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 #524 here.
It’s Episode 524 – We have plugins for Quotes, Draft site building, Graphic Passwords, Query Monitoring, Woocommerce, User feedback … and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, ClassicPress options, we have one thing from ClassicPress this week. We have a post from a new ClassicPress user who had migrated from WordPress 5.7 to 5.8. Their site sort of broke on them, and then they decided to migrate the ClassicPress. So they decided to write an article about the process. It’s an interesting article. If you’re considering going down that path, you might want to check out this article to see what the person ran into, what kind of issues they had, if any, you know, something that could be very useful and helpful to those out there that are looking to move along. And it looks like there are a couple of things. There’s a couple of chunks of code in here that were used. Obviously, I’m just skimming the article. So, go check this article out and it could help you out. And if you happen to be a ClassicPress user out there and you find great stuff for us, feel free to send it into us. You can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or send it over to Amber email@example.com.
All right, WordPress plugins, what do we have this week for WordPress plugins? Well, the first one I’ve got for you here is called Query Monitor. This is one for those of you who are developing or diagnosing or debugging a WordPress website and you’re looking to find out what’s going on in that site — what’s happening, if it’s running slow, you’re trying to make it faster — what’s happening — how many database queries are happening, what PHP errors are happening, hooks actions, block editor blocks in queued scripts, style sheets, HTTP calls, API calls, and more. This is a really big plugin that will help you find out what’s going on, what’s slowing you down, what’s breaking, what’s not working. It basically just monitors what the site is doing every time it loads a page, and you get that information so you can then go determine the best way to attack and solve the problem that’s been created — really great, useful, free tool that you can use to help your site out. It’s called Query Monitor, and I give it a five-dragon rating
Amber: That sounds awesome. The first one I’ve got is Recently Viewed Products for WooCommerce. Now, this is actually really interesting. It’s still a pretty new one. And what it does is it brings up the most recently viewed products on your WooCommerce store sorted by user. You will see the items on the product page, the shop page, and on the cart page. And bonus, if a user is not logged in, a cookie is created to keep the ID of the item browsed so you can still see which items were browsed even when the person hasn’t logged in. I like the fact that it keeps a cookie just have the item of the person or anything. And you’ll find the plugin settings under WooCommerce menu option, and you can set up however many recently viewed items you want to see whether you see before or after-related product, and whether or not you want to see them in the shop page and cart page. So it has option where you can click shop page or cart page or all of them. There is a shortcode that they give you so that you can see these items in more places on your site as well. So they make it pretty easy. This seems like it might be very useful for people who need to get a better idea on which products they have they’re more interesting, which ones people want more, so on and so forth. I rate this at five dragons.
John: Absolutely. It could also help you create upsells for people.
Amber: Yeah, true.
John: And I have to look into this one. This one does look like it could be useful for the tavern. All right, the next one I have for you here is called Get A Quote for WordPress. This one here is, basically, it creates a quote page that you can set up. If you have a WordPress business, a hosting business, a lawn care business, you know, any sort of business where people are always asking for quotes before they buy from you, you could set this up on your site. It creates a quote page that people can fill out their name information, you know, what they’re looking for. You can add or remove fields for people to fill out on the forms on it. It will automatically send you an email. When you send an email back, it goes through the system, so it gets tracked. So it’s a way to track and make sure you’re paying attention to the quotes that you sent out versus the old-fashioned way. I sent out a quote — oh, God, where’d it go? Oh, it’s in the outbox somewhere. So you got to go search for it. This is a nice way to track everything along your way and get better feedback and maybe better response from your visitors or your prospective new clients on your site. Decent little free plugin. Go check this one out. I like it. It seems to work very, very well, so I give it a five-dragon rating
Amber: Honestly, I love sites to have got a quote. It makes life so much easier. The next one I have is Draft Website Builder. This is also a fairly fresh addition to the plugin world. It’s for Gutenberg, and it seems like a pretty good idea. What it does is it gives you more maneuverability, more responsiveness. In the free version, it gives you responses to margin, padding, display, and flex spaces. And if you’re willing to go Pro, there are like 100 more things that can do for you. From my own experiences so far with playing around Gutenberg, even the free version will help you with Gutenberg, because I’m finding Gutenberg is a little stiff — is a good way for me to put it, I think. My issue with this is you see how many more options I have there. I personally think — like I get that they have to make money, but I personally think that if they added like, a little more in min, max, grid, and container options, or something like that, a few more options in the free version, then they would actually manage to hook the users of this plugin in the free version to the point where they can’t live without it. And then, once the person is hosted that well, then they start charging for it. That’s my personal thing. Because honestly, when I was looking at it, and I saw how much more options there was in Pro, I felt a little cheated in the free version. I got frustrated. So my suggestion to the plugin developers is, you know, get a few more things in the free version, hook them really well, and then charging for it. So I rate it at three-and-a-half dragons.
