Saying Good-bye to Brizzly

It’s been quite a while since I’ve tried to use Brizzly, but I did enjoy the features they offered. For a long time, it was one of the few Web-based interfaces I could use to manage my social media accounts. The other day, when I was temporarily using a computer that didn’t have Chrome installed (so I couldn’t use ChromeDeck), I tried visiting Brizzly only to find that they were shuttering the service.

Today, the official notice went out to Brizzly users. Following is the message that was sent out:

Using Custom Post Meta to Retrieve WordPress Posts

The other day, I was in the process of setting up some custom post meta for an event post type. I needed to add a start date/time and an end date/time for the event as custom meta information. Once I got all of that set up, I needed to modify the loop so that it retrieved the events in order of their start date/time; but I also needed to make sure I only retrieved events that hadn’t yet ended (based on their end date/time).

In the past, this wasn’t really possible with WordPress. You could either order posts by a custom meta value, or you could limit your query to posts that had a specific custom meta value, but you couldn’t do both. Then, in version 3.1 of WordPress, the meta_query was introduced to the WP_Query class. Now, however, you can use the traditional orderby and meta_key properties to sort your posts by a specific meta value; and you can use the meta_query property to limit the posts that are returned.

HoverIntent in WordPress

Whenever you’re working on a new WordPress theme that includes hover (mouseover) effects, especially dropdown or flyout menus, you might want to include hoverIntent. HoverIntent is a term that describes a concept through which you delay a hover action until a certain amount of time has passed, in order to make sure that the user really intended to trigger that action.

We’ve all been on websites with dropdown menus that tend to get in the way of the content, and pop open as soon as your mouse touches even a small portion of them, and we’ve most likely all been annoyed by it. The idea behind hoverIntent is to measure the speed of the mouse movement, attempting to determine whether the user actually intended to stop on the item or not. If the mouse just moves over an item with a hover effect, but doesn’t stop on it, the hover effect should not be triggered; if, however, the user’s mouse does slow down enough or stop on the item, the hover effect should be triggered.

Using jQueryUI in WordPress

With the update to WordPress 3.3.x, the WordPress core now includes the entire jQueryUI suite packaged in the download. No longer do plugin and theme developers have to include their own custom builds of jQueryUI elements (hopefully they never did include custom builds of the elements, but there are quite a few plugins and themes that did). Instead, you simply need to enqueue the existing scripts.

Following is a full list of the jQueryUI elements included in WordPress, along with their “handles” for use with the wp_enqueue_script() function.

A Quick Lesson in WordPress Semantics

As much as I love WordPress, there are quite a few elements and functions in the system that can be a bit confusing, and even ambiguous. In this article, I’m going to try to explain and unravel a few of these items.

What’s the difference between the “home” page and the “front page”?

To many users, the terms “home” page and “front page” might seem like the same thing. However, in WordPress, they’re treated as two different elements. The “home” page is the main page that shows blog posts. If you install WordPress and don’t change any of the settings, this will be your site’s front page. However, if you modify the “Settings -> Reading -> Front page displays” setting to select “A static page (see below)”, and you choose a page for the “Front page” and a page for the “Posts page”, the “home” page is no longer the first page on your site. Instead, the first page on your site is the “front page”, now.

Zeus and WordPress Part 3: SSL Issues

While working to get WordPress functioning properly on a Zeus Web server, one of the issues I came across was the fact that I couldn’t seem to get any SSL functions working properly. I tried 2 or 3 different plugins, and all of them started causing infinite redirect loops as soon as they were activated.

Eventually, after quite a bit of investigating and testing, I found the cause of the issue: that particular server (and, presumably, all Zeus servers) doesn’t use any of the same indicators that SSL is being used that apache does. On apache servers, PHP usually has a handful of indicators that SSL is currently being used to serve the page. For instance, there’s a server global variable called “HTTPS” that gets set to “on” for many PHP configurations; SSL is generally served over port 443 instead of port 80; etc.


Useful Things