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Hi Y'all I'm Josh Pollock, AMA

Mar. 2, 2016

I'm a WordPress plugin developer, educator and entrepreneur.

I am the founder of CalderaWP. We make Caldera Forms, an awesome drag and drop, responsive form builder and many other awesome plugins. I am also a co-founder and developer for Ingot, an awesome A/B testing tool for WordPress. I also write a lot about WordPress and wrote a book on the WordPress REST API and am a core contributor to WordPress.

Besides WordPress, I'm really into music, science fiction and coffee.

Ask me anything...

Take care,
Josh

BTW Find me on the interwebs here:
CalderaWP.com
IngotHQ.com
JoshPress.net
twitter.com/Josh412

Comment
31 vote   Flag
Roy Sivan

Josh - we all know you write articles for your own blog, Torque, etc. but where / who do you turn to when you want a blog to read, or to learn something new?

Reply
Josh Pollock

Hi Roy

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Josh Pollock

There are a few people I go back to a lot.

Carl Alexander (carlalexander.ca/) is someone who I really credit with taking me from hacking PHP together to understanding how object-oriented PHP should be done. #carl2016

I also read a most of what Tom McFarlin writes his stuff is excellent. Pippin's tutorials have also been really useful to me.

I should also say that I read all of your Angular stuff and that's been super useful to me. I copypaste from your Github liberally as well. #thanksroy

Also, they write a lot less, but Chris Wiegman and Ryan McCue are really good at making complicated stuff very clear and I never miss what they write.

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Chris Flannagan

Carl's stuff is great!

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Josh Pollock

Hi Chris. #carl2016

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Roy Sivan

i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/422/585/b05.jpg

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Matteo Duò

That's genius... loved it :D

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Chris Wiegman

Pirates or ninjas?

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Josh Pollock

Pirates.

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Roy Sivan

Can you explain your reasoning for this. I find this fascinating.

Don't you find in this day and age with the REST API, ninja's have much more to gain, furthermore, they are becoming much more powerful. How do you reconcile that with the fact that Pirates are definitely the server side favorite and even that is moving towards a JS domination.

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Josh Pollock

I read this book like 10 years ago on the struggle against the rise of globalism on both sides of the Atlantic during colonial times in response to the way that industrialism subjugated the working class and gave rise to the slave trade.
www.amazon.com/The-Many-Headed-Hydra-Commoners-Revolutionary/dp/0807033170

The book has some really awesome chapters on how pirates practiced direct-democracy, and were an escape from the realities of being an under-paid and over-worked member of the mainstream economy at the time.

Also, I'm from Pittsburgh and was a huge pirates fan when I was a kid.

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Chris Wiegman

What's your favorite plugin that you didn't write?

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Josh Pollock

Hi Chris.

I try and put pull requests into all the plugins I use regularly, so it depends on your definition of "didn't write."

Hard question to answer, but I gotta say, I'm pretty enthused by Easy Digital Downloads and FooGallery and those are not mine. Also, I always use the FooBox for lightbox on images in posts, I really love that, the default way WordPress outputs images in posts is kind of silly, and a lightbox is a much better end-user experience.

Also, I'm going to be playing with this today: roots.io/improving-wordpress-password-security/

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Roy Sivan

Themes or Plugins?

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Josh Pollock

Plugins. Themes are over.

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Omaar Osmaan

Plugins is leading the WordPress, yes. But, why do you think Themes are over? Isn't new era is very near to Themes since REST API is on the way, and JavaScript powered Frontends are moving into mainstream (such as ReactJS)?

Will a combination of Plugins-and-Themes going to lead the future? Or, just the Plugins? Themes will be secondary?

BTW Josh, nice talking to you- :)

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Josh Pollock

I think that the WordPress templating system is super-powerful, but it is based around blogging, which is more and more not the case, and also it's dated in its approach.

Look, it's awesome how easy it is to get a simple WordPress site up and running. But if I were making websites for a living, which I'm not, I would be using a static HTML site and pulling in the dynamic content from a separate CMS, probably WordPress, via an API.

