Reess Kennedy

Ideas, sharings, projections

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Disabling SSL on localhost using remote DB

Turning on or off certain plugins — plugin switch.

How to get WordPress frontend script list in the backend ..

-Have to load from the frontend, get the result, convert to an array …

Put your copyright dates in shortcodes in WordPress

I see so many websites with HTML footers containing expired copyright dates. You shouldn’t have to remember to update the year all the time.

To avoid ever having to think about this, use a shortcode in a theme to add a data anywhere. Add the following code to your functions.php file:

// date shortcode -- for putting in footers and text
function date_shortcode( $atts ) {
'id' => '',
), $atts));
return date($id);
add_shortcode('date', 'date_shortcode');

Then just call any current date formate. For the current year, simple add the following right in your text editor:

[thedate id="Y"]

But change “thedate” to “date” if you use the code I provided. I changed it to “thedate” so the shortcode wouldn’t execute.

Great, 20-minute YouTube tutorial on building your own MVC

A better way to understand what you’re doing in most of the modern web app frameworks in PHP, Python and Ruby is just to build your own simple framework based on the same MVC code organization paradigm.

Below is a really good tutorial for PHP I used to do this — if you’re working with Laravel or CodeIgnitor or the like.

It takes less than an hour to hack something like this together in any language and it’s instructive to remember this level of simplicity when you feel overwhelmed by a mountain of code within some of the more feature-rich frameworks.


You can drag and drop a folder into terminal to get the path

I never knew that!

Got this tip from this tutorial on changing the screenshots folder.

Expert at one language > okay at multiple

The power of being able to code is to build something and build it well.

There are multiple ways you can build it well and multiple languages you can use.

The programming landscape continues to become more and more crowded with interesting tools and new languages and frameworks and it’s certainly important to stay up to date but it’s a balancing act as well. You don’t need every new thing. You constantly have to measure the true value of something new. New doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Overall, I you want to be able to build quickly and confidently and the best way to get to this point is to pick a languages and stick with it.

I think Python, Ruby and PHP are still good bets. But if you’re just focusing on web programming today, you’d likely want to start with JavaScript given the incredible advancement in support around client-side code.

I think this same principle applies to natural languages as well. I remembering being at a lecture by a filmmaker at the American University of Paris when I was studying abroad there and the filmmaker said something like, “I used to really want to learn how to speak French and then I realized I don’t even know English that well so I decided to spend my time becoming better at my native language.”

I think there is something to this. I believe in people and think we all can be polyglots BUT it will take an incredible amount of efforts and energy for a majority of normal people and given this you have to be self-aware and consider whether that energy is better spent doubling down on your native tongue — or chosen programming language, or any discipline for that matter. Part of having a disicpline, after all is having the discipline to stick with it until mastery.

Jekyll vs. WordPress

I get that there is a lot of functionality in WordPress that can distract from writing. I get that it can sometimes be slow and that writing in just a plain text file feels simpler. But after spending a good amount of time with Jekyll I also get why having a database-driven platform that is feature rich to manage your site is so important. I’m not convinced reversion to static website creation is the way to go for blogging — maybe for a portfolio site under 10 pages, however.

Everyone always extols these things as “time saving” but when you have rebuild and deploy your website each time you write a new blog post, I am having a hard time figuring out how this is faster and more reliable than clicking “publish.”

In addition, with Calypso moving to be all JS-based, we’re moving towards even greater frontend speeds for future open source, database-drive publishing platforms.

Just my quick opinion.

Codeacademy did a great job allowing you to interactively test out Jekyll in this tutorial.

Please don’t learn to code

This is a great article.

What happens to the person who spent night and day studying Objective-C only to be horrified by the Swift announcement at WWDC 2014? Do they keep coding in what is quickly becoming the language of lesser choice, or do they start again? If you’re a young twenty-something, this may pose little difficulty, but if you’re taking care of a family — with bills to pay and mouths to feed — the task becomes Herculean.

Quick thoughts on transactional email providers

I’ve tested a bunch of the major players. Below are some quick notes. They’re roughly ordered based on my preference.

Mandrill: I started here and really like it. They got me in the door with 10,000 emails for free a month and it is easy to set up, reliable and the best feature is the simple dashboard that also shows you the content of the email sent, which helps! Their WordPress plugin is the most downloaded of the bunch too and I found it really easy to use. They also allow you to more easily switch the sending email for accounts without having to add a bunch of text records in the DNS which makes it easy if you are sending a bunch transactional messages on behalf of your customers. The least expensive route now is to buy the 0-500 Mailchimp plan even if you don’t use it for mass mailers, then you can buy a block of 25,000 transaction emails for $25. Mandrill’s pages also just load fast — much faster than SendGrid.

Postmark app: I am still demoing this here. It’s, possibly, the most complicated to set up but that also may be because it seems they are the strictest about limiting use of the service to transactional emails which they claim helps them maintain their high reputation and improve deliverability. I love the small Wildbit team in Philadelphia.

Amazon / Sendy: Sendy makes Amazon’s messaging service easier but I am still suspicious of deliverability via Amazon and suspect it’s used by a lot of spammers. It’s cheap though if you are sending hundreds of thousands or millions of emails.

Malgun (by Rackspace): These guys made it easier to set up. They have a cool tagging feature for organizing your mail. Mandrill has this too. And you can see the full content of your mail with them too, which is important.

Sendgrid: I tried this after Mandrill went to a paid model. They offer many features but it’s almost too much. The UI is harder to use, as a result. And they don’t save the content of the email which, I think, is a killer feature! SendGrid’s pages also weren’t loading quickly for me. And I had a problem where the log in cookie wasn’t maintaining my logged in status and kept pushing me out when I’d revisit.

Mailjet: I tried them and left when they had some server issues. They’re also based in France and I prefer Stateside companies, if possible.

Developing … I will update this with better reviews over time. This is just a log for me.

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