I AM LISTENING TO
|
WHAT I LIKE
  • English
  • German


BLOG FILTER



When you look at Youtube, Twitter, certain Facebook groups and even some software companies, they are all building up fear for the upcoming / in-progress Google “Helpful Content” algorithm update.

WHAT IS IT?

– Our “helpful content update” launching next week will better surface original, helpful content made by people, for people, rather than content made primarily to gain search traffic. It’s part of a broad effort to show more unique, authentic info in results – Google SearchLiaison@Twitter

WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?

Its happening as I write this and its about time!

The goal of this update is to rank websites that publish original and unique content. Content written by real writers and not AIs.

This also downgrades websites, that write about content that is not relevant to their core expertise. So no more content domain dominance, by posting about every possible content angle to lure visitors in.

Also old content, when not updated regularly, will loose prominence.

This all is a plus for the enduser and knowledge seeker. Google has been preparing for this for years now and its not happening suddenly.

Structured data gained more and more importance over the past few years. Google is finally using it to cleanup search!

HOW GOOD WILL IT BE?

Hard to tell. But change was needed! There are so many underrated websites out there, that deliver quality content, but never got a chance to bubble up or shine :) This will hopefully get us better search results and better quality control.

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE RESULTS!
Keep on breathing …. ALEX

readmore

Ich hatte dieses Jahr die Möglichkeit, über meinen Kunden TYPEMYKNIFE®, an der “Nacht der Sterne” in Stuttgart, im Mercedes-Benz Museum, teilzunehmen. Auf der Gala kommen mehr als 800 Gäste aus Gastronomie, Hotellerie, Politik, Kultur und Wirtschaft zusammen. 

NACHT DER STERNE / ahgz Sterne Award 2022

portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | nacht der sterne 2022 typemyknife 1
Felicitas Then – Anmoderation
portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | nacht der sterne 2022 typemyknife 3
Verleihung + Food

Es war ein klasse Abend, auf dem nicht nur die Spitzenköche aus Deutschland, der Schweiz, Südtirol und Österreich ausgezeichnet wurden, sondern diese auch Live zeigen konnten was sie so können.

Veranstaltet wird die Party von der Allgemeinen Hotel- und Gastronomie-Zeitung (Ahgz) und Burg Staufeneck / Rolf Straubinger.

Moderatorin des Abends waren die Journalistin und Fernsehköchin Felicitas Then und Rolf Westermann von der ahgz-Chefredaktion.

Informationen zum Award, den Methoden und Siegern findet man hier.

TYPEMYKNIFE®

portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | nacht der sterne 2022 typemyknife 2
portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | nacht der sterne 2022 typemyknife 4
TYPEMYKNIFE® – Im Gespräch

TYPEMYKNIFE® hat Vorort an einem Stand eine kleine Auswahl seiner Küchenmesser, die über den 3D Gravur Konfigurator vorbereitet und graviert wurden, präsentiert. Dadurch hatten Gäste die Möglichkeit, die gravierten Küchenmesser einmal persönlich zu entdecken und die Qualität zu bestaunen.

portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | typemyknife portalzine
Glamour Shot / Kartentausch LOL

Die fast 1400 km Rundreise aus dem Norden hat sich gelohnt. Es ist immer schön Kunden mal nicht nur virtuell zu treffen, besonders wenn die Distanz so groß ist. Bei der Entfernung trifft man sich nicht immer mal kurz auf einen Kaffee oder Gin-Tonic :)

Gruß an TYPEMYKNIFE® / Schwäbisch Gmünd / Stuttgart

readmore

Visual House erstellt realistische 3D Video-Animationen, Panoramatouren, Außen- und Innen Ansichten für Ihr Bauvorhaben.”


Visual House creates realistic 3D video animations, panorama tours, exterior and interior views for your construction project.”


This is a simple portfolio website, that will be expanded upon in the future. The client wants to edit and maintain the website himself. Its a clean and simple layout with an Elementor Pro backend. Virtual panoramic tours are a key service they offer and is integrated directly for potential customers to explore. More to come in the future …


Update 2022: Update to a complete portfolio website, detailing the current portfolio and show-casing current services. Complete design revamp and custom template.


visual-haus.de

readmore

TYPEMYKNIFE® – allows you to laser ingrave your knife using a unique 3D configurator.

I redesigned their 3D knife configurator and helped to optimise the overall integration. The core backend functionality of the configurator was not created by me, I only helped debug and tweak the old & new functionality.

