Provide your users a world-class post-visit experience

I liked the idea of using RemindToRead.com on this site when I saw it on Hacker News the other day. I got in touch with Leonard Bogdonoff and expressed interest. He, in turn, offered to let me test it out here at longren.io.

Leonard setup some JS for my site for a quick test and gave me all the necessary code in a shared Google Doc. Took all of 5 minutes to get setup.

You can see it in action at the end of every post here at longren.io. It appears at the very end of every post, but only when viewing an individual post. The button looks like this:
remind-to-read-button

Is RemindToRead Ready For Production?

Getting closer, just from the changes I saw on the dashboard today and the very straight-forward registration process. Signup requires minimal effort. Just enter your email, choose a password, receive an email containing a confirmation link, click the confirmation link, update password, and continue on with setup. A temporary email sent after user signup can be seen below.
remind-to-read-welcome-email-temporary

The current iteration of the dashboard is not quite finished, but is very functional as it stands, even it’s early stages. It provides easy to follow instructions for adding RemindToRead code to your website. Just include some JavaScript and add this little snippet where you want the RemindToRead button to show:

<a href="#" class="later-button-el"></a>

Here’s what the dashboard currently looks like:
remindtoread-dash

I simply added the code above to my relevant template file so that it’s displayed at the end of every post, but is only shown when viewing a single post. So you won’t see the button on archive pages, tags pages, category pages, search results, etc.

A WordPress Plugin Coming

A GitHub repo already exists for a WordPress plugin, I’ve not tried it out yet, but plan to later today and will report back. I know there’s been a lot of core changes to RemindToRead recently, the WordPress plugin may have some catching up to do.

The plugin looks pretty solid code-wise, after a real quick glance. Sounds like Leonard may want me to maintain the WordPress plugin, should be a piece of cake once the core of everything starts to take its final shape.

A Dockerfile That Provides Quick WordPress Development Environments

Back in May of this year I started playing around with Docker quite a bit. Took me a bit to wrap my brain around everything Docker can do, wish I had read this article from Adam Ierymenko before starting.

Anyway, Docker describes itself as such:

Docker is an open platform for building, shipping and running distributed applications. It gives programmers, development teams and operations engineers the common toolbox they need to take advantage of the distributed and networked nature of modern applications.

I’m not using Docker to it’s fullest extent, not even close. I mostly use it for setting up quick WordPress development environments for building client sites or just to do some testing.

I came across an outdated Dockerfile that had exactly what I needed but lacked the ability to SSH to the Docker container. I forked it on GitHub and added some modifications (like SSH).

It’s on the Docker Hub Registry, making it super easy to use. There’s a few items on the to-do list, but the one I want to take care of first is adding support for Docker Compose, which will make installation even easier.

To get started with this Docker image, you just need to have Docker installed and then run the following command:

sudo docker pull tlongren/docker-wordpress-nginx-ssh:latest

Once you’ve got the Docker image pulled, fire up a new container like with the command below. It will create a new Docker container named project-name.

sudo docker run -p 80:80 -p 2222:22 --name project-name -d tlongren/docker-wordpress-nginx-ssh:latest

Give it a bit to get everything setup then navigate to http://127.0.0.1:80 in your browser to access your new WordPress install.

For more information I suggest checking out the readme. Every time that I push commits to GitHub, a new build of the Docker image will automatically be built as I’ve got it setup as an automated build repository at the Docker Hub Registry. Pretty nifty.

So, I’m relatively new to Docker, if you’re a pro and see something I should be doing differently, please let me know. Any advice on setting up Docker Compose for this project would be great, too (if I’m not mistaken, it just involved linking multiple containers together).

Do you use Docker?

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It really is the world’s most simple server monitoring service

Best of all, Ping.gg is currently free! Ping.gg will ping your server constantly, with an interval of 10 seconds.

Victor, the ping.gg creator, will be releasing all the Go code on GitHub eventually, but will keep the UI/PHP pieces to himself. It sounds like HTTP response checking is also in the works:

There is a ping daemon (Go app) that is listening for a couple of redis pub/sub channels for hosts to start and stop pinging. Each host is handled by a different goroutine. When something goes up or down, it publishes the host in another 2 redis pub/sub channels.

This is what I’ll release as open source, before I do I’d like to refactor it so it’s not tightly couple with redis, but rather have an interface there, so it’s easy to change the redis pub/sub interface with, for example, HTTP calls.

Monitor a Site with Ping.gg

To monitor a site (my.example.com), issue this command:

curl ping.gg/me@example.org/my.example.com

I’ll let Victor explain how it works:

After you provide a hostname or IP and your email address, you’ll be sent an email with 3 generated URLs that you can to click to start, stop and delete your tracking. Every time you server goes down or back online you will receive a notification, which will also include the control URLs. BTW, check your spam folder… you know the drill.