I'm pretty partial to Angular and on the server side, some of the Symfony micro-frameworks myself, but you have to evaluate tools on a per-project basis.

Yes, my sites are all using WordPress themes, beacuse I don't have budget to do them right.

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Omaar Osmaan

Understood! Thank you, Josh- :)

I'm kind of fascinated for the wider possibility ahead!

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Josh Pollock

Me too. I'm very excited to find out where it is all going:)

It's a great question you ask, I have awarded you several points for it, and while that's my opinion, I have no idea and could be totally wrong...

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Omaar Osmaan

Appreciate it- :)

You're right, upcoming formation still to be explored. The scope is so powerful a lots of current assumptions might turn into different shapes.

Time ahead will be very exciting that's for sure.

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Chris Wiegman

Mac or PC?

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Josh Pollock

Mac, but this is probably my last one. I've never disliked a computer as strongly as I dislike this one. That's saying a lot considering how much trouble my last Mac gave me.

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Roy Sivan

memeblender.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/internet-grandma-meme-pr-or-mac.jpg

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David McCan

Hi Josh,

I enjoy your articles. Thank you.

I'm pretty curious about the Pods project. It seems to have super potential, but I'm not sure if it has really gotten the traction. Can you offer any insights on that project and what you think it needs to rocket?

What is your favorite science fiction book of all time and your favorite that you read in the last year?

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Josh Pollock

Pods is awesome. It's a great plugin, and the community around it is awesome. I'm super grateful to Scott who gave me my first real WordPress job working on it. Why hasn't it had more traction? I can't really say. It's a project with a stated goal of never making money and always being free, so the priority has been on the plugin, the support and the documentation, as well as keeping the funding in place, not on growth. That's a very different approach to take than a company that needs growth to survive has.

I read the MaddAdam trilogy by Margaret Atwood earlier this year for the first time and loved it all, especially the third book. Favorite sci-fi book of all time is a harder question to answer, but it's probably something by Philip K. Dick or Octavia Butler.

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David McCan

I recently read The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi. I haven't read the The Maddaddam trilogy. I'll give it a try.

So you think Pods not getting the traction is more marketing (like a commercial project would have)?

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Josh Pollock

I'll have to check that book out. I'm on book two of the Expanse series right now, so I'm with book for awhile. I picked that up the day after the season finale of the TV show, couldn't get enough. That show is really good.

For me, moving from working on Pods to working on my own commercial ventures, it's totally different. With Caldera Forms and Ingot its all about growth, which means marketing and many other things.

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Scott Kingsley Clark

Yeah I would say there are two areas we are not sufficiently covering due to lack of funding, one is marketing -- we don't have enough time to really show off how great Pods is in ways that make it easier to understand for all levels of users and developers.

The other part I would say is that popularity begets even more needs. No one is rushing to go donate to a free plugin, Friends of Pods has really helped us over the past year raise enough funds to finally float above water. But if we picked up steam a ton before this point, I'm honestly thinking we would have tanked due to lack of time to handle ALL of the support requests coming in.

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Josh Pollock

Scott makes a really good point here. Pods' slow growth is good for Pods.

Earlier this year at CalderaWP we were putting out new plugins and adding new features to Caldera Forms left and right. And we could beacuse no one was really using our plugins yet. Now that we have 10 times the Caldera Forms users, we have way more support and Caldera Forms is running on way more sites for people to find new and interesting plugin/theme conflicts with.

I'm not complaining, the growth is good, I'm excited to grow 10x more, but growth isn't easy.

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Robby McCullough

Hey Josh. Love the answer on the Pirate question!

So, to extend on this one a bit, why would you encourage anyone to fund/donate to the Pods project? (Hopefully this is a softball). =)

Thanks!

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Josh Pollock

Thanks Robby. Many points for the pro-Friends of Pods softball.

I want to live in a world where making a really awesome open-source plugin, with free support, is possible and doesn't have to be monetized. As Scott and I addressed before, monetization means your focus is growth and that changes what you do.

