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26. February 2016

Time to get AMP ready

Google’s AMP is here to save us from slow mobile content delivery, by enforcing strict standards and limiting what is allowed within AMP pages. The pages only allow a subset of tags and introduce their own tags for fast prefetching of content (images, videos … AMP Specs)

THIS IS AMP

“The Accelerated Mobile Pages (“AMP”) Project is an open source initiative that came out of discussions between publishers and technology companies about the need to improve the entire mobile content ecosystem for everyone – publishers, consumer platforms, creators, and users.

Today, the expectation is that content should load super fast and be easy to explore. The reality is that content can take several seconds to load, or, because the user abandons the slow page, never fully loads at all. Accelerated Mobile Pages are web pages designed to load instantaneously – they are a step towards a better mobile web for all.”

AMP CACHE & VALIDATION

AMP pages are cached within the AMP Cache, providing even faster delivery of your content. The core libs validate your implementation and highlight any problems by pushing errors to the console.

INTEGRATION

The documentation lists all components currently supported within a page and experimental components in development as well.

  1. Introduction to AMP
  2. Video Introduction
  3. AMP for WordPress
  4. AMP Docs
  5. Q&A Video

I have already added AMP support to our blog posts:

  1. Standard page
  2. AMP page

Google’s Webmaster Tools also integrates a new section for AMP, to see how they perform.

WHAT AMP IS NOT

AMP is not supposed to replace your webpage, but offer a faster access point to presented content. It will not solve all use cases, but offer better performance for your simple reading pleasure for now. Its a start and lets see how it evolves ;)

Enjoy coding …

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Simple way to do some Visual Composer Grid cleanup, when you are using Bootstrap within your theme. This removes and cleans up classes.

Visual Composer for WordPress
Bootstrap / Bootstrap Sass

Enjoy coding …

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Depending from where you want to access the page, post or custom post-type data, it might not always be available that easily.

WordPress provides an option to get your data through the page-slug.

The function is called get_page_by_path.

Enjoy coding …

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2. February 2016

LMS meets SaaS

As I said before, Learning Management is really taking off and I get many client requests to do some kind of  integration or custom solution for them.

In one of my latest articles I started listing solutions for WordPress, WordPress and the LMS universe.

But those solutions might not always be the best fit for your project. Many of them actually try too hard to be everything. The amount of cross linked functionality is getting insane and increases the point of failure.

In some cases a trimmed down solid solution might be the better way to go. SaaS (Software as a Service), part of the cloud trend, is providing more and more options, this includes the LMS arena. Stop worrying about the software and concentrate on your content again. The SaaS provider takes care of functionality, support, updates and delivery. This is nothing new, solutions like TalentLMS or Litmos LMS offer this for some time now.

Modern SaaS solutions provide Public APIs, that allow you to seamlessly integrate them with your current solution. So in case of a LMS, that part of your project could be handled by the SaaS provider, while e-commerce, social and other content areas remain under your full control.

One solution I am currently looking at is Intuo, which is a fresh startup out of Gent / Belgium. They provide a solid set of features and a clean API to handle single signons and content access. That would allow a seamless integration into WordPress for example :)

We are looking at a very crowded LMS market, but always nice to have options :)

Enjoy coding …

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CodePress Admin Columns allows you to manage and organize columns, for posts, users, comments and media lists in the WordPress admin panel.

This little tweak allows you to add sorting to your columns. Add and adjust depending on the columns you have setup.

Enjoy coding …

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Anyone using WPLMS 1.9x should wait and not update to 2.0x yet.

Not all bugs are fixed and I see many users having problems, just by reading the support forums and the comments over on Envato.

I have a vanilla test environment of WPLMS 1.9x on my testserver and i had no problems until 2.0 came along.

The last customtypes plugin update today killed the setup completely. Many of the old child themes break or have parts broken. Fresh sample data is not working either. Sadly some of my customers already did an update themselves …. perfect !  Will be a long weekend.