  • Complete redesign of the old 3D knife configurator
  • Prototype / Preview using Adobe XD
  • New help system, showing the user how to design their knife quickly.
  • Multi-language integration
  • Server tweaks for better sharing capabilities
  • Shop integration changes
  • Debugging for desktop / tablet & mobile integration
  • Performance boost & tweaks
  • Streamlined website integration

TYPEMYKNIFE / 3D KNIFE CONFIGURATOR / Example with knife loaded / Search for a knife

readmore

Why?

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.

Spyder3

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.

DisplayCAL

To the rescue comes DisplayCAL, an Open Source calibration solution that allows you to calibrate your displays using even older calibration hardware.

DisplayCAL

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 :)

readmore

What Google Drive Sharing offers us!

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.

Apply a simple RegEX

We use a simple Regex to extract the ID:

PHP

JAVASCRIPT

Just use it!

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

readmore

PAPA PARSE

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!

SIMPLE TESTDRIVE

ABOUT

Papa Parse is the fastest in-browser CSV (or delimited text) parser for JavaScript. It is reliable and correct according to RFC 4180, and it comes with these features:

  • Easy to use
  • Parse CSV files directly (local or over the network)
  • Fast mode
  • Stream large files (even via HTTP)
  • Reverse parsing (converts JSON to CSV)
  • Auto-detect delimiter
  • Worker threads to keep your web page reactive
  • Header row support
  • Pause, resume, abort
  • Can convert numbers and booleans to their types
  • Optional jQuery integration to get files from <input type="file"> elements
  • One of the only parsers that correctly handles line-breaks and quotations

USAGE

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

readmore

Die erste Folge nach einer langen Pause ;)

Folge 104

readmore

UMZUG

Moin! Im Juni hatte ich den Umbau von portalZINE TV angekündigt und kündige jetzt den Umzug des Podcasts – 5 auf einen Streich – an.

5 auf einen Streich findet man jetzt hier.

Durch die Themen werde ich weiterhin rotieren, aber den Fokus stärker auf Entwicklung & Design setzen.

Mal sehen, wie sich das so entwickelt :) Die erste Folge für 2021 folgt bald …

ARCHIV

Damit ist portalZINE TV jetzt ein reines Archiv.

Gruß
Alex

readmore

BOOKING SOLUTIONS 202x

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:

  1. Crocoblocks / JETPlugins: First in line will be crocoblock with JETbooking / JETappointment. Thanks goes out to crocoblock for helping out and making this review possible :) More about this soon …
  2. PluginHive: Will be sticking to the base information provided by PluginHive and their test setups. This means that I am not currently deep testing their solution.
  3. MotoPress: waiting for an answer :)
  4. PinPoint: waiting for an answer :)
  5. YITH: Will be taking a closer look at Yith as it combines booking & appointments.
  6. WooCommerce Booking: Will setup the plugin and look at this again, but pretty undecided right now. Had my problems with it in the past.
  7. VikWP: I might be looking at it a bit closer in the future, but currently not a right fit to compare, as its target audience is the single property owner. But I still think it belongs into the list ;)

Some rules … before I start!

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 :)

  1. Its not just a cheap theme bundle or addon. There are 100s of solutions out there, that claim to be free and just sell / promote their PREMIUM themes with a nice little addon. Might be enough for you, but not for me ;)
  2. Has a solid standing in the community.
  3. Has been around longer than 6 months.
  4. Has a real set of developers behind it, that work on new features.
  5. Has a support or community forum, where actual help can be found.
  6. Has documentation for the future administrator of the plugin.
  7. Has documentation for developers, helping to make it work for their clients. Extendability is always a plus.
  8. Has good theme or framework support.
  9. Has a good feature to price ratio.
  10. Has multi-language support (WPML)
  11. Makes me want to use it myself or promote it to my clients.

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!


Property Management System ( PMS )?

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.

SaaS ( Software as a Service)

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.

Bundled Theme / Theme Framework / Your Own Theme

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.

OTA (Over-The-Air) Channel Manager

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.

Lets prepare some initial questions for you!

Before choosing anything you should really pinpoint your own requirements.

  1. What is my current budget? What I am willing to pay for updates or on a regular basis?
  2. When do I plan to start? (development timeframe)
  3. Which features do I need right now?
  4. Which features do I need in the coming 6 months?
  5. Which features are nice to have?
  6. Which features are a must-have?
  7. Will I do the required updating and support for the system myself?
  8. Do I want to be responsible for security and the handling of personal data?
  9. Will I use my own theme, a framework or premium theme?
  10. Do I require or need WooCommerce integrated?
  11. Do I need multi-language support ( WPML )?
  12. Do I need an OTA Channel Manager to sync with Booking.com or any other external channel?