WordPress.org's plugin/theme listings sort of have the donate concept in them, but they are not pushed hard beacuse part of the allure of WordPress is "look at all this free stuff I can get." That's helped grow the platform, but that growth is often a strain on all of us who put out all that free stuff, and are now dealing with an expectation of free support.

I'm not saying that dotOrg should be a monetization platform, but I think that since a model like Automattic has used to monetize their plugins, or the paid add-ons model doesn't work for everyone. So I really hope that we can find new ways to apply traditional and non-traditional ways of funding to plugins, themes and other services.

BTW pods.io/friends-of-pods If you're a Pods user, I think you should sign up. CalderaWP makes a monthly payment through the program every month, and I think it's worth it.

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Roy Sivan

I saw that you released a free version Ingot today, what made you decide to do that? Are you changing to a freemium model for your plugin? What are the differences between the free version and the previous paid version?

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Josh Pollock

Excellent question. Points awarded.

This new "lite" version we call Nugget (get it, a nugget from the ingot?) will be on WordPress.org soon. It will offer the same testing algorithm that works great on any WordPress site, and requires no math or analysis from you. It will be limited to one call to action test at a time.

We're doing this beacuse we want everyone to A/B test all the things and we believe that people who are new to A/B testing or have been scared off by more complicated platforms need to try it out. And we also want those who are used to the more complicated systems to have a chance to understand what is so different about Ingot.

The premium version that exists now is still available, though you will have the option to pay monthly as well as yearly. That includes unlimited tests and eCommerce integration. We also will have an option priced in between that adds an eCommerce integration for one platform -- Easy Digital Downloads, WooCommerce or Give.

Here is the announcement post for anyone playing a long at home:
ingothq.com/introducing-nugget/

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JazzFan Junkie

Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

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Josh Pollock

Neither. I strive to live me life as non-violently as possible, so I would avoid the fight. Also, I don't like my chances in either. I've seen angry ducks fighting before...

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Roy Sivan

www.funnypica.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Funny-Fight-Animals-Cat-vs-Dog-Fight.jpg

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JazzFan Junkie

Another one avoiding the question ;)

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Josh Pollock

When I said ask me anything, I didn't say I wouldn't give any evasive answers.

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Emily Schiola

Hey Josh,

I got one for ya, why did you decide to name your company Caldera WP?

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Josh Pollock

David Cramer is the lead developer of Caldera Forms, which predates CalderaWP being a company by almost a year. His brother gave him the idea to use the name Caldera and we adopted it for the plugin.

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David Cramer

Wow! 10 points for remembering my brother came up with it.

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Josh Pollock

I'm winning!

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Roy Sivan

roastroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/keep-calm-and-5-points-to-gryffindor.png

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Kyle Maurer

Hey man! So Ingot is looking amazing. What's the latest with that killer product bro and whatcha got cooking next?

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Josh Pollock

Hey Kyle. Ingot Nugget is what's next. It's the lite version of Ingot and it will be on WordPress.org soon

ingothq.com/introducing-nugget/

I am planning on cooking a mixed vegetable stir-fry with tempeh tonight for dinner. Not sure yet what the sauce and seasonings will be, but ask me for an update around 7 eastern and I'll let you know.

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M Asif Rahman Ⓦ

@Josh, do you speak Klingon?

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Josh Pollock

No. I'm really bad at learning spoken languages. Spanish is beyond my skill level, so I'm not messing with something as advanced as Klingon.

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Roy Sivan

i.imgur.com/QUBB36L.png

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Roy Sivan

Bacon?

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Josh Pollock

I'm a vegan, dude. You know this. Point deducted.

Fake bacon is terrible, I don't mess with that.

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Roy Sivan

i see another deceiving plan to try and trick you into becoming a meat eater again has failed!! blast!

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Josh Pollock

I WIN THIS TIME SIVAN! #thanksroy

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Roy Sivan

memesvault.com/wp-content/uploads/Bacon-Salad-Meme-02.jpg

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Nick Adams

Hi Josh.

