For our February 2016 developer code share/show and tell, four Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup members shared their tips and insights on WordPress development.
Start-to-Finish Marketing Automation
Jordan Skole runs a WordPress site for his wife’s photography business, Heather Reed Photography. Jordan uses several automation processes, mostly through a CRM called Active Campaign, that puts new customer leads into a pipeline where they download pricing information.
Leads can receive several follow-up emails, and eventually sign up for an RSS feed via MailChimp.
The journey from new lead generation to post-photo production is a long, complicated one. But Jordan says lots of up-front planning makes for a smooth process.
“Start as simple as possible. Start with a two-email chain… then build on that,” Skole said.
Gulp for Web Development
Aisha Blake, who co-leads Detroit chapter of Girl Develop It, and is Grand Circus teacher assistant, gave an overview of Gulp, a task runner application that can automate many things.
Developers — WordPress and otherwise — handle thousands of tasks in a day. Task runners take care of the many menial tasks associated with writing code that aren’t actually writing code.
The “gulp-concat” plugin, for instance, can combine any number of files into one and then pipe it into a destination folder. Simply run
$ gulp into your command line, then require Gulp itself into your project.
Once a module has been set up, you can pass arguments to the .task() method, which will be the name given to the task, e.g.,
You can also add an optional array of dependencies to further customize your task runners.
Advanced Custom Fields
Norm Euker demoed how he uses the Advanced Custom Fields plugin in his work and shared code examples.
The Advanced Custom Fields plugin acts as a GUI (graphic user interface) layer for custom fields, adding a more user-friendly interface for adding/editing content.
There are free, personal ($20) and pro ($100) versions. This plugin is great for making quick, clean-looking layouts that feature a jumbotron image, photo galleries and column layouts.
Template creation, Euker says, is the most time-consuming aspect.
Real Estate Website Build
Alex Adam, who’s new to WordPress developement, also uses Advanced Custom Fields and PHP to create custom fields for WordPress sites he develops for a real estate web site.
This provides flexibility for adding new business, with custom fields for down payments, business types, etc.
Advanced Custom Fields also allows for certain drop-downs to populate differently based on certain criteria, as well as custom validations.
Special thanks to our volunteers who helped out this week. Shoutout to Mike Sandula who took notes during the meeting. Thanks to Jessica Koss for capturing photos of our speakers. And thanks to Aubrie Glennon who greeted our members.