Gosh – no week notes since February! Partly this is because I wanted to automate the “Pins” part of making weeknotes, because it was a right bind to do manually, but also I just dropped the ball.
But I love my weeknotes, they’re useful for me if no one else, and I’m keen to get going with them again. AND I have hope for a couple of new sections:
- “This Week I Learned“: Some hopefully-hot tip that I picked up this week
- “Toolbox“: Highlighting a tool (software or otherwise) that I use in my work or life that may be of interest
- “The Time Machine“: Where I’ll try to resurface old-but-popular content
I just got back from a week’s camping in the New Forest with my family, and it’s all systems go for the last week of the school holidays!
But I had two GREAT days of work in there and exciting things are happening – I even submitted a talk to WordCamp London and will await a response to that nervously.
Projects: what I’ve been up to
It’s been a while, so here’s some of what I’ve been working on in the last few months
- I re-launched this site with a quirky new design and some developer-related easter eggs on the homepage! Yay!
- I built a WordPress plugin to sync Pinboard bookmarks to a WordPress custom post type, and built my first Gutenberg block, all using vanilla JS and CSS with no build tools!
- Started re-making my business website in Statamic! Also with vanilla JS and CSS and no build tools.
- Finishing off (but not yet putting live) a mysterious Laravel project involving some in-depth API work. I also love that this project has a proper test suite – it’s not 100% coverage or TDD or anything, but enough to give me some confidence.
- Continued working on a secret project that I’m VERY excited about that’s for probably my best client ever.
- Finishing off and go-live of the new website for my local history project, the Rodbourne Community History Group. It looks like a simple Divi-builder site but there’s been a LOT of complicated work migrating content in, using custom post types and custom meta fields, ensuring meta-data is as complete as I can get it (extracting content from old HTML into structured data) and stuff like that.
- Began and ended a small website build for The Separated Child Foundation. This was also a Divi-builder project but the key here has been squeezing as much value as possible out for the client – who were brilliant! I’ve been trying to work on bigger projects recently, buy I loved this cause and wanted to use my skills to support the foundation, who are really pleased with the result.
- Started work on a re-build of a micro-site for a large charity that I’ve worked with for years. This is quick-turnaround after a long design phase. Should be done pretty soon.
- Helped out a new client with a quick support request which turned out to be a permissions issue. But the kind of thing they needed an expert to diagnose and fix as no-one else could.
- Cleaning up a (fortunately simple) malware attack for a client who had a plugin installed with a huge (but limited severity) security hole.
- Helping a new client review some at-scale hosting proposals they had for their new site – this required some quite in-depth hosting and security knowledge and the client were really happy with the result.
- LOADS of small support requests and changes for existing clients.
- Attended and spoke at WordCamp London (the official video of the talk isn’t ready yet, but you can see it from the LiveStream here – I was SO happy with it) and attended WordCamp Bristol.
- Was temporarily a Government Petitions Data expert when the Revoke Article 50 petition went live – all because I track petition data!
Posts: things I made
I’ve written a few blog posts since February
- A new look: What? Why? and How? – details of the re-launch of this site
- All the Brexit/Revoke Article 50 government petition resources – A list of resources on Government petitions I collected while being temporary Government Petitions Data Guru
- My Government Petition Tracker: Some stats and facts – some…err…stats and facts on the Government Petition Tracker that I run
- Speaker Tips from the wonderful WordCamp London folks – Collated conference speaking tips from my friends in the UK WordPress community
- Laravel: Being explicit in authorization policies – Un-tangling Laravel Authorization policies by being explicit rather than relying on convention.
- Laravel: Going back() after form validation errors – A thing I wanted to remember about form validation and the
- Laravel: Custom error messages in form requests – More breaking out of Laravel’s conventions/defaults to ensure that you get form validation error messages that are properly helpful
- The Oikos Site re-build – Part 1 – How I’m improving and hugely slimming-down my business site
- Innovation, Open Data and Citizen Engagement – Some thoughts on innovation in the public services sphere and a cool Recycling Materials Finder app that I built in no-time!
This week I learned
The Dropbox mobile app now has document scanning built in. I used to use iOS Notes app for this but it involved a complicated dance between apps to get it to work. Now I can just scan straight to the right Dropbox folder!