Long time listener, first time caller.

My question is: What's the biggest mistake you ever made when coding something, how did you fix it, and what lesson(s) did you learn from it?

Also, who do you think would win in a fight: Chris Wiegman or Roy Sivan?

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Josh Pollock

Excellent question. Points awarded.

I've written so many wonderful bugs, it's hard to say which one was the best.

The one where I messed up the singleton pattern and made the get_instance method self-referential was pretty epic. So was the time I accidentally committed the HTML from an xdebug backtrace of another bug, so it kept popping up, even if I removed the file it was in, that was pretty epic.

Also, there was a beta of Ingot, that never selected an alternative variation was a single-variant testing tool. That was funny, but it also freaked me out beacuse I made sure all of the relevant unit tests past before committing that bug. It didn't make any errors, and produced totally valid HTML. It reminded me of the importance of proper QA and also the importance of dogfooding your own products.

As to your other question, I'm not sure. Never really evaluated either of their fighting skills. Chris is taller, and as a short person I assume that is a really powerful skill to have, so I'm going to have to go with Chris.

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M Asif Rahman Ⓦ

My question is how come you do so many thing, specially make so many amazing plugin, write detailed articles, and do even podcasting. How many hands do you have? Or do you use Minions? :D

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Josh Pollock

I bend time and space to my will. This has already been established, next question :)

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Josh Pollock

OK, couldn't resist, serious answer:

Thanks, that's a really kind thing to say. Many points awarded.

Honestly, I don't get as much done as I want, this bothers me but I try and practice forgiveness to all, especially me. I think as I get better at handing off more of the work that needs done to others I will feel better about it it. Also, I should learn how to type.

The people I do work with are really awesome and I'm constantly being complicated on their work, especially David Cramer's work on all things Caldera.

I don't really have an secrets besides the obvious -- sleeping well, eating quality foods without preservatives, drinking freshly ground, locally roasted coffee, keeping my coffee intake limited, not smoking the drugs or drinking, and having an awesome and supportive wife.

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M Asif Rahman Ⓦ

Thanks for the answer. But do you think if you could go back in past, you would focus on one thing and push more on that? Or you would do the way it is now?

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Josh Pollock

Maybe. I mean, that's sound advice and I would probably be a lot further along if I had. But that assumes I knew what that one thing was. Also, I think it's really great when I can hyper-focus on one thing, take it as far as possible, and then let it simmer sub-consciously while I hyper-focus on something else.

The power of sub-conscious thought, IE most of it, can't be overstated and I think a lot of my abilities comes from embracing that.

Right now, I'm focused on growing my businesses to the point where I'm just doing two things. Client work is fun beacuse I work for cool people, with fun projects, but it's a time sink. If I could just work on my own things than I would really be able to create output.

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Roy Sivan

If WordPress vanished tomorrow, what would you be your new go-to platform / stack / CMS / etc (i.e what would you be coding)?

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Josh Pollock

I dunno, Firebase is pretty cool. I read the getting started for Drupal8 the other day and that seems pretty awesome.

As much as I think Angular is cool, I really prefer to work in PHP, so probably Drupal8 or a some sort of Symfony based stack.

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Roy Sivan

www.quickmeme.com/img/e1/e178e5edfb4de3edab6cb982c701185b3ed5941bd4a14a45abe97320d50ee6ea.jpg

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Andrew Killen

Do you dress on the left or the right?
Cats or Dogs?
Coffee or Tea?
Playstation or X-box?
Beer or Wine?
Skateboard or Bike?
OOP or Functional?

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Josh Pollock

> Cats or Dogs?
2 cats one dog

> Coffee or Tea?
Both.

> Playstation or X-box?
We did have a PS2 back in the day, but my wife (who plays more than I do) and I are strongly pro xBox and currently we use an xBox One.

> Beer or Wine?
Sober.

> Skateboard or Bike?
Bike

> OOP or Functional?
OOP, but let's not get too high and mighty here, functional PHP is super useful.

