All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of John and Amber’s discussion of this weeks plugins that have been reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #511 here.
Up from Underneath It’s Episode 511 – We have plugins for Tracking, Stopping the Berg, No ID for you, Web Apps, Predicting the Weather, WooCommerce Stock messages …, and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right. First off, we like to bring in ClassicPress options when we have them. We don’t really have any this week. I’ve got a couple of things, leftover notes in here from WordLift has released a new version that is compatible with ClassicPress. The usual notes about ClassicPress, I just haven’t looked into them, and I’ve been too caught up in all of my own things to be able to spend time on ClassicPress. So we’ll move right along into what we have for WordPress this week. And the first one I’ve got for you here is a WooCommerce plugin, and this one is Out of Stock Message for WooCommerce. Now, what’s nice about this little plugin here is when you run out of stock, it’ll pop up a message on the page, whatever message you want to type in there — and this might be a useful item for doing things such as what I’m doing over at the Rogues Tavern. And, yeah, something’s happened to my notes. I had notes in here that had Rogues Tavern links in there and everything else. Okay, something went wrong in my notes. At any rate — and something I’m doing over the Rogues Tavern for is like I have plants for sale. And when there’s no plants, all I can say — oh, I have plants, but I don’t want people to buy them directly off the website because I don’t want to have to tell them I can’t ship them. But I can put a note there and they’re out of stock, but these things are available still. Please contact us so we can arrange proper deliveries. Or you can use it for any other kind of notes thing you want. Very useful tool. It’s relatively easy and straightforward to set up and go check this one out. It’s the Out of Stock Message for WooCommerce, and I give it a four-dragon rating.
Amber: You have a side note that —
John: I do have a side note, oh, yeah, about how the search function sucks for WordPress. When I went to install this plugin on my site, I went to the WordPress repository because I found this in the brand new plugins of WordPress. And I typed in the exact title of the plugin, and I could not get that plugin to show up in the search function for WordPress. I had to add the author’s title. That tells you how bad the search function is for WordPress when you can’t find a plugin using the exact title.
Amber: Yeah, that’s pretty bad. The first one I’ve got to go along with what some of the news we had is disable Gutenberg . It’s great for people who have Gutenberg but want to use Classic Editor for post and page creation. All you need to do is plug it in, activate it, and poof, great thing, Gutenberg is now hidden, and all you have to work with is Classic Editor Style. And if you don’t actually like it, you just simply deactivate it, and you have the option of flipping back and forth. They say you have a theme or a post or page that you want to have the Classic Editor to create, you can flip this plugin on, create, flip it off again, it’s all good. And this is totally free, so I rate it at five dragons.
John: Very cool, anything to disable Gutenberg, although it’s never going to go away. What’s going to happen is WordPress, it’s just going to pull the Classic Editor completely out of WordPress. That’s my prediction. They’re going to yank the Classic Editor completely out of WordPress because not enough people are going to want to use it. They’re going to cram it down everyone’s throat whether they want it or not.
Amber: Maybe we should start Oracle’s book for this site.
Amber: Nah? Okay.
John: I’ve already got too many other things going for that. All right, next one I’ve got for you. This one here is the Weather Forecast Widget, and this one here is a brand new plugin. Hey, it’s got 20 additional installs since this morning, cool. All right, this one here adds a widget, and it uses the openweathermap.org API. You can go get your own free API key from there and it allows you to put in localized weather for wherever you’re at for the things you’re doing. In particular, what I found this useful for. I haven’t got it fully set up yet, but I’ve got it set up for the Hike club for men website. And the reason being is I set up hikes and the people want to know what’s the weather going to be like, or what’s the forecast and weather going to be like for that day of the hike. They can check out the weather real quickly right there and not have to go open up their weather app and see, given the information right then in there, help them decide. You can use it for many other things. If you’ve got other events, such as that for whatever you do on your site. This is going be a really cool tool for you. Go check this out, it’s all free, and I give it a five-dragon rating.
John: It is the Weather Forecast Widget.
Amber: And my next one is Super Progressive Web App. I thought this was just a really cool plugin. So, for this plugin, what it does is it takes your site and turns it into an app on people’s phones. The person themselves will need to download the app onto their phone just like a regular app, and once that’s done, users can come back to your website by launching the app on their home screen and interact with your website through an app-like interface. In return, visitors will experience almost instant loading times and enjoy great performance benefits of your TWA. Yes, I took that directly from the creators because they explained it better than I ever could. They have great support available, and the free version gives you pretty well everything you need. They’ll be warned when something like this is free, even just has a free version, you are the product. Their premium version has a lot more options even though they keep talking about how it’s free, it’s free, it’s free, there is a Pro version. So due to this, and the fact that you will be their product, I did mark it down a notch and — but I really do like this idea of taking your site and turning it into an app on people’s phones giving them direct access through like an app interface. A lot of people are going to really appreciate that because I know that most people that I interact with, they use apps way more than they use the Internet these days.
