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Business | zao.is | Jul. 20, 2017

The WordPress Economy is Changing

Justin Sainton shares his thoughts on the shifting WP economy and what it means for businesses moving forward.

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The WordPress Economy is Changing

Business | zao.is | Jul. 20, 2017

Not too long ago, Post Status’ newsletter covering Rainmaker’s move from a SaaS product model to a service-only model served as the catalyst for a lot of conversation on Twitter. We saw the esteemed Brad Williams tweet this thought about the WordPress economy: Definitely seeing a slow-down in the WordPress economy this year, but not many people want to publicly admit it. From @post_status… pic.twitter.com/DdmDTWhLc8
And it sparked a conversation in the Zao Slack about the WordPress economy and how this impacts us, too.
Zao has been around for over a decade, and we’ve seen the WordPress economy grow and expand during that time. We’ve watched many amazing businesses pop up, incredible developers thrive, and observed the expansion of open-source software’s role in business and tech overall. So far, it has been a wild ride.
In some ways, the WordPress economy has slowed down, especially in the product space, and likely in the service space as well. More than anything, though, I believe this to be a correction, rather than a real dip in the WP economy.
WordPress has been booming for the last eight to ten years, with the last five being especially lucrative

Plugins | zao.is | Apr. 5, 2017

CMB2 Grows: Where Human Made, Zao, and WebDevStudios Meet - Zao.is WordPress Web Development

Zao is working with Human Made and WebDevStudios to give CMB2 ALL the love!

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CMB2 Grows: Where Human Made, Zao, and WebDevStudios Meet - Zao.is WordPress Web Development

Plugins | zao.is | Apr. 5, 2017

If you know WordPress, you certainly know CMB2. CMB2 is a developer’s toolkit for building metaboxes, custom fields, and forms for WordPress. It’s a thriving plugin, with over 100K active installs and a five star rating on WordPress.org and over 1500 stars on Github. CMB2 also happens to be flexible enough to be bundled in other projects (plugins/themes), and those installation numbers are unaccounted for. If you account for the plugins and themes which bundle CMB2, this number is truly astounding. After a long history of many contributors and iterations, three WordPress web development companies, Human Made, Zao, and WebDevStudios, are coming together to work on CMB2 and create its own Github organization.
Before we get into the details of that, though, let’s talk a little bit about where CMB2 came from and why we’re so excited about this development.
A brief WordPress plugin history
Jared Atkinson, Bill Erickson, and Andrew Norcross built Custom Metaboxes and Fields for WordPress. Our own JT took over from Jared a few years back. After working on it for awhile at WebDevStudios, WDS requested taking over the plugin. Version 1.0.0 was released not long after

10 min read Lizz Ehrenpreis
Business | zao.is | May. 31, 2017

Yes, You Should Pay Your Employees to Learn

I wrote about why you should pay your folks to learn--and how the WordPress community already has an edge re: learning on the job.

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Yes, You Should Pay Your Employees to Learn

Business | zao.is | May. 31, 2017

Many of the folks in the WordPress space have come up without a formal education (or without a tech specific education), and became successful through avid learning and self-motivation. John Hawkins is an excellent example of someone who paved his own path without a formal education: he founded 9seeds, is well-respected for his work with WordPress, and is now the Business Development Manager for WebDevStudios. Helen Hou-Sandí went to college for piano, not tech, and is self-taught in web development; she is the Director of Platform Experience at 10up. Lisa Sabin-Wilson, partner and COO of WDS, worked as a nurse before she heard about WordPress (when it was in its infancy). After further investigation, she dropped everything to make it her new career…and became the author of WordPress For Dummies and a force to behold in the WP space. Brad Parbs dropped out of college while studying computer science to make his own websites; he is currently a Senior WordPress engineer at Human Made.
Our own founder, Justin, funded Zao’s earliest days by working at Burger King, and now Zao is a burgeoning WordPress eCommerce and custom development agency that is experiencing an incredible

Development | zao.is | Feb. 8, 2017

What Developers Need to Know Before Offering Code Audits

Developers, if you've thought about offering code audits but aren't sure where to start, Justin has got you covered with what you need to ask, need to know, and how to price your code auditing services.