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Josh Pollock

Would you like a sandwich from Sweat Pea Cafe?

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Josh Pollock

Yes, yes I would.

Be back in a bit y'all!

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Roy Sivan

i.imgflip.com/7lxq7.jpg

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Josh Pollock

It was the same type of sandwich as shown here:
github.com/pods-framework/pods/issues/2326

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Rachel Carden

Which plugin framework do you prefer? Personally, I'm fond of Genesis.

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Josh Pollock

I'm pretty fond of Genesis too.

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Roy Sivan

i.imgflip.com/105xdx.jpg

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Chris Wiegman

I'm just totally impressed that you use it for something other than themes.

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Josh Pollock

Chris, when you get to be as good at WordPressing as Rachel and I are, you'll be WordPressing everything with Genesis -- using it as a webserver, using it to issue SSL certificates -- oh you will WordPress all the things with Genesis.

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Chris Wiegman

You win the internet today.

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Donna Cavalier

Hi Josh. I often feel my small biz clients' pain as they struggle to understand why this thing called WordPress isn't as easy as they've been made to believe. And I'm really only referring to the kinds of things that small business site owners deal with on a regular basis, such as writing content. They expect the kinds of things that front end editors can give, but they are surprised to discover that out of the box, WP has no way to easily make nicely laid out content via the default editor.

So your thoughts on whether or not WP core development is focusing enough attention on this aspect, and along the same lines, what are your thoughts on front end editors (or back end, for that matter, but anything that makes content layout easy for the end user)? Should this remain the purview of plugins or should core be more focused on helping site owners create beautiful content?

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Josh Pollock

Short answer: yes.

When I was working on Lasso for Aesop, I was super into it, I was thinking "this is the new way." But slowly I went back to writing all of my content in Google docs like I always have. Maybe it is beacuse I am not a very visual person, but I want to focus just on getting my words right and worry about images and layout later.

That's me. I think in general front-end editing or some other type of type WYSIWYG is super-important. It's a wicked problem as every theme uses different markup so writing the JavaScript to make it work with any theme is not easy. Also how do you handle plugin metaboxes? What about custom fields?

Making a front-end editor for the title and content in the default theme is pretty simple. It's actually one of the things that I show how to do in my REST API course, but beyond that, things can really tricky.

Honestly, I think that it might be time to reimagine how themes work, or come up with an alternative way of handling the presentation layer of WordPress that has backed in support for front-end editors. That would allow this to stay plugin territory, but make it easier for lots of plugins to provide different types of WYSIWYG editors. That's important beacuse I think the root issue here is that there is no one true solution for every site and every user. WordPress core's job is to provide infrastructure and standards so we can make plugins and site-specific solutions that work for certain people.

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Nemanja Aleksic

What's the worst plugin you ever made?

What prompted you to give up on the glamorous and luxurious life of an environmental expert and start coding?

Did you say hi to Roy?

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Josh Pollock

Excellent questions. 3 points each.

Here is a dumb plugin I made before I realized that WP_Query etc has its own caching built in: wordpress.org/plugins/jpd2/ Fun name though, I should reuse that.

For the record I never had a job besides an internship in the world of environmental studies. I started writing a blog while I was in grad school using WordPress.com and I kept Googling "How to do X with WordPress" and realizing I needed self-hosted WordPress. So I started hacking my theme and well, it went down hill from there.

And of course, I've said Hi Roy today. Have you?

hiroy.club

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Josh Pollock

i.imgur.com/I6iRvn8.gif

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Rachel Carden

ng-if or ng-show?

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Josh Pollock

Almost always ng-if. ng-show/hide can be finicky. Fun fact, Angular has a minimal implementation of jQuery as Angular.element() so it's easy to hide/show in the ng-if callback. Angular.element() doesn't include jQuery.hide(), but I prefer jQuery( '#whatever' ).attr( 'aria-hidden', true ).css({ display:none, visibility:hidden }); which you can use with Angular.element()

docs.angularjs.org/api/ng/function/angular.element

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Roy Sivan

media.giphy.com/media/iXQ8SgaMQAgtq/giphy.gif

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Josh Pollock

Roy, what is "this" in the ng-if callback? Is it the DOM element or the controller? IE can I do: Angular.element( this )... to act on that DOM element?

