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 #527 here.
It’s Episode 527 – We have plugins for Viewing Errors, Back to Classics, Creating placer text, Twitch lists, User Content Submission, Coupon Restrictions… and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, so we got a couple of ClassicPress options this week, I’m told, and let’s see our way out. All right, ClassicPress has a new petitions page, and this is a page where if you’ve got a petition on what you’d like to see in ClassicPress, I guess you can submit it or see what the petitions are that are currently out there. Not sure —
Amber: That’s a cool idea.
John: Well, ClassicPress has done this since the beginning. ClassicPress has been a little more community-driven than WordPress is. WordPress has always been directed by the benevolent dictator.
Amber: Ah, yes.
John: Okay, and that’s been proved a couple of times when things have been crammed down the throats of everyone. The most recent, of course, was Gutenberg; the community did not want it. The community railed against it. It got so bad, that’s why ClassicPress was created because there was a large enough chunk of the community to say, okay, I’m done with WordPress, let’s go restart something that we think will be better. And a benevolent dictator is fine until the dictator is no longer benevolent.
John: Because they can do that. So, at any rate, I would go check that out there. And it looks like we’ve got another thing from ClassicPress. ClassicPress 1.3 is available now. So they’re moving along. They’re in version 1.3 of ClassicPress. I wonder what’s changed; new filters, support, accessibility improvements, other changes and fix. So you have to go read through this to see what’s in there and see what’s been done to it. So I see ClassicPress will be shifting themselves along a new path before too long. About the time ClassicPress version two comes out, it’ll be a major shift.
Amber: I’m looking forward to seeing the way that they grow up
John: Yeah, well, they’re going to grow up quite nicely, I think. They may have a tough time challenging the WordPress community for several years because WordPress grew up where there was nobody to compete with as WordPress grew up.
Amber: They were in the Wild West.
John: Yeah, they had the opportunity to be first, and they were, and their community — I was part of mixing the Kool-Aid in the beginning. I thoroughly believed in everything in the beginning. And then as it got bigger and bigger, I just got a little more disenchanted with the way it was run.
Amber: Bigger and better; that kind of works.
John: Yeah, bigger and better. Yeah, let’s see. All right, truth wants to come out once in a while. All right, well, let’s move along to WordPress plugins. What do I got for you this week? Well, the first one I’ve got for you, this is a very useful plugin. If you’re doing some diagnostics or you’re working with a plugin that’s having issues, and the team that wants they need to look at the log files on there, and your log files are there, they’re not always easily accessible. You can go FTP and or going through your file manager, whatever on your cPanel to find the log files, but they’re not always easily accessible. Well, what this plugin does for you, it’s called Error Log Viewer by BestWebSoft. This is a really fantastic plugin, and that it allows you to install it, and then with a couple of quick clicks, it will enable the WordPress error logging and put the proper code in either to your WP admin or WP config file or into your htaccess file. And then what happens is it creates a page for you that you can then go to, which displays the error logs. And it won’t only just read the error logs created in your local site. It’ll read the root error log for your site; the one that’s hidden down deep into your particular account on your hosting company. In other words, the debug log itself for PHP errors, which is different from some of the other errors that are created. And you can get in there and check them right out, and see what those errors are, and then you can copy and paste those errors. I found this to be a very useful tool this last week when I had to do this sort of thing. I know where the files were but I didn’t feel like digging for them, and so I wouldn’t do this is there something that I can just read them inside WordPress. And this is one for you. So go check out this plugin. It’s called Error Log Viewer by BestWebSoft, and I’d give it a five-dragon rating.
Amber: Dude, that’s endlessly —
John: Who’s playing a video? Oh, no, that’s not a video playing in the background. That’s feedback from Amber’s mic.
Amber: Oh, I wonder how I can fix that. Sorry about that.
John: Move it to a different spot in front of your face.
Amber: Is it better?
John: Yeah, well, seems to work. It’s probably not there. It’s still there. So there’s not much we can do about it; move it up and down, just keep going. We’ll work through it.
Amber: So, the first one I’ve got is called Platys Twitch List. I admit it. I check this out mainly because of the name and the logo. They’re just cool. So I checked it out, and it turns out this is for bringing your twitch panels in a configurable list to your site, though you need to first enter in your key, which you can get from kind of their site whenever they finish their Platys script. Thanks, Hemdian. You can also use your Patreon sign-in in order to sign in and check things out, but it seems a little odd. In my opinion, they maybe should have waited till they were done doing their scripts before they release a plugin. It does seem like it’d be a very useful plugin if you’re a Twitch user, and you need your channels on your site. Just maybe more useful when they’re done because I wasn’t able to really check everything out, I rate it middle-of-the-road three dragons. I’ll probably check in later on this.
