5 Podcasts for Developers

What are podcasts? They are radio programs that you can take with you and play anywhere. A podcast can have a single host talking about a subject or with guests. Why listen to a podcast? Podcasts are a good way to keep update on industry news and learn new ideas. As a developer, you don’t always have time to read industry blogs or new sites. A podcasts can help you stay current when you have free time like going for a walk or commuting to work.

5 Podcasts For Developers

I have gathered a short list of podcasts that I recommend that you listen to. They range from learning how to run a software development company, conversations on tech and being a better developer.

CodePen Radio

What is it like to run a software development company? CodePen Radio takes you through how they run CodePen. You learn how the team manages technical, structural and people issues. Each week is a different topic that Chris, Tim and Alex discuss.

CodePen Radio

Indie Hackers

Do you like learning from other developers who have built successful business? If so, Indie Hackers podcast has interviews with developers who have built profitable online businesses.

Indie Hackers Podcast

Greater than Code

Do you like to have insightful conversations about people, tech and more? Greater than Code focuses on people and code. They have a diverse group of people who talk about people, tech and other topics.

Greater Than Code Podcasts

Hansel Minutes Podcast

Do you have to be an entrepreneur and a developer to talk about tech and entrepreneurship? Scott Hanselman, a programmer at Microsoft, proves that you can be enthusiastic about entrepreneurship and work for a company. He talks about technology, people, culture, programming and much more.

Hansel Minutes Podcast

Developer Tea

Want to be a better coder? Jonathan Cutrell of Developer Tea talks about tips and techniques on coding. He interviews other developers about how to be a better coder.

Developer Tea Podcast

Summary

Podcasts are a great way to learn more about any topic that interests you. By listening to these podcasts you can keep up to date on ideas about coding, technology, people and entrepreneurship. Do you have any podcasts that you recommend for developers?

4 Examples of Building with WP API

APIs or application programming interface provide you with a way to integrate services or features with your website. Before APIs, you need to partner with companies in order to use their code in your website or app. You have a WordPress website. Can you use an API to create additional features? With their WP API, you can build solutions unique to your WordPress website.

4 Examples of Building with WP API

What can you do with WP API?

You can use the WP API to build solutions that integrate with WordPress or use it as a back-end database. Maybe you need to create new features that talk to an external API. I found four examples that show you how to use the WP API to integrate with WordPress and an external API for Instagram.

Fetch Random Posts

Chris Coyier demonstrates how to use the WP API to randomly fetch posts from WordPress. In his example, he uses WordPress to store quotes about design and randomly displays one to you.

Screenshot of Quotes On Design Website

Go to Quotes on Design to see the api at work.

Retrieving Posts in C#

What if you want to use the WP API with a different programming language? With WP API, you can use a programming language like C# instead of PHP to retrieve posts from WordPress. Hendrik Bulens chose to use ASP.NET MVC as the front end to retrieve the latest blog posts from WordPress.

Voting for Blog Posts

You spend time writing blog posts and want to allow your readers to vote on whether or not they liked the post. In the past, you need to write a plugin using PHP. You can use WP API to accomplish this. Use this example from Delicious Brains to create your blog voting.

Integrate WordPress with Instagram

If you use Instagram, you may want to include photos from your account. WebDev Studios show you how to use the API to integrate Instagram with WordPress.

Summary

These examples show you how to use WP API to modify WordPress and work with an external API. If you want to learn more, Chris Lema has a guide that contains resources and tutorials on Getting Started with APIs and WordPress. You can also check out Getting Started with using an API.

4 Ways to Add Code Snippets to Your Blog

When you write a blog post that features code, you’ll want to show your code. But, you don’t want it to act like code. What are your choices for adding code to a blog post? You can manually show your code, use a plug-in or embed it into your post. Which one do you choose?

4 Ways to Add Code Snippets to Your Blog

1. Code it manually yourself

Write the code to style it yourself without using a plug-in or hosting your code on another website. You can create a code snippet with HTML and CSS. With the HTML tags <pre> and <code> and CSS, you can style your snippet to work with your design.

Code Snippets in HTML and CSS

2. Use a plug-in

If you prefer not to code it yourself, your next option is to use a plug-in. For WordPress, you can use a plug-in called Code Snippets. With Code Snippet, you can manage your snippets easily.

Code Snippets WordPress Plugin

3. gist.github.com

Don’t want to code it yourself or use a plug-in and you have a github account? You can host your code on gist.github.com. They provide you with a way to embed code snippets on your blog.

gist.github.com

4. CodePen

Are you a CodePenner? If you are and have a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can embed your pens or use the CodePen Plugin. CodePen takes care of the code and formatting for you. Refer to CodePen’s documentation on the best method for you.

