How to Be a Good WordPress Developer?

Pippin has some thoughts. I concur with most of them, especially the one about challenging yourself. The best self-taught developers are those who become obsessed with solving problems. They can’t stop themselves. They might get discouraged and walk away from the computer in disgust. But a few minutes later they’ll think “but I haven’t try this” and be right back at it.

Good developers surround themselves with people who know more than they do. They have no real desire to show how smart they are but would rather learn something smart from others. If you can let your pride go and be ok being the dumbest person in a room full of the smartest people ( as opposed to being the smartest in the room ) you’ll be better than you’d ever imagined otherwise. Plus people will like working with you which helps .

If your looking for a more “skill” based assessment of what it takes to be a developer, this is a pretty good article. Specifically, I like the notion of “problem decomposition,” which is a fancy way to say troubleshooting.

A key aspect of solving a problem ( and thus being a good developer ) is not getting handcuffed by what you don’t know. Obviously, if you knew you wouldn’t have a problem. But just because you don’t know what is causing a specific issue doesn’t mean you know nothing. I often start troubleshooting by clarifying and confirming what I do know.

For instance,  if WordPress gives me an “Error establishing a database connection” screen: What do I know? Do I know my username and password are correct? Can I confirm that by connecting to mysql via the command line or PhpMyAdmin? Do I know that mysql is running on the server?  Again does phpmyadmin work? Does my hosting dashboard have a mysql “status” icon”? Or does <code>service mysql status</code> return something? So on and so forth.

Confirming what you know sometimes exposes that what you think you know may not actually be true. And if it is true, it helps you focus your theories of the problem on areas that really are unknown. Like anything else, the more you decompose problems the better you’ll be at it.

What I don’t know

Inspired by Terry Beyak, I thought I’d write my own list of things I don’t know. I should specify this will be an abridged list of “known unknowns” as opposed to “unknown unknows”, of which making a list would be impossible.

  1. Ruby on Rails
  2. Swift / iOS Development
  3. Java / Android Development
  4. The meaning of life
  5. NoSQL Databases like Mongo/Cassandra
  6. system.d
  7. AngularJS
  8. The best places to hike
  9. All the tree species in Sonoma County

WordPress Real Estate Plugin in the Works

Update: If anyone wants an email when this plugin is ready just leave a comment  here. Or shoot me an email at mike(at)www.mikevanwinkle.com. Or subscribe to my feedburner.

Hmmm. So what they hell have I been doing with my time lately. Not blogging, clearly. Well first there’s the day job, I’m trying to keep it :-). Then I’ve been working on a Real Estate plugin built on the PodsCMS framework. (Which incidentally is about to launch version 1.90) Why a plugin based on a plugin? Well Pods creates the power on the database side to build a better real estate listing system than would be possible using custom fields.

Real Estate listings have LOTS of fields, i.e. List Price, Agent, Square Footage, Neighborhood, etc. Sure you could use WP’s native taxonomies for some of these fields, but there are still going to be a lot of Custom Fields like # of beds, # of baths, etc. And try putting together a standard WP Query to filter for 20 custom fields. Damn. I’m just not that much of a pro I guess.

So the plugin will take the power of the pods framework and package it up in a way that you won’t really have to learn anything about pods in order to use it. I’m also adding some custom functions to create listings, display related listings, etc. Hopefully it will prove a valuable plugin to small to mid-size real estate companies looking to showcase their listings.

Full credit, I started the plugin as part of a freelance project for Big Sea Design. Woot! Woot!