MY CURRENT PICKS

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 :)

portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | hotel booking vik booking

#1 Vik Booking (E4J)

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

Price Range

FREE (Limited Payment Gateways / No Channel Manager)

or

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.

portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | hotel booking pinpoint

#2 Pinpoint – Booking System Pro ( Pinpoint World LLC )

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.

  • Booking calendar – Demo
  • Book days
  • Book hours/minutes
  • WooCommerce support
  • Multi-language support
  • Reservations
  • Booking rules
  • Discounts
  • Coupons & vouchers
  • iCal support for export & import
  • More here

To get you started

Documentation – LINK

Extensions – LINK

WooCommerce Support – LINK

Price Range

Booking: FREE or PRO – $70

What is missing?

Do your feature matrix!

portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | hotel booking motopress

#3 MotoPress – Hotel Booking Plugin ( Jetimpex )

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.

  • Two-way auto-synchronization of iCal with external booking platforms to exchange booking calendar data and avoid overbooking.
  • Email notifications with booking details, booking confirmation / cancellation notes and other important messages for both admin and guests.
  • Reservation of an unlimited number of accommodations during one booking session.
  • Integration with the WooCommerce Payments add-on to get more payment gateways.
  • Categorization of your accommodations according to any parameters (e.g. location, price range, etc.), which enables an advanced search for them.
  • Creation of discount coupons with monetary value or percentage discount coupons.
  • Demo availability to test both the back-end management area and front-end performance.
  • Broad knowledge base with detailed and instructive video tutorials.

To get you started

Demo – LINK

Documentation – LINK

Forum – LINK

Addons – LINK

Price Range

Booking: PRO – $89

What is missing?

Do your feature matrix !

portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | hotel booking pluginhive booking

#4 WooCommerce Bookings and Appointments ( PluginHive )

Another plugin that has been around for a long time and grown in popularity as well as features.

  • Offer Bookings in Minutes, Hours, Days or Months
  • Allow users to book Multiple Days or Multiple Appointments at a time
  • Offer Multiple Bookings for the same time slot
  • Set a Minimum and Maximum Booking duration – For Eg: Users can book Minimum of 2 days up to 8 days
  • Allow Booking Cancellations—Set a Time Limit until which Cancellations can be accepted before the booking starts
  • Enable Booking Approvals/Confirmations from the Admin
  • Convert your bookings calendar into Accommodation bookings.
  • Allow per night bookings and display the Check-In and Check-Out date
  • Email notifications to users and admin for a New Booking, Confirmations, and Cancellations
  • Email Reminders to users for upcoming bookings
  • Dynamic total Booking Cost calculation based on number of days or time slots selected
  • Capture Additional information from the users by enabling the Booking Notes field
  • Allow Buffer or Padding time between Bookings(Flexible Buffer After/Before a Booking)
  • Change the Calendar Color to suit your Website Design/Theme
  • Google Calendar Sync
  • Staff Management–Add any number of Staff | Manage Staff Availability | Manage Prices | Manage Leaves
  • WPML support
  • More

To get you started

Demo Frontend – LINK

Demo Backend – LINK

Documentation – LINK

Price Range

Booking: PRO – $99

What is missing?

Do your feature matrix!

portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | hotel booking jetbooking

#5 JETbooking for Elementor ( crocoblock )

“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.

Feature highlights

  • Custom booking post-type & setup
  • Custom Booking Forms and fields
  • Single-page booking
  • WooCommerce integration
  • Neat filter system
  • Google Calendar / Integromat / Zapier / iCal synchronization

To get you started

Demo – LINK

Documentation – LINK

REST API – LINK

JETengine – LINK

JETsmartfilters – LINK

Free Kava Theme – LINK

Dynamic Templates – LINK

JETThemeCore – LINK

crocoblock JETPlugins – LINK

Price Range

JETbooking $19 + JETengine $26 + JETsmartfilters $24 or JET Bundle $130

What is missing?

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 ;)

portalZINE NMN | Development meets Creativity | booking yith

#6 YITH Booking and appointment for WooCommerce

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.

To get you started

Features – LINK

Demo – LINK

Documentation – LINK

Price Range

$200

What is missing?

Conclusion

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.

Enjoy coding ….

readmore