I co-organize the Creative Corridor (Cedar Rapids & Iowa City) WordPress Meetup group in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At this month’s event on Apr 19, 2016, I was able to get (kinda guilt tripped) Andrew Miller the owner of https://www.84em.com/ into giving us a detailed overview of what the plugin Gravity Forms can do for a WordPress admins. Tonight he covered topics like credit card integration, adding posts automatically to your website, integrating into the mySQL database, collecting emails/names/etc and many other powerful features that lots of people didn’t even know could be achieved via this plugin. The developer version expands this plugin’s abilities with multiple add ons plus advanced email routing features. One of Andrew’s most favorite add ons is Zapier (see video at 16:00). Zapier currently offers integration of 400+ apps. Integrate/connect apps you use on the web and easily move data between them is now easy with Zapier & Gravity Forms! A full list of additional Gravity Forms add ons are listed here.
Other topics discussed at WP event
I also shared with the group a website called BuiltWith technology lookup site. It’s design to find out what websites are built with! Use it to find what technologies are used in the creating of any website. The accuracy is quite astonishing!
If you aren’t a member of WordPress Tavern and the multiple discussions that are taking place about new features added to WordPress you are doing something wrong. Simply join using your own WordPress.com credentials. They will keep you abreast of new APIs, WordPress releases, WordCamps and much more!
We talked about Freemius for the WordPress plugin developers. They have created a way to start making revenues from your plugin in minutes, about ten to be exact. I’m not sure this is all that great for the WordPress ecosystem with a potential new flood of “freemium” plugins flooding the market. Most of the website designers I know tend to buy the full license upfront, but we all know how well the rental model has treated Adobe.
Also I recently was working on The Bluebird Dinner’s website, see my blog post about it, and I saw the WP-filebase plugin being used. It is shaping up to be quite powerful but a little bit on the convoluted side of things when you are new to it. It’s about the same as items in WooCommerce’s plugin where you create one item and select it using the WP-Filebase plugin to show it in a specified area. Over all (if there is continued support) it’s quite a viable plugin!
Let’s Encrypt is a new SSL Certificate Authority: It’s free, automated, and open. And it’s now out of beta as of April 12th, 2016. Special note: wordpress.com and all of the subdomains that people are blogging on are now all under this Let’s Encrypt umbrella. So website security just got a bit better for the 22.6 billion pages that wordpress.com hosts for bloggers.
No WP Admins, you were NOT hacked! Yes, your Yoast Google Analytics plugins just changed hands to Monster Insights (see Twitter). This plugin is being developed and managed by Syed Balkhi & Chris Christoff. They admit they didn’t give enough warning to Admins before the drastic change with the addition of the bright green monster in the admin panel. Since then the icon in the WordPress Admin panel has changed and now just reads “Insights” with the monster to the left of it. Read the full write up on .
Information about REST API in Des Moines, Iowa
The WordPress Des Moines meetup group is having a talk about REST APIs, how they work and how you can use them with your website. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, Jordan Julson, Arthur M. Smith (Art) and Andy Brudtkuhl will break down how to get started at our next WPDSM Meeting on April 25th. BBQ and beverages provided. Meeting taking place at Gravitate (206 6th Avenue, Des Moines, IA). I’m hoping to get several people together from our Creative Corridor WordPress Meetup group to carpool to this event!
The after party at Tanners Bar and Grill (CR,IA)
Jessica Bertling, is a front end web developer in eastern Iowa. She and I became friends over Twitter revolving around several of the same interests. We are both heavily into website UI (User Interface Design) to give our users a better UX (User eXperience) and it turns out she also enjoys playing pinball as well!
Jessica now works at Newbo.co in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as the lead UX/UI designer of multiple projects, including one for testing students. I’m expecting to see great things coming from that brand new company soon.
Anyone can sign up for a 5 minute lightning talk at the A.L.T. (Art + Life + Tech) event held in the creative corridor area. Tonight’s ALT community lighting talks had a wide range of topics: From game development by Eric Neuhaus using Construct 2 which is an app produced by Scirra, to a presentation by Thomas Hansen creating web applications with background processing using backgroundworkers, to hacking an Amazon Echo presented by Wesley Beary.
Game Development by Eric Neuhaus:
Background notifications by Thomas Hansen:
Hacking an Amazon Echo by Wesley Beary:
Wesley Beary goes over techcorridor.io upcoming events:
Play or download the game made by Eric Neuhaus during ALT talk:
I went to the April CRIneta meeting at the Catalyst Cafe at the Geonetric Building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At this CRIneta .NET meeting we watched the pre-recorded video of Scott Hanselman and Scott Hunter speak at the Microsoft Build 2016 event that took place in San Francisco, CA, from March 30 – April 1, 2016. Then we discussed the major changes to .NET!
The Scott Hanselman and Scott Hunter talk we watched:
Discussion Section of the night:
The power is now all in the .NET Standard Library, as they put it “one library to rule them all.” The reason is writing PCL (portable class library) has a hard reference to each base library. So now with the .NET Standard Library, this one BCL (base class library) works across : .NET framework (with WPF, Windows Forms & ASP.NET), .NET CORE (UWF & ASP.NET Core) and XAMARIN (with iOS, OS X and Android). This offers Microsoft much lower maintenance with no zero conflicts!
My personal thoughts: I’m not big into .NET as others in attendance. I do believe that it’s a smart move to have the .NET Standard Library but one that should have taken place YEARS ago! I feel like Microsoft is trying to not alienate any more programmers with this move of still supporting multiple programming languages. I’m still not sure why C#(began in 2000), Visual Basic (began in 1991) and F# (began in 2005) will continue to be supported. Apple introduced Swift and gave programmers a clear cut answer of what is to come. The C#, VB & F# programmers still have options… but programming overhead by Microsoft doesn’t make sense to me, at least not in the long run!
I’m sitting at Forbidden Planet enjoying my calzone and in comes the co-owner Tommy Connolly talking about how he is having troubles with updating one of his other company’s (The Bluebird Diner) websites that is based on WordPress. After one of the patrons of the restaurant jokingly Google’s “what is WordPress”, I chime in asking what would you like to know about it? I started off by saying lots of people think it’s just used for blogging, but also lots of large corporations use this technology to easily manage their website(s).
Needless to say Tommy realized that I work with WP full time and I even name-dropped that I’m the Co-Organizer/Event Host for the Cedar Rapids WordPress Meetup Group. Tommy has become a friend of mine over the years that I’ve been going to Forbidden Planet and I offered to help him out with getting the company logo with downloadable menu in a PDF file format to show up on the website.
Tommy logged into The Bluebird Dinner’s website and I navigated over to the Appearance > Widgets to update the right side widget area of the website that was missing the logo with downloadable pdf menu. I noticed that the original website designer utilized a plugin called WP-Filebase, a plugin that I was not currently familiar with. I noticed while looking at the widgets area in the admin panel that the plugin was trying to autofill but it wasn’t currently on the correct setting of “menu_2”. The previous web designer didn’t make the selections all that clear, but I was able to dope it out quickly and get the logo with downloadable PDF up and running fast! It still needs some CSS work and maybe a line break to completely look good, but getting the Menu back up and running was key at this point.
A refill of my coffee and game tokens to play the pinball machines was all the payment I needed for this quick job and potential new customer in the future.
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