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What Developers Need to Know Before Offering Code Audits

Development | zao.is | Feb. 8, 2017

So, you’re a developer. You’ve thought about offering code audits, but maybe you haven’t had a clear idea of what your code audit should provide, why clients go seeking one, or how to price the service. In January, we covered the questions clients need to ask their developer before getting a code audit, and offered some guidance on how to vet their vendor. This time around, we’re going to cover the developer side of things: why clients seek code audits, what questions you need to be asking before you get started, and how code audits lay a good foundation for a future relationship with your clients.
Why Clients Look For Code Audits
Yes, of course, there’s a ton of information available on the internet, including all the information that a client could need regarding the basics of site performance and functionality. Most clients, however, either don’t have the time to do this research, or don’t have the technical expertise to make sense of it all.
When clients are coming to you asking about code audits and an assessment of their technology, they’re looking for your extensive knowledge that empowers you to look at their code, quickly parse

10 min read Lizz Ehrenpreis
Business | zao.is | Feb. 15, 2017

Zao: A Look Back at 2016 - WordPress eCommerce & Plugin Development

Zao looks back at their year, including the clients we worked with and the WordPress plugins they worked on (and how many were downloaded) in 2016.

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Zao: A Look Back at 2016 - WordPress eCommerce & Plugin Development

Business | zao.is | Feb. 15, 2017

Our small team more than doubled, we worked on several amazing projects, and we contributed back to open source, of course. Here’s a rundown of what we did and what we’re excited about moving forward. A 2016 Retrospective
The Zao Team
Team Zao grew considerably in 2016 – we more than doubled our staff size and even found some incredible contractors who have been an integral part of our success.
Full-time Staff
Mihai
In February, we hired Mihai Joldis as a full-time developer. Hailing from Romania, he leads the charge with many of our enhancements to WP eCommerce and is an invaluable engineer on many of our client projects as well. To top it all off, he provides excellent support to our growing customer base at wpecommerce.org.
The Other Justin
In May, we hired Justin Sternberg as a lead developer, staff sergeant, managing partner, and all around excellent human being. He leads many of our agency projects; clients pretty much love him the moment they start working with him. After less than a year on our team, we can’t imagine life without him.
Contractors
Lizz
Late last year, we had the good fortune of finding Lizz Ehrenpreis. Lizz is the only reason you’re

Development | zao.is | Jan. 25, 2017

What is the Discovery Phase & Why Do I Need It?

Justin Sternberg shares what the discovery phase is and why it matters. (Did you know that the United States is actually an example of massive scope creep?)

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What is the Discovery Phase & Why Do I Need It?

Development | zao.is | Jan. 25, 2017

If you are one of our potential clients, it’s likely that you have been around the block and have heard the term “discovery” more times than you can count. The discovery process is the first step taken in moving from a prospective client to an actual client; it’s the time when a professional digs in deep, asking pertinent questions and figuring out what the client is seeking. From what I can tell, this is becoming a standard in our industry. Why? Because building software (websites, apps, et al) is hard. One of our industry’s running jokes is that every project will be under-scoped and over-budget.
According to Hofstadter’s law, “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”
This truth is magnified when estimates are requested before understanding the entire scope of the work needing to be done.
There are actually many reasons projects go over budget or time — some positive and some negative:
A key requirement is missed during the requirements-gathering phase.
A simple line-item balloons into days of work (For example,”Import items through ACME API” turns into days of

Plugins | zao.is | Apr. 27, 2017

A Healthier Option Helps WordPress Users Improve the Options Table

Depending on the configuration of your server, your database, and your object cache, what WordPress intended to be a simple and relatively small table of options can turn into the culprit behind your site’s slow speed. Zao has created A Healthier Option to solve the problem.

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A Healthier Option Helps WordPress Users Improve the Options Table

Plugins | zao.is | Apr. 27, 2017

You may have noticed we’ve been covering a lot of plugins lately. What can we say? We’re doin’ work! We have yet another amazing plugin that we’d like you to meet, called A Healthier Option. A Healthier Option analyzes your options table and offers suggestions on how to make it healthier. Autoloading WordPress options
WordPress provides a way to autoload (or not) certain options. WordPress stores these autoloaded options in a big bucket, like an object cache that allows a user to say, “This is an option that needs to be available all the time.” To make it constantly available, the option is placed in the autoload bucket, making it easy for the user to access it without having to go to the database. The option is stored in memory and far less computationally expensive.
For a fantastic rundown on understanding alloptions in WordPress, take a peek at this article from our friend, John James Jacoby.
The problem
By default, most object cache buckets can be up to 1 MB. When it’s filled with a reasonable amount of data, that’s totally fine. However, when you’re talking about a lot of plugins with a ton of autoloaded options, the autoloaded

12 min read Lizz Ehrenpreis
Tutorials | zao.is | Sep. 21, 2017

How to Trouble Shoot Print Style Sheets: Common Problems & Solutions

Liz shares a bunch of troubleshooting solutions for print style sheets.

