Download a complete single page with wget

A simple way to download a complete page

Very much inspired by Guy Rutenberg,
I only modified the snippet slightly with -N, which validates timestamps and doesn’t download duplicated ( but does overwrite local files with the new changes ) and robots=off, so I wouldn’t download the robots.txt

An easier way to keep your JavaScript libraries up to date

When I first heard of Bower, I really, really wanted to love it. In theory Bower sounds like the real deal:

Bower works by fetching and installing packages from all over, taking care of hunting, finding, downloading, and saving the stuff you’re looking for. Bower keeps track of these packages in a manifest file, bower.json. How you use packages is up to you. Bower provides hooks to facilitate using packages in your tools and workflows.

Bower is optimized for the front-end. Bower uses a flat dependency tree, requiring only one version for each package, reducing page load to a minimum.

Unfortunately – it’s not how it works in practice. Sure, bower finds packages for me, but that’s about it. After I’ve downloaded the packages, I have no idea where the files might end up in, what are they going to be called, how to include them, so after the package is downloaded – you’re on your own, bower just calls in quits. Even tools like gulp-bower or grunt-bower don’t help all that much. No standardized way to get an unminified version or a file. Sometimes you can guess, other times you can’t.

But the worst part, for me – bower doesn’t update the scripts properly. At first, I was very confused about how updating works in Bower, and it looks like I’m not the only one. Looks like nowadays you can update the scripts, but major version updates are still a pain in Bower, and the argument for it, in my opinion is very weak.

I’m not going to go into how the updating in bower actually works, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t care about that all that much anymore. What I’m looking for is speed and ease of use.

Workflow incompatibility

I know, there is an ocean of people who love bower. But I never managed to fit Bower in my workflow. I don’t really need to think about dependency tree in a standard way. Wordpress dictates the version of jQuery and underscore.js that I’m supposed to use.

All of JavaScript libraries that I’ve used in my life, with a few exceptions ( I’m looking at you desandro ), have every little thing built right in. In many cases, even a jQuery shim.

Sure – that’s a lot of overhead, and it’s not ideal.
An ideal tool would be like Bower that people would trust, and everyone could depend on each others snippets, shims, plugins etc., but at the moment, it looks like a very, very distant utopia. Everyone has their own workflow, standards, preferences.  We’re still debating on spaces vs tabs after all.

 

A simple solution for simple folks

I’m a simple man, looking for a plain simple solution.
I don’t need “built-in” security that prevents automatic major version upgrades. If a problem comes up because of a library update – I want to address it ASAP. I just want the latest version of the libraries I’m using.

So I came up with a simple workaround with Gulp.js.

Gulp.js to the rescue

 

In external_libs add your libraries and the URL to pull them down from and that’s it! If you prefer – you can keep it in a .json file, but this works perfectly fine for me.

Run gulp getlibs in your terminal and get the latest version of all your libs! Add version management ( like Git ) to your project, and you’ll always be aware of all changes in the libraries you use. Dead simple.

 

A simple one-liner to convert all JavaScript to CoffeeScript

A simple one-liner to convert all JavaScript in a folder to CoffeeScript

First, make sure you have installed “js2coffee” ( and js2coffee.org is real cool for single files too ):

And then just paste this:

-it options modifies the spaces to tabs, remove it if you prefer spaces.

Enjoy!

Picking values from an Array in WordPress

_.pick is great

Underscore.js has a lot of great stuff packed in it. One of the functions I love is pick, which lets you input some keys and get a new array from an Array.

Can’t pick in PHP

So today I wanted to find an alternative to Underscore’s _.pick for PHP, and I didn’t. It’s not a function that would be difficult to write, but that’s where WordPress comes in.

Can pick in WordPress

People at WordPress thought that it would be a nice helper for them too, so in WordPress 3.1 they added wp_array_slice_assoc.

The naming is a bit long, but the function is awesome anyway and the naming explains the purpose alright. Slice an array associativley ( that’s a big word ).

Here is how it works.

Imagine we have a some array like this one.

In this case the array is a mess, your array should never be a mess, but it might happen. In this case, I know I want only John and Jane in my array, so I can do this:

Tara. Now I have a new array “$persons” which has only john and jane.

How is this useful ?

Well, there are times where you would write something like this:

Which I think of an overkill, especially if you need like 10 variables. Of course you could extract from all of them

But what if the array has like 20 items. What happens when they clash? What if someone else modifies your code? I just don’t feel that blindly using extract is the best development pattern.

