How to import your Zoom Webinars into WordPress as custom content

Hello! Now, more than ever, companies businesses and individuals are leveraging web based collaborative tools like Zoom. Whether it be for company meetings, training sessions or sales seminars, the idea is to use video conferencing technology to replace in-person interactions. Zoom has emerged as a leading player, being positioned favourably at the right point in time to offer reliable video conferencing services for a variety of uses. One of the more common requests as web development agency, is to integrate the ability to “import” Zoom webinars for a business into their website. What once may have been an Eventbrite integration has now transitioned to a remote model of interaction. At Shift8, we have created a WordPress plugin to pull Zoom webinar events into WordPress as custom content. This can then be manipulated by your theme or a custom post grid perhaps. Why would you want to import Zoom Webinar’s into […]

How to integrate Chart.js into WordPress Woocommerce to show charts and graphs of your products

Hello! One of the nice things about Woocommerce is that it is very easily customized. Actions can be removed and re-added in order to adjust the default behavior. Additionally you can override many of the default templates that come with Woocommerce and its many extensions to fine tune and adjust the way you want your e-commerce to behave. Whether you are selling t-shirts or auto parts, sometimes its nice to have a clean visual representation of the statistics of each of your products. This will allow the customer to easily attain the pertinent information that they may be looking for, perhaps even assisting in leading them into an online sale. One of the best javascript libraries out there for “charting” is Chart.js. It is very simple yet extremely flexible for plotting and drawing visual representations of data. Things like chart colors, borders and a responsive layout are all things that […]

How to customize WordPress search results page

Hello! When designing websites, especially websites that have an active blog, it is often necessary to style, customize and design the WordPress search results page. When styling the search results, we typically like to modify the way the results are presented as well as append a few custom CSS container classes in order to ensure the results resemble the way content is arranged throughout the rest of the site. In addition to the CSS containers, we would also manipulate the results containers with responsive CSS @media queries in order to ensure that the results are displayed efficiently and responsively on mobile and tablet devices. Typically we like to keep things clean and minimal, so the data presented and styling are styled as such. Typically in most WordPress starter themes such as underscores, you will have a standard search.php file which will be our starting point. Modify your theme’s search.php file […]

Create your own wordpress shortcode to pull tweets from a user

Hello! I’m of the opinion that it is better to code your own functions, shortcode and templates to accomplish even simple things within content management systems, as opposed to downloading a free plugin to accomplish the same task. You might be asking “Why not just download a plugin? Its much easier!”. Well that may be true in the short term, but there are many reasons why investing a little bit of extra time to develop a solution in wordpress yourself is better in the long run. I’ll go into the reasoning first and then I’ll get into how we created our own shortcode to pull tweets from a twitter user. Security Security is more important than anything else. When you use someone else’s WordPress plugin to accomplish a task, you are putting all your faith and trust in that developer’s ability to develop a solution that adheres to security best […]

Tips to secure your WordPress site

Security is a huge deal. Sometimes your at the mercy of the open source solution or content management system that you choose. There are occasions that even after ensuring your CMS and the subsidiary plugins are consistently up to date, you still fall mercy to a zero day exploit that circumvents the security of your site and allows an attacker to upload a file or modify your backend database. That’s not good! Especially if you are diligent to the best of your abilities. We’ve decided to put together a quick security guide specifically to help people ensure their WordPress implementation is as secure as possible. Web Hosting environment This is obviously a big one. Your hosting environment may or may not be able to provide layers of security as requests to your website are processed and served. There are elements that most web hosting companies should be able to provide […]

Creating custom post types and pulling them into a custom page template in WordPress

Hello! Occasionally in WordPress it is necessary to push, what is primarily a blogging content management system, to its limits in order to create a dynamic website. The reason why it may be necessary to create a custom wordpress post type is in just that scenario where you need to create custom and dynamic types of content that go beyond what a wordpress blog “post” by default will allow you to modify. For example you may want to create a car website that lists all sorts of different cars and has a multiple car listing page and single car listing pages. Each car could have many fields like color, make, model, year, engine, features and so on. Doing this in a wordpress blog post just wouldn’t work because out of the box you only have fields like post title, categories, tags and post content. While it is possible to simply […]

Use Python to connect to a WordPress site

Hello there! We love web development here at Shift8. We also love finding ways to automate and integrate different interfaces together. For example, we have written Python solutions to integrate TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board) listings into a WordPress site. Finding a Python Library to work with WordPress There are many readily available libraries that one can use with Python to connect to WordPress’ XML-RPC interface in order to make queries and add/delete/modify content. A personal favourite is the WordPress XML-RPC library that can be easily integrated into python with pip. Simply install the library and you’re ready to start writing scripts to manipulate content on wordpress! Load the libraries in your Python code This is obvious. I’ll provide a snippet that imports all the necessary modules to do pretty much anything in WordPress. #!/usr/bin/python from wordpress_xmlrpc import Client, WordPressPost from wordpress_xmlrpc.methods.taxonomies import * from wordpress_xmlrpc.methods.posts import * from wordpress_xmlrpc.methods.users […]

Convert text to an image with Javascript and HTML5

Hello! Working with frameworks like Django and with CMS’ like Drupal and WordPress we come across a wide variety of requirements for manipulating, sanitizing and importing data from all different sources and formats. Recently we had the requirement to take a text field that was defined in a Django model and convert that text string to an image. There are many reasons for this type of requirement. You could argue that this requirement would be the first (of many) steps towards implementing your own custom captcha solution. Well we did some research and found some solutions out there and implemented it our self in Django and we thought we’d share here as well! I’ll go through each of the components necessary to implement this. This type of implementation can very easily be integrated into WordPress or Drupal through a custom module or custom plugin or function perhaps. Additionally you can […]

Varnish, session cookies and WordPress

Hello! Caching is invariably the wave of the future. We have worked with many different caching technologies to leverage a website to be able to handle more traffic as well as offering a low cost vector to scale a website without investing in expensive hardware. We occasionally offer web hosting through our own web hosting infrastructure, but also leverage separate web hosting companies to provide streamlined web hosting services for our WordPress clients. One web host in particular, that we will not name, recently implemented a shared caching system leveraging Varnish (https://www.varnish-cache.org/) in front of their shared WordPress customers. This was a great way to accelerate the speed of websites, we thought. We recently ran into a very tricky problem that required a bit of troubleshooting on our part before discovering that Varnish was actually interfering with WordPress’ contact, registration (and potentially other) forms. We saw that on one registration […]

Frameworks or Traditional Content Management Systems?

Typically for each client we work with designing a website from the ground up, we find ourselves evaluating one of two options : using a web framework such as DJango or going with a Traditional content management system such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Although the needs and requirements of each client are typically unique, there are many commonalities as such depending on the size and scope of the project. One of the main advantages I usually see with implementing a framework is the flexibility and customization options that it provides. What it usually comes down to is the industry and type of website required, as well as the client budget and project timeline and expectation from start to finish. DJango opens many doors and allows for endless possibilities in terms of customization and providing a truly unique website. If the budget isn’t there, then one way to look at […]