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How to Trouble Shoot Print Style Sheets: Common Problems & Solutions

Tutorials | zao.is | Sep. 21, 2017

If any of you have played around with a print style style sheet on a complex theme or site you might already be familiar with the fact that print CSS does not always operate the way you would expect or desire. If you have not yet experienced the familiar urge to ram your head through your computer screen, I hope to save you from that experience with a few tips and tricks I picked up while learning to troubleshoot print style sheets. Before we jump in, I want to ensure you’ve got some useful tools right off the bat to help set you up for success.
What you need
First, make sure you’re working on a browser that allows you to turn on a print emulator. This will make troubleshooting go a lot faster. However, be forewarned, while the print emulator shows the elements you will be printing and their style sheet rules, it does not necessarily visually represent perfectly what the printed page will actually look like. Frequently check your changes by either printing or viewing/downloading them as a PDF to confirm you’re getting the desired results. You will be sorely disappointed to get things pixel perfect in an emulator only to discover the printed result is vastly different.

Tutorials | zao.is | Aug. 7, 2017

Using the WooCommerce API with wp-api.js

Justin writes a WooCommerce API tutorial you need to read.

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Using the WooCommerce API with wp-api.js

Tutorials | zao.is | Aug. 7, 2017

As of WordPress 4.7, we’ve had a really fantastic, fully featured REST API in WordPress. It is relatively well-known that the infrastructure for the API was introduced in WordPress 4.4, with the content endpoints being introduced in 4.7. What is somewhat less well-known is that 4.7 also shipped with a Backbone.js client you can use to interface with the core API. It’s super simple to enqueue:
wp_enqueue_script( 'wp-api' );
Using it for core objects is pretty straight-forward:
var post - new wp.api.models.Post( { id : 2 } );post.fetch();alert( post.attributes.title.rendered ); // Renders "rendered" title of post.
But what if you want to use it with non-core objects that are in custom namespaces, or maybe not even on your own site? Thinking that you’ll probably have to write some PHP, maybe your own library or framework for interfacing with these, and your own JS models? Ugh, amirite?
Good news! None of that is necessary.
Because of how well-architected the Backbone.js client is (massive shoutout to Adam Silverstein and all the other contributors), you can pretty easily access your custom endpoints and namespaces without writing much code at all. It can be

Business | zao.is | Mar. 1, 2017

Why You Pay a Premium for Web Development Retainers

Web development retainers are about more than just hours. The value isn't just time, but expertise, access, and technical partnership. Justin shares his perspective on retainers and why they're worth it.

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Why You Pay a Premium for Web Development Retainers

Business | zao.is | Mar. 1, 2017

When folks think about hiring a service provider, they’re usually looking for help achieving one particular goal. Whether it’s hiring a lawyer to draft a will, a contractor to remodel your kitchen, or a developer to build your website, the goal is to finish one specific project and set you up for future success on your own.
But what if you know you’ll need ongoing support from your chosen provider? What if you think this project isn’t the only thing you’ll need their expertise on?
That’s when you want a retainer.
What’s a retainer?
A retainer is a fee paid in advance to a service provider to secure their services. People most often associate retainers with lawyers, but all kinds of service providers offer retainer accounts, including developers. While a developer can build your site and send you on your way, retaining a developer’s services on a long-term basis is a fantastic way to make sure your technology is being handled by an expert as your business grows.
How web development retainers help you
Most developers offer a broad variety of services: building and designing websites, building apps, conducting code audits, debugging code,

11 min read Lizz Ehrenpreis
Editorials | zao.is | Sep. 14, 2017

My Thoughts on Gutenberg

Justin Sainton shares his thoughts on Gutenberg. Check it out.

