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Color correction is important to me and to the projects I do. Regularly calibrating your monitor is essential in order to create prints that accurately represents what you see on your monitor.
I have color-profiles (ICC – International Color Consortium) for different light conditions and I do recalibrate every few months, as the light output and colors degrade on my displays.
I am still using an old Spyder3 from datacolor for calibration, which is not really supported anymore. Hard to find working software for my Windows 10 machines and Mac M1.
To the rescue comes DisplayCAL, an Open Source calibration solution that allows you to calibrate your displays using even older calibration hardware.
ArgyllCMS – is an ICC compatible color management system, available as Open Source. This is requested by DisplayCAL to make the magic work. ( MAC M1 – Fork)
I have calibrated all machines with this and love it :)
I am doing a Podcast on portalZINE.TV since last year and always host a backup of the MP3 episodes on Google Drive.
The link that you create, when enabling file sharing on Google Drive, can not be used to actually embed it on your website.
The link looks something like that:
To actually use it directly, we need to get the ID. Sure, you could just extract the ID, but often we just want to copy and paste. The sharing link is also your actual reference to the original file, which I store together with the podcast.
We use a simple Regex to extract the ID:
This ID can than be used to embed the file directly using HTML5 audio controls.Its important to use the „https://docs.google.com/uc?export=open&id=“ url to open the file, as it provides the direct access to the shared file
Papa Parse is a powerful, in-browser CSV parser for the big boys and girls :)If you do need easy CSV parsing and conversion back to CSV, take a look at it!
I am currently using it to quickly parse Adobe Audition CSV marker files and prepare them for storage for my podcast.
Papa Parse @ GitHUB
Homepage / Demo
This is my take on a subset of booking, appointment, PMS or reservation solutions for WordPress.
Update 11.10.Moving down the rabbit hole again :) Will be diving a bit deeper into some the solutions and their feature-set. Might split this up into multiple posts :) Will see, which of the developers is interested in an open review or not.
Those currently on board:
There are so many booking / appointment solutions out there, that its really hard to decide, which solution is the right one for your specific project and needs.
I will only list those that fit my own internal criteria. Not all of them will always match, but it should be as close as possible :)
Just to be clear, this is highly opinionated, as is every other list claiming to have the best available solutions for you ;)But this is how I would approach it together with my clients!
A Property Management System ( PMS ) or Hotel Operating System ( HOS ) is an overkill for most projects, but provides booking, reservations, appointment logic, logistics, accounting and many other features.
My main focus is not the PMS market, but its always nice to have the option to extend a setup in the future, if additional requirements come up.
This is about full WordPress solutions, but there are also solutions that integrate with WordPress, but are hosted externally.
Like Checkfront for example and their WordPress integration. You pay a monthly fee, depending on your yearly requirements.
The problem with a SaaS, is that you are limited to their feature set. If you want to integrate your own features and develop a specific extension for them, it is not always possible.
Some provide API access for extendability, but extending upon that can be pricey. And often its hard to decide, which service will really stick around and not vanish at some point.
But they are a nice quick solution, to get you started.
This is where many offers try to lure you in. They offer premium themes that look amazing with demo content, bundled with a basic addon that features common functionality for the hotel booking market.
Some are pretty basic, some of these addons go pretty far.
For a B&B or hotel owner, it is pretty difficult to decide, which is the right one to choose.
You just see pretty pictures, perfect matching text and a workflow of many things, that just seem to work.
But does it really work for your feature-set? How good is the documentation for the booking addon? Do they provide a community forum to help with adjustments?
If none of the above is satisfying, please RUN :)
Don’t waste your money and stay away from frustration!
Most of the booking solutions are based around WooCommerce and there are 1000s of themes that are compatible.
There is no reason to bundle theme and booking addons, unless you really have a feature-set, that perfectly matches and will not grow in the future!
Choose a theme that is well supported, uses the framework of your choice and liking OR find someone to build a unique theme for you.
A Channel Manager is a module that allows you to connect & synchronize your OTA channels (such as Booking.com, AirBnB, Expedia, Hotels.com, HomeAway, Trip Advisor, etc.).
The goal is to have no overbooking, just one calendar to manage all reservations, rates & availability.
