Going out with a bang!

We’re already halfway into the month of October, so this post is a little later than planned. I’ve just got back from a short break with my family and I’m recharged and ready to create new blog posts and plugins (or complete existing ones) until the end of the year. I thought it might be fun to post a little about what I have in store for what’s left of 2016.

Elegant Forms

I haven’t touched Elegant Forms since I blogged about it but I am recommitted to completing and releasing the plugin before 2016 ends. The one area that Divi is sorely lacking in is a better form module so I hope to bring this to the community as soon as possible.

Admin Title

On of the great ideas that came out of the Divi Theme Users group was a plugin that automatically updates the admin title of a module based on a specific field in the module itself. I coded up a proof of concept on the night of the discussion but it pretty much stayed there, so I want to revisit and release this little plugin as soon as possible, specifically for all the site builders out there.

New Directions

I want to start moving into Divi Layout and Child Theme creation. As I am not a designer I have to rely on the work of others to help fuel this, so today Atlantic Wave released a bunch of Elegant Themes inspired layouts for Divi. I have a few child themes I am working on that I also plan to release in the very near future, also inspired by the Elegant Themes demo designs, but with a little Atlantic Wave development twist.

Development

As always, I constantly on the lookout for new ideas and new areas of development. If you have a plugin or theme development idea you would like to work on, feel free to get in touch.

Taking the pain out of self managed cloud hosting with ServerPilot

(Disclaimer, links to ServerPilot and Digital Ocean contain referral codes, if you use them and make a purchase you’ll be putting a few extra $’s in my pocket)

As the web and it’s associated technologies move ever forward, the solutions available for hosting your website are about as abundant as the options available for creating it.

One of my favourite advances in hosting options has been the advent of Virtual Private Servers or VPS. What I like about VPS is that it gives you the same level of control to the base system as a physical server, but at a fraction of the cost, and with similar performance to a physical server. Over the years services like Amazon AWS, Digital Ocean and Linode have really reduced the cost of creating and managing your own web server using VPS technology. The only problem with using a VPS is that you need to have a level of understand of server technology, software and server administration to be able to setup and manage such a server, something which most web designers, developers and builders do not.

With this in mind I was quite pleasantly surprised when someone pointed out ServerPilot to me. ServerPilot provides a fast, managed and secure way to manage your VPS without needing too much technical knowledge. On installing ServerPilot on your newly purchased VPS, you are given tools which allow you to create and manage multiple PHP apps on your server. What is even better is that ServerPilot supports WordPress straight out of the box, so setting up a new blank WordPress site is a simple matter of clicking a few buttons.

Without a doubt one of the things I love about ServerPilot is the technology stack. It’s built using Nginx in front of Apache, comes pre installed with PHP-FPM and supports PHP 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 7.0, and 7.1, all on the same server. It even installs and configures a firewall on your server as well as SecureFTP access, automatically updates itself and supports LetsEncrypt SSL, giving you the option to install and configure free SSL certificates for all your sites. Finally, depending on the package you choose, it provides various levels of server monitoring, from basic server CPU and Memory usage, all the way up to slow script reporting.

ServerPilot is about the best tool for web professionals who would like a little more control of their (and their client’s) hosting options. At $10 for the ‘Coach’ version, you can install and manage as many servers as you like. It’s designed to use Digital Ocean servers, but supports the majority of the VPS services out there (Amazon AWS, Rackspace, Linode, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud).

If you are currently using VPS based services or are looking for alternatives to your current hosting provider, I highly recommend to try out the free version of ServerPilot. If you don’t want to spend any money on the VPS to try it out, you can use my Digital Ocean referral link for a $10 credit, which is enough for a 512MB droplet for two months, more than enough time to test out the service.

New challenges

A short while about (July to be exact) I published a post about why I got into software development. At the time I was dealing with a bit of a personal crisis. I had reached a point (for the second time) of burning the candles at both ends so much that I was probably not thinking straight. So I had this daft idea to launch a Patreon account to try and crowd fund my goals. No prizes for guessing how that turned out.

What that post did however do for me is define why and more importantly how I want to make my living as a freelance developer. It also helped me realise that perhaps the tools I need to be using are out there and I just need to take the proverbial bull by the horns. So, with that in mind, I am very happy to announce that I am, as of September, one of the newest experts at Codeable.

If you have never heard of Codeable, it is the worlds #1 WordPress specific outsourcing platform. The founders, Per and Tomaz, are WordPress experts themselves and their business model and making huge inroads into bringing expert WordPress developers in contact with realistic clients who appreciate and understand the value of paying a fair price for excellent work. I’m happy to say that I’ve already completed my first few tasks at Codeable and collected a couple of great reviews.

Working at Codeable does mean that (for now at least) I have a little less free time for blog writing and replying to comments. If you were one of the people who commented on my articles during September, this is where I apologise for my lack of replies. Going forward I’m going to try and focus on publishing at least one web development specific blog post a month, so bear with me. I don’t have an army of writers like the guys at Elegant Themes.

Oh, and if you want to hire me to work on your project, just use the ‘Hire Me’ link over on the menu.