John: Three-and-a-half, you’re breaking the pattern. We’ve never allowed half once here before. Look at you.
Amber: I didn’t know that.
John: Never used half. Never ever used half. It’s either been 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Amber: Okay, well, then I guess I’ll change it to a four.
John: Okay. Yeah, half is cheating. We have always looked at it.
Amber: Okay, what if I make it three and three quarters?
John: Okay, you’re really pushing it now, kid.
Amber: All right, four it is then.
John: All right. The last one I have for you here today is called Admin Graphic Password. So, if you love those images from the Google CAPTCHA, you know, this is not quite the same, but it’s along the same idea. This is a way to beef up the security of your WordPress login. So what you get to do with this one — and it is same kind of a cool thing to do, although I can see a few problems down the line with it. Load your image, whatever image you want to be. It grids out that image for you, and then you select the image, the blocks from that image that have to be selected as your password addition. So you could expect something like this here where you just select the V, you select the blocks that form of V, and then when you go to login, it asks for your login on it, and then below that, it asks you to choose the bright blocks on the images into your visual password. Kind of a cool idea. I think it’s kind of neat. It has potential. It’s a really great plugin. It seems to work all right. But, you know, down the line, I can see, oh, God, I forgot which way did I do this again? And you forget how to get into your own site because, you know, people’s attention spans are worse than a goldfish. So I can see that being a problem, and then you’d have to go in manually turn the plugin off so you can access your site. But other than that, I think it’s a really great idea, and it is something that could help expand it out. Now, the great thing is, you can upload any image you want in there — you know, put your own images up here. So, other than that, really great thing, and I’m going to give this one a five-dragon rating.
John: Go check it out, the Admin Graphic Password.
Amber: Well it does seem really cool. It’d be really, really sucky if someone’s like, oh, I’m going to make it super fancy, and then the next time, they log in, they go, oh —
John: Uh-huh, what I do, you know, that’s the whole thing I’m looking at. It’s like I know there are people that would do that. It’s like I knew buddy’s whacking windows. When you had the little graphic draw, the graphic on the cell phones to get into them, the Android phone, draw your graphic on there, your symbol. I had a few people that did that and they don’t know. Then one day, they forget, and for some reason, they couldn’t remember how to draw the graphic. And they had troubles getting into their phone.
Amber: Hemdian pointed out if you couldn’t drag it in half, you won’t live long. Fiery guts everywhere. I never thought of that. I accept the lack of has been a lot now.
John: There you go.
Amber: Four dragons. Also what I have is Like-Computy. I actually liked this idea, and I even liked the 90s look they have going there. And this is a new one, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get it going. I tried it in Elementor, Classic Editor, Gutenberg, it would not work. So, because I wasn’t able to get up and going, I’m giving it a one. It’s a great idea. There’s just a lack of follow-through making it worth.
John: Oh, well, maybe come back and visit, send an email to the developer and say, look, something’s wrong here, it’s not working, and see if it comes back to life again later.
Amber: That’d be cool. I’d like to see it in action.
John: Alrighty, well, that wraps up all the plugins we’ve got for you there. Currently, we’d like to talk to you about listener feedback. We don’t have any. Please send us listener feedback; send us your thoughts, the good, the bad, the ugly, we take it all. Listener questions, go into this spot here too, but aside from that, we do like to talk about the contest.