This is a big topic and complicated in many ways. Some solutions offer some kind of 1-way or 2-way sync via iCal.
You can also use external services like Syncbnb or OTA Sync. This alone is a rabbit-hole of its own :) Not going there yet …. But it is an important question, if you plan to offer your bookings externally and do not wish to sync availability / reservations manually.
Before choosing anything you should really pinpoint your own requirements.
This is a starting list of solutions, that I handpicked following the rules I set myself. This list might grow in the future, depending on additional plugins I discover.
I have a new WPML client, that is starting fresh and already leaned on a theme based solution. He has some project requirements, that already leave him stuck in certain areas.
That is why I decided to take a deeper look at things currently available. I have touched many of these before, but taking a fresh look at them ;)
I am not comparing features, just presenting those that are good candidates to build a great booking setup.
You will need to do a feature matrix for your project and see which areas are covered by each plugin. No way around that :)
Certified booking system and PMS Plugin for Hotels, B&B, Villas and Apartments.
E4J started with Joomla CMS integrations and added WordPress in 2018.
From their website: „The project VikWP – VikWordPress.com was born in 2018, it’s a newly born project, but it has more experience than ever by background. The company E4J has been one of the leading extensions development companies for Joomla since 2009. That’s how we started to get known with our software. „
Not many websites talk about it, but it has an amazing feature-set at a pretty descent price for the Pro version.
This plugin has no WooCommerce support and relies solely on their own payment integrations. They offer full PCI-DSS compliance for their payment gateways.
They offer a free and pro version, with the free version already having a good set of features.
One of the biggest benefits of the Pro Version is the possible integration of the channel manager, which allows you to sync your bookings with other external services (booking.com, airbnb …)
And if PMS features are important to you, the Pro version is the right plugin for you.
The price can quickly accumulate, depending on the payment gateways needed, which is not so much different to WooCommerce ;)
You also have to calculate in the Channel Manager, if you want to sync with external service providers.
The plugins target audience is more single properties or appartment complexes.
To get you started
A Vik Theme – Plaza – LINK
Appointment Manager – LINK
Documentation – LINK
Frontend Demo – LINK
Admin Demo- LINK
FREE (Limited Payment Gateways / No Channel Manager)
PRO – 140 EUR (≈ $165) + Channel Manager: 79 EUR (≈ $93)
What is missing?
A merged use of the booking plugin, appointment plugin, item rent plugin is not possible. There is no shared shopping basket.
Pinpoint Booking System comes with a clean interface, a multipurpose functionality and an amazing range of booking features.
Suitable for businesses such as hotel accommodation, guesthouses rentals, appointments, scheduling conferences, and meetings or rental businesses to simplify the booking process for their customers.
Extensions – LINK
WooCommerce Support – LINK
Booking: FREE or PRO – $70
Do your feature matrix!
Motopress has been a go-to for many projects in the past. When you search for booking solutions, it will always come up.
„The MotoPress WordPress Hotel Booking plugin is an all-in-one property management suite for rental property websites. List unlimited accommodations and services, accept direct online reservations, synchronize all bookings across OTAs and more (no per-booking or per-property commission). This WordPress hotel booking plugin is perfect for running any hospitality business establishment regardless of the size, function or cost: a hotel, vacation rental, apartments agency, hostel and more.“ – statement from their website.
Demo – LINK
Forum – LINK
Addons – LINK
Booking: PRO – $89
Do your feature matrix !
Another plugin that has been around for a long time and grown in popularity as well as features.
Demo Frontend – LINK
Demo Backend – LINK
Booking: PRO – $99
Do your feature matrix!
„JetBooking plugin is a unique addon developed by the Crocoblock team specifically for rent and booking services, such as vehicles, dresses, apartments, etc.“ – Introduction
If you love the possibilities and concept of Elementor, JetBooking could be of interest for you. The extension provides a different approach with similar features or better than those above.
Check their feature comparison here.
I have not played with JETbooking yet, but have worked with almost all their other extensions so far! Love their style and integration with Elementor.
crocoblock offers a whole suite of plugins that enhance Elementor. Really high quality extensions, with an amazing detail to design and functionality.
