Notes from “Hands on WordPress” meetup

Hello! The following are my notes and announcements from the September Hands On WordPress meetup in Austin, TX. If you were present, you’ll find all the links from my short talk on WordPress best practices below. If you stumbled in from the internet wilderness, feel free to take a look around, as I’ve labeled each section of links and added some short descriptions.

To get started, here is a link to my slides from the talk. Make sure you stay tuned after the notes for a special announcement regarding next month’s meetup.

PS: Someone asked about a link the slides from my last talk about Google authorship markup, so here is that link.

Backup Often

WordPress Importer, the official plugin from for importing content from an XML file.
Backing up your database, a page from the official codex
Backing up your WordPress Site, from the codex. The key is to grab all of /wp-content.
VaultPress, the secure off-site backup option offered by Automattic.

Edit Smarter

Adobe Dreamweaver, Notepad++, Use a real text editor, my favorite is Dreamweaver, for the built in FTP support and file control, but NotePad++ is a great free option.
AVOID using the theme editor, which makes it a nightmare to track errors.
Try Git or Subversion to control code over time. Or try Dreamweaver.

Test Smarter

Installing WordPress locally with WAMP, a guide for getting a local file server up and running.
Installing WordPress, which you can easily do on a subdomain.
WP Engine, a fantastic Austin-based host that offers a dynamic staging area.

Get Loopy

Four ways to loop with WordPress, a Digging into WordPress guide for controlling your loops.
Query_posts and WP_Query, two codex pages you should have bookmarked.
WP_reset_query, a handy function for clearing your custom loops.

Own your theme

WordPress template hierarchy, guide to understand why your theme works like it does, complete with scary chart.
Custom page templates, a codex guide for creating custom layouts.
Creating a Child Theme, a guide from the codex on creating a theme born out of existing code. I, of course, recomend the ‘sibling theme’, a phrase I think I made up to describe the act of completely duplicating a theme and working from the new, whole files.

Aaaaand I think that just about does it! If you’ve got any questions, you can try leaving a comment on this post. I can’t guarantee I’ll answer it, but I’ll do my best. Which brings me to my next announcement:

Submit a question for next month’s WordPress meetup!

Sometimes at the end of our sessions, we open the floor to random questions. Sometimes this free wheelin’ discussion is my favorite part of the evening, sometimes we seem to have trouble coming up with enough questions to build some steam. So this month, Pat and the gang have asked me to host a session on WordPress best practices, and we’re going to be fielding your questions in advance.

To submit a question, please visit our Google Moderator page. Google Moderator is a tool that lets anyone submit and vote on questions. We’ll let the tool run all month and by next month’s meetup we’ll select a handful of the top questions and answer them live at Cospace.

Since we’re doing a ‘best practices’ session, aim for questions about general WordPress methodology, core theme functions, plugin developments- anything that isn’t about a specific theme or framework. We might take some time to tackle those issues too, but for the most part we’ll be aiming at topics that we think will be beneficial to WordPress users of all levels.

So, once again, please visit our Google Moderator page to submit and vote on questions, then join us in October for another Austin WordPress meetup.

DATE13th September, 2011




  1. Interested in some freelance help.

  2. @Wesley

    I’m not really taking freelance projects right now, but thanks for the interest!

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