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Ahmad Awais

Nice to have you here Josh!

— How much did you get paid to play T.J.Miller in the DeadPool movie, I can bet it's not him, it's you with long hair and you speak a lot like that :P (I mean ahmda.ws/1TRQPzb)

— Angular or React and why?

That's about it :)

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Josh Pollock

Two good questions, 4 point each.

— How much did you get paid to play T.J.Miller in the DeadPool movie, I can bet it's not him, it's you with long hair and you speak a lot like that :P (I mean ahmda.ws/1TRQPzb)
TJ Miller is pretty awesome, love that dude. Whether or not he and I are the same person or if I have ever impersonated him for money is not something I can talk about publicly... Just saying you've never seen me and TJ Miller in the same room at the same time.

-- Angular or React and why?
Angular. I read the docs for React and rolled my eyes. Maybe if I was working on projects that we way more JavaScript than PHP I'd have a different opinion. But, to me the whole JSX thing was a non-starter and the whole thing really just rubbed me the wrong way with its disrespect for the separation of concerns.

I'm also wary of adopting the Facebook way, when they are designing to solve problems of running a flying unicorn of a site. I don't have the problems they have.

Angular, I find to be simple, easy to learn and works really well for my needs, which is to have a very simple UI layer that connects via a REST API. Also the Angular AJAX is everything I wished for in jQuery.

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Ahmad Awais

Well, that's great. I started with ReactJS but after learning a little bit of Angular, I am already starting to agree with you.

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Josh Pollock

My opinion on React might be ignorant, as I've never actually used it. But AngularJS is just so cool. I do want to find an excuse to play with Ember.

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Ahmad Awais

Oh that's exactly what I think :)

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Borek Bernard

React is obviously the way forward, do you not see it? :) (Consider this a failed attempt to start a flame war.)

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alex vasquez

Hi Josh,I am fan. I hope to meet you one day, some day. I think you are pleasant with your words, your voice, and your code. Your hair is soft.

My AMA question is two parts: 1. Who has a trait you particularly like that you would like to have yourself and why? 2. Part two is below.

Now that you have it please do the following:
0. As I am a fan, I have produced this illustration of you. Do you like it?

dl2.pushbulletusercontent.com/O9c8fGUDKop2kg45KqJ4P9w1y3swOMmD/IMG_20160302_222541.jpg

1. Post it in your office and take a photo of it and share it with your followers.
2. Please take the photo I sent you here and tweet it back to me so that I have it. Thank you. Also, it needs to be the original resolution. Please and thanks.

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Ahmad Awais

@Alex. Too. Much. Awesomness.

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Josh Pollock

Thank you kind sir. Your comment about my hair is especially meaningful coming from you the man with the second best hair in all of the WordPress.

I will comply with your request about the picture if you promise to deliver the original to me next time we see each other in person, which I think will be WordCamp San Diego. Deal?

Amongst your silliness you ask one really good question, about what trait I admire in another person, which is very Alex Vasquez of you and a great question.

To answer your question, I'd have to say I admire my wife Alicia's intense determination to succeed in her career as an opera singer. She's unwaveringly focused on her goal, but she also manages to not let it consume her in a bad way -- she's stays kind and loyal to her family and friends and remains an awesome person without losing that determination.

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Mark Gavalda

Hey Josh, what happened to HoloTree and what did you (and what can we) learn from it?

And I lol'd so hard at this :) "Whether or not he and I are the same person or if I have ever impersonated him for money is not something I can talk about publicly... Just saying you've never seen me and TJ Miller in the same room at the same time." Classic TJ! Oh wait, I mean classic Josh..! :)

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Erik Blum

Hi Josh,

I just want to say thanks for the awesome CalderaWP forms plugin. I have been using it on several intranet sites and have been loving it from the day one.
Keep up the great work.

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