Demo – LINK
REST API – LINK
JETengine – LINK
JETsmartfilters – LINK
Free Kava Theme – LINK
Dynamic Templates – LINK
JETThemeCore – LINK
crocoblock JETPlugins – LINK
JETbooking $19 + JETengine $26 + JETsmartfilters $24 or JET Bundle $130
A channel manager to sync with Airbnb / Booking.com etc, is missing. They have a video tutorial up, that showcases synchronisation to Google Calendar via Zapier / Integromat. I am sure you could also use n8n.io, which you can host yourself ;)
I totally forgot about YITH, even though they are the poster child for good WooCommerce solutions.
The plugin implements a booking/appointment system to manage booking of services, rooms, accommodation facilities and more.
It feels more expensive than those above, but it has a huge feature-set and includes bookings and appointments!
YITH shines, when it comes to their documentation.
Features – LINK
These are just some possible solutions. Hope this gives you a little jump-start. D’ont just use the first best thing, even if it looks impressive on first glance!
I will adjust and tweak this article, as new things come up.
This is not a tutorial, but more like sharing a nice geeky road-trip ;)
I have a pretty good understanding of the Youtube Data API, as I have actively used it on portalZINE TV in the past, to upload videos and dynamically link them to my local post-types.
For one of my latest customer projects (TYPEMYKNIFE / typemyknife.com), the task was a bit more complicated and the goal was to make it as future-proof as it can be with the Google APIs :)
Prerequisites / References to get you started:
The goal for the setup was to actively synchronize WooCommerce products with linked / attached videos, with their source at Youtube.
As the website is multilingual, WPML integration is critical as well. And as Youtube allows localization of title and description, that can be added into the mix quiet easily in the future ;)
The following product attributes should be mirrored and optimised for Youtube:
The following attributes should be integrated into the description to enrich the Youtube description:
All of these attributes will be collected internally and assigned using a simple template system, which allows the customer to move parts around freely and freely layout the description for Youtube.
The following stats will be collected for review:
These are the relevant key aspects, that help to get your videos more views.
In the past access to the Youtube Data API was far easier and less limited, when it comes to offline / none expiring OAuth2 refresh tokens.
When you are building a server-side application that is only available to your customer or moderators, it makes no sense to run that app through the Google App verification. Your app will never be used in public.
The Youtube Data API and its scopes, are defined as sensitive and therefor require third-party security assessment for public access.
The scopes I am requesting are https://www.googleapis.com/auth/youtube.upload + https://www.googleapis.com/auth/youtube.
Because of that its far easier to just setup OAuth 2 in test mode and restrict access to your customer and specific additional accounts only (up to 100 test users allowed). What all these account need, is access to your own or Brand Youtube Channel.
Preparation in the Google Cloud Console:
A detailed description can be found here.
You can circumvent verification for the consent screen, by using an organisation setup at Google. Here some infos about that. With that setup offline refresh tokens should work fine.Update: Just tried that, but wont work with a branded youtube account, even though the cloud user has admin access to it. Not giving up yet, but Google / Youtube really makes it difficult to just have a simple offline solution for specific tasks ;) BTW also forced the login hint, to make sure the right account is logged in : $client->setLoginHint(‚YourWoreksapceAccount‘); !
You might have heard of the „The League of Extraordinary Packages„. It is a group of developers who have banded together to build solid, well tested PHP packages using modern coding standards. They also offer an OAuth2-client + OAuth2 Google extension that can be used.
You might have heard of the „The League of Extraordinary Packages„. It is a group of developers who have banded together to build solid, well tested PHP packages using modern coding standards.
They also offer an OAuth2-client + OAuth2 Google extension that can be used.
On the server, the Google API PHP SDK can be easily integrated using Composer.
In my customer plugin I neatly separated all relevant areas in classes & traits:
You can check the expiry time of your access token by accessing: https://www.googleapis.com/oauth2/v1/tokeninfo?access_token=YOUR_TOKEN„A Google Cloud Platform project with an OAuth consent screen configured for an external user type and a publishing status of „Testing“ is issued a refresh token expiring in 7 days.“ – Google
You can check the expiry time of your access token by accessing: https://www.googleapis.com/oauth2/v1/tokeninfo?access_token=YOUR_TOKEN
„A Google Cloud Platform project with an OAuth consent screen configured for an external user type and a publishing status of „Testing“ is issued a refresh token expiring in 7 days.“ – Google
Basic Auth example from the SDK:
A simple upload example can be found here .
