Podcast E116 – Listener Q/A

kswp-e62This week I answer some listener questions

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:  Listener Questions

  • What is .htaccess?  Resource –> htaccess guide
  • Creating a Child Theme from an already modified Parent Theme.
  • What is the best language to learn?

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

Adam: This is The Kitchen Sink WP podcast episode 116.

[Opening Theme]

Adam: Well, hello there everybody this is Adam Silver the host of The Kitchen Sink WP podcast, thanks for being here, let's get started.

First and foremost, upcoming events. Next weekend we have WordCamp Minneapolis. It is sold out. I wish I could go, I know people who will be there, actually, but it's sold out. Like I always say, check out social media to see if you can score a ticket that way. Often times people can't go last minute, so do that.

What else is coming up? Oh, yeah. Work camp Orange County tickets go on sale the 17th, that is tomorrow after the day that this comes out. May 17th at noon Pacific standard time. I don't know what that is in GMT, maybe GMT+8. Anyway, they sell out fast so if you're going to be in the Orange County, Southern California area, they will sell out very quickly so check that out. 12 noon PST, WordCamp Orange County.

Finally, upcoming events. Not WordPress relate, but just more personal I want to share. Michael's Learning Place is having their annual luncheon. It's where my wife works, it's a non-profit. It's an after school program for children and adults with disabilities, we're very fond of it and I just want to put it out there. If you're in the area and you want to support Michael's Learning Place, it's where I host my meetup once a month, by all means swing by. mychals.org. Is it mychals.org? mychals … I'll double-check. You'd think I would know. mychals.org, M-Y-C-H-A-L-S dot org, there'll be a link in the show notes. You can donate any way you want. You don't have to come, just donate if you want. It'd be awesomely appreciative of that. Anyway, so that's coming up as well. Oh, and finally of course. Our meetup is here this Thursday if you're in Southern California area. The 19th of May is the Southern California South Bay WordPress meetup.

Okay, so what else? Moving along here, segment one. Oh, in the news so .blog is coming. It's the new top level domain dot B-L-O-G and it was won by the one and only Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, so that's kind of cool. If you want to get yourname.blog or youridea.blog it's going to be coming out shortly, I think later this year. Pricing on the registration has not been revealed just yet, but it should be, I would imagine, what I've read, in the same price points that most other domains are available as well. Top level domains. Okay. You know, there are over a thousand TLDs, just so you know, so .blog will be another one. All right, so we're going to move on to segment two, but before we do that I want to thank this week's sponsor. That is Harvester Solutions and they've sponsored me for, and I appreciate them doing it again, it's Steven Harvey over there at Harvester.

If you need help setting up and optimizing relevant social media channels for your business or a social media dashboard to insure easy monitoring of engagement of the audience that you're trying to get out to and the word of what your product is and/or you want just an analysis of your company website and to maximize the social media aspect of it, check them out. They're over at harvestersolutions.com and they are … Well, you know Steven. He's awesome. He does really good work. I refer people to him. I've used them myself so I just want to say thanks to Harvester Solutions for sponsoring this week's episode. Okay, that's it for that. Moving along, segment two. This week we're doing listener Q&A. Actually, two listener Q&As and one student question which was in class last week. I thought it was pretty good and relevant to have on this episode so here we go. Oh, and one of them I couldn't use the audio, there was a lot of static and I couldn't understand part of the question. I emailed her back, the accent, so anyway.

First question was this. Nicole asks, “What is the .htaccess file and what does it do and how do I use it?” Not that hard of one so I looked it up just to make sure that actual definition. The .htaccess is a directory level configuration file. It's supported by multiple web servers, typically Apache, so if you're running nginx or if you're running IIS on the Windows side of things it's a different file name but does the same kind of thing, so keep that in mind. It might not be called .htaccess, I don't know what it's called in nginx. Somebody might write in, that's fine. First and foremost, it just allows configuration to the file. The definition from Wikipedia: A directory-level configuration file supported by several web servers, used for configuration of site-access issues, etc. Okay, common uses. Redirects, 301s, 302s. Very simple to do. You can block access. Actually, you can block or you can give access to certain sites … Certain directories. Excuse me, not sites, but directories.

That's really important because if you want people to be able to login and not login or bots trying to hack your site, you can actually add an .htaccess file to every directory, if you really wanted to, to limit what people have access to see. You can do custom errors pages for better SEO. These are just a couple common uses that I wanted to look up and share with you for Nicole. I hope that helps you. The custom error pages for SEO, you can have if it's a 404 Page Not Found or a 500, you can actually modify what's shown on that screen so that way when that page is indexed it'll make more sense to the engine that's searching it to begin with. If that makes sense at all, I think that makes sense. Anyway, so check that out. That is the common uses. There are other uses as well, you can actually write some other code on the .htaccess, but it's beyond what I've ever done with it.