I want to give a HUGE shout out to the Serif Affinity suite of graphics products. I ditched Adobe Creative Cloud a long time ago now, but occasionally I have to work with designers that use Illustrator or InDesign or send me a PDF or something. I don’t want to pay for CC just to open these files to get assets and measurements out. And the Serif Suite has been the perfect alternative. They are great products, inexpensive and with a one-off purchase fee. Look them up: https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/
I’m back on my bike after my holiday, which is awesome. I love my bike and, bizarrely, my review of it is one of my most-hit pages. If you want an super, all-round bike that does everything, goes everywhere, and has a bit of attitude, it’s highly recommended.
Pins: things I read and remembered
I won’t give you all my pins since February. But here’s what I bookmarked in August!
- how you doing? – the Leapers.co guide to looking after yourself when working for yourself. – Free eBook on self-care for freelancers from the Leapers community / Matthew Knight
- I Told You Ltd | Being a freelancer is: – Fun little insights on being a Freelancer
- Tailwind.run() – Tailwind sandbox/fiddle tool
- json.pizza – Simple JSON formatter and syntax-checker
- www.bbc.co.uk – Article about businesses failing when social media accounts get hacked. Interesting stats. Bizarre lack of information on how this happened and how to keep yourself secure. and presents the risks of having a single marketing platform as your sole source of leads.
- Astra – WordPress theme | WordPress.org – Popular WordPress theme that might be a good wrapper for a page builder
- The most cost-effective online event platforms for charities | Charity Digital News – Useful list of events platforms
- How to design digital ethical principles for your charity | Charity Digital News – List of resources on ethics and privacy for charities
- Welcome / Makepad Productivity tool – Cheap but nice-looking project management web app
- An 101 introduction to Laravel Vapor // Stefan Bauer – Setup tutorial/run through for Laravel Vapor with initial impressions
- CoTech « Cooperative Technologists – Outlandish’s consortium of cooperative tech companies and agencies.
- Pricing | Mighty Networks – Don’t know why I’m bookmarking membership/knowledge-sharing/education platforms. May be useful for someone at some point
- Create, Market & Sell with the #1 Online Course Platform: Thinkific – Don’t know why I’m bookmarking membership/knowledge-sharing/education platforms. May be useful for someone at some point
- Formatting dates with vanilla JS | Go Make Things – How to format a date in Vanilla JS
- Home – Bots For Charity – Interesting Charity Chatbot setup using ManyChat
- Nonprofits Are Adding Bots to their Social Media Teams | Beth’s Blog – Good blog with useful links on charity/non-profit uses of chatbots.
- WhatsApp Link Generator – Great little WhatsApp sharing link generator
- Native lazy-loading for the web | web.dev – Yes! Native image lazy loading – this has all the FAQs and polyfills and stuff
- Fast Software, the Best Software — by Craig Mod – A well-written and easy read about “fast software” via MasterWP newsletter
- simple-google-analytics-tracking/simple-ga-tracking-output.php at master · dustyndoyle/simple-google-analytics-tracking – A really simple option for WordPress Google Analytics with a filter to disable – could be combined with a cookie notice?
- Scriptless Social Sharing – WordPress plugin | WordPress.org – WordPress plugin for scriptless, tracking-less social sharing buttons – via @webdevlaw
- MWDelaney/sage-acf-wp-blocks: Composer library for generating ACF Gutenberg blocks from templates. – Package that makes creating Gutenberg block from ACF fields in Sage 9 projects simple
- Laragon – portable, isolated, fast & powerful universal development environment for PHP, Node.js, Python, Java, Go, Ruby. – Local dev environment for Windows – open source! Like Valet for Windows.
- cuisine-wp/wp-table-migrations: Create laravel-style database migrations in WordPress – Library for bringing Laravel-style custom table migrations and database seeding into WordPress
- deliciousbrains/wp-migrations: WordPress library for managing database table schema upgrades and data seeding – Library for bring custom table migrations and database seeding into WordPress
- Using innovation time to develop our digital skills – Companies House – How companies house gave 10% “Innovation Time” to their staff with no drop in productivity and some great outcomes.
Have a great week!