Bad experiences in #wordpress on Freenode

Common conversation on #wordpress on Freenode:

$new_visitor:
Hello friends, anyone experienced with Elegant Themes Divi theme? I have created a blank page that has no header or footer, I have added a background image to fill the screen and a few other things, my issue is that the theme is not automatically filling in the screen with the layout. Its either too short or too long depending on browsers and screens. Anyone have a solution for this? Visit this link below https://www.outreachkings.com/

$channel_regular:
$new_visitor: sure, learn css
and/or use the theme how it was intended

$new_visitor:
I appreciate the kind words $channel_regular

$channel_regular:
i didnt say anything unkind
its definitely not a wp issue

Obviously it’s not the only kind of common conversation on #wordpress, but there’s really no need for that.

Too bad the community does not enable a better atmosphere on the channel, cause it doesn’t seem like something that would be too hard to do. On the upside, things should be a whole lot easier if you skip the trial-and-error part and go instantly with with pros, like Social Market Way.

Setting up a WordPress install for “theme unit tests”

Documentation for Theme Unit Tests is at http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Unit_Test

Did it all through the Mac terminal…

Pre-requisites: Homebrew, homebrew’s mysql package ( brew install mysql ), and homebrew’s php55 package. Ask if you have trouble installing them.

Installing wp-cli

Documentation for wp-cli is at http://wp-cli.org/

curl -kL https://raw.github.com/wp-cli/builds/gh-pages/phar/wp-cli.phar > wp-cli.phar
php wp-cli.phar --info
chmod +x wp-cli.phar
sudo mv wp-cli.phar /usr/local/bin/wp
wp --info

Creating a WordPress install

mkdir wp-trt
cd wp-trt/
wp core download
wp core config --dbname=wp-trt --dbuser=root
wp db create
wp core install --url=http://localhost:6789 --title=WPTRT --admin_user=danny --admin_password=blastworth --admin_email=dan@bernardic.ca
nohup php -S localhost:6789 &
* I was getting an error recently with a fresh install of mysql from homebrew, saying a database connection can not be established, during the `wp core install` step. After creating the symlinks as shown here, it worked.

Installing theme unit tests

curl -O https://wpcom-themes.svn.automattic.com/demo/theme-unit-test-data.xml
wp plugin install wordpress-importer --activate
wp import ./theme-unit-test-data.xml --authors=create
rm theme-unit-test-data.xml

Custom Gravity form submission processing

Had fun writing some code for custom processing of a Gravity form submission. I like how it turned out, mostly. I felt like I had an even better version, but the language couldn’t support it. Check it out.

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I took part in developing WordPress 3.8 ( Not really! )

WordPress 3.8 is out. Dan Bernardic ( me ) is listed as one of┬áthe “188 contributors with props in this release” of WordPress. While that is flattering, I think it is misleading, so I feel the need to publicly make that clear. There almost certainly isn’t a single line of code in WordPress 3.8 that I’ve written. Perhaps next time!

The reason I am listed there is that I tried to contribute to development of a plugin that was revamping one of the WP admin screens called the “Dashboard”. I did not end up contributing anything useful that I am aware of, partly due to lack of time, but perhaps more so because it was not fun enough for me. I tend to find time for things that I find to be fun.

Rails vs. WordPress

I’ve been thinking about the topic of when I should use an MVC | framework, and when I should use a CMS platform ever since I discovered Drupal about 2.5 years ago. I don’t believe the topic is covered really well on the Web, and most people seem to have a shallow understanding of the topic, so I’ll share my thoughts with you.

The popular question in my company these days is “Rails or WordPress?”, but I will probably touch upon the broader questions of “MVC or CMS?” and “Ruby or PHP?”, so you can often substitute “Rails” for “MVC framework” in the article.

Something to also keep in mind is that in my experience the other MVC frameworks are much closer to being real competitors to rails than any other CMS is to WordPress, so that is something also to keep in mind (let us know in the comments if you want to propose some CMS candidates for using on projects instead of WordPress).

The Cop-out

The most common answer I hear from people, who I assume haven’t really thought about this for long, is “Rails is for web apps, WordPress is for websites.” But is my web-based system a website or a web app? Can most web-based system be put into one or the other category, or the other? Do you think you could score 5 out of 5 on a quiz which would show you a web-based system and ask you to pick a) website or b) web app?

The Gimmes

I’ve identified some traits of web-based systems which make it easy to choose one or the other.

I should say that regardless of the requirements of the system you’re building, in my opinion you should strongly consider whether the programmers you have available are much more proficient in one of the two environments. If your programmers are experts with Ruby and Rails and haven’t written even a 1000 lines of PHP, it is almost certainly better to use Rails for any system (except if you need a blog or promotional corporate website without any custom software development). Same for a team that is made up of WordPress and PHP experts with little Ruby and Rails experience.

Rails Gimmes

If you’re building a transaction processing system in which data and various views of that data are the only functionality, Rails is the natural choice. Examples that come to mind are a POS system, or a system that stores data about the amount of calls your call center is receiving, and then creating robust reporting based on that.

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If the web-based system you are creating does not have an element of web publishing, and your customer does not have a need for most of the screens in the WordPress admin, you should pick Rails.

If your web-based system is a web service built on top of an existing legacy database and doesn’t have a website component, you should pick Rails.

Please contribute good descriptions of projects where you’d pick Rails in the comments, and I will include them here along with a reference to a URL of your choice.

WordPress Gimmes

If you’re building a blog, you should use WordPress.

If your project will need all or most screens of the WordPress admin, you should use WordPress.

If you’re making a web publication system (CMS-based system) you should use Drupal. No, just kidding, use WordPress, since Drupal kinda sucks unfortunately. Sorry Drupal, you were an OK attempt, but WordPress is probably a better choice for any web-based system.

Please contribute good descriptions of projects where you’d pick WordPress in the comments, and I will include them here along with a reference to a URL of your choice.

The Pattern

If your team is about as proficient with both WordPress and Rails, or you’re shopping around to hire a team and both solid Rails and WordPress teams are available, it comes down to opportunities for code reuse. Will your system re-use more code if you use WordPress and its very usable admin area, myriad of available plugins and themes? Or can you re-use more code by harnessing the object-oriented design, DSLs and good software development practices mecca that is Ruby, Rails and the available libraries and tools?

In terms of the decision of Rails vs. other CMSs available, technically Rails is probably the leader of the pack for a large majority of applications. The advantage of Rails disappears if your programmers are much more proficient with Python or PHP, since there are probably good enough alternatives in their language, namely Django and CakePHP, but code re-use opportunities each MVC framework will bring should again be taken into consideration.

Writer’s Bias (Why I think I am well-positioned to write this article)

You can read about my professional travels so far.

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I now work for a company that uses both Rails and WordPress, and I am actually hired and paid to help make these exact kinds of decisions. I hope you will provide valuable feedback and discussion to help reach a further deeper understanding of the topic.