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My Thoughts on Gutenberg

Editorials | zao.is | Sep. 14, 2017

We’re in an incredibly exciting time in the development of WordPress as a platform: the REST API is in core, we’re imagining a new JavaScript-driven future for WordPress, and we’re in the early stages of development of a new editor for WordPress, Gutenberg. As one might expect, anytime major changes happen in open source software, hot takes abound! While my take isn’t necessarily as hot (I highly recommend each of those posts!), I’d like to share some of my observations on the community reaction to the process of introducing Gutenberg to WordPress.
This post is not a feature-by-feature review of Gutenberg. Any of the posts linked to above do a far better job of that than I could hope to. Rather, I’d like to explore the general sense of animus this project has seemed to introduce into our community – and if possible, I’d like to explore that without pointing any fingers.
Gutenberg is a good thing
Gutenberg is a great step forward. Truly. It’s not “there” yet, wherever “there” is, but it’s better than what we’re used to. It’s so easy (especially as developers!) to approach these grand new ideas

Development | zao.is | Sep. 28, 2017

Quickbooks and WooCommerce: It Was Only a Matter of Time

JT shares how he got WooCommerce and Quickbooks to work together for one of our awesome clients.

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Quickbooks and WooCommerce: It Was Only a Matter of Time

Development | zao.is | Sep. 28, 2017

At Zao, one of our passions is building modular tools that solve client problems, and (our favorite part) releasing them to the public. We were tasked with integrating QuickBooks Online with WooCommerce for one of our super rad clients, Brooklyn Tweed. Specifically, Brooklyn Tweed needed to be able to create QuickBooks invoices every time a manual wholesale order is generated (sidenote: If you’re familiar with WooCommerce, you know there is no such thing as a manual wholesale order [yet], but stay tuned for a future blog post and plugin release).
Naturally, the first step was to look for a WooCommerce/QuickBooks plugin. It might surprise you, as it did me, to find that there is not much available. Sure, there are a few SAAS options available, but nothing looked quite plug and play for what our client needed and wanted.
So, the next step was to look for a WordPress QuickBooks plugin. I found what looked like a perfect fit, only to be met by the requirement for a “Cartpipe account,” which looked to be another SAAS solution. I checked it out anyway, only to be met with:
As any good developer would do, I continued the hunt for existing tools that we could commandeer for

Plugins | zao.is | Apr. 20, 2017

Zao Mock API: A WordPress Plugin for Testing API Responses - Zao.is WordPress plugin development

We know you like handy WordPress plugins, so we've created another! Introducing Zao Mock API. Now you can mock/test API responses from your WordPress site with ease. Check out JT's breakdown and see how it works.

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Zao Mock API: A WordPress Plugin for Testing API Responses - Zao.is WordPress plugin development

Plugins | zao.is | Apr. 20, 2017

Right now, REST API usage is at an all-time high, especially now that WordPress, which powers 27% of the web, has its own REST API. And it makes absolute sense. There are so many great services and data sources in the world wide web, and there has been a need for those sites/services to “talk” to each other for almost as long as the web has been a thing. REST APIs have long been a subject we are passionate about at Zao. If you’re not familiar with REST APIs, I recommend doing some reading, and bookmark this article (and plugin) for later.
With the growing usage of REST APIs, there has been an increased offering of tools for testing and working with them. There are some great tools for making REST requests (Paw, Insomnia, Postman) for testing APIs you are building, as well as tools for generating test/sample REST responses (Mocky) for testing API clients.
We’ve created Zao Mock API, a WordPress plugin which falls in the latter category and enables quickly mocking/testing APIs by sending query params to your WordPress site. Simply make a GET/POST/PUT/etc request to <site_url>?mock_api=1. Inspired by Mocky, this plugin was built to allow us (and now you!)

Editorials | zao.is | Apr. 12, 2017

The Importance of Generosity and Gratitude in Business - Zao.is WordPress Plugin and eCommerce Development

Are generosity and gratitude a part of your business? Liz shares her experience with generosity and gratitude in her working life and why she thinks they're so crucial to success.