John: Okay. All right, the next one I have for you here today is called WPPM Classic Widgets. For those of you that want that classic look back to your widgets after going to WordPress 5.8 and having your classic widgets turfed, this will restore them for you so that you can have that nice classic widget look. It’s another one of those things where the community’s responded to, of course, a change that isn’t overly liked and enough people want the old way of doing things, so they created a plugin so that you continue to do things the old way. Really great simple plugin to allow you to keep working in what’s already familiar instead of climbing that learning curve. So that’s one of the things in WordPress as I did learning curve for everything was just getting too much and constantly doing the learning, you know, as like I’m done. It’s time to let me work without having to relearn it every time I log in. It’s kind of like Windows. Windows is irritating that way too. They keep changing things making that customer experience better. Meaning, you have to learn something new when you’re already used to a certain way its working. At any rate, great little plugin this one. I give this one a five-dragon rating. Go check it out the WPPM Classic Widgets
Amber: The next one I have is Lipsum Dynamo. This plugin, you’ll find out under Tools on the right-hand side, and it’s designed to create your own ipsum, maybe slightly better. Okay, well, slightly is better. You can actually write out your own ipsum if you want to, but you can also just have it automatically fill it. What this is designed to do is specifically to fill out a site with dummy gibberish in order for you to more easily present a site. In the settings, you can choose how many posts, pages, media landing pages, templates, sticky notes, or posts. And there’s so many options; you can set the author. You can choose how many. You can choose, like, if they’re going to show up immediately, whether it’s private or public, or what have you, and you can create each one individually, or you can just make 20 at once like I did. And another bonus to this, you have the option of setting it so that once the plugin is deleted, it removes everything from the site with it.
John: Oh, that’s cool.
Amber: Yeah, I really like that. It will remove everything for you. No need to go in and manually delete them, which is just a really cool option.
John: That’s actually a cool option. That makes it very useful.
Amber: Yeah, so I rate this at five dragons.
John: All right, the final one I have for you today is called Coupon Restriction For Backorders on WooCommerce. Now, this one here is very useful. If you offer coupons on your WooCommerce store and you’re offering back-ordered products, not everyone does offer back-ordered products. I’m looking at setting up back-ordered products on my WooCommerce store simply because I’ll be selling plants and other things, and people can pre-order them. But what it does is if you’re offering coupons, you can set it up so that a coupon is not valid for back-ordered products. In fact, if they choose a back-ordered product and a good product, they’re hoping to use the coupon, they can’t use the coupon because there was a back-ordered product in the shopping cart. So you have to remove the back-ordered product before they can use the coupon thus preventing them from trying to get a discount on something that you may or may not want to give a discount on because you don’t know what it’s going to be when the order comes in for it. So this is a very useful tool to help control things on your site. And if you’re giving out coupons, make sure you go check this one out. It’s a very good tool to add to your WooCommerce store. It’s called Coupon Restrictions For Backorders on WooCommerce. Go check it out. I give it a five-dragon rating – oops, sorry, so it was supposed to be four dragons. I’m reading in the wrong spot. My brains’ sliding sideways. That was supposed to be four, not five. Yeah, they got us a minor boost.
Amber: Also sounds really useful actually. Last one I’ve got is Submit Content. I thought this could be really useful. I know that some sites like ours still offer the opportunity to be a guest writer, and what this plugin does is it makes it possible for people who want to be a guest writer to enter in the post from the front end, and you can make it so that it’s not just a post, but will save as an e-landing page, Elementary library, DSN or WPR template. And I like the options that it has, which again, there are many options, but one of the things that really caught me was that you can have it autosave is either published or as a draft, and it offers you the ability to choose whether or not a person has to be logged in, in order to use this form — how many words the title can be and the post can be, how big the picture is. It’s really cool. I really like the setup that they have for this. So brain just died on me; sorry about that. Other than the one little oddity where — when you’re filling out the information, I thought that you got to like put the title and the information into like the bars where people put in, but actually — you actually get a title and an information line all of your own above the form. That was a little strange, but you can see the use in it. Other than that little oddity, I rate this at five dragons.
