WordPress 3.3 ‘Killer Feature’ prediction

WordPress is now in feature freeze. This means no more ideas or features can be added. Development will focus on the features already in the pot. The WordPress team now have many years of experience rolling out open source collaborative projects, and for the more recent version have stated they will be more strict. Meaning that they will pull (or cut) features and not let deadlines slip. This makes their releases more reliable and regular. And it allows folks to make some noise about the upcoming new features. Inevitably there will be discussion on which new feature is best, which feature will have the most impact.

Historically, where WordPress has won, the up-front first thing that makes people use WordPress has been the ease of installation. The famous 5 minute install. The ability to be up and running with the up most of ease. To this end, I believe that the new guidelines (or New User Experience) will be the perfect complement. Following on from a quick and easy installation, new users are presented with helpful pop-up notes to let them know about new features.

[Updated] as per comments.

WP Brighton – WordPress at the Brighton Digital Festival

As part of the¬†Brighton Digital Festival,¬†Friday the 23rd September saw Brighton’s first professional WordPress event take place. Superbly organised by Paul Bunkham, David Lockie and Michael Bailey, it brought together over one hundred local (and not so local) professionals, all with at least one commonality: using WordPress successfully as part of their business.

The lead up to the event was well handled. A clear idea and strategy was presented in the preceding weeks. Well written blog entries, eagerly tweeted by expectant attendees, kept the event fresh. The blog articles reinforced the benefits of businesses and web professionals getting together to share and discuss how they use WordPress.

The day itself went very smoothly. The inevitable minor hiccups were taken care of¬†efficiently and with a certain¬†ingenuity. There was great buzz throughout the proceedings, with many references to the sessions’ quality and friendly¬†community atmosphere they were presented in. The presentations were all filmed and photographed, a daring thing to arrange for fledging event organisers, but a superb decision I think. The presentation slide shows are all going to be available to download from the website, but nothing quite compares to seeing and hearing the speaker’s expressions and emphasis.

The sell out attendance and positive reactions on the day prove that local businesses are not only interested in events such as this, but want to share and learn about WordPress just as much as the rest of the world. As corny as Dave thought his idea about improving things for everyone locally may have sounded, who knows just how much events like this can bring to the business community and the people they serve?

Why Apache .htaccess files are evil

Evil? Wow, that’s a bit strong. Besides, everybody loves Apache and their .htaccess files! Don’t they? Well, I’m not so keen. I think there are two important issues with Apache. Firstly, out of the box (as it were), it comes badly configured. For anyone wanting to dip their toes in server building and administration, they will soon find their server down and out for the count as it OOMs (Out Of Memory)¬†into oblivion. That’s a subject for another day.

Secondly, I believe that .htaccess files are bad. It’s like giving your three-year old the keys to your house. Yes, it certainly will be easier for you; your child can decide when to come and go without having to interrupt your day. But you really don’t know just when they will give the key to a dodgy so-and-on with thieving¬†intentions

Web servers form part of the host configuration and set up. They direct and manage traffic to and from the server. Who should tell it how it does that? The system administrator. Giving control of the w server to its applications is intrinsically wrong.

Allowing applications to control how the server works, can certainly make peoples’ live’s easier. The pay off, though, is that it makes the sever less secure. To make a simile, it would be like getting rid of passports and border control, or being more exact, it would be like letting every individual person decide what the border controls are and what verifies their passport as being a document that uniquely identifies them. People could just make anything up. Well, on a server, that is what .htaccess files allow you to do.

Personally I no longer support .htaccess files. Just like border control and passports are worth the¬†encumbrance, so is disabling .htaccess (or just not using Apache at all). And I find that gradually, they aren’t missed. It is just a shame that I have to put the time and effort into effectively working around an issue that should not exist¬†in the first place.

Welcome

Welcome to my little blog. I have watched http://www.tcbarrett.com for years (decades even) wondering if I should join in with what so many millions of other people have already done. Should I start putting my ramblings on the internet for all to see?

Well, I’ve done it. And now I feel I have taken on a responsibility, like buying a house, a pet or even getting married and having children. Surely these first steps have an implicit promise of quality content, that I am obliged to provide to you my reader. Luckily, for me, I’ve managed to no longer feel such an obligation. So expect some real drivel!