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The Importance of Generosity and Gratitude in Business - Zao.is WordPress Plugin and eCommerce Development

Editorials | zao.is | Apr. 12, 2017

There are billions of books, articles, journals, and thoughts about how to run a successful business and be the most profitable. Search “run a good business” in Google and you get 441,000,000 hits. Clearly, a lot of people have a lot to say about this, yet there isn’t enough time in a lifespan to cover it all. While I’m by no means an expert in the business realm, I’m a small business employee and I have a tangible experience and perspective in the job market. So, naturally, I do have my own two cents on the subject. Generosity and gratitude can have one of the most profound effects on your business, beyond what is easily measurable.
I’m not the first person to value generosity and gratitude in business. I’m not going to convince you through research, metrics, and data on why generosity and gratitude are so important. You can look to In the Company of Givers and Takers and The Business Value of Gratitude for that. Instead, I want to share two stories on how they have directly impacted me. I’m sure my experience is not unique, and my hope is that you’ll be connected to your own experiences with generosity and gratitude.
Generosity

Development | zao.is | May. 24, 2017

Learning JavaScript Through Game Building: Let's Play Yahtzee!

If you're learning JavaScript, keep it fun. Liz talks about how building a fun game helped her level up her coding skill set.

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Learning JavaScript Through Game Building: Let's Play Yahtzee!

Development | zao.is | May. 24, 2017

Recently, I shared some of my thoughts about what I wish I had known when I first started developing. The time came to take some of my own advice and put it into practice. I’m trying to level up my front-end developer skills, and I needed to improve upon my JavaScript skills. I signed up for a free trial at Treehouse and jumped into learning JavaScript. Right off the bat, I was super encouraged. Professionally, I haven’t done anything in JavaScript. We have experts on our team and they handle our JavaScript work. Yet when I stepped into the courses, I was surprised by how much I knew. I found myself pausing the tutorials, working ahead to execute what I knew they were about to show me, and then let them confirm that I did things correctly. This was a huge affirmation to me that even though I had not been actively learning this language, broadening my foundation paid off and I was a lot faster, more accurate, and more understanding of the material than I expected.
The course starts with the JavaScript basics. My abilities were beyond that, so I could have opted to skip ahead, but I didn’t (and I’m glad). There were a few holes in my understanding that were filled

Business | zao.is | Sep. 7, 2017

A Few Ways Project Managers Support The Discovery Process

Project Managers can make your Discovery process even easier. I wrote about how I support my team during Discovery.

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A Few Ways Project Managers Support The Discovery Process

Business | zao.is | Sep. 7, 2017

We’ve talked about the importance of the discovery phase before, and now we’re here to share the role of a project manager during this endeavor. Your development team plays a crucial role in the process of discovery. They’ll handle digging into the existing technology, researching tools and methodologies that will ultimately be a part of the project, and strategizing the best way for the project to get done. At Zao, we make sure to dig into the client’s short and long term business goals. We lay a solid foundation not just for an immediate technological upgrade, but for our client’s long-term success as well (particularly as their company grows).
You may think your project manager won’t have a major role in discovery, but that’s all wrong! Having a solid PM on your team can help elevate the process, making sure you have all the info you need to catch red flags, scope appropriately, and manage the details.
The basic project management stuff
While your discovery phase may look a bit different than your typical project, it still is a project!
Your project manager can handle tasks for discovery, which can include everything from scheduling meetings,

Tutorials | zao.is | Mar. 22, 2017

How to Use wp.template, WordPress' Underscore.js Template Method

Justin Sternberg wrote up a nifty little tutorial on how to use WordPress' Underscore.js Template Method, wp.template.

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How to Use wp.template, WordPress' Underscore.js Template Method

Tutorials | zao.is | Mar. 22, 2017

Like many developer agencies, we have a few different audiences, including clients (current and prospective) and other developers. Our aim is to serve all of our audiences, who fall on a broad spectrum of technical knowledge. Even if you’re not a professional developer, we know that many of you still educate yourselves on the technology used on your site–and we want to help! If there’s anything we cover that you don’t understand (or anything you’d like to see us cover that’s WordPress related, even 101!), please let us know. There are no stupid questions. That said, let’s dive into something fun: WordPress’ Underscore.js Template Method, wp.template.
If you’re not yet familiar, wp.template() is a cool little JavaScript utility method that is provided with the WordPress core ‘wp-util’ script. At its core, it uses the Underscorejs .template() method.
WordPress uses this utility to load templates for all of the backbone views, but backbone is not required to use it. First, I’ll demonstrate using wp.template() with a little jQuery in order to output some JavaScript data into an HTML template, then later as a bonus,

Business | zao.is | Mar. 15, 2017

So You Want to Hire a Contractor... (Part 1) - Zao.is WordPress Plugin Development

If you're an indie developer or running a small agency, you may find yourself overwhelmed with work...but not able to bring on a full time helping hand. That's when it's time to hire a contractor. Lizz shares how you can get started.