John: All right, go check it out. It can be a useful tool. If you use Gravity Forms like I do, Gravity Forms, you can build a form in Gravity Forms for the same kind of submission though.
Amber: Oh, really, I didn’t know that.
John: Gravity Forms allows the submissions like that. I’ve used Gravity Forms in the past for the submissions. And one thing to keep in mind, if you do allow these sorts of things, never let it auto-publish. Because it’s guaranteed that a spammer will discover that, and they will fill your site up with spam really, really quick.
John: All right. Well, that means, we’ve come to the end of all the plugins here, and we don’t have any listener questions. We’re still waiting for some. That’d be nice to show up. But it is contest time.
Absolutely, this is a contest we’ve pushed off for a few more weeks. It is Codeixer Deposits for WooCommerce Single Domain Lifetime License. This is a license you never ever have to buy again folks. Well worth the cost of entry, meaning, all you have to do is go into your email address in your name. That’s it. That’s all it takes. Go in there, enter the contest. There’s 20 days left in the contest. And this is a really great-looking plugin. I’ve really got to make an effort to get in and go review this plugin. But it’s a really good one. If you’re running a WooCommerce store and you want to take deposits on orders for people, maybe they’re ordering something you have to make or you have to prepare or other things, and you want to make sure you get at least a good chunk of the money upfront, that’s what this sort of plugin is for. So you can take a deposit on an order upfront to ensure that they’re serious about paying for it. So, really great, useful tool. If not for yourself, enter the contest, and maybe win it for a client, or maybe win it and hang on to it until you’re ready to use it. I’ve bought plugins when they were on sale knowing I could use them in the future. And when they have special sales and lifetime licenses or whatever, and I didn’t use them for a couple of years now, oh, I still got this thing here and then I just go find my license, and away I go. So it could be well worthwhile. We need people to enter the contest, man. Show us you appreciate the contest. And after this contest is done, we’re going to give the contest a break for a little while to see if people appreciate it. At any rate, go check this one out. It’s the Codeixer Deposits for WooCommerce Single Domain Site License, and you can enter the contest at wppluginsatoz.com/giveaway.
Amber: It really is a very cool prize.
John: Yep, it is a really cool prize. Almost all the licenses we’ve given away in the last year have been really cool prizes.
Amber: It really has been, like there’s been a few that I want to snag up for myself.
John: Yeah, there’s been a few. It’s like, hey, maybe I should enter the contest and see if I can win it, or maybe I can just go rig the contest and win it. I wish I could, but it’s like so — I mean, so many of them have been lifetime licenses, you know, permanent licenses that you never have to buy again. And many of these companies don’t even offer these licenses for sale. They just created them just to give in to us to give away.
Amber: Which is pretty fantastic.
John: Yeah. At any rate, that covers all that up. And we got to cover up a couple of things. And then we’re going to move into the Q&A segment. So in this episode here, I covered up the following plugins. I covered up the Error Log Viewer by BestWebSoft, which I gave a five to, the WPPM Classic Widgets, which I gave a five to, and the Coupon Restriction For Backorders on WooCommerce, which I gave a four to.
Amber: And I covered the plugins Platys Twitch List, which I rated at three, Lipsum Dynamo, which I rated at five, and Submit Content, which I rated at five.
John: All right, and we don’t have any meetups planned. It’s coming in the wintertime now. The Oasis is a little going to be too damp soon for anything fun there. We’ll see what happens in the wintertime, and if things get better, we’ll see. At any rate, if you — also if you guys aren’t getting enough of Amber and I, check out our show on Tuesday nights at eight o’clock. It’s a live stream that goes to our YouTube channel over at the Rogues Tavern. So go check that one out. And it is now time for…
It’s question and answer time.
John: With Amber.
Amber: If anybody out there has any questions that they’d like to have asked on the show, send them into me at email@example.com, and I will get them on here for you. We’ll see what kind of answer dad gives. My first question is cache. Everyone who works on a computer, more than just to check their email, they know that they need to clear the cache. They know that it holds information, but what really is cache? Are there different kinds of caches, and do caches clear themselves ever depending on different kinds, or what’s the deal with cache?
John: Okay, you’re talking about the browser cache?
Amber: There we go; see there’s obviously different kinds of caches.