All operations to and from the Youtube Data API are rate limited. What is important for us, are the queries per day.
The default quota is 10.000 queries per day, sounds a lot, but is easily gone after updating 150-200 videos. You can request this limit to be raised, but again a lot of paperwork and questions that are just not needed.
The above limit just means, that you need to cache as many queries as possible, to only query live when needed ;)
Something you learn fast, when experimenting with different things! I hit that limit multiple times in the first few days, with around 500 videos in the queue.
Different operation cost you different amount of units
It also helps to use the Google Developer Playground to testdrive the Youtube Data API with your own credentials while optimising your own code. You can define your own OAuth 2.0 configuration by clicking the cog in the upper right corner.
I setup the bulk updating to allow splitting it over multiple days, if required. For this an offline refresh token is needed, as the standard token expires after 60 minutes.
My customer can also just update a single video, when changes are applied to the product or a new product has been added.
If more frequent updates are required, I will ask for a raise of the queries per day. You can circumvent the limit by using multiple Google Cloud Platform accounts with new OAuth credentials, but really an overkill right now. I have done that in the past ;)
The GUI is just based of Bootstrap, to make it simple and clean. Using my own wrapper to make it work within the WordPress admin.
For all ajax operations, I am using htmx and _hyperscript, which I will talk about in another article in the future.
Really neat and clean way to build single page interfaces.
The whole plugin runs of its own REST API endpoint. Just love using WordPress as a headless system.
I used TWIG / Timber for the templates, to separate logic and layout. Timber has been my goto solution for years now. It drives my own and many customer websites.
This has been a lot of fun, maybe a bit too much LOL
I do geek-out about many of my projects, but this experience helped me to bring my WordPress toolbox to the next level. This will help to drive other things in the future.
Working so deeply with the Youtube Data API has been fun and feels so easy now, after all remaining problems have been solved.
Would have loved this during my portalZINE TV days ;)
I you read all this, you just earned yourself a badge for completion ;)
Need something similar or something else? Just say hi and we can talk.
„WPML (WordPress Multilingual) makes it easy to build multilingual sites and run them. It’s powerful enough for corporate sites, yet simple for blogs.“ – WPML
I have been running and setting up multilingual websites for more than 12 years. WordPress and related integrations have gladly come a long way to make our life’s a lot easier.
For basic content WPML is almost plug & play, but I do see more and more sites / customers struggling with more complex setups. WPML is one of the most popular multilingual plugins and is used on x00.000 of websites.
Just so you know, WPML is a commercial solution!
The amount of settings has increased a lot over the years and offers possible solutions for almost any content / plugin setup.
But for more complex setups, I would suggest to hire a professional to look over the settings or study the plugin documentation carefully.
Especially with a lot of content, it can quickly increase problems and the need to revisit specific content over and over again.
WPML lets you translate any text that comes from themes / theme frameworks (DIVI, Elemetor, Gutenberg …), plugins, menus, slugs, SEO and additionally supported integrations (Gravity Forms, ACF, WooCommerce …).
You can translate content internally for yourself, using translation management to translate with an internal team of translators or get help from external translators / translation services.
The latest version also offers AI translations, which allows you to get a decent start for most of your content.
In addition to the above, WPML String Translation allows you to translate texts that are not in posts, pages and taxonomy. This includes the site’s tagline, general texts in admin screens, widget titles and many other areas.
Well, I am a bit biased. I have not looked much at other solutions for the past 5 years, as it offers all I really need.
I have used it on projects from 2 to 15 languages and it scales nicely. At least with proper hosting attached!
Anything can be tweaked through the API, Hooks and custom integrations. I have build additional WPML tools for my customers, to streamline some of the repeating / boring tasks.
Their support is responsive and the forum already provides a huge amount of answers to most of the questions that might come up.
If you develop / maintain multiple customer websites with multilingual content, the investment is quickly amortized. I do offer WPML to my maintenance package customers, maybe something to consider ;)
Its an essential solution in my WP toolbox.
WPML 4.5 is on its way and will include a „Translate Everything“ feature, among other fixes and enhancements.