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So You Want to Hire a Contractor... (Part 1) - Zao.is WordPress Plugin Development

Business | zao.is | Mar. 15, 2017

If you are running a small development or design agency (or working solo, but looking to grow), you may wonder when you’ll be able to actually hire employees. Hiring a team–even one person–can be intimidating. You may be worried about taxes, whether you can afford it, or how you’re going to find someone who is a good fit. You might be panicking at the amount of work you have piling up while knowing it simply is not possible to hire a team member and offer them the full benefits of a regular employee. You know you need additional hands on deck, but you’re not sure you can start fleshing out a team of full time employees
That’s when it’s time to hire a contractor.
Getting started
One of the easiest ways to find someone who is a good fit is an obvious one: ask around. It’s likely someone in your industry has a solid lead on who can help you out.
You can contract for whatever help is needed the most.
Here are a few things I’ve seen developers hire contractors for in the past:
Development
Design
Social media management
Content management
Writing
Customer service
Tech support
Project management
Virtual assistance
Word of mouth is a great

Business | zao.is | Aug. 18, 2017

So You Want to Hire a Contractor (Part 2)

Here's part II on how to hire a contractor to help you with your business.

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So You Want to Hire a Contractor (Part 2)

Business | zao.is | Aug. 18, 2017

Awhile back we covered the initial stages of hiring a contractor and now, we’re back to dive into part two of what you need to know. This time, we cover some basic logistics around payment, documents, and communication. Getting on the same page
If you’ve found a contractor you like, you’ll want to make sure you’re on the same page. That not only applies to start dates and payment, but the actual logistics of bringing them onboard.
Before they get started (or within the first week of when you’re starting), have a kick off meeting that covers the logistics below.
Ideally, you’ll have all of the paperwork you need saved in a folder in advance (organization is key!), so you can easily send copies to them before they start work. Then, the kick off meeting to cover the ins and outs of the work itself, as well as focus on your deliverables timeline.
Project management
As we all know, it’s easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. When you’re working with a contractor, especially if you do not have a designated project manager, knowing how they’re going to report to you and track deliverables is crucial.
Hopefully, you asked what kind

Tutorials | zao.is | May. 3, 2017

How to Save a Backslash () to CMB2 Meta Fields - Zao.is WordPress Plugin Development

Oh snap, it's a tutorial on everyone's favorite plugin, CMB2! JT wrote up a quick how-to on saving backslashes to CMB2 meta fields.

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How to Save a Backslash () to CMB2 Meta Fields - Zao.is WordPress Plugin Development

Tutorials | zao.is | May. 3, 2017

Recently, we had a user request that their backslashes be preserved when saving their CMB2 fields. Typically, when a user wants non-standard sanitization, our canned response is to use the provided field parameter sanitization override, 'sanitization_cb'. If you’re not aware of this field parameter (and it’s cousin, 'escape_cb'), let me explain a bit. By default, CMB2 does quite a bit of heavy-lifting for you when it comes to sanitizing your users’ input, as well as escaping that value for proper display. This is just one of the aspects of CMB2 that I appreciate; that I don’t have to “think” about the sanitization/escaping of my fields.
“It just works.”
Except, of course, when it doesn’t.
There is no way CMB2 can adapt to every scenario developers may use it for, and until AI has fully commandeered our society, I don’t foresee that happening. In the meantime, we built a way to handle those edge-case scenarios on your own.
Yep, that handy override has existed in CMB2 for over four (!) years, but it is a bit obscure, because, fortunately, you’ll almost never need it.
Back to the issue at hand. As I mentioned, this particular

Plugins | zao.is | Apr. 18, 2017

Zao Adopts Asset Queue Manager

We've adopted Asset Queue Manager! It's an amazing WordPress plugin that we've taken over, and we're stoked about it.