John: Yeah. They’re using the Internet, they just don’t know it.
Amber: Yeah, but they’re using like for app interface rather than a regular interface.
John: A browser interface, yes.
John: What’s funny is, it’s still a browser interface. You rate it, go ahead — rate it up before I start tearing it apart.
Amber: Four dragons. I got him before you start talking again.
John: I hope this one works out. I’ve seen these plugins come and go over the last couple of years, so I hope this one works out. And the thing is, it’s kind of hard to get people to do because they don’t get it from the App Store, and they just like, not sure what to do. And if the interface changes or they start changing the plugin up and messing with the layouts, it breaks and all kinds of other things going wrong. This is what I’ve seen over the years. So, hopefully, these guys here do it right versus the other ones I’ve seen come and go. And, yeah, it’s like, I can’t stand using apps myself, I despise them because they control what I’m doing, and I want to do things that the apps won’t do. I’m one of those. I’m a control freak, what can I say? I dislike having things forced upon me. That’s the reason why I don’t like Gutenberg, as it was forced on me. I didn’t have an option. They gave me some options to disable it, but they’re still leading me down that path, whether I want to go or not.
Amber: Like I was saying to Hemdian there. I don’t dislike Gutenberg, I just — I’m not very fond of it probably because — even though I’m trying to learn it, I’m not — it doesn’t make much sense to me, I guess because I’m just not used to using it. I just don’t like it.
John: It may be okay once you get used to it, but it wasn’t something that I embraced. And, well, I’ll do what I can. All right, the last one I’ve got here today is called User Activity Tracking and Log. This is a relatively new one that I’ve discovered. And I’ve just started to get it installed and see how it works but it is a plugin that does have a premium version, so it’s knocked down a small key. But it does look like it’s going to produce up some really good tracking features to know what’s going on. And it’s important to have a tracking thing one for yourself if you’ve changed things and forgot what you did, you broke something, this can help you figure out what you did. And because it tells when who’s logged in, what they’ve done, where they visited, what they’ve updated, what they’ve changed, and particularly the big one is, of course, updating plugins, and suddenly, shit, it doesn’t work, you still have access to the backend, you go, shit, which plugin was that of the five I just did, you know, we can’t remember all five names, so this is very useful in that aspect. For a membership site, I’m working on, this is important. So, we know what the members are doing, where they’re going, what they’re accessing, and making sure that we didn’t accidentally — somebody has got higher permission and then they should have and they do something they shouldn’t have. So this is a useful plugin for tracking and knowing what’s going on in the background. Really great plugin used for tracking, go check it out. It’s the User Activity and Tracking Log, and I give it a four-dragon rating.
Amber: And the last one I’ve got is Remove Social ID for WP.
Amber: Yeah, for WordPress. Title name specifics, even though the search function sucks may as well say the actual title name. So this is a brand new plugin, I think. I got it in the new session. I feel like I’ve seen it before, maybe I’ve just seen another plugin, I’m not sure.
John: Oh, no. This one’s like two weeks old. It’s got fewer than 10 installs.
Amber: Okay, so, yeah, it is now. I must have just skipped right over that. So they do have a great idea going here. Facebook has added individual URLs to each user and visitor because of this cache and other various functionalities on WordPress have been breaking down. What this plugin does is it removes those individual URLs from Facebook users so that your site won’t mockup anymore when they come to visit. It does this by scanning the incoming URL for FBCLID, which I actually forgot to look up the meaning of.
John: It’s a Facebook ID. And I can’t remember what the CL stands for.
Amber: Facebook Cloud ID maybe?
Amber: But it scans for the incoming URL, and then it redirects the URL after removing the query string. It seems like a great idea. I would love for someone out there to give it a go on their own site and let me know what they think, whether or not they’ve noticed a difference or anything like that.
John: It’s a good way to mess with Facebook stats.
Amber: Yeah, that’s true. Because it’s new, and I’m not sure how well it works. I rate this at four Dragons.
