I’ve been using a little PHP script for the past few months to host my own private podcast. So I decided to clean it up a little and share it on GitHub.
A little background: I had some audio files that I wanted to listen through with the ability to increase the speed and pause at any time to continue later. This is everything that most podcast apps do. So I decided to host my own private podcast channel containing the audio files.
“I have a fantastic startup idea.”
You’d be surprised how often I hear this. When I do, it’s often followed by “All I need is a developer. Let’s partner up!”.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think entrepreneurship is a great thing, and I often hear ideas that are genuinely interesting. However, a great idea isn’t enough to justify taking on such an endeavor.
Over the years, through trial and many, many errors, I’ve developed a few rules to help filter these pitches.
WordPress provides a large number of hooks that allow plugins to extend and modify its behavior. A few months ago, I was curious about which of these hooks are popular, and which of them are hardly ever used. I was also looking for an excuse to give Microsoft’s Data Lake Analytics a spin. U-SQL looked especially attractive as it brought back fond memories of petabyte-scale data crunching at Bing.
It’s been two years since I left Microsoft, and they finally decided to cancel my free employee Azure account. It was fun while it lasted, but now I have to move my data to a regular paid account. I looked through the FAQs and contacted support for the easiest way to do this, and unfortunately there is no officially recommended solution for moving storage accounts between different subscriptions.
I found some Windows-only tools that may have done the job, but I wanted a solution that would run on any platform.
The Hadoop File System (HDFS) is a distributed and redundant file system that stores your data in chunks across multiple nodes. This allows for fault tolerant data storage (a node can die without the loss of data) as well as parallel data processing. If you want to store and analyze large amounts of data, Hadoop is a great option.
I recently read a great book called Data Analytics with Hadoop, and this post is based on what I learned there.
About a month ago, I got my Sift Science plugin added to the WordPress.org online store. To publish your plugin to the store, you’re required to use the SVN repository that they provide. Once you get that done correctly, users of WordPress can find and install your plugin through the built in store and they will also receive notifications whenever you publish a new version.
In this post, I describe how I manage releases of my Sift Science plugin.
A few weeks ago I learned an important lesson that I’d like to share: When building unit tests, never use a mock/stub unless it’s absolutely necessary. Let me explain with a little example.
Let’s say you’re working on a large project and you start developing Module A, which uses a MySQL database. To write a unit test for this module, you’re going to need to mock the MySQL queries. I have used sinon for this purpose and it’s worked great by the way.
When I first started developing the Sift Science for WooCommerce plugin last year, I needed interactive controls on the Orders page that displayed fraud scores and allowed the admin to flag fraudulent users. I didn’t want to reload the page every time the user took an action, so the obvious solution was to implement some client-side scripting and background Ajax calls to the server.
The goal was to add a new column to the Orders page that contained small icons that displayed the score and a couple of other icons for the user to click like so:
I am pleased to announce that the Sift Science plugin for WooCommerce is finally ready for beta testing! Lukas and I started this plugin over a year ago and have been working on it off and on as time permitted. But I’m happy to say that it’s now good enough for Beta testing.
Note: I work at Automattic on WooCommerce, but this is a personal side project. What is Sift Science for WooCommerce Sift Science for WooCommerce is a plugin that integrates Sift Science fraud detection into your WooCommerce online store.
I recently joined Automattic, where all developers are required to work as Happiness Engineers for the first three weeks. This is not in parallel with your regular job! Before you start working on whatever you were hired to do, you spend three weeks helping customers with their problems and requests. I knew this was a great idea before I started, but the the impact this experience has had on me was still surprising in many ways.