Translate Everything allows you to translate all of your site’s content automatically as you create it. You can then review the translations on the front-end before publishing.
WPML / Documentation
Somehow the Grids Layout Builder for Gutenberg ist not pushing styles to the footer within a Timber theme. At least not for me.
Somehow the wp_footer action within the Grids plugin is not being executed and no grid styles are added to the footer. I am not getting any errors, but will have to investigate some more in the near future ;)
Update: It is related to the get_footer action within Grids. get_footer is used to load the appropriate footer template file, which I am not using in my Timber theme ;) So the workaround below is perfect.
Here a quick workaround for the theme functions.php, that does the trick for now.
„A layout builder is a tool that helps you creating visual structures in your page, from a simple layout made by adjacent columns, to more complex compositions.
Grids is entirely based on the WordPress block editor, which means that you’ll be able to use it together with the myriad of content blocks that developers and designers from all around the World are creating.
With Grids, we’re bringing a visual structure to the content written with the WordPress Block Editor.“ Grids: Layout builder for WordPress / Documentation / CSS-Tricks Article / A Complete Guide to Grid
This is using the Grids Plugin and only took a couple of minutes! I am so glad IE 11 is soon completely unsupported ;) and we can start using CSS Grid freely. Well we can, as nobody should be using IE 11 anymore!!!
On mobile its just stacked rows :)
COLUMN 1I love to solve puzzles and find epic solutions :)CSS Grid Layout excels at dividing a page into major regions or defining the relationship in terms of size, position, and layer, between parts of a control built from HTML primitives.
Like tables, grid layout enables an author to align elements into columns and rows. However, many more layouts are either possible or easier with CSS grid than they were with tables.
COLUMN 2We all love magazine-style layouts and we are getting closer to getting that :) The magic is in the detail.
For example, a grid container’s child elements could position themselves so they actually overlap another layer, similar to CSS positioned elements.FLEX OR GRIDThe basic difference between CSS Grid Layout and CSS Flexbox Layout is that flexbox was designed for layout in one dimension – either a row or a column.
Grid was designed for two-dimensional layout – rows, and columns at the same time.
COLUMN 3I only styled the Desktop size, as a little preview. Added Custom CSS to switch areas for tablet sizes.
Unidentified vessel travelling at sub warp speed, bearing 235.7. Fluctuations in energy readings from it, Captain. All transporters off. A strange set-up, but I’d say the graviton generator is depolarized.
The dark colourings of the scrapes are the leavings of natural rubber, a type of non-conductive sole used by researchers experimenting with electricity. The molecules must have been partly de-phased by the anyon beam.
Lucas ipsum dolor sit amet c-3po solo bothan qui-gon darth solo darth dantooine dagobah mustafar. Fett solo yoda r2-d2 kit obi-wan hutt amidala kenobi. Jade leia gonk lobot ahsoka darth jade skywalker organa. Utapau mara owen darth darth yavin.
Lando baba wedge darth solo skywalker ben fett. Fisto wookiee bothan antilles antilles luke kenobi. Yavin naboo kenobi jinn calamari antilles. Organa jabba skywalker gamorrean ackbar. Windu skywalker kit skywalker. Dantooine dantooine moff leia dantooine wicket amidala.
This is almost a perfect Gutenberg plugin and a reduced / simplified integration of CSS grid. I really think that this plugin makes Gutenberg 1000times better.
There is so much repetition of Gutenberg blocks out there, while this really addresses something new and nails it :)
There are still things missing, that are critical and would make this even more useful for certain websites:
WACOM is known for stopping support for their pen tablets after some years, especially for the cheaper consumer pen tablets.
The WACOM Bamboo (in my case the CTH-461) is a pretty popular pen tablet and the latest driver wont install natively under Windows 10. Really frustrating for hardware that is still in perfect shape.
VR has not just arrived, but it finally arrived for me and the masses ;)
I have been watching VR evolving from the sidelines for the past few years. Its been a fun ride, from the first prototypes to what we have now.
The biggest problem in the past, has been image quality and the huge upfront investment for me. With the latest generation all of this has completely changed.
I am constantly keeping up with new technologies and have been diving into WebVR for some time now.