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Zao Adopts Asset Queue Manager

Plugins | zao.is | Apr. 18, 2017

You’ve already heard our good news about CMB2…but wait, there’s more! We recently adopted Asset Queue Manager, a WordPress plugin that allows experienced front-end performance engineers to take control over the scripts and styles enqueued on their site(s). About Asset Queue Manager
AQM is a well-liked and regarded plugin built by a developer from the UK named Nate Wright.
When plugins are bad citizens, they enqueue their assets everywhere on the front-end, which means their style sheets and JavaScript files are loaded everywhere, regardless of where they need to be. AQM allows you to manage whether or not those assets are actually enqueued. It’s a fantastic tool based on a great idea, and it has a really cool UI.
How we got involved
We started using AQM for the Cancer Tutor site. The homepage was taking five or six seconds to load (which as I’m sure you know, is just terrible). Justin looked at all the assets being loaded (WooCommerce, Google Maps plugin, etc.) and quickly realized that many of those weren’t needed on the front of the site. Zao used AQM to dequeue those assets and brought the homepage load time down to one and a half seconds.
AQM

Business | zao.is | Mar. 9, 2017

Yes, You Want Your Business Site on WordPress - Zao WordPress web development

Why should businesses integrate with WordPress? The benefits, obviously! I share why you want your business on WP.

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Yes, You Want Your Business Site on WordPress - Zao WordPress web development

Business | zao.is | Mar. 9, 2017

WordPress is powering more than a quarter of the web, but many businesses have shied away from taking the leap. Overhauling an entire site to move to a new content management system (CMS) can be intimidating. Businesses have a wide variety of concerns that prevent them from making such a big technology shift–even if the shift would be beneficial in the long-term. There are also a wide variety of myths surrounding what WordPress does and how it can benefit a business (or, rather, how it won’t). I’m here to give you a few reasons that you want your business site on WordPress:
WordPress isn’t just for blogging
Although those of us in the WordPress industry already know this to be true, there are a lot of non-WordPress folk who still believe WP is just for blogging. Many of them aren’t even clear of what WordPress is.
WordPress provides all kinds of opportunities for your entire site, and it’s not just a place to host thoughts scribbled in a blog. Whether you want a member site, an e-commerce store, or a sleek, beautiful design to represent your company, WordPress can do all of that–and more. Since WordPress is endlessly advancing and changing,

10 min read Lizz Ehrenpreis
Development | zao.is | Nov. 2, 2017

Sublime Text 3: Tips and Tricks for Performing Editor Magic

JT shares his tips and tricks for making magic with Sublime Text 3.

zao.is |

Sublime Text 3: Tips and Tricks for Performing Editor Magic

Development | zao.is | Nov. 2, 2017

You’ve likely heard that Sublime Text 3 was officially released, after over four years of being in beta. It’s also likely that, if you’re a savvy Sublime Text user, you’ve been using the beta for almost as long. In case you haven’t been, or are not a Sublime Text user at all, I definitely encourage you to try it out. Sublime Text is nagware, which means you can try it for free for as long as you want, as long as you don’t mind closing the nag on a regular basis. The last four years have brought incredible improvements, which are far too many to list, even for the release post which states:
I wanted to highlight some of the changes from Sublime Text 2 here, however it’s surprisingly hard: virtually every aspect of the editor has been improved in some way, and even a list of the major changes would be too long. If you’d like to see the full list of changes, the team has made a dedicated page for them.
One of my absolute favorite updated features include “Goto Definition,” which allows quickly navigating to the source of a function/method/etc. Sublime Text is not a full IDE, but little touches like this bring it that much closer.

11 min read Lizz Ehrenpreis
Plugins | zao.is | Mar. 28, 2017

Zao Collaboration with Qpractice

Zao built a bunch of cool custom dev plugins and tools for Qpractice.

zao.is |

Zao Collaboration with Qpractice

Plugins | zao.is | Mar. 28, 2017

One of Zao’s goals includes taking on complex projects that require in-depth strategy. We don’t want to merely solve problems, but add value to the technology our clients are using. We take a boy scout approach to the work we do: Always leave the campground cleaner than we found it. This means not only cleaning up what messes we may find when we arrive, but ensuring our clients have sustainable technology that benefits them in the future.
We recently had the pleasure of completing an initial phase with Qpractice, a website built to help interior designers prepare for the NCIDQ exam. So far it has been a complex, but extremely exciting collaboration with Lisa League, designer and founder of Qpractice. We’re here to share what we’ve done so far, and soon, we’ll be sharing some thoughts from Lisa herself, too!
What Qpractice Does
The NCIDQ exam is an interior design licensing and certification test offered in the US and Canada. According to Lisa, it tends to be commercially oriented, with a focus on health, safety, and welfare. It tests designers on their understanding of necessary codes and regulations, making sure they can demonstrate their understanding