1,000+ Reasons for better theme coding standards

A couple days ago we wrote about a critical security vulnerability that was found in the popular WordPress Slider Revolution plugin and silently patched by its author. Envato Market has since launched further investigation of the matter, as the product is not only hosted on their marketplace but also packaged with many other products.

This vulnerability highlights the danger of allowing theme authors to bundle plugins in their products. Envato Market would have no need to list out 1,000+ potentially affected themes if it discouraged, or even forbade, theme authors from bundling plugins.WP Tavern

Whatever justification Envato authors previously used for bundling functionality into themes, they now have 1000 reasons not to.

Bundling plugins might appear appealing at first for authors, and they may even get enough sales that it seems to justify the action but this is not a long term strategy. Neither for an author that has to maintain this code or for a customer who is left with a jumbled mess that leaves them unable to switch themes. Not to mention the impact on site performance.

I know first hand that Stephen Cronin and the team at Envato are pushing heavily to increase coding standard for their themes, sadly a lot of the push back has come from authors who would rather keep the status quo than provide a higher quality product for their customers.


The Sennza team are heading to WordCamp Europe!

At the end of September the Sennza team will be heading to WordCamp Europe which is being held in Sofia, Bulgaria this year. We are super excited to catch up with friends as well as meet some new faces from around the world.

For the past few years we have traveled to the U.S. for WordCamp San Francisco, however this year we’ve decided to mix it up and head to Europe.

Sadly this means we are going to miss WordCamp Sydney which falls on the same date. The organisers are doing an amazing job and it’s shaping up to be an awesome event. If you are in Australia make sure you grab a ticket and head along.

If you are heading to WordCamp Europe from anywhere around the world make sure you come and say G’day to Bronson, Tarei and Lachlan!

 

image credit: St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Sofia, Bulgaria


How Long Does An Eight Line Pull Request Take?

At Sennza we have a starter theme we use internally called Flair which is based on the amazing Foundation for Sites (née: Foundation 5.3) framework by Zurb. All our site builds start with this starter theme and we build on top of that. We do this for two main reasons: consistency across our themes in terms of the grid system, JavaScript libraries, and folder structure and more importantly saving time.

In the past we used to use Underscores by Automattic (and the community :) ) as a starter theme because it’s known to save WordPress themes around 1000 hours. We use core principles taken from Underscores and bolt Foundation for Sites to save another 500 hours.

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Please welcome Tarei King to Sennza

We are excited to introduce the latest member of the Sennza team. Tarei King.

Despite the demand for WordPress work, at Sennza we have chosen to grow the business slowly to ensure that we can keep the quality of our work up to the high standards that we expect of ourself. I can safely say that with the addition of Tarei to the team, this will not only continue but get even better.

Having just completed his first project at Sennza (a website rebuild for an ASX listed client) Tarei has done an amazing job, we are all excited to have him on board as part of the team.

But that’s enough from me, I’ll let Tarei speak for himself about joining the team:

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Words, Ideas, Clicks, Screens

WICS (Words, Ideas, Clicks, Screens) is a usability score for web software created by Steve Burge from ostraining.com. The article compares WordPress, Joomla and Drupal – the big 3 open source content management systems.

Steve scores each task based on 4 criteria:

  1. Words: How many new or unusual words must the user learn?
  2. Ideas: How many new or unusual ideas must the user learn?
  3. Clicks: How many clicks must the user make?
  4. Screens: How many screens must the user visit?

 

No scoring system is perfect but I like Steve’s approach. It’s worth reading the article, WordPress also does pretty well in the scoring too :)


task management

For the longest time we have being using Basecamp for project management at Sennza. Since last year I have been investigating alternatives as we felt that Basecamp was no longer helping us as much as it once did. After 37 Signals announced their plan to become a one product company it provided the extra incentive I needed to start looking again.

In my search I managed to narrow it down to 2 project management tools that I felt could fill the gaps that basecamp had, they were Asana and Trello. Both are super awesome tools and depending on your workflow either tool could work really well for you.

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Device-Agnostic

Trent Walton of Paravel Inc wrote a great piece on what it means to design and develop a website that can work everywhere in a time of infinite devices.

Like cars designed to perform in extreme heat or on icy roads, websites should be built to face the reality of the web’s inherent variability. In my mind this approach addresses the following from the beginning:

Hostile browsers
Tiny screens
Slow connection speeds
Touch inputs

It’s well worth reading through the full article.


Sennza – 4 Years In

This month Sennza is 4 years old, and every March we take the time to look back to reflect on the last 12 months gone by and celebrate the milestones we’ve reached. All too often it’s easy to forget how far we have come and what we have achieved as we keep moving forward.

As I look over the list of things we’ve done, if I had to sum up the last 12 months in one word it would have to be “Contribution”. We had several projects over the last 12 months that allowed us to create, modify and review numerous WordPress plugins. As a result of these projects we were able to contribute our code back to the community.

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WordPress Hangout With Dan Petrovic From Dejan SEO

Last night I was invited by Dan Petrovic from Dejan SEO to participate in a WordPress Google Hangout. If you missed it then I’ve embedded the video below and I’ve also included some links to some of the hosts and plugins I mentioned during the course of the show.

Show notes and links

Hosting

Self Hosted

Profiling plugins and improving performance

Development Automation

  • Consider ditching MAMP, WAMP stacks for Vagrant
  • Grunt task runner – CSS preprocessing, minification, image optimisation, project scaffolding, concatenation and more!

 


Add Foundation 5 Styles to TinyMCE in WordPress

Earlier this week I did a blog post about the development of Sennza 3.0 and during that post I mentioned that I mentioned that I used TinyMCE styles to add two, three and four column layouts using Foundation 5 which prompted this question on Twitter:

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