Its so easy to export your own simple Unity VR project into WebVR and integrate it into your own web projects.
Unreal Engine also provides options to work on VR projects. Or build upon the WebXR API.
Microsoft also has a foot in the door, with MRTK (Allows to integrate teleporting easily / Releases).
With the announcement of the Oculus Quest 2 last year, I finally decided to dive in myself. Standalone VR allows me to concentrate on WebVR and experiment, while still having the option to expand into the linked PC-universe in the future as well.
I have no plans to invest into a beefy gaming rig yet, but have been trying out cloud solutions using Shadow and Paperspace Gaming / Paperspace $10 Coupon (KS4Q2TA).
Update: Latency is the biggest problem with these solutions and it can be a hit & miss! My Paperspace experience was close to perfect for pure desktop experiences, for VR sadly not :) Can not testdrive Shadow right now, as the waitinglist is already showing September 2021 LOL CRAZY! Local latency can be greatly optimized by using Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi Direct.
With the current GPU prices, building a machine makes hardly any sense. I would love to build a small form-factor PC with a Shuttle XPC for example ;) Maybe later this year ….
I invested in VR-Comfort for now ;) I transformed the Oculus Quest 2 into a FrankenQuest with the DAS-Mod (HTC VR VIVE Deluxe Audio Strap). Loving the new look, audio and perfect weight balance :) Perfect for longer sessions.
I am officially infected. I decided to upgrade an old computer to minimum VR specs, to at least tryout PC-VR :) The final build is ghetto and really a tight fit, but it works perfectly :)
For 2021 and the current shortages, this is a big win! The whole upgrade was about 400 EUR, with 250 EUR for the new GPU.
Here are my current PC-VR specs:
All that is required, has been added and now the PC VR universe is open for exploration :) As hardware is getting more expensive every week, I updated a second machine with comparable specs and have 2 machines that can run VR with entry /decent specs :)
There are many new platforms providing access to new tools and often an easy access to a broader community. Some of them with nice build tools in VR.
„OpenXR is an open, royalty-free standard for access to virtual reality and augmented reality platforms and devices. It is developed by a working group managed by the Khronos Group consortium.“
You will find a bunch of efforts on the way, to build the next open multi-platform VR solution.
Building with Unity is always an option, but not the best solution for those that are just getting started or for those that just want a simple starting point to experiment ;)
Another evolving area is the office space. Some of the platforms above already dive into that area, like XRDesktop. But Oculus / Facebook itself is working on its Infinite Office integration.
Other solutions help to mirror your PC within VR and open new ways for collaboration:
The biggest problem is the mirroring of the keyboard. As soon as that is solved, this might become usable. Immerse VR provides an option to overlay a virtual representation of your keyboard, by mapping your real-life keyboard in VR.
Always important to stay informed. Here some communities are frequently visit:
VR is here to stay, I would have never though it would take off 2020 / 2021. But we all face new challenges and technology is evolving to make space for new possibilities.
While gaming / fitness / social are the entry point for VR currently, this whole market will expand quickly in 2021.
Really looking forward to new possibilities and another facet of my developer life.
Looking forward meeting some of you in the VR-Multiverse :)
VR is a new passion of mine, that I play with in my freetime, but also explore as a developer and tech enthusiast.
As video quality has evolved a lot in the past 2 years, the big topic now is full body immersion.
The following things are becoming more important:
I will use this article to collect things that are already available, diy projects, experiments and things that are in their early stages.
Hand & finger tracking is already making its way into consumer products. It is still not widely integrated, but has made big jumps the past year.
Eye tracking is not only important to make avatars more life-like, but also to track your eye focus and help to reduce processor load.
Lip tracking has made a big jump, with the new Vive Lip tracker and is important for social interactions.
Body tracking is one of the areas, that has so many projects attached to it. There are so many neat solutions out there, that almost anyone can use it by now.
Free locomotion is one of the biggest challenges in VR right now. You can increase your playarea, but that is still limiting and requires space. Their are VR treadmills, but none of them really reproduces life-like natural movement yet. And those solutions that come close, are still out of your reach. Most of the tracking above is somehow covered and will be available soon, while real locomotion is really the hardest to solve of them all.
Always crucial to have the right look for yourself in VR :)