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| WordPress

Does it matter how many words you write in each blog post?

Yes, for many people, it does.

Some writers set themselves a target number of words per day, as a good habit. Whether your target is 500, 1000, 2000 or even more words, a lot of writers love the discipline of hitting a daily target.

Some other writers are aiming for a specific word count simply for marketing purposes. It's generally thought that Google gives a higher rank to longer posts, so long as they're interesting. So many SEO experts recommend you write posts between 2000 and 2500 words.

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If you spend any time in the WordPress world, you've probably come across Zac Gordon. Zac is an enthusiastic and charming teacher who focuses on Javascript in WordPress. He borrowed the phrase "Learn Javascript Deeply" from Matt Mullenweg and he made it into his personal slogan.

For the last several years, Zac has produced video classes, online conferences, live talks, and podcasts that focus on teaching you how to use Javascript in WordPress.

I'm delighted to say we're working with Zac on a book, "React Explained". React is the library the WordPress team have chose for the new Gutenberg editor. They are not alone - both Drupal and Magento have also chosen React.

Zac is live-tweeting his writing progress at @zgordon on Twitter. You can also hear Zac talk about React on the OSTraining podcast.

In this extract from the book, Zac gives you a high-level overview of React and some key concepts.

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| WordPress

By default, WordPress is very, very careful about who can delete files in your site's Media Library.

Only users in the "Administrator" role are able to delete images and files in your Media Library. Anyone who is in the Subscriber, Contributor, Author and Editor roles is not allowed to delete images.

However, on some sites you may want to allow other users to clean your Media Library. Perhaps you have private files, or just have a cluttered Media Library with too many files.

The solution to deleting files is to install the Capability Manager Enhanced plugin.

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| Podcasts

In this episode, we welcome Ben Pines, the Chief Marketing Officer at Elementor.

Elementor is a page builder which is technically in the same space as Gutenberg, but does approximately 1,001 extra things.

Ben is doing pretty well at his job, because Elementor is probably the fastest growing WordPress plugin around. In the last two and a half years, Elementor has grown from zero installs to close to two million, and Ben has led many of the efforts to get the word out about Elementor and its growth.

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| WordPress

Websites are never too far from problems. If you run a WordPress website, you will need to spot and fix problems.

WordPress works on PHP. When PHP runs into issues, it reports them to you. This may be helpful to you as the website owner, but these same errors may also be seen by your site visitors.

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| Drupal

Websites will run into problems. Whether you're using Drupal or any other software, there will be problems at some point.

Drupal runs on PHP and when PHP has problems, it reports them to you. 

However, often these errors will appear on your site and will be visible to visitors, as in the image below:

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| WordPress

Having your website hacked can be very stressful but here are some guidelines on how to fix a hacked site with help from the Wordfence plugin.

Often the first sign that your site has been hacked is an email from your hosting company or Google. Hacks are often ‘invisible’ to most users as they insert hidden links into the content of the site.

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A few years ago, setting up an SSL certificate was a slow and costly painful process.

At one point, we were paying over $500 per year for a top-of-the-line SSL certificate on this site. Plus, many platforms had poor support for SSLs.

All that has changed. You can get free SSL certificates now, and web software almost always has great support for your SSLs.

The tricky part of using an SSL certificate is now making sure you aren't loading images or files over http. This will cause your SSL certificate to show an error. Here's the code we used in our .htaccess to push all our site's assets to https.

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| Podcasts

In this episode, we welcome Amanda and Karlyanna from the DrupalCon team.

DrupalCon is probably the biggest open-source event that happens in North America every year. And for about the last 10 years, it's been pretty much the same event with pretty much about the same number of attendees.

It's been about 3,000 people every year, moving around to different cities. This time, the DrupalCon team are taking a different approach. It's in Seattle in April, but they're changing up the format adding all sorts of new twists and interesting changes to it. So I sat down with the team to talk about what's new with DrupalCon this year. (Spoiler alert: one addition this year will be puppies and bunnies)

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github pagesAll developers know Github as service that enables code sharing and also helps you improve your code by using version control.

However, did you know that Github also offers Github Pages, a completely free hosting service?

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to host a simple HTML website for free using Github.

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"Local Web Development With DDEV Explained" shows you how to do local development in a way that matches modern development workflows.

When the book launched, it originally focused on Drupal 8. Today, with version 2.0, of the book, we've updated the book and included two new chapters on working with WordPress.

In this book, Mike Anello recommends replacing WAMP, MAMP and similar tools with DDev-Local, a Docker-based system.

DDEV-Local is an open-source local development environment for PHP-based projects. It provides a robust and flexible setup for platforms such as Drupal, WordPress, and TYPO3.

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Do you need to build a WordPress site? 

If you do, we have the book you need. "WordPress Explained" is one of the best-selling WordPress books, and it's now 100% up-to-date for Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0.

This book teaches you everything you need to know to make a block-based WordPress site. And, it does it in plain English, with a simple step-by-step approach.

WordPress Explained is available for OSTraining members (PDF, ePUB and MOBI) and also on Amazon (Paperback and Kindle).

WordPress is an amazingly powerful system, but many newcomers can find it overwhelming. We wrote this book to make WordPress as simple and straight-forward as possible. 

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| Podcasts

In this episode, we meet with Randy Fay. He has been a longtime member of the Drupal community. He's written about 1,001 modules and has worked with a whole bunch of leading Drupal companies. After a while, he got burned out from excessive commitment to Drupal. We talk about some of his crazier adventures such as cycling from the northern tip of Canada, all the way down to Argentina over the course of several years.

We talk about his involvement in Drupal, and why he left in the end. Then we get to the meat of the conversation, which is his work now with a project called DDEV-Local. Recently, we released a book at OSTraining called "Local Web Development With DDEV Explained".

DDev-Local can give you a much more modern development environment based on Docker containers. We talk with Randy, who's the lead developer for DDEV, and explain why, if you're using MAMP or WAMP, you should consider using DDev instead, as it will greatly speed up your development and make it much more reliable if you're working on multiple projects.

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| Web Design

At the end of 2018, we published a book about CSS Grid, the layout tool that is revolutionizing the frontend web-design. CSS Grid is entirely native to CSS and allows you to create a grid-based layout system, using columns and rows.

"CSS Grid Explained" immediately became one of our best-selling books. So we're working on a large update and expansion for that book. We're also starting to produce a new book, "Flexbox Explained". Flexbox is closely related to CSS Grid, but there are noticeable differences:

  • Flexbox is a one-dimensional layout model. It can manage either columns or rows.
  • CSS Grid is a two-dimensional layout model. It can manage both columns and rows.

Over the next few weeks, we're going to publish a series of Flexbox tutorials as we write "Flexbox Explained". This first tutorial demonstrates the basic concepts of CSS Flexbox with practical examples.

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