Along comes wp_array_slice_assoc()

Or a slightly more readable (based on preference) variant

That’s it.

Final Note

Please, please be careful extracting variables. And when you do, please document them, even if the documentation comes in the form of $keys_to_extract. Recently I had a very difficult time figuring out what is what because the author of a plugin pulled some weird variables out of nowhere and I had to run around var_dump’ing all over the place until I figured out what is what.

Facing Failure

My Theme Was Rejected

Before it was approved.

In fact, we’ve had 2 themes rejected on Themeforest for various reasons and only now will I admit that I was angry. I was mad! Mad at the reviewers, counting clicks they’ve made reviewing my themes. Mad at myself for developing something that isn’t approved. Mad at the universe for putting me in this position ( I could just have found a case full of money instead of all this… ). How much did that help? Zero. It only led to

Burning Out

Self pity. Anger. Frustration. Fear.
I experienced it all, and it seems that the more I felt any of these emotions, the more I got similar ones. I thought I am never going to get out of it.

For good reason.

I quit my job in January with very limited funds in my pocket. Having done that, I had a motivator that basically says “either you’ll learn how to swim or you’ll sink” was pretty motivating, until I had to face rejection. Once it was introduced, it was like having someone at the shore shouting: “Give up! You can’t swim, just let go and drown already”. Not motivating at all. Which caused the (what seemed to be the) endless misery.

Just do it.

I have no idea what did it for me. It may be that I was already expecting that. I wanted to say prepared, but you just can’t be prepared for that sort of thing, and you’re not even going to get what you we’re expecting as well.

So after all the rejection, and having our Acid theme also rejected, I just decided that nothing is going to stop me. I will work on the Acid theme until it is approved.

As it turns out. It’s all that was necessary. I could write a book where I could describe all the advice I’ve accumulated from all the literature I’ve read on the subject, but it all really boils down to the decision not to fail.

By that I mean – If you think you fail, you failed. If you decide not to fail at all, you won’t. Or as Thomas Edison puts it:

I haven’t failed. I’ve just discovered 10’000 ways that won’t work.

It’s a really simple lesson. At least it sounds simple. But there is no way you’ll learn it but through experience.

Snippet: Get the correct page in WordPress

Here is another really quick snippet.
If you have a page where you’re using Query Posts you’re going to have trouble with Pagination.
Wordpress for some reason likes to use page and paged randomly.

If you assign your page as the “front page”, you’re going to have to get_query_var(‘page’), and if you’re going to assign it elsewhere, it’s going to be paged. This is all fine and dandy, at least when you’re in control, but as soon as someone else starts using your theme, you need something more trustworthy, and that’s what this is.
Continue reading Snippet: Get the correct page in WordPress

Simple Post View counter for WordPress

Right now I’m working on a redesign for TexturePlanet.
Up until now I was using Detube theme on TexturePlanet, and it was really more like in an experiment stage to test if people are still looking for textures, and they are.
Continue reading Simple Post View counter for WordPress

New Everything

New Design

Thanks to WP-SBVTLE I’ve got a nice theme for myself. I will probably make a couple of edits now and then, but finally I feel like writing.

The default WordPress Twenty Twelve (or thirteen) aren’t bad themes, but I just wanted something more like… well – like this.

New Host

I’m still in the process of moving, but I’m finally moving from Rackspace to WPEngine. I’ll post about that later on, but so far my experience with WPEngine has been truly amazing! They are awesome!

New Header Image

Well. Previously I didn’t have one, so theoretically it’s not new, but I’ll count it as new. I took the Elephant from The Noun Project, designed by Ted Mitchner.

New Writing style

Yes. This was a short post. I hope to keep writing nice little short posts to get into the habit of writing.

How I built Progress App – Time Tracker

Identify the Problem

I’d like to think that I’m no different than most of the developers out there. We identify a problem that we encounter and automatically begin thinking of possible solutions.

My problem was a simple one, this time. I wanted to start a side-project ( if you must know – it failed half way through ), but this time, after reading a couple of articles about side-projects, I decided to pay attention to how much time I spend on my side-projects. And I’ve always wanted to know just how much time does something take up exactly. It’s easy to think “ohh it will take me just 3 days”, then spend almost 2 weeks on a project (like when building this application), and finally just loose track of your time completely ( for example now I have no idea how long did it actually take me to build the Progress App ), sure I can do some simple date-hour-calculation “I worked from A date to  B date about C hours a day, which means that I worked D hours”, but that is just not good enough, and it gets even worse when you have a very flexible schedule (like I’ve always had), because you manage your own work. I don’t want to repeat the “3 days to 2 weeks” mistake ever again! Without simple time tracking, I know that I will get lost again and again. This just had to stop!

Search for a Time Tracker

If I would build an application for each problem that I encounter, I would have a lot of problems and close to no solutions. Instead I use the search and gladly buy solutions. My initial search was on the Android Market, because I own a Samsung Galaxy S3 ( we’ll come to the “How did an Android app become an iPhone app?” question later ), and I was confused. Not a single application did that seemingly simple thing. Sure, there are time trackers for all sorts of things, egg timers, running-tracker buddies, freelancer time trackers (like harvest), etc. I didn’t need all that complexity. I wanted a couple of labeled chronometers. Was it too much to ask ? I guess so.

I must admit, that I might have ignored a couple of applications out there. But even if I have, it just means that I reached a certain level of frustration and decided not to bother anymore. Moreover, they probably didn’t fit to my “Simple application” criteria,  because really, I was going to give somebody a 1$ for a simple application, nobody wanted my $.

Define a Solution

After all the frustration, the defining the solution was easy. A simple application that lets me  time my projects/tasks. Emphasis on simple. And of course I should be able to delete tasks, edit the labels and reset their timers.

Right now I’m timing how long does it take me to write this article. I called the timer “Writing Article”. When I’m done with writing, I’ll just stop the timer and see how long did it take me to write all this. The next time I’ll write an article, I’ll reset the timer and see how long is that article going to take. And so on. This was the solution I was looking for.

Fixing The Problem

For the past year I’ve been building applications with Appcelerator Titanium, which has been a very… let’s say “dynamic” experience, but I’ll talk about that another time. For now – all you need to know is that Titanium promises a solution to build cross-platform applications, and because I’m no good in Objective-C (and because I have an Android phone) I decided to build my application in Titanium (with JavaScript). So I did.

Android Idea, iPhone App

What started out as an idea for the Application for my Android phone had just shifted into an iOS Application idea. How? It’s simple, really.

From my experience Android market is a poor place (in comparison with Apple App Store). Applications just don’t sell, users are dissatisfied a lot more, and paid applications aren’t popular. Even further (I know I said I wouldn’t talk about it here) Titanium is just no good for Android. All that combined, and I just didn’t see the value of investing another 25$ for a marketplace membership (which isn’t expensive at all, after Apple’s 99$). 

Even further. Android applications require a lot more work, not just because of Titanium, but because of Android. Android is a nice, open operating system, but it comes with it’s own set of problems. For example if you think responsive design is hard, try doing responsive apps, that have to account for all the different screen sizes and systems that the application should be run on. I have no idea how real android developers actually get by.

So I had an idea for Android App, I built it for iOS, and I’m using it alone (with 2 other peeps) on my Android, because after all, I wanted to track my time!

 

Conclusion

My girlfriend is a Designer/Illustrator, so I had it easy. I asked her to make a nice icon/splash screen and the UI Design. We gave the design a lot more thought than I initially anticipated, but in the end, I think we built a nice little application.

At this point, I’m not sure if I am ever going to publish the application on Google Play store, because of (again) Appcelerator Titanium, the application isn’t just as responsive as I’d like it to be (as in – you have to wait a few ms until a tap event is registered) . I believe that the application should provide value if it’s being sold, and I think that the slight lag (that I’m okay with, but I didn’t buy the application from someone else) defeats the feel of the application a bit. But releasing it for free on Android market wouldn’t just be fair to iOS users, so – Android, you lost yet another app.

It took 6 days for App Store to approve my application, so here it is:

Progress App Icon 

Progress App: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/progress-app/id594906155?ls=1&mt=8

 

Sublime Susy

Sublime Susy 0.1

I just uploaded my initial commit to Github with snippets for the Compass Susy Grid system.
This is version 0.00001, which means I have no idea if I’ve made spelling errors or forgot something, but we’ll fix them over time, right ?

I hope that in the future we can add in some auto-completion for Susy variables, etc, but for now, I hope that you’re going to like my Susy Snippets