WordPress …

Well, let me start by saying that my background has always been in Microsoft technologies (VB, C#, ASP.NET SQL Server, etc). But, I have used others such as Java, Oracle, Sybase, PHP and MySQL; this has always been a strong point of my background that I can easily switch between environments.

A recent project at work pushed my hand to learn WordPress and like I usually do I jumped in full force. I wanted to take this time to provide my feedback on working with WordPress.I had to develop a custom plugin as well as learn to configure and add on to the WordPress site. Basically, I had to learn to to control it and manage the WordPress site once our consultants left. Our consults handled the design of the theme and offered a little development help. They offered more information on general WordPress functionality

I felt that developing a plugin for WordPress was very easy, working the the PHP code took a little be remember the syntax and find any changes from the last time I worked with PHP. But that didn’t take too long to. Understanding the “The Loop” was a major part of plugins as well as attaching to the correct events. Once I put a very basic plugin in place I made the plugin usable with a shortcode that was placed on a page. I then added a custom admin screen for managing the settings, which included importing data from a CSV file and working with data in custom tables. Once that was complete I had to modify the user profile screen to add a few custom fields that would interact with my custom tables, this took a little to understand but it came through and worked out great.

Configuring WordPress was a breeze, modifying settings and installing plugins (which there are a huge variety of) was simple.

In my opinion WordPress is a great environment for blogging and building a site upon for just about anyone. I don’t have to be involved in editing pages and update pages. This can be handled by our business and marketing people, while my development team concentrates on development of products.

I will post more details on the development of the plugin and and using WordPress in future posts.

My experience and thoughts on the iPad

Having owned an iPad (the original) for several months now, I wanted to provide my opinion of it for others. First, I purchased the 32 gig model with 3G access and activated the 3G immediately so I could have access anywhere there was 3G coverage.

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There are so many nice features about it I can’t even start. But I will run through some of the basis that I found beneficial, such as the amount of applications “apps” that are available.

Some of my goals of purchasing an iPad where:

  • Compact note taking that syncs to a Windows and web based application
  • Convenient way of maintaining email communications
  • Interactive educational environment for my children
  • Convenient way of viewing online photos & videos
  • Compact web browsing & using web apps

Above all the iPad is a game changer, it is an amazing piece of technology. The size is perfect, you can easily carrying it around, it’s the perfect size to just have with you. The battery is very long lasting, I used it all day and would just plug it in before I go to bed at night. Never ran out of battery on it.

We also loaded movies put on it from iTunes and used it for traveling so my children could watch movies while we drive.Of course, email is perfect, a larger screen that a phone makes reading and replying to emails a breeze, I connected it to my corporate email as well as my personal email on GMail and other services without any issues.I installed the free app EvernNote on the iPad and on my PC and note taking is accomplished, no more taking my laptop with me to meetings.

Using online services like Facebook, Twitter and SmugMug was nice for viewing what was online. The photos and video came in crystal clear. But, in my opinion posting messages and really interacting on Facebook was cumbersome when using the web app. The Facebook applications where nice, but no where near the web app.

Web apps is where the iPad falls short I feel, without flash it leaves you wanting more. There where many times that I had to switch to my PC just to work on web applications. This was the largest downside to the iPad that I discovered, so much so that I end up using my PC more than the iPad. I keep the iPad handy for traveling using the 3G service to stay connected or I just tether my phone to a PC.

Overall, I liked the iPad the price is still a bit high and it needs to come down and it needs to have flash capabilities to really make it a viable solution for many cases. Would I buy it again, probably, but I would really wait for a better price.

I hope this was helpful, my kids love the iPad and like I said it will be traveling with us still. Just don’t ever think of it as a computer replacement, it compliments a computer definitely.

Using Windows Live Writer with WordPress

I am using Microsoft Windows Live Writer to write the content that is appearing and will appear on pghdeveloper.wordpress.com. This will allow me to work on post offline in a familiar Microsoft Word editor.

In this post I will explain how to configure Windows Live Writer 2011 to connect to a WordPress site.

First you must download Windows Live Writer at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-writer?os=other, this is part of the Windows Live Essentials 2011.

Once you download Live Writer and launch it you will be presented with a wizard that will walk you through connecting Live Writer to your Blog. Below are the screen shots that I encountered as I configured Live Writer to connect to pghdeveloper.wordpress.com.

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Select “WordPress” as displayed above.

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Enter the full URL of your blog, username and password.

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I selected yes above so I can preview my blog post in Live Writer.

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Enter a friendly name for your blog.

If you ever need to change information you can easily navigate to the “Blog Account” menu and select “Blog options”.

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The window below will be displayed and allow you to edit your blog settings.

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