I am doing a complete reset of my test environment and waiting for the next update :)

Rant: This theme / plugin is getting too bloated in many areas. Two many unknown variables, due to the huge amount of dependencies …

UPDATE

  1. 28.01.2016: 2.0.1 – broken customtypes .. 2.0.2 should be around the corner ;)
  2. 29.01.2016: 2.0.2released , tested, a lot of fixes, but its not their yet ! Still having massive problems on a clean system using the modern theme and sample data… 2.0.3 please :) Course section is completely broken now, only shows header and first part of the left sidebar!
  3. 30.01.2016: 2.0.2 clean install still failing and not working 100%, checking upgrade install from 1.9.9.1. Clean install with 1.9.9.1 + Sample data is working. Upgrade to 2.0.2 still has bugs and errors. Modern theme is not working!
  4. 02.02.2016: Another course plugin update to fix Visual Composer errors. Still seeing little errors here and there. I am sure there will be more updates this week :) Upgrade from 1.9.9.1 works now without errors and site is functional. Have not tested all admin / instructor functionality yet. I reset the settings to defaults after the upgrade to make sure nothing is missing …
  5. 11.02.2016: Another update to almost all plugins. Will continue and wait for final fixes. Will see how this version performs …

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  • All PayPal IPN data is saved and available in your WordPress admin panel.
  • Developer hooks are provided for triggering events based on the transaction type or payment status of the IPN.
  • Extend the plugin with your own plugins or theme functions

Author: Andrew Angell

BitBucket Repo

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Favic-o-matic is a favicon generator, that transforms your png design into favicons and the required html to include them.

Favic-o-meter makes sure that every browser shows your favicon perfectly :)

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In the past 2 years, the e-Learning market has been exploding. Online Learning Management Systems (LMS) have become very popular, to build e-learning platforms.

They not only offer text based content, quizzes, assignment management, course evaluation, social features, but also allow the integration of video, audio and other linked content.  Many support SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model), allowing the exchange of learning content and results.

THE LMS UNIVERSE

Over the past few years, I have been helping clients to build or transform their e-learning platforms.  Sometimes its better to build a customized LMS solution from scratch :), than tweak or customize an offered solution. It all depends on the features you want to see integrated and on the budget available ;)

In this article I want to share current solutions offered for WordPress.

I will divide them into themes and plugins for now. In the future I plan do some feature comparison as well :

  • Theme based or Standalone Plugin (standalone might be preferred)
  • Course functionality (course, units, quizzes sections …)
  • Course linking / Course Groups / Exclusive courses
  • Course categories
  • Course Evaluation
  • Course curriculum
  • Course timeline
  • Course reviews & ratings
  • Course Stats
  • Free courses
  • Variable pricing
  • Course notes / Comments
  • Course Admin area
  • Course Frontend creation
  • Assignment functionality
  • Certificates
  • Messaging
  • Custom Email Templates
  • Course Events
  • BuddyPress Integration
  • BBPress Integration
  • WooCommerce integration
  • Import & Export functionality
  • Login
  • Student profiles
  • Instructor frontend interface

 

PLUGINS

These are standalone plugins, that provide LMS functionality and integrate into your WordPress themes. Ease of integration and options differ.

  1. LearnDash
  2. Sensei
  3. LearnPress  (new – 2015)
  4. WP Courseware
  5. LifterLMS
  6. Namaste! LMS
  7. CoursePress

THEMES

These themes mostly dependent on one of the plugins above or offer only a simple subset of LMS functionality.

  1. eLearning WP (new – 2015 / LearnPress)
  2. Derrick
  3. Guru
  4. Academy
  5. LMS
  6. Clever Course
  7. LMS Press
  8. EduLMS
  9. Skillfully
  10. iKnow
  11. University
  12. Invent
  13. Sensei themes
  14. Clever Course

THEME & PLUGIN

Integrated solutions,  that are supposed to offer a tight integration of WordPress, theme and its own plugins.

  1. WPLMS (started the revolution at Envato)
    One thing that sets WPLMS apart from many of the above is the frontend interface. So instructor tasks happen on the frontend not in the WP Admin. Also when it comes to assignments, WPLMS is currently the best solution. Even if the assignment management is not yet perfect, its better than what many of the other solutions offer.

Enjoy coding …

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Here we go, WordPress 4.4 is available …

Changelog

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