John: Here we go. Go check it out that one there. Anything to mess with Facebook, I’m on board with. All right, this show still currently being brought to you by…
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John: Absolutely. And the server, the final server I have space on is filling up folks. I don’t have too many spaces left, so when they’re gone, they’re gone. I’ll yank this commercial and say, hey, you want to get in on my server hosting, you got to stick and wait in line. And funny thing is, is I rarely have customers leave. It’s very rare for a client to leave me. They only leave when someone talks them into going somewhere else or — god, I can’t think about reasons why they left me in probably 10 years. I have clients going back 20 years since I first started my hosting.
Amber: Hey, dad, Hemdian has a good question.
John: What’s it?
Amber: If you use Remove Social ID, does it still log where visitor came from or mess up your analytics?
John: I don’t know, it might mess up your analytics too. Good question.
Amber: I’m not sure about that.
John: Good question. I guess if you’re overly concerned about the analytics of what’s coming to your website, me, I don’t bother worrying about it overly too much, to be honest.
Amber: How would you go about figuring that out?
John: You’d have to run some tests. You’d have to install it and then hit your website from multiple places using VPN or something, and then, go look in your stats and see what it is — that a good couple hours of SEO analysis. That’s the best way I can think about looking at that. All right. And contest, we do not have a contest yet, but I like the jingle, so I’m going to play.
So as far as I know right now, we’re still on target for June to bringing contest back. I haven’t heard any difference, but at the moment, we’re on target to bring the contest back in June, and hopefully, we start getting some support from everyone out there. Going into the contest, we’d like to give away free licenses that we get from developers — and these are not cheap licenses. Some of these licenses are worth hundreds of dollars. So, all you got to do is enter the contest for a chance to win, and, you know, maybe go visit the web client — the developer’s website. And if you don’t want to wait for it, buy a license. At any rate, just let everyone know that contest will resume. All right, so for all of you developers out there that might listen to the show, you want to donate a premium license, hey, reach out to us at wppluginsatoz.com/plugincontest. We’ll be happy to connect up with you and get your license into a contest for the show. All right, covering up a few things before we head into the Q&A segment, plugins I covered this show were Out of Stock Message for WooCommerce, which I rated at four dragons, the Weather Forecast Widget, which I rated at five dragons, and The User Activity Tracking and Log, which I rated at four dragons.
Amber: And I covered Disable Gutenberg, which I gave a five-dragon, Super Progressive Web Apps, which I gave a four-dragon, and Remove Social ID for WordPress, which I gave a four-dragon.
John: Okay. And a couple of quick reminders, meetups, we still haven’t figured those ones out yet, so we’ll let everyone know as soon as we get that figured out. If you’re not getting enough of Amber and I, you can join us for our new show podcast and live stream at the Rogues Tavern — Shooting The Shit at the Rogues Tavern. It’s Tuesday evening. It’s 8 pm Pacific Daylight Time. Go check it out at the roguestavern.com/live.
Amber: That shows a lot of fun, I do recommend that. Anyone listening right now, please go and try at listening to it for one show. I bet you’ll probably like it.
John: You might like it, you might not, who knows? It gets really entertaining. Depends on how much rum we have.
Amber: Or whiskey. I’ve been on a whiskey.
John: Yes, true, you’ve been drinking whiskey. All right, it is time for the…
It’s question and answer time.
John: With Amber.
Amber: My first question for you — oh, right, before that, if anyone out there has any questions that they would like to have me ask and have answered here on the show, send your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All right, and I’ll get them in here, and get them answered for you. So my first question is, what is mapping domains about?
John: What do you mean?
Amber: So in the last show, we were talking about mapping domains. Well, you mentioned it, you said that you’ve mapped domains before — and I couldn’t help, but wonder, what is mapping domains? Like, do you — is it where you draw a schematic like you would for a building, or like, what is mapping domain?
John: Okay. What mapping domains is then — now that I sort of understand where you’re going with it — is if you’re like most developers, you end up owning dozens, if not hundreds of domains. And what happens is, over time, you’ve been sitting on these domains, and you realize, ‘oh, I can use this, I can use this domain, like, for instance, wppluginsatoz.com also has — oh no, let’s take another one, let’s take johnoverall.com —johnoveral.com, I also have several other domains on top of that. That one’s not working either because I don’t have the domains map. I know which ones I have mapped. Domains I do have mapped are over at the roguestavern.com. Now, the roguestavern.com, I have several segments of the website, you know, I’ve got my recipe segment on the website, I’ve got my hiking segment of the website and so what I’ve done is I’ve mapped additional domains like the Hike Club for men, or hikeclubformen.com. I have that domain. So what I’ve done is I’ve taken that domain, I applied the Rogues Tavern as an additional domain, but instead of having the domain LAN specifically on the main page, I’ve got that domain. If you type in the Hike Club or hikeclubformen.com, you will land on the calendar for hikes directly. So I’ve mapped that domain to a very specific page or segment of the website. And I don’t have an aliased, so domain disappears once you land there. It automatically flips to the Rogues Tavern.