Absolutely, we still have no contest going. I know last week I said we’re going to take a break, but there somebody created a contest behind my back, and I obviously didn’t communicate that I wanted to take a break from the contest for a couple of weeks. So we’re on to another new contest this week. But before we get started on that, our contests are powered by simple giveaways, and this is a really great plugin to help your business with the simple giveaways plugin, works very, very well. They’re kind enough to provide us with the premium version of the plugin. So thanks a lot to those guys. The jingle created by Steve Goodtime and Brant Matthews, hey, a couple of great guys here who really helped us out by providing some of their talent to the show and really greatly appreciate it. And we do like to thank Charlie for helping work with the contest. He’s one of those people that donate time to the show, and this is where we talk about someone who’s donating time. Without Charlie, we wouldn’t have these contests because they take a lot of time to come together, create, reach out to the developers, get the licenses, write up the contest information, and then present it to you here. So thanks a lot, Charlie, for stepping up to the plate and helping us out with that. Other ways people want to commit time, we have the art gallery, which needs someone to take over and manage and make it even better than it is and help promote it to other artists out there. So there’s another thing. So thanks a lot.
Alright, on to last week’s contest, the contest we are running for the last couple of weeks the starter lifetime license for Advanced Database Cleaner Pro. The winner is Greg. H. Congratulations, Greg, on winning the starter lifetime license for Advanced Database Cleaner Pro. Check your email for any instructions on how to claim the prize, and we’ll get that out to you as soon as we can. All right, this week here, we are giving away a license for Codeixer Deposits for WooCommerce Single Domain Lifetime License.
Amber: It’s a long name.
John: Long name. Oops, that link goes in the wrong spot. Let’s try this again.
Amber: Uh-oh, I forgot to link, sorry.
John: Yep. Let’s go in here, and we’ll go through here and check out the link here. This will get us there. There we go. There it is, the Codeixer Plugin and Deposits for WooCommerce. So, I haven’t looked at this plugin. So it looks like it’s a plugin that will allow you to take deposits on orders through your WooCommerce system. What this would be very nice for is to get someone to commit some money to what they’re buying, and you can then collect the rest of it when you’re ready to ship. So, check out this plugin, go check out all the stuff. I’ll get more details on this plugin over the next week and see about how we can possibly review it for you. So, anyway, we’re giving away a single domain lifetime license valued at 179 bucks, although they’re currently on sale for 99. So go check it out. And it’s a really great plugin. Go, enter the contest. If you’ve got a WooCommerce site and you want something to help it out, go enter the contest. Even if you don’t have the site, maybe win the plugin and use it on a client site. There’s always benefits. So don’t forget, go into the contest. All right. And share it out to all your friends, family, enemies, those that love you, those that hate you, give it to everybody. They all deserve a chance to win. All right, well, let’s cover up a couple of quick things here before we head off into the Q&A segment with Amber. Okay, the plugins I covered up were Query Monitor, which I rated at five, the Get A Quote for WordPress, which I rated at five, and the Admin Graphic Password which I rated at a five.
Amber: And I covered Recently Viewed Products for WooCommerce, which I rated at five, Draft Website Builder, which I rated at three, and – well, no, I changed it to four because I can’t do three-and-a-half — and Like-Computy, which I gave an unfortunate one.
John: Yeah, well, that happens. Not too often, but it happens. All right, there is a consideration for a meetup. We’ll verify it in next week’s episode, but we might have one for the Labor Day long weekend September 4, and it’ll be held probably at the Oasis. So, more information on the oasis, go check out the roguestavern.com and find out all about the Oasis there. Also on Tuesday evening till you get enough of Amber and I, come listen to us on Tuesday evenings eight o’clock at the roguestavern.com/live. All right, that wraps all of that stuff up. It is time now for…
It’s question and answer time.
John: With Amber.
Amber: And if anyone out there has any questions they’d like to have me ask, send them into me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will get them answered to the best of my ability. Well, like the best of dad’s ability.
John: Yeah, well.
Amber: So I’ve been learning Sequel or SQL, and although learning the code is interesting, I was wondering what would SQL’s practical application be in the kind of work we do?
John: Okay, SQL, also often called MySQL or other SQL versions. There’s several different PQSQL. There’s several different versions of the SQL database system. But WordPress runs on MySQL. Without MySQL, without the database, you have no WordPress. You have nothing without the database. All you have is a collection of PHP files. You don’t even have HTML files in WordPress. They’re all PHP files. And the PHP files are turned into the code, which sends commands over to the MySQL database, which requests from the database all the information. Everything you see in here, except for the graphics, is contained in the MySQL database. All the text, all the dates, all the links, everything is contained in the MySQL database. The only thing that’s not in the database — and there are other times when the images go in the database, but for the most part, the images are just links in the database, because the images are stored in a separate folder, in your uploads folder. So that’s the practical application for what we do is it, but if you can learn MySQL or SQL, you’re going to be miles ahead of me because I never been able to wrap my head around the commands for SQL. And it is a very important thing. I usually have to go to a couple of pros I know when I need specific SQL commands written because you do need SQL commands to do unusual and strange things in WordPress. And so SQL is a damn good thing to learn, and how to use it. And the practical application, it basically runs the Internet now.