John: Well there’s the browser cache. There’s actually a cache for Windows, which is supposed to clear itself, but rarely ever does. When I used to repair computers, it was one of the first things I did was go into the management files. Most people don’t even know where to find them or know they exist. It helps speed up windows if you go clear out that cache every once in a while, but you got to know where you go to do that. The browser cache is the most common that people know about, and the browser cache is the caching — every time you go to a website, all those pictures, graphics, CSS files, videos, and other things, they’re downloaded to your local computer. And they’re stored in the cache file. And most browsers have a setting size for how big the cache can get, and it’s supposed to dump it and clear it. But I find that my browser doesn’t always do that and I clear my cache continuously. And every once in a while, I’ve gone for a week or two without clearing it. And when I go to clear it, it has over, you know, almost a gigabyte of data stored in there from everything I hit on the web. And clearing out the cache does two things. One, it allows your browser to function a little bit better. The other is if you’re doing development, you need to constantly clear your cache because your cache might hold all the files for a page you just edited, and you’re looking at why isn’t this look any different after all the edits I just did, and then go clear the cache, clear the cache, reload it. And now what it does is it’s forced to go get all those files fresh from the server.
Now, the cache itself is designed to make surfing a website easier. Like, if you go to a website, the first time you load it, it downloads that header graphic and other essential CSS files, and most websites all have a consistent header graphic and CSS files for the look and feel of the site. If you go to further pages, well, now your browser doesn’t have to redownload the header graphics, the CSS files. Now that’s because they’re already in your computer. All it’s got to do is download the fresh content for the new page, and that makes the next page load faster. And so that’s what the caching does for it. That’s the caching on computers. Now, there’s caching for your website, and that caching goes into a whole different level because what’s happening is WordPress being PHP driven, and MySQL driven, every time someone loads a WordPress web page, it has to go to the server and say, hey, run all this PHP code and go over to the MySQL database and fetch all this data for me. So that slows it down. And if the server is busy, it goes, you’re going to have to wait a second, I’m helping this other person over here, I’ll be with you in a couple milliseconds. And people freak out because it takes three seconds to load a page instead of one, believe it or not. I remember when pages used to take up to 30 seconds to load, we were thrilled. Now, if it takes more than five seconds, people freak out.
Amber: I just had a flashback to trying to download music, and it took like three days for 12 songs.
John: Yeah, for a few songs, it takes days. But people freak out because they’re so used to high-speed Internet now. So what’s happened is they’ve created caching for your website, and what that caching does, is the first person to hit that page in the cache, it runs all that code, they get a little slower, but what’s done is an HTML file is created, and it’s stuffed into a caching folder. So the next person to come along and say, hey, I want page A, first thing it does, hey, do we have that in the cache? It goes, yeah, we got it in cache, deliver it right away. It doesn’t have to go back to the server and run the PHP code and MySQL queries to recreate the page because it’s been created already. And so that’s the caching at that level there. It speeds it up. And then there’s even more levels of caching, which I’m not going to go into. There’s server-level caching. There’s CloudFlare level caching. There’s levels and levels of caching. There’s content delivery caching for all the graphics so you can have content delivered from different parts of the globe, depending on where they’re coming from when they hit your website.
Amber: Hemdian said that he has a database cache, object cache, browser cache, and all kinds of cache.
John: In caching via CloudFlare, yeah. Well, what that does is that it speeds up your website, load times.
John: Is what it all does in the end. Now, the problem is, is sometimes the caching conflicts with each other. And sometimes the caching, one cache goes bad and the other ones aren’t working correctly, and they start having fights. It doesn’t happen often anymore, but in the beginning, when caching was first being developed, it happened a lot.
Amber: I could see that.
John: So, yeah, that’s what caching is. Caching is around to help speed things up, basically, so that things are located where you’re at. The problem with caching is sometimes it creates problems along the way, and the cache has to be cleared to allow things to function again, or the cache gets corrupted and you have to clear it because the cache files are corrupted. And some of them are set up to automatically clear after X amount of time, and some of them never ever clear unless it’s done manually. It’s all in the settings and what you’re set to do.
Amber: That was all really good stuff to learn. Thank you.
John: All right, read out your last two questions, and then we will play our ending credits and come back for the final bits of this.
Amber: So my next question is when downloading a backup in FTP, if you simply pull the singular file for the cPanel backup over, is that good enough? Or do you need to pull over all the files of the site in order to get a full and thorough backup of a site? Why? It’s one way or the other why. And my last one is, how do you balance working on a computer with a healthy amount of exercise?
John: Okay, those are all very, very good questions. And we will answer them after our girl takes us out of here and I enjoy a shot.
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