugin developer, you should definitely check it out.