Amber: That is really good to know. Yeah, I’ve been learning like how the SQL reads, how to write the code, and — but it didn’t really tell me anything like that. It didn’t tell me really what it was for, just how to search for things and how to read things.
John: Yeah. And with that goes, use Java, phpMyAdmin, which is the admin area to go in and manage a WordPress database.
Amber: Php Admin?
John: Yeah, phpMyAdmin. You’ll see it in your cPanel. In your cPanel, there’s a little button that says phpMyAdmin that takes you to the MySQL admin area for managing your databases.
Amber: That’s nice. All right, my next question for you is what does running scripts mean?
Amber: I’ve heard that phrase a bunch, like, I got to run some scripts, or I’m busy running scripts, or something, but what does that mean?
John: It means they wrote up a piece of code to make their life easier. Basically, a script is — okay, let’s put it in normal everyday things. If you’ve got to get up and you need a cup of coffee, you got to get up from your chair, go into the kitchen, okay, you haven’t made the coffee, now you got to fill the coffee pot with water, you got to put coffee into this thing, pour the water and push the button, turn it on, wait for it to drip out. There’s — programmers are inherently lazy bastards. And it’s been known that there’s programmers that have managed to hook their coffee machine up to their computer, and they run a script, and they push a button on their computer, which causes their coffee pot to run automatically.
Amber: Oh, that’s awesome.
John: And produce the coffee, so all they have to get up is do is pour the cup of coffee. They don’t have to actually turn the coffee machine on. They do have to make sure they put coffee in it, but there’s — you know, programmers — there’s some really crazy — and these are scripts. It fires off a script. It’s a set of instructions, which tells things what to do. And basically, that’s what scripts are. They’re sets of instructions to tell something to do something, where it’s 10 steps, but you write a script that contains all those 10 steps. Now, you’d have to push a button, and it’s one step for you. The machine takes over and does the other 10 steps and it’s all done. And that’s what a script is in plain simple terms. I used to write scripts years and years ago back when I was writing simple programming language. When I understood simple programming language, I wrote simple scripts, but the kind of programming language now requires advanced scripting. But that’s what running scripts means is I’m running something to do something. You can run a script — well, when you do — let’s say, for instance, you’re doing a scan of your website with Wordfence and you tell it to run the scan. Well, what that scan does is that scan just set off a script to go run through a whole bunch of commands looking for things. That’s a script.
Amber: Okay, now I understand.
John: Yeah. And Hemdian had a couple of things on the MySQL. MySQL is a database engine, the default one used by WordPress. SQL is the language for accessing it. You can use SQL for custom blocks, for example. SQL is used in many places other than WordPress, so it can be very powerful. Yeah, SQL, if I remember correctly, SQL is used in — what’s that Microsoft database engine? God, I can’t remember the name of it now. It’s some very dangerous database engine. And I’ve forgotten what it’s called.
Amber: Don’t worry, I’ll come back to you like two in the morning and wake you up?
John: No, no, no, no. I got to find it now. Okay, I’m not going to find it now. All right, well, screw it. I’ll forget all about it. Anyway, they also run scripts. Also, scripts can be placed into —
Amber: MS SQL Server?
John: Yes, MS SQL Server, Yes. I worked on one of those years ago, 20 years ago — I about lost my mind. With Excel, scripts can be placed, macro scripts can be placed in Excel. In fact, it is one of the greatest ways hackers are still using to hack into people’s systems is they send you — you get a file, that’s a Excel file, and people open it up like they’re really stupid, and then it runs a script in the background, which hacks your computer. So, that’s back to the scripts — that’s more for the scripts. Oracle’s is the most massive database in the world.
Amber: So I have one more question, but it’s got three parts to it. So I’ll read them over, and then you can close this out.
Amber: What are orphan items? What do orphan items do when left, and can orphan items be a good thing?
John: All right, that’s a very excellent question. And I’ll let my girl take us out of here and we’ll come back to those in a minute.
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