CodePen Embed & WordPress Documentation

Summary
Whether you create code snippets with code, use a plugin or host on gist.github.com or CodePen, these methods provide 4 different ways to show your code.

8 Ways to Freshen Up Your Blog

You keep your blog current by writing new blog posts. As you write more posts, you may decide to change the focus of your blog. Or you want to make some minor changes. What can you do to freshen up your blog?

You can tackle it in two ways: maintenance and tweaking your blog.

Freshen Up Your Blog

Maintenance

As you continue to write and create posts for your blog, your website can start to slow down or links no longer work. You should take this time to do some routine maintenance on your blog.

Broken Links

Websites change their links, remove content or go permanently away. You need to check your site for broken links. If you have WordPress, use the Broken Link Checker to find them. If you are using a different CMS, try W3C Link Checker.

Clean up your sidebar

Is your sidebar working for you? Look at the items in your sidebar and decide if you have links, forms or products ads that need to be updated or removed. You may want to replace them with links to recent or popular posts or a signup to your newsletter.

Clean up WordPress

Your WordPress database over time can get messy. You add, edit and delete posts. You manage comments by editing or deleting spam. This can cause your database to become bloated and slow.

After cleaning or optimizing your database, you should update any plugins and themes that you use. Then, delete any plugins you are no longer using.

Tweak Your Blog

By updating your blog with simple changes, you can help to freshen up the content of your posts.

Update Graphics and Photos

Are your photos and graphics working for you? You may want to change them out for higher quality photos. Pick out pictures that work better for your blog and brand. You can use one of the sites mentioned on the The Badass List of Free Stock Photos Websites for Designers or take your own photos.

Add headings to your posts

When you first wrote your posts, you may not have used heading. Headings are a way to organize and highlight important information. They range from H1 to H6. Headings allow you to break up your post into easily readable and scannable chunks.

Add call to actions

You can use clickable buttons to let your readers know what action to take. You may want them to sign up for your newsletter, contact you or buy a product from you. Adding clickable buttons is a great way to get your readers to engage with you.

Add pull quotes

Create a pull quote to jazz up your design and draw your reader’s attention to an important idea. Use these tips to draw your readers attention with pull quotes.

Summary

Regular maintenance helps to keep your blog running smoothly. By changing photos, adding headings, pull quotes and calls to action, you can update old posts and improve your relationship with your readers.

Photo Credit: http://startupstockphotos.com/

Tools to help clean up your CSS

You have created an awesome website. Over time, you add more pages, content and tweaks to the site. As your website gets larger, so can your CSS. You may add new styles for displaying a landing page, carousel or videos. Eventually, you have unused styles that no one remembers what it was used for. This unused CSS can start to slow your site down.

Tools to help clean up your CSS

Cleaning up your CSS from design changes and other additions can be a hard, time-consuming and tedious task. How do you clean up your website without breaking the site?

Steps to clean up your CSS

  1. Find and fix errors
  2. Identify unused CSS
  3. Validate with W3C Validator
  4. Test your website with the updated CSS

Find and fix errors

Errors can creep in your CSS. You may forget a semicolon, copy code from CodePen or Stack Overflow that solves a problem or another team member added custom CSS to solve a problem.

CSS Lint

CSS Lint analyzes your CSS and tells you what you are doing wrong. You can use it to help clean up your CSS and learn how to write it better.

CSS Lint

Identify unused CSS

As you develop your website, your CSS file can grow. It may contain CSS styles that are no longer used or styles that were abandoned. With a large website, it can be hard to tell which styles are still in use.

Use UnCSS to remove unused CSS

UnCSS is a Node.js powered tool that removes unused CSS from your stylesheets. It created a new CSS file with only the styles that are being used. Want on online options? UnCSS Online lets you test the tool for smaller CSS codebase.

UnCSS Online

Validate with W3C Validator

When you have fix your errors and removed unused CSS, use the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) validator to check your website. It checks to ensure the technical quality of your website. You want to make sure that you didn’t introduce new errors into your cleaned up CSS.

W3C Validator

Test your website with the updated CSS

Since CSS is not easily testable, you want to make small changes and test each change. You want to make sure that the styles you removed or updated don’t break your design.

Cleaning up your CSS code is difficult, time-consuming and tedious. These tools can help to make the task easier.

What CSS tools have you used to make the process easier?