My tech trends for 2017

Everyone is trying to predict the year’s biggest global tech trends. AI, self-driving cars and VR usually populate the top of the list. While those things are neat it’s tough to see the immediate effect to my life. Instead I decided to create my own list.

  1. Bye-bye Facebook. Yeah, the number of people who say this probably outnumber the gym rookies on Jan. 1. Here’s the thing. Facebook’s value to me has dwindled to almost nothing over the last few months. I blame the election.

  2. Publish more. I’ve struggled over the last several years to do anything resembling consistent blogging. Between deciding on topics and a general fear of sounding ridiculous I always find an excuse to not hit “Publish”. This year all I’m working towards is at least 100 words published per day. So far, so good.

  3. Less screen time. More creating with my hands. Very few things in this world give me more pleasure than spending a couple of hours in the shop and returning with a new box or toy for my son.

Fix your git hooks when using Tower

One of our newest OptinMonster developers has already made a big splash by introducing even more automation to our development flow. For the past two years (TWO!) this has been our usual conversation after pushing some changes:

The changes you pushed aren’t working.

(┛◉Д◉)┛彡┻━┻

Do I need to run anything after pulling this down?

Yeah. composer install in the core plugin and theme. npm install in the theme. gulp scripts in the theme.

Ah! There we go!

It was time to put an end to it. The new dev created a few git hooks, installed with a script, that run all of the necessary build steps after a pull from our GitHub repository. Only problem is the hooks don’t work if you’re using Tower or any other GUI for git. Luckily the fix is simple. Add this to the very top of all of your git hook scripts:

export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/sbin

This give Tower the correct paths to find whatever scripts you use in your git hooks. In our case it was node.

Shipping, Not User Testing

Back in November Jason Fried (CEO of Basecamp) published a treasure trove of an article detailing how they, the team, structure their work. If you haven’t read it yet stop what you’re doing and take a few minutes to do so. I took a few moments after my third reading to dig through the comments. In response to a question about user testing Jason responded with this:

We don’t do formal usability testing. We build things we’re happy with and ship them. If things turn out to be truly terrible, we reconsider fixes, tweaks, and adjustments for the next cycle. We’ve found that shipping is the best way to get real answers — we don’t like setting up artificial environments. [Source]

If you have an automated deployment workflow (you have that, don’t you?) and your team has the talent to know what customers want, then what keeps you from just shipping?

 

Disable comments on all WordPress pages at once

Comments on pages by default. Not sure why that is a thing but we’re talking about 13 year old software here. It’s easy enough to turn off comments manually. Page by page. Why do work by hand when you could automate it?

Turns out it’s simple enough to turn off comments on every single page on your site with a couple of lines of code. You can add this to your theme’s functions.php file, your core functionality plugin or wherever else you deem fit.

Stay tuned for more in my series titled “How to fix things that shouldn’t be this way”.

Grit

We all face challenges in our daily lives. The difference between those who go to sleep feeling fulfilled and those who don’t is the former group makes the choice to push through the challenge. In a word: Grit.

Yeah, you were up all night with your kid who was vomiting every hour. The next day was filled with chores and assorted tasks that needed to get done. Grit is sucking it up and checking off your to-do list. Having an amazing spouse helps. 🙂

Your mind is dead from the long day. It would feel so good just to go to sleep. Grit is sticking to the promises you made to yourself in the evening.

Just get it done.