WPMUDev published my latest story, “Progressive Web Apps: How They’ll Change Your WordPress Business.” If you’ve ever thought that you really should make your website more mobile-friendly, but thought that was too expensive, or too much work, I give you some reasons to change your mind.

Mobile Web This story is less about WordPress than an argument for more website owners and devs to build progressive web apps, especially for their mobile users. I’m now working on a sequel to help developers build PWAs with WordPress.

A lively discussion has ensued in the comments section. This warms my heart.

Speaking of which: What would you like to know about progressive web apps? Is this another flash-in-the-pan technology? What’s your biggest peeve with the web on your phone or tablet?

Comment here, or at WPMUDev.

Also on:

I’ve got a new tutorial on Elasticsearch up at WPMUDev. If your WordPress site is incredibly large, and your users complain about it being difficult to use search to find things, this cloud-based search tool can speed things up.

You’ll learn how to set up Elasticsearch and configure two plugins (ElasticPress and Fantastic Elasticsearch) to connect your site to the search engine.

Using Local by Flywheel

Preparing tutorials and plugin reviews like this one can be hard, what with switching things in and out to see what works, and how. I’ve been using the new free development site builder from hosting company Flywheel, called Local. They use VirtualBox to create a virtual machine for WordPress. After installation, you can set up any number of WordPress sites. Big plus: When you launch any of your configured sites in a browser, you login with the credentials you provide to Local. When you’re done with your testing, just delete the site and get on with your next project.

Local is an interesting product and easy to play with. While it really was created for plugin developers to see how their tools work in a real environment, it’s good for folks like me who like to test a variety of other people’s themes and plugins too.

LocalFlywheel.png
Setting up WordPress test sites is easy with Local by Flywheel

By the way, I’m always looking for new WordPress story ideas. If there’s something you’d like to learn about WordPress, leave a public comment here or use the Contact page to connect privately. I aim to answer all emails I get through the website.

Hey folks, my latest WPMUDev blog story posted over the weekend. It’s a summary and preview of HelpHub, the upcoming home for WordPress.org’s user documentation site.

WordPress logo blue
WordPress logo blue (Wikipedia)

I really enjoyed writing this, as it combines two of my primary interests, WordPress and technical communication. I also got to poke around both the Documentation team’s area on Make.WordPress, and its Slack channel. Yes, I somehow found that fun.

What is HelpHub?

HelpHub has been in the pipeline as a potential replacement for the WordPress Codex since 2015, and the project is (at last) nearing the finish line. The hope is that HelpHub is more like other knowledge bases, a bit more useful to the average WordPress user, and will be easier to search.

The HelpHub Staging site
The HelpHub Staging site

The team could always use some help, so if you have some technical writing skills (and I know you’re reading this!) and some volunteer time to share, click that Documentation Team link in the second paragraph.

I am looking forward to seeing this new documentation site go live in 2018, even if I’ll miss the Codex just a little bit.

Next up: ElasticSearch

In the next couple weeks, I’ll have a tutorial in WPMUDev on enabling ElasticSearch on WordPress. ElasticSearch is a faster, more effective search engine than the default WP search. I’m playing with it now.

Have a few choice words about the current state of WordPress documentation? What would you like to see in the new HelpHub? Anything I  should know about ElasticSearch before I write this story? Feel free to drop a comment here. Try to keep it clean, though!