Link to Customizer Sections

One neat “feature” introduced in WordPress 4.1 was the removal of the background and header admin screens in favor of the customizer (see ticket). Now if you click to customize one of those items, it links directly to the customizer and opens the appropriate panel.

If your plugin or theme adds customizer options, you can also link to those. Just use:

admin_url( 'customize.php?autofocus[control]=control-name' )

Replace “control-name” with the name of the control you’d like to link to. Continue reading

Faster Image Loading with Jetpack & Photon

Photon is a JetPack module that enables your images to be resized and loaded using WordPress.com’s servers. This can can speed up the loading of images for several reasons:

  • Photon utilizes multiple levels of caching, including a globally distributed CDN to make sure images are served as fast as possible.
  • Lossless compression. All images are losslessly compressed using either OptiPNG or jpegoptim.
  • Photon takes advantage of parallel downloads by using multiple sub-domains to load images.
  • Images are resized if they exceed the max $content_width set for theme.

Read more in the Photon Developer Docs.

Adjust Image Quality

However, you might be able to squeeze your image sizes even further by using the Photon filters to adjust the quality. Instead of loading images at full quality, you could try 80%. Continue reading

Selling Digital Products with WordPress

digital-products

I just launched a new business with Fx Benard this week. It’s called “Hexagone“, and we’re focused on WordPress products and support for a French-speaking audience.

Although I’ve been selling products through WordPress for over three years, this project was really fun because it gave me the opportunity to rethink all the services and infrastructure involved and build something new from scratch.

It’s clear that WordPress has grown into an excellent platform for launching a digital products based business. I thought it would be worth sharing some of the great tools, products and services we relied on to get the job done for those interesting in launching a similar type of business. Continue reading

Anders Norén

Anders Norén is one of the most prolific theme developers I know of. In 2014 he released a total of 8 themes into the WordPress.org repository- all of which are excellent. A total of 4 made the Tavern’s top 15 free themes of 2014.

If that wasn’t enough, Anders announced a brand new one this morning:

As with any great theme, I really like the attention to small design details. For instance, look at all the subtle icons and design that went into a simple author comment:

comment Continue reading

Open Source Immune System

I recently listened to an interview with Tom Dale, one of the developers who helped create Ember. He was comparing Angular, which is maintained primarily by developers at Google, and Ember, which has a smaller and more diverse group of contributors behind it.

I thought this remark was interesting and also applies to the WordPress world:

“I think of open source project as an organism. An organism has an immune system and the best thing you can do for the immune system of your project is to diversify as fast as your can.

This includes valuing contributors who are not just code writers. It includes valuing people who write documentation, valuing people who work on infrastructure, valuing people who run events and organize meet-ups in the real world.”

Tom Dale

From TalkShopShow Episode #147.

Measuring Site Speed

Fast load times are incredibly important for website users. Unfortunately, it’s an overlooked feature on most WordPress sites.

Themes and plugins aren’t necessarily optimized for performance, and it can be difficult to determine how plugin and design choices affect the overall page speed.

But, if we start to measure it, we can start to optimize for it. When I do site performance audits for clients I primarily use two tools to evaluate page speed. The browser developer tools (Chrome) and the “Site Speed” report in Google Analytics.

Pingdom also offers a nice visual waterfall of page speed timings (similar to the “Network” tab in most browser developer tools), and Google Insights can give good general suggestions. Continue reading