Every time my.example.com is unreachable, you’ll receive an email at me@example.org. An example email is below.
ping.gg-down-email

That’s It

Issuing that curl command is all you need to do. You’ll receive an email after adding a site to monitor asking you to active the monitoring. There’s also a link in that email so you can stop or pause monitoring of a site if you wish.

Ping.gg allows 10 sites to be monitored per email address. Ping.gg considers your server/site to be down when it fails to answer 6 pings in a row.

Hoping that Victor builds this into a full fledged service with account dashboards and all, just because it’s sooo simple. The Terms of Service possibly indicate that a professional service may be available at some point:

As previously stated, this is not a professional service (not now at least) so by using this service you agree to the following:

  1. You use this service at your own risk.
  2. There is no warranty that the service will work properly or at all.
  3. Your alerts might be terminated without notice.
  4. The service can stop operating anytime without notice.

Go ahead and give Ping.gg a try, it’s been very reliable for me and I’ve had no issues with it. Keep the Terms of Service in mind, however.

Now on GitHub

Took a bit longer than I wanted, but the source for passwds.io is up on GitHub now.

It’s extremely simple, using Twitter Bootstrap, straight PHP, jQuery, and the jQuery prettySocial plugin for the social buttons at the bottom of the site.

Passwords are generated using pwgen-php from Superwayne. pwgen-php was forked a couple years ago by Roderik van der Veer, which I was unaware of.

I’ll be updating to the somewhat newer pwgen-php library from Roderik at some point.

Basically, an AJAX request is sent to a PHP file, grabbing the requested passwords, and then the results are displayed.

Pretty simple. Let me know if you have suggestions or questions. Please be kind, I threw this together in about an hour one evening.

WooCommerce & Schema.org Is Awesome

Adding schema.org markup to a well coded WordPress theme is relatively straight forward and doesn’t take very long to get setup.

I covered how to add schema.org markup to your WordPress theme in a previous post, but I recently needed to apply schema.org markup to an e-commerce site using WooCommerce.

It’s surprisingly easy to do. You’ll need to be using a child theme for the steps that follow.

1. Setup the necessary function in the functions.php file for your theme

Add the following to your functions.php file. It creates a custom function, schema_org_markup.

function schema_org_markup() {
    $schema = 'http://schema.org/';
    // Is single post
    if ( function_exists(is_woocommerce) && is_woocommerce() ) {
      $type = 'Product';
    }
    elseif ( is_single() ) {
        $type = "Article";
    } 
    else {
        if ( is_page( 644 ) ) { // Contact form page ID
            $type = 'ContactPage';
        } // Is author page
        elseif ( is_author() ) {
            $type = 'ProfilePage';
        } // Is search results page
        elseif ( is_search() ) {
            $type = 'SearchResultsPage';
        } // Is of movie post type
        elseif ( is_singular( 'movies' ) ) {
            $type = 'Movie';
        } // Is of book post type
        elseif ( is_singular( 'books' ) ) {
            $type = 'Book';
        }
        else {
            $type = 'WebPage';
        }
    }
    echo 'itemscope="itemscope" itemtype="' . $schema . $type . '"';
}

2. Call schema_org_markup() In Your Header

Open up the header.php file for your child theme and find the html tag, usually towards the top. You’ll want to call the schema_org_markup function inside that html tag, like so:

<html <?php schema_org_markup(); ?> <?php language_attributes(); ?>>

3. Create a WooCommerce template file in your child theme

Create a directory in your child theme folder named woocommerce. Inside the woocommerce folder, create another new folder named single-product. Inside the single-product folder, create a file named price.php. The contents of your price.php file should look like this:

<?php
/**
 * Single Product Price, including microdata for SEO
 *
 * @author  WooThemes
 * @package     WooCommerce/Templates
 * @version     1.6.4
 */

if ( ! defined( 'ABSPATH' ) ) exit; // Exit if accessed directly

global $post, $product;
?>
<div itemprop="offers" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Offer">
 
    <p class="price"><?php echo $product->get_price_html(); ?></p>
 
    <meta itemprop="price" content="<?php echo $product->get_price(); ?>" /> 
    <meta itemprop="priceCurrency" content="<?php echo get_woocommerce_currency(); ?>" />
    <link itemprop="availability" href="http://schema.org/<?php echo $product->is_in_stock() ? 'InStock' : 'OutOfStock'; ?>" />
 
</div>

4. All Done

That’s all that’s required to add schema.org markup to individual WooCommerce product pages. Pretty simple.

If you run into any issues or it doesn’t seem to be working for you, let me know. I’ve only tested this with two themes, Vantage and Virtue. Remember, this only works with well-crafted WordPress themes. Doing this with purchased themes from ThemeForest or other paid theme marketplaces can be significantly more difficult.

Comments are open so let me know if you have any issues, additions, questions, or suggestions.