I Won’t Help You, But I Will Teach You

A week doesn’t go by where I don’t get a request from a friend for help with their website.  Typically it’s WordPress related and people know that’s what I do.  I never reply “sure I can help!” Why? Because that’s helping no one.

If a friend doesn’t understand that they have to select “image” as the post format in their theme to get it to display how they want I could easily just tell them “If it’s a picture blog post be sure to select image as the format and make sure you set your featured image and don’t just add it to the post’s body.”  Sure this will fix their current issue but what does that do for future issues?

It makes them come back to me for everything.

It Takes More Time To Teach

Teaching definitely is more of a time investment than doing a quick 2-minute fix for someone.  But when I teach someone I feel like I’m actually helping them not just now but in preparation for future issues.  Say I approach the previous situation by teaching the basics of themes and templates, posts verse pages and rudimentary HTML; Now the friend/student might be able to tackle future, related issues.  Instead of asking me why their page has a side bar when they don’t want it on that page, they could now have the inclination to see there is a “template” option on the page editor, and like many themes there is probably one called “No Sidebar.” Boom, just:

  • Saved us both time by asking me for more help
  • They feel a mental reward of solving something by themselves
  • Internet gets better web pages

It’s a win-win all across the board!

Going All Out

A buddy from high school, who I’ve somewhat reconnected with over the past few years, posted a link to his latest blog post.  His featured image is gorgeous but small and you can’t click to a full size version.  I commented this on his Facebook post and he told me he’s just learning WordPress, I told him to hit me up if he has any questions.  And he did! I’ve offered this to so so so many people and they always say that would be awesome and will do.  Almost never happens.

When I get the opportunity to teach I eat it up.  I’ve loved showing people how the web works since I first got a real understanding of it.  So many people want to have things done but don’t want to take the time to learn.  Code just does not interest them and this blows my mind.  I just don’t get it.  I LOVE code and I think it’s the coolest freaking thing ever.  That said, I don’t get Bruce Springsteen, a lot of people do, so that’s just the way the world turns I guess.

My buddy who responded to my offer and I have a phone call setup for 6pm so I can walk him through how his css file works, how featured images work and how to adjust small items in his theme.  It’s so refreshing to have someone sincerely interested in “getting it.”

In Conclusion, It Ain’t About Money

Teaching is rewarding.  If it paid better I’d absolutely love to be a professor.  Someday, I hope I can pursue a path of being an educator.  Knowing that you aren’t just helping someone past a hump but actually enabling them to do better problem solving on their own isn’t just helping them, or you, but helping society overall.

Full Screen jssor Slider Exact Window Width & Height

I’ve been working on a program for my side job that is supposed to have lots of slider like features between content with LOTS of content.  My favorite slider libray, because it’s got SO much functionality for devs is jssor.

One thing I could not find a proper solution for was making a full screen slider that would work on any screen or device (with a modern browser).  So, I thought and thought and came up with a solution.

So there’s no way to set jssor height by percentage or parent height and keep the width proportional.  I tried everything I could but it absolutely must be pixels.  There are some options that set it but the width is then off.  Seriously, I tried everything.

So What If We Set It By Pixels?

I mean, it is a php site.  So I came up with an interesting solution.  It’s not bullet proof, especially if the user resizes the window, but it works.

My php starts with this:

if( isset( $_REQUEST['wslides'] ) ) {
   $_SESSION['wslides'] = $_REQUEST['wslides'];
   $_SESSION['hslides'] = $_REQUEST['hslides'];
if( !isset( $_SESSION['wslides'] ) || isset( $_REQUEST['reset'] ) ) {
   header( "Location: set-dimensions.php" );

Here we start a session, then, we see if there’s a query variable called ‘wslides.’  If there is, then we have ‘wheight’ too and we know what pixels to set for our slider.  Bam!

So How Do We Get Those Pixel Dimensions?

Look at the next ‘if’ statement.  If we don’t have a session set for width and height we forward to a page called ‘set-dimensions.php’.  Here’s the full code of that page:

   <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
      window.location.href='index.php?wslides=' + window.innerWidth + '&hslides=' + window.innerHeight;

It’s just used to set dimensions of window very fast then send back with the query variables.  Now we can build our slider to the window’s width!

