WordPress plugins should do one thing and do it well

I mentioned the Unix philosophy ‘Do one thing and do it well’ in yesterdays post already, the User Switching plugin was a prime example of a WordPress plugin sticking to it.

In the past, I’ve discussed easy to use and expand plugins. Patrick Rauland posted about adding functionality to lean plugins yesterday as well. It clearly is a hot subject, but what exactly is this all about? Why should WordPress plugin developers care about keeping the number of features in our plugin as low as possible? I like to explain why this is important and a couple best practices to make this happen. Continue Reading…

User Switching is a little gem of a WordPress plugin

A couple days ago, I saw this tweet by John Blackbourn. I’m following John for quite a while now, not in the last place because I’m a fan of one of this free WordPress plugins. Enter User Switching. This little plugin is a real gem in the plugins directory. Not only does this plugin do just one thing (which I’m a fan of), it does it really well.

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to test with multiple user accounts on the same WordPress powered website? Incognito windows and using multiple browsers only gets you so far. This plugin offers a one click swap between user accounts, logging you in as the selected user. It also comes in hand when you need to actually see what a user is seeing when they report an issue. Continue Reading…

Merry Christmas to all of you

Today was a really tough day to come up with a blogging idea, but at the same time there is plenty to blog about. It’s Christmas today and everybody is spending time with their family and loved ones. All over the world, there are tables filled with food and presents underneath the Christmas tree.

Christmas is one of the few holidays that is celebrated in very similar ways all over the world. It has a couple required ingredients; a Christmas tree, dinner with family and often times there are presents involved. It makes me realise how good our life really is, with having the luxury to celebrate Christmas. I’m sure not everybody in the world has the opportunity to celebrate it in a such an extensive way like we do.

I hope all of you have a great Christmas and have been able to celebrate with your family and loved ones today. Our Christmas dinner has just finished and my mother in law did an amazing job; I’m so stuffed. The remainder of tonight will be filled with playing games and just relaxing. Tomorrow we have another day where the Dutch officially celebrate the second day of Christmas. This is usually just a day to relax some more and enjoy the leftovers of todays Christmas dinner. Continue Reading…

Let’s clean this shit up!

With all the crowdfunding going on in the WordPress community lately, I like to highlight a really amazing crowdfunding event that took place in The Netherlands in the past week. It has nothing to do with WordPress, but is such a great event and unique in its size in the world. Serious Request is an event where three DJs get locked in a ‘glass house’ for a week, where they produce radio and don’t eat for the duration of the event.

Let's clean this shit up

People can request songs for money that goes to the charity the event selects every year. There are also several thousand people in the country who start their own project to collect as much money as possible for the event. To give you a quick idea of how big this event is, since 2004 this is an annual event and raised over 51,5 million euro.

Today was the last day of the event, the three DJs just left the glass house and raised a whopping total of € 12,302,747! This is an incredible amount of money raised in only 6 days in a country where just under 17 million people live. Continue Reading…

What’s a developer going to code on during the holidays leave?

This is the first time this year that I have a couple days leave (starting today until the end of the year, bridging between Christmas and New Years Eve), without going on a trip somewhere or spending the first two weeks with our newborn baby.

Of course I will be spending a lot of time with family and will not do anything work related, but being away from a computer for almost two weeks is probably not going to happen. I like to use these opportunities to work on various side projects that never got past the drawing board phase, or badly need some refactoring. You can say coding is an addiction, but I find it very relaxing to actually have some time to work on these fun projects.

Coen Jacobs dotfiles repository

So today I’d like to share some projects that I’ll be working on in the next couple days. Maybe it will give you some inspiration on fun little projects to do or some random code or learning to work on. Continue Reading…

Multiple smaller commits please!

A couple days ago, I published about the art of commit messages. It really is an art, to think of a clever subject line possibly supported by the body of the commit message, that really covers everything in the commit. I didn’t mention what exactly should be in the commit though, so I figured to write some more about commits.

You can add everything from a single character change to a complete new version of your software in a single commit. I try to apply the following rule in my commits: If I need to use the words AND or OR in my commit message, the commit is too big. Commits generally should only change one thing, or consist of multiple smaller commits.

Not only does this make your history easier to search through, more advanced tools like git blame are a lot more efficient and easier to use, because it’s much easier to find the commit you are looking for. Continue Reading…

Is it worth to switch to Sass for WordPress plugins?

Now that Sass has been adopted in WordPress core as CSS preprocessor, we have discussed moving away from LESS in WooCommerce core. Given the amount of discussion this change involved for WordPress core, there must be at least some pros and cons for us in here too. Obviously, we want to stay in line with the techniques used in WordPress core, but we don’t want to redo all our stylesheets just for the fun of it.

While thinking about this process, I started to think about how this could be applied to all WordPress plugins. We are all for using the same techniques as WordPress core does. But beyond that, are there any obvious advantages over switching to Sass from LESS?

Are there any benefits that I’m not thinking about just yet, what a WordPress plugin can benefit from when using the same preprocessor, or am I now overthinking this? Continue Reading…

My city finally has a Starbucks store

This might sound cheesy, but I am incredibly happy with the Starbucks store that opened today in my city. I have been bugging my coworkers for a couple weeks already about how excited I was as soon as I heard that the store was coming.

So why am I this excited about this? I know a lot of people often say “well, the coffee is not that good” or “it’s way overpriced”. The meaning of the Starbucks to me goes beyond just the products. A little over four years ago, I met Amber in one of the first Starbucks stores in the country. Ever since, the Starbucks is part of my life. Continue Reading…

The art of commit messages

For our store of WooCommerce extensions, I do a lot of code reviews. We audit new extensions that have been submitted and I also always review any updates that I merge and deploy. The difference is in the amount of time that I spend on each review. For a new extension, we do a functionality check and code review. For updates, I’d like to quickly browse through the commits since the last stable tag and see what has changed.

Often times, I find commit messages like “Update to v1.2.3″ or “Fixes #20″. Both messages explain something about the commit, but they don’t explain what the commit does.

In my opinion, a commit message should explain what has been changed. The examples I mentioned before are purposes of the commit, not the actual change that has been done. Most times, it’s good to mention the purpose as well, but the description of the change is much more important. Continue Reading…

WordCamp Norway, here I come!

It’s going to be the coldest WordCamp I’ve ever been to, but I’m very much looking forward to it. WordCamp Norway 2014 is taking place in cold Oslo by the end of January 2014. I’ve never been to Norway before (always wanted to visit), but I generally like snow and don’t mind cold, so I should be good to go, right?

WordCamp Norway 2014

All of us European based developers (James, Mike and myself) from the WooCommerce team will be there, joined by our WooCommerce support ninja and Norway based Scott Basgaard. So besides enjoying a good WordCamp (come on international speakers, we need English talks!), it’s a mini Woo-meetup as well! Continue Reading…