Alright, Let’s Do This!

Always Developing
Alright, Let's Do This!
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Micro.blog: @ianmjones

Twitter: @ianmjones

Decisions, decisions!

Always Developing
Decisions, decisions!
/

Hello, my name is Ian Jones, and this is my very first microcast.

I'm feverishly trying to learn Rust and brush up on Elm so that I can build a project with those two programming languages.

It occurs to me that it might be worthwhile trying to record my fumbling progress in the form of a microcast.

It would be very ad-hoc, no schedule, very much a journal for myself.

It'll initially cover how I get on with learning Rust as I plan to build out a basic backend for the product first, then build out a basic frontend in Elm and iterate on both from there.

There will likely be rumination on the actual product idea too.

So I wonder, would anyone else be interested in listening, or should I just keep this journal to myself?

Decisions, decisions! 🤔

Micro.blog: @ianmjones

Twitter: @ianmjones

It's just occurred to me that one of the reasons I've been drawn to moving my site to Micro.blog is the shear simplicity of the writing experience and themes. It's all about the words, while pictures stand out as real content rather than necessary decoration.

Switched Personal Site to Micro.blog

I've bitten the bullet and switched my personal site to be hosted on Micro.blog.

It's been a long time coming, I should have taken the plunge over a year ago when I first got the bug, but decided at the time to keep my WordPress site and cross post to Micro.blog. You can tell from my distinct lack of posts that I never really got into that, I mainly used the old site for announcing stuff (a bit like I'm doing now I suppose!), and only sporadically posted to Micro.blog itself, or Twitter for that matter.

So this move is part of an attempt to be more social, something that Brad Touesnard has said I suck at big time!

It's also prompted by a desire to consolidate and clean up a few of my "web properties", with an emphasis on simplifying my hosting etc. There's some stuff coming down the pipe from Delicious Brains that I intend to use for my business stuff, but this personal stuff should hopefully flourish here.

New WordPress Plugin: WP Table Pixie

What's this now? A new WordPress plugin called WP Table Pixie? Why yes, Options Pixie and Meta Pixie got together and made a baby!

So, when I introduced Meta Pixie my friend and colleague at Delicious Brains, Ashley Rich, had just two comments...

Nice, it supports user meta and everything. How come you decided to make it a separate plugin?

Apart from obviously loving it ;-), his second comment was basically asking how come I released a brand new plugin for accessing metdata tables rather than adding the functionality to the Options Pixie plugin?

My answer boiled down to how the WordPress database's options and various *meta tables are a different structure, the name Options Pixie didn't really fit for tables like postmeta, and frankly it was nice to have more plugins for people to be able to purchase a Pro addon for and for me to cross promote.

A year and bit later, my opinion has changed in a number of ways, and I've decided to reboot work on my personal WordPress plugin development by merging Options Pixie and Meta Pixie into a single plugin called WP Table Pixie.

At first, WP Table Pixie supports the following tables: commentmeta, options, postmeta, termmeta, sitemeta (multisite) and usermeta. However, the name "WP Table Pixie" is obviously a little more generic than that initial list of tables might suggest. I'm not promising anything, and I haven't figured out a good UI yet, but I'm keen to try and expand the plugin to handle more than just those options and metadata tables, plenty of plugins have custom tables that it would be nice to be able to drill down into and manage. If that's something that appeals, let me know! However, I realised that although the options and metadata tables have obviously different structures, I could mung things a bit in the UI and swap out column labels such as Related ID and Autoload as appropriate as long as I did some jiggery pokery in the background to make things sane.

I've come to very much dislike how having two free plugins with Pro addons means a total of four plugins needing to be installed when wanting to inspect and edit both options and metadata for a customer (I use these plugins a lot when doing support for Delicious Brains).

Multiple Meta and Options Pixie Plugins

Hence WP Table Pixie is now a single free plugin that can do the job of the free Options & Meta Pixie plugins to VIEW ALL THE THINGS, but can also be replaced by the Premium version to also EDIT ALL THE THINGS.