<div id="slider1_container" style="position: relative; top: 0px; left: 0px; width: <?php echo $_SESSION['wslides']; ?>px; height: <?php echo $_SESSION['hslides']; ?>px;">
 <!-- Slides Container -->
 <div u="slides" style="cursor: move; position: absolute; overflow: hidden; left: 0px; top: 0px; width: <?php echo $_SESSION['wslides']; ?>px; height: <?php echo $_SESSION['hslides']; ?>px;">
  <div id="slide-welcome">hello</div>
  <div id="slide-goodbye">goodbye</div>

The WP Crowd Podcast: Level’ing Up as a WordPress Developer

I’ve joined the team over at The WP Crowd for the most recent podcast.  I’ll also be blogging over there as well, so keep an eye out for my articles!

Episode 029: Level’ing Up as a WordPress Developer


WordPress Admin JS Errors Galore: Load-Scripts.php

When moving to nginx for the first time I had the lovely idea to put all 8 sites from my personal centos 6.5/apache 2 server into technology I’ve never used before.

Lots of small issues were encountered immediately but they all seemed to have quick google-able fixes.  Until the load-scripts.php errors began happening.  After a couple weeks of slowly tweaking the new server and trying not to break it, it broke.  I don’t know which tweak of mine caused it as I didn’t notice it until doing some plugin upgrades on one of my sites.  Then it started popping up more and more.  Unexpected ending in my javascript, this error was showing all over the place with different sources.

After a lot of debugging including some Tiger Woods Bobble Head debugging, I found a pattern.  When load-scripts was pulling in a bunch of libraries it would just stop loading at seemingly random points.  Error logs were showing permission errors to /var/lib/nginx.  A light came on, I had recently changed the default user www-data; line in nginx.conf to user ftpuser; in an attempt to have WordPress and my ftp user able to write to the server.

Switched it back to www-user and everything was fixed.  Now I just need to really dive in to users/groups and permissions on nginx and do it the right way.

Max File Size Uploads on a WordPress Multisite Install

I had a client with a fairly large multisite.  He needed the size limits for new media uploads to be around 8 megs.  I tried adjusting php.ini

upload_max_filesize = 8M
poas_max_size = 8M

Nope, still limited.  I tried adding define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘8M’); to the wp-config.php file, still limited to 1MB when trying to upload.  Well, it’s simple.  In the WP Network Admin go to Network Settings, scroll to the bottom and voila:
Site upload space Limit total size of files uploaded to “Max upload file size” set in KB’s.  Just changed that to 8000 and everything was a go!

Block & Disable All New User Registrations & Comments Completely

I have one website that must have some malicious back door in the theme or plugins.  I don’t use the site much and haven’t maintained it well but this is also not the first time I’ve had comments turned off and anyone can register turned off and STILL got flooded with spam accounts and (unapproved) comments littering my database.  This plugin removes the ability to register or comment completely, back doors and all.

Edit: Now live in WordPress.org Repo: https://wordpress.org/plugins/block-disable-all-new-user-registrations-comments-completely/

Feel free to try it out here: http://whoischris.com/DABARACC.zip

Download Raw HTML Form Importer for Gravity Forms BETA

It’s working well from what I can tell.  I’ve added a couple of small features such as setting name and description and the ability to copy the input fields name to the label.  I have not got the radio button import yet… feel free to try it out!


It’s Alive! Importing Raw HTML Forms into Gravity Forms

I was inspired to do this project because my job at USF Sarasota-Manatee requires moving old code over to WordPress.  We have a very large legacy site that has loads of hard coded, sloppy HTML, so moving it hasn’t been easy.  One of the worst parts is the long forms which there are still a few lingering.  So I had an idea and it is actually working.

Our system is moving to Gravity Forms.  As of now we have a mixture of google forms, hard coded forms and contact form 7 forms.  This tool should simplify centralizing them all into gravity forms big time.

In my previous post I had managed to create some results by scraping and pulling labels for the inputs that were pretty close.  I’ve formatted it into a proper plugin and at this point I’ve managed to get it importing into Gravity Forms.  Feels good, man.  Heck of a challenge, but nothing feels better than seeing your idea blossom into reality.  Feel free to take a look at the code and even try it out, it’s getting there but still a ways to go and many features to add.