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PHP South Africa workshop: Bending WordPress to your Will

As part of my overall goal to step up this year and get involved in more community conferences and such, I ran a workshop at PHP South Africa 2017 on building your first WordPress plugin. I titled the workshop “Bending WordPress to your Will” as it sounds fittingly dramatic I think. While most of the workshop involved building a basic WordPress plugin, I spent the first part of it going over some slides that cover the concepts of actions, filters and standard plugin structure.

Here are the slides:

Once we had gone through that content we went through a WordPress plugin together. In this case I created a basic plugin titled “Post View Counter” that does exactly what the title suggests – counts post views. We went through this and covered the initial functionality, followed by some creative ways of displaying the post view count.

You can find the plugin here on GitHub – I purposefully built it in a single file using procedural code so that it would be easier to follow in a workshop format.

Along with that, here are a few sites that I mentioned in the workshop:

If you were in the workshop I’d love to hear what you thought of it, so please leave a comment here! You can also give some feedback on

Month in WordPress moving to

For about 2 and a half years, I’ve been posting a monthly wrap-up of WordPress news internally at Woo and then at Automattic (after we were acquired). After much coaxing I eventually decided to post these wrap-ups publicly too, and have been doing so on this blog under the wordpress-month tag for the past few months. That’s all changing now though!

From this month onwards, I will still be posting these updates publicly, but I have been asked to now post them directly on the News blog instead. I think this is great, partly because it means I get to write stuff that loads more people will read, and also because these kinds of news wrap-ups are super useful to people who don’t have the time to keep up with everything themselves.

So, if you want to know more about what’s been going on in the WordPress world for any given month, then keep an eye out on You can read this past month’s post here.

The Month in WordPress: May 2017

With WordCamp Europe coming up in June, as well as the Community Summit and the release of WordPress 4.8, there is a lot happening in the WordPress world that is leading up to all of that. This has made May a particularly busy month, so there’s a lot to read through and catch up on from most areas of the WordPress project. I can guarantee you that it is all super interesting and well worth reading 🙂 Continue reading → The Month in WordPress: May 2017

The Month in WordPress: April 2017

As I posted previously, I’m bringing this internal monthly wrap-up of WordPress community news out from just inside Automattic and sharing it here too. Enjoy!

Another month has come to end and we have another chance to look back at what happened in the WordPress community over the last 30 days, so sit back and enjoy the reading. I was on leave and largely offline for the first half of April, so there’s a fair chance that I missed something important from the time that I wasn’t trawling the internet for WordPress news – I tried not to of course, but if I did then please add it in the comments!

Continue reading → The Month in WordPress: April 2017

The Month in WordPress: March 2017

As I posted last month, I’m bringing this internal monthly wrap-up of WordPress community news out from just inside Automattic and sharing it here too. Enjoy!

It’s been a busy month in the WordPress world! There have been a number of new releases and announcements, as well as some other tidbits that have made the past 31 days a very interesting time in the community of which we are all a part. I’ve highlighted what I feel are the most significant stories, but the links in the last section are definitely worth reading too! Continue reading → The Month in WordPress: March 2017

A few Coffee Shops to work from in Cape Town

Aside from generally enjoying my job and what I do on a daily basis, I also have the added advantage of having flexible hours and being able to work wherever I want. What this translates into is that I end up working at various coffee shops around Cape Town – this is great, because it means that I get to decide on my working environment every day (and even move between different places on the same day), as well as have the opportunity to bump into a number of people that I know who I don’t usually get to see.

If this kind of working lifestyle sounds interesting to you then you should think about joining Automattic – we’re always hiring!

I often have people asking me to recommend good places to work, so I thought I would share a few of my favourite spots here and give some quick opinions about them. All of these are in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, as that is far more local for me, and the only real requirement for them to be an option is for them to supply (usually free) wifi, so I have included some internet speed test results that are typical for an average day at each spot. Continue reading → A few Coffee Shops to work from in Cape Town

The woman who inspires me

Today is International Women’s Day – while many people are using it as a day of marching and demonstrations to push for greater gender equality, I thought I’d use it as an opportunity to talk about the woman who inspires me the most in my life – Catherine Lashbrooke.

Cath is my wife and the mother of our two children, but she is, of course, so much more than that (as if being a wife and a mother isn’t enough). Amongst her many roles in my life, she is my best friend, my rock when things are tough, my greatest source of entertainment, my biggest supporter, my comforter, and so many other things. She encourages me to be a better man and inspires me to act on things to improve myself. She is a beautiful, loving, caring, kind, compassionate, funny, intelligent, wise, strong, passionate and joyful woman who makes my life better every day just being a part of it. She keeps me focussed on what is important in life and makes sure that I keep my eyes fixed on Christ as my centre.

On top of that, she is an incredible mother to our children and she’s the main person keeping our family afloat – I can 100% positively say that without her making sure we keep things together, our family would certainly be a hot mess. How she does it all is a wonder to me and I am incredibly lucky to have her in my life.

So, I know I don’t ever post things on here about my personal life, but today I would like to honour and thank the most important and inspirational woman in my life – my wife, Catherine Lashbrooke.

The Month in WordPress: February 2017

For a little over 2 years now, I have been posting monthly updates internally at WooThemes and now at Automattic in which I give a wrap-up of all the significant news from the WordPress community for the past month. This has been a great way for people too be kept up to date about what’s happening around them, as well as for me to personally keep abreast of developments in all areas of the WordPress project.

After much coaxing from quite a few people, I thought I’d start posting these updates on my own blog too, so that others can also benefit from them. The updates include news from the past month, as well as a smattering of comments from myself showing my own opinions about it all.

So, with all that in mind – here’s February’s update… Continue reading → The Month in WordPress: February 2017

Stepping Up (Part 2)

Last week I wrote about how I’m planning on stepping up this year to speak at more conferences. Even though I also challenged you all to do the same, public speaking may not be a goal of yours (which is totally fine of course). There is, however, another way you can step up in a similar arena without all the anxiety of being up in front of people. It’s something that you can all start today and you can easily start small – I’m talking about organising local events. Continue reading → Stepping Up (Part 2)

Stepping Up

In 2016 I spoke at a local conference for the first time. It felt pretty easy because it was WordCamp Cape Town – an event and community with which I am intimately familiar. I was also speaking about a topic that I know really well. Later on in the year I spoke at WordCamp Johannesburg too – I didn’t know the community as well as Cape Town’s of course, but my talk was pretty similar to my Cape Town one, so it also felt really easy.

This year I plan on stepping up to speak at conferences that I would see as a lot less simple for me. Ones more outside of my comfort zone. I have already applied to speak at PHP South Africa with three different talk options (one workshop and two regular sessions) – I’ll find out in a couple of months whether any of them are accepted. I’d like to do more though – we all have knowledge and sharing it outside of our comfort zones is not only helpful for our own personal growth, but it benefits our listeners too.

I’m going to be on the lookout for local conferences to speak at and I encourage you to do the same. Why not start with PHP South Africa?