I’ve done the same thing with my recipe segment where I own the domains, trendychef.com, several cooking domains, so I bought years ago, and I never got around to using. And so I’ve mapped those domains. So if you type in trendychef.com, you end up at the recipe section for the Rogues tavern, and that’s what a mapping of domain means. It’s just like you apply — like you can apply multiple domains to any one website but most of the time those domains end you up on the homepage. But if you map the domain, in other words, you basically draw a line that says, okay, well, if I hit this domain, don’t stop the homepage, go directly to this specific page in the website that’s mapping a domain. And there, it can get more complex than that. That’s the simplicity of it. And I’ve done it with more complexity than that. In fact, I do have more complexity to that on WordPress MU sites where I work for a client, and they’ve got multiple sites on there. And instead of having them as subsite domains off the main domain, that domain maps too that subsite, and that when someone uses that domain hit the subsite, it also aliases it so that people don’t know they’re on a subsite of the main domain.
Amber: Okay, so how do you do that? How do you map out a domain? You’ve explained that you’ve sub-sited, but —
John: Yeah, how are you sub-sited is the easy way to do it is with cPanel. A cPanel does it. You go into cPanel, you set up the domains, and then you go in and you redirect it in cPanel. There’s also plugins out there, though the plugins have all been disabled because domain mapping has now been built into WordPress MU. So if you remap the domain properly, it automatically works. I don’t even know how to describe the complexity of it. There are articles out there where people have taken the screenshots and done it. I think I wrote one years ago myself, and but of course, that’s all changed because the technology changes in advance and it’s gotten simpler to do than it used to be though it’s still kind of a complicated brain part. And as Hemdian says, one of the things here. So domain mapping is just using a domain name as a pointer to a specific page within your site as opposed to your homepage, that’s one way of looking at it. Domain mapping is a lot like that, unless you’re mapping that domain unto a subsite of a WordPress MU site, and then you need that domain to alias itself. And aliasing itself means is it replaces its name with the subsite name — and that’s part of mapping too. So it’s actually — it’s quite the insane process. And it took me a while the first time I did it to get my head wrapped around it, and even now, every time I have to do it, I have to rethink it and remember exactly what it’s doing.
Amber: Okay, so the image that’s kind of occurring in my head is essentially, you’re changing out a part of the machine with a different part to make it work better.
John: Yeah, something like that.
Amber: Okay, so the additional part of this question is, why do this? What are the benefits of mapping a domain like this?
John: Well, the benefits are is when I want people to go to my recipe section of my website instead of having to say, go to the roguestavern.com/recipes, I can say, hey, go check out or go check out stylechef.com and because, you know, that’s the benefits, it’s like, you can go get unique domains for specific sections and instead of having to tell them your whole domain name, slash, whatever segment of the site they need to go to, you just tell them the domain name. It’s like, oh, you have bioorganicdirect.ca, you know, instead of telling everyone to go to the roguestavern.com/directory, I just say go to buyorganicdirect.ca
Amber: Okay, I understand that now.
John: And that’s the big use. It’s like — the Rogues Tavern is the first time in a long time I’ve done domain mapping. And I’ve used — I think I’ve got 10 domains mapped into set different segments of that site for different uses right now. And these are domains I’ve been sitting on for years because I bought them years ago, and, of course, when you start developing, you start accumulating domains, you think of a cool name, and first thing you do, “Is that domain available?” “Yes.” And then you buy it, and then you sit on it until you finally figure out what to do with it. That’s how I ended up at one point, I think, I owned at one point 250 domains.
Amber: That’s a lot of domains.
John: I’ve since paired them down to about 125, some of them I sold, made a few bucks on, you know, and other ones, I just — you know, I realized it was just such a convoluted name that it would never be of any value to anybody, so I just let it expire. But all the domains I have now are decent names that have value, like stylechef.com has a lot of value as a domain name, you know, and bioorganicdirect.ca. It’d be better if it was dot com, but dot ca is still highly valuable because it’s a very specific kind of niche. So that’s what the things for domains. Hey, you got two other questions. I think this is where we’ll split it, so read your other two questions out. We’ll go to the credits, and we’ll come back and answer them.
Amber: All right, so I came across a term, string buffer while researching Java. What is a string buffer? And is string buffer just for Java or is it used in all kinds of coding?
John: This is going to be a fun one. We’ll come back to this one after; let our girl take us out of here.
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