.eduGuru Summit 2012 – Virtual Marketing & Technology Conference

In just a few weeks, I’ll be presenting a session explaining how to write a quick WordPress shortcode, and then explaining how simple it is to turn it into a widget. If you’re interested in attending this presentation, I encourage you to do so.

In addition to my presentation, you can attend six fantastic presentations on marketing strategies and five other awesome sessions on development and technology.

All of these presentations are part of the 2012 .eduGuru Summit, a virtual conference targeted at Web and marketing professionals in education. Just because it’s targeted at people in higher education, though, doesn’t mean that the lessons learned and knowledge shared at the conference are exclusive to higher education.

The conference is being held on April 10 and 11 this year. The best part about the conference? It’s completely virtual. You can attend from the comfort of your own desk (you might, though I do not guarantee this in any way, even be able to attend the conference using your iPad).

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.

WordPress Releases Version 3.3 With Tumblr Importer

WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg has just announced the release of version 3.3 of the WordPress blogging/cms software. It looks like the majority of the changes are cosmetic inside the admin tool including some updates to the help for new users. The big feature I noticed in their overview video below is the new ability to easily import a tumblr blog into WordPress.

The one big update I’d love is the ability to set the “add an image” option to always be set to “by URL” because I use (and I assume others do too) Amazon S3 for storing images.

You can update your WordPress software to 3.3 now by using the auto-update function with the administration interface.

Here’s the features overview video for WordPress 3.3 from the WordPress team:

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