I’ve adopted the WP Hide Dashboard plugin

I adopted a plugin this week. WP Hide Dashboard.

Normally when somebody adopts a plugin it’s because the original maintainer doesn’t have the time, or just doesn’t feel like pursing it anymore.

Unfortunately for everyone, the reason I’ve adopted this plugin is because the author — a dear friend of mine — Kim Parsell passed away a couple of weeks ago.

I wanted to make sure that the plugin she took so much pride in having written didn’t fall by the wayside in her absence. So, the good news is, I’m not planning drastically change the plugin — outside of changes she’d previously expressed to me but didn’t have the time to implement.

I made the changes and tested against the latest stable version of WordPress. I think it’s going to be pretty light-touch going forward.

Keep your plugin(s) up to date

If you’ve ever submitted a plugin to the WordPress.org repository, you know that with the ever-growing speed at which the WordPress core team releases new versions, it’s inevitable that plugins will fall behind and out of date.

It’s a fact of life, if only because we don’t necessarily have the time to stay on top of it. We’ve all done it.

But here’s the thing: once a plugin is more than two years out of date, it’s dropped from search results on WordPress.org. To be more specific, it’s dropped from search results on WordPress.org and within the WordPress dashboard.

This last point is key.

I doubt it comes as a great surprise to most plugin developers though, especially since it was announced in Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word speech three years ago at WCSF 2011.

I just wanted to share with you this morning, a visual representation of what it looks like when one of your plugins hits the 2-years out-of-date mark.

out_of_date_stats

This is a screenshot of the download stats for a plugin I maintain. You’ll notice that average daily downloads is cut almost in half around the December 10th mark. Up until this morning, the last-updated date was December 8, 2012. It’s pretty interesting to see what a difference it makes to have your plugin available in search results.

Do yourself a favor and keep your plugin(s) updated.

Farewell old friend

Kim Parsell was a lot of things to a lot of people.

For the last four days I’ve gone to sleep and awakened with the knowledge of her passing and I’ve grappled with what I would say, how I would put into words what Kim was to me.

To me, she was far more than simply #wpmom, she was my inspiration.

She was a confidant, a supporter, a team mate, a mentor, a sounding board, a partner in crime, and most of all, a dear, close friend. We laughed, chatted, worked, burned out, chatted some more, and made plans together.

Oh, we had such plans. Kim wanted to “work in WordPress”, to find a company to pay her to contribute. We’d even weeded down a list of companies she wanted to work for, and had planned to get those wheels turning in the new year. We had plans to finish any number of open docs projects, and to start new ones. To reel in new contributors and keep the ones we had. We had such plans.

It’s fitting that It’s Too Late by Carol King was one of Kim’s favorite songs, since it describes my thoughts so closely: “… we really did try to make it. Something inside has died and I can’t hide, and I just can’t fake it.”

I think that Kim had only begun to realize her place in the community and that the influence she wielded was real. As Jayvie said, Kim was a dreamer. And it saddens me that she wasn’t able to realize her dreams of contributing full time. She’d certainly put in her time and then some volunteering. My only solace is that the work we did together had a lasting impact.

In reading through some of her tweets that have been shared and retweeted over the weekend, it occurs to me that I was much more familiar with the private Kim than the public one. Yes we worked closely on WordPress things together, but that wasn’t the linch pin of our relationship. And distance mattered not at all. I was in Denver (or elsewhere) and she was in Ohio. I’ll cherish the many long phone conversations we had about anything and everything. Boy that lady could talk!

And it’s not simply that the other half of “Team Awesome” is missing, but that it feels like a part of my soul is missing too. I don’t know what to do about it other than to press forward and try to carry out the plans we made, and make new ones “with gusto!” as she used to say.

drew_kim_wcsf14_diag

It was a constant joke between us that what Kim lacked in height she completely made up for in talent. As far as I’m concerned, she was a taller person than I in both departments.

But more than what Kim was to me, it’s what she was to the wider community.  What Kim contributed to the docs team and WordPress is simply irreplaceable. She was the formidable voice and editor of the core contributor handbook, half of the inline docs team, a contributing developer for the core team, a successful plugin developer, a support volunteer, an evangelist, and the all-seeing-eye of the WordPress community. More than that, she was a shining light, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a friend. She will be celebrated and missed by many.

I recall countless times where I would wake up to a message in Gchat where Kim had asked, “Have you seen this post?” or “Did you see that tweet?” And it was inevitably some mention of the docs team or some initiative we were involved in, or a post from some obscure blog about this or that. She knew more about what was going on in WordPress than probably anybody I’ve ever met. That was just Kim.

We probably had a single Gchat going for two years, and as I scroll back through the hours of conversations I’m struck with a deep sense of loss. We both knew we were working toward something lasting and great. I only hope I can imbue in my work the value Kim did in hers.

There’s something in particular that stood out to me about Kim’s character: she didn’t pull any punches and she stuck to her guns. More than that, she approached everything virtuously, and she wasn’t afraid to admit what she didn’t know. She knew her own limits, but she was ever-curious to expand them. I admired her tenacity for learning.

I remember when I first asked Kim to join me in shaping the future of docs in WordPress core. It was an intimidating, yet not insurmountable task, and she was game. When writing hook docs and a docs standard came along, she was game.

And after it all, those months and months of working day and night to bring that effort to a conclusion, we burned out together just as we had worked, laughed, and chatted together.  It wasn’t pretty, but we worked through it and pulled each other back up.

The things I will miss about Kim are plentiful. Stand outs are the “Hellllloooooo!” she would exclaim whenever she picked up the phone. Or the grace under pressure with which she approached any challenge.

Upon reflection, the thing I’ll miss most about Kim is the knowledge that she had my back and I hers. It will be a tough road ahead knowing that I’m continuing on alone in the great journey we started together.

It was an honor to know you Kim and to be a part of your life. I will miss you dearly.

Rocking Twenty Fifteen

This week my friend Lance Willett wrote a blog post encouraging people to start a blog. I wasn’t really inspired to start a blog since I already have one (heh), but after visiting his blog, I was inspired to change to the Twenty Fifteen theme that will be shipping with the impending WordPress 4.1 release.

The takeway? Sometimes seeing a site rocking a WordPress theme with a bold color scheme is enough for me to inspire a change.

For the last while I’ve been running the Wilson theme by Anders Noren on WerdsWords, and realized that Twenty Fifteen really accomplished many of the same aesthetic goals I had hoped to meet with Wilson.

Probably my favorite feature of Twenty Fifteen is the color schemes and ease with which you can set a color scheme then customize it to your own preferences. I think I’ll be sticking with this one for quite a while.

Nice work from Takashi Irie, Ian Stewart, and the rest of the WordPress.org Bundled Themes team on getting Twenty Fifteen out the door