This means customers need only install the one plugin, there's no need to install the free plugin before installing the version of WP Table Pixie they receive after purchase. And believe me, there's a lot of benefit to developing a free and expanded premium plugin rather than an addon for a free plugin, I squashed many subtle and not so subtle bugs during the development of WP Table Pixie from a single codebase. With WP Table Pixie I'm moving away from running my own store on my business site, and instead I am using Freemius for both in-plugin upgrades and sales initiated from the (really rough at the moment) product page. There are a few reasons why I've made this move from an Easy Digital Downloads based sales site to using the Freemius service, it feels like I should probably go into those reasons in a follow-up post.

If you're an existing customer that's bought the Pro addon for Options Pixie, Meta Pixie or both (thank you), am I leaving you out to dry? Of course not! By now every Options or Meta Pixie Pro customer should have received an email with a WP Table Pixie license for a multiple sites plan (because the previous plugins started at 10 site licenses) that expires a year after their current license expires. If you had bought both of the previous Pro addons, then you're getting a two years extension to your license as big thank you!

If you have any comments or questions about WP Table Pixie, please drop me a tweet.

Meta Pixie Pro Released

What? Really? So soon after releasing Meta Pixie?

Yep, just one week after releasing Meta Pixie I've managed to finish off and release Meta Pixie Pro.

To be honest, I was already working on the Pro addon for Meta Pixie when I announced Meta Pixie's release last week, as I had to wait for Meta Pixie to be approved and added to the WordPress Plugin Directory. It took a few late nights of development and much testing, but I wanted to get it out before Christmas and I'm pretty stoked at how well development went.

Meta Pixie Pro adds the following features to Meta Pixie:

  • Add, edit, delete records.
  • Fix broken serialized values.
  • Bulk deleting and fixing of records.
  • Priority email support.

List, sort, search, view, add, edit, delete and fix your WordPress site\'s commentmeta, postmeta, termmeta, sitemeta and usermeta records with style.

Like Options Pixie Pro, you can pick up a Meta Pixie Pro license for 10, 25 or 50 sites, starting at the super low price of $39. If you want a license for more than 50 sites, drop us line.

If you stick both Options Pixie Pro and Meta Pixie Pro in your cart, you'll get a 20% discount on the second item! (tip: if you're buying a larger pack for one of the plugins, stick it in your cart second for a bigger discount!)

Meta Pixie Pro screenshot

New WordPress Plugin: Meta Pixie

Ever since I released Options Pixie to enable easy viewing of options records in a WordPress database, my colleague at Delicious Brains, Ashley Rich, has been bugging me virtually non-stop to create something that lets us look at postmeta records. It's really handy for us when working on WP Offload S3 to be able to see the metadata attached to a Media Library item.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I finally found a few spare evenings to work on a new plugin that enables viewing of not only postmeta table records, but also commentmeta, termmeta, usermeta, and on multisite installs, sitemeta too.

Meta Pixie is now available from the WordPress Plugins repository, and once installed you'll find a Meta Pixie menu option within the Settings menu.

Meta Pixie screenshot

Now you can inspect your WordPress metadata records to find out what's really going on. For example, you can easily check that a Media Library item has the correct thumbnail metadata.

You can also check the integrity of serialized values, Meta Pixie will highlight broken serialized values (i.e. where it expects a string to be 256 characters long but its actually 255).

For us on the WP Offload S3 team it's awesome to be able to view the plugin specific metadata that we need to generate, as well as settings stored in the sitemeta table of a multisite without having to resort to database admin tools. The rich view means we can easily see the structure of a serialized record without having to unpick plain text.

I'm considering creating a Meta Pixie Pro addon that enables add, edit, delete of metadata records, as well as fixing of broken serialized values. If this sounds like something you could use, please let me know by adding your vote to its product page.