Select Page

Messing with your Head – when to use WordPress template parts vs JavaScript

Here I am … I’m messing with your head. I wanted to see how easy it is to get my Isotope Visual Layouts plugin for WordPress to change your your homepage. Actually it was too easy and the result is destruction and chaos.

No-No – I’m Never Going to Mess with your Head

First thing to note – Never do anything with a plugin that ‘you’ the User doesn’t expect. That’s bad bad karma. So over-riding your theme is a Big No-No. 

Isotope js mess


Template Parts or JavaScript

While this can all be done in JavaScript it is wrong to do it this way. There is nothing graceful here – In the image above, I used JS to manipulate the CSS attributes for width and height. This created a table based grid layout which worked with Isotope.js

The key learning here is you need to use WordPress Template Parts and create a new layout which you can then apply a whole range of CSS styles and attributes too.


Even better – I’ll stick with creating my plugin and use short codes so that you can add Isotope Visual Layouts where you want.


What do you think? Template-parts or invasive JavaScript?

Hello World Redux

For the past month (2 or 3 months??) I’ve been more than quiet – I’ve really not been around. So this is just me saying ‘Hello World’ again.

Actually it’s been a crazy time – I’ve spent 6 weeks working in Maastricht in the Netherlands (or Holland if you don’t know better) which was an eye opener of an IT programme.  And then … I moved house.

Finally, I changed to working on the deployment of another CRM system for MVNO’s. Now that I got my daily commute sorted out I’m starting to carry-on with my own work again.

Isotope Visual Layouts with Infinite Scroll

Isotope Visual Layouts Pro is getting an update … and it’s one that a few of you have been asking for.

Isotope Visual Layouts Pro 1.9 is currently in testing and it will include a shortcode for Infinite Scroll.

I’m also making it safe to use on any page or post so you can really have different layouts (like one with infinite scroll and one with filtrify)

Isotope Visual Layouts Infinite Scroll

This will be the ‘last’ update for Isotope Visual Layouts Pro … I’m working on something hotter with sorting and drag n drop.

WordPress 3.5.2 is here – time to update your site

WordPress 3.5.2 is here … and it’s not to be confused with the 3.6 beta releases. Being a point release, you shouldn’t expect significant changes. WordPress 3.5.2 is a security release, which means it’s critical that you update your site.

What’s in WordPress 3.5.2?

The release note for this specifically looks to address a bunch of security related issues:

  • Blocking server-side request forgery attacks, which could potentially enable an attacker to gain access to a site.
  • Disallow contributors from improperly publishing posts, or reassigning the post’s authorship.
  • An update to the SWFUpload external library to fix cross-site scripting vulnerabilities.
  • Prevention of a denial of service attack, affecting sites using password-protected posts.
  • An update to an external TinyMCE library to fix a cross-site scripting vulnerability.
  • Multiple fixes for cross-site scripting.
  • Avoid disclosing a full file path when a upload fails.

How to Update Safely

This is very easy to do from any logged in user page – but you should always follow a pre-update checklist that helps to avoid many problems.

  1. Make sure you have a current WordPress database backup. Using DBC Backup 2 makes this easy.
  2. Enable your WordPress Maintenance mode page.
  3. Disable any / all plugins
  4. Run update
  5. Update any plugins that also got updated
  6. Enable all plugins that you need
  7. Check for any new issues
  8. Disable your maintenance mode

Having Problems with this update? then read 3 steps to recover from WordPress website killers

Still Need Some Help? Then I’m available …

If you’re still stuck … get in contact and I’ll be happy to help you out.

On being quiet – and being busy: impact on web analytics and content strategy

You may not have noticed, but I have … I’ve been quiet, and not been adding any new posts or updates to any of my WordPress plugin. I’ve also been busy and there are never enough hours in the day. I want to set out some thoughts on how a content strategy might help or detract.

Google Analytics

One interesting Google Analytics trend that pops up when I look at my stats over a long period (try 3 years) is that these busy peaks (at work) also correlate with the downward slumps in visitor numbers. This painful reality, is very personal to me – being quiet ‘online’, is when I’ve not the time in the week to write new content. And this affects me personally.

How a content strategy should help

A content strategy could be as simple as saying ‘I will publish 5 posts each week’. There is nothing wrong with this as a statement of intent. But it’s not a quality content strategy, because pretty much every article on SEO bangs on about writing good content, publishing regularly – so your content strategy has to be publishing good quality content.

Never enough time in the week

Here’s a little story about effective blogging and a content strategy for a one person website …
First, I started out by blocking Sunday as my time to write 5 posts, collect images, links and schedule stories to publish the content via web, Twitter, facebook, Google+ … Suddenly, I found that writing 5 posts was taking 5 – 8 hours each week and I was also trying to draft stories during the week.
Now that I was spending so much time blogging, I’d just switch back to writing daily posts because I wanted 8 hours back (on the weekend) to do other things. Like have a life!

Suddenly I, just like you Dear Reader, realise that even a simple content strategy turns into a monster with an insatiable demand for your time.

And so … here is to being quiet (and also blogging effectively).