I've just used it to allow certain domains — IP addresses and ranges — access to a server because if you keep getting hit by a particular country code I just lock those out. You can do it right from there. Again, common uses. Redirects, 301s, 302s, blocking access or giving access and actually password protecting directories as well. That's it for Nicole's question. Orianna, here's the one that I went back and forth a couple of times. Orianna asks, “How do I create a child theme from an already customized parent theme?” Well, it's best practice to use a child theme and I'm happy to hear that you're going to do that. Of course, you adopted … Not adopted. You inherited the site that had already been modified so that's a problem and I was trying to figure out, is there a way — and I tested it and it doesn't work — you can't just go create, even with the plugin to my knowledge, you cannot create a child theme from the plugin and have it just move it over.
It's not cloning the theme so technically what you need to do is — this is not the best news from my perspective — you need to get a copy of the original theme itself. Ideally, you can find a copy of the clean original theme. Then, through a diff checker … Actually, I use a diff checker all the time when I need to compare code. It's called diffchecker.com. You're going to go through and find the files, copy and paste the code. On the left side is the original and on the right side is, let's say, the live site. One file at a time, or just ideally better situation to be that the previous dev or someone has notes in comments somewhere so you can get a better ballpark. Is it just .css, functions.php, header.php, footer.php? That really is, the moment, the best, cleanest and safest way to do it in my opinion because to the top of my head I don't know — and I've done some research for you — if there is a better way.

If there's anyone out there that has a comment on this, by all means leave it in the show notes, in the comment section for this post. I would love to share that, or to myself, I'm not all knowing, but that's how I would do it to make sure that I was actually getting what I needed to get things back over to the child theme. Then, what you do once you know the differences, you of course then add that difference to the new child theme that you created. Then, when the main theme gets updated you don't lose your changes. Okay, so there you. I will also put a resource about the … Actually, that's from the previous thing. I messed up my notes. Just so you know, I'll put a resource on the .htaccess file up in the notes as well. Nicole gets .htaccess, Orianna got child theme information.

The third question here, this is a little bit longer one. Kevin, one of my students, he asked me recently, “What's the best language to learn and where should I learn it and how much can I make?” Kevin, first and foremost, I'm a believer that you shouldn't choose a career solely for the money. I think it's kind of … It's not the best way to approach what you want to spend your days-in/days-out doing. My opinion, and that can be an entire podcast in it's own right, but that said, if you have the desire to learn code you can make a good living. By all means, yes, we know this is true. The question is what do you want to do? What area of focus? You know? I looked it up to see, to help you out with this answer — there'll be links in the show notes — but if let's say if you're interested in writing apps for the iPhone, Objective-C. If you want to do client side for website, html. Mark-up language.

For presentations, you know, the .css side of things. JavaScript would be client side, to manipulate the html .css, jquery. C++, high performance in graphics and video games. It just really depends what you want to do with your day. You're also asking how much can you make and as of 2016 the average developer salary in the US kind of breaks down this way. Another popular language right now is Swift, the Swift language. Looks like you can make about $115,000 a year. Python and Ruby $107k, C++ $104K, Java and C $102k, JavaScript $99k, C $94K, SQL $92, and php $89k. Those are the top nine. Put them off of every port I found for you. I just want to tell you that, again, figure out what it is you want to do, what you want to focus your energy and then go that route. That's my advice that way. Also, keep in mind. When you're learning the code there's a progression, there's “feelings”. Developers and designers in any profession, you're going to have a mixed feeling as you go through the progression of learning this new skill.

They're broken down like the “I know nothing” phase which is obviously, something's new. Nothing's easy. That becomes the “It's starting to make sense phase”. Then, “I'm invincible. I can do everything. I feel like I can accomplish all challenges given to me.” Then, of course, the “I know nothing phase” part 2. Which is, you realize development is way more complex and you begin to doubt your own ability. Then, finally “I know a little bit and that's okay. I'm still willing to learn” and that's awesome because then you really open yourself up to learning and getting mastery. It's that whole 10,000 hours … Is it 10,000 hours? I think it's 10,000 hours until you're a master at something. I hope that answers your question. Again, don't just get hung up on the money. My opinion. Do not just hustle for the money. Hustle because you want to learn and the money will follow. Honestly. Good work gets paid well. As simple as that. Okay, so I hope that answers the question. I think it's a good question. Code is awesome, I wish I was fluent in code in general. I know enough to be dangerous, but developers are awesome and just go that route if you want to.

Segment three: Tip and Tool of the week. I've been talking to someone from my meetup and also a client, two different people. Both have restaurants and they're looking for help with their menus and ironically enough just last week I got a link somewhere … I saw this somewhere. It's called MotoPress. It's a restaurant menu plugin and it looks like it's free. It's a free WordPress plugin for restaurants. I'll put a link in the show notes. It's for online menus and marketing of your brand of the restaurant side of things. Check that out, it's over at getmotopress.com and like I said I'll put a link in the show notes so you can find it directly from there. That's it, if you're looking for restaurant plugins to help with menuing, there you go.

That's it for this week. If you have any questions, go ahead and send it in via email or use the speed,fight functionality of the website. I'll try to get it in to the next time I do a Q&A, maybe in a months or so. Thanks for listening, see you next week. Have some awesome time this week in learning more WordPress, go out and do some great things and we'll talk to you next week. All right, bye bye.

This week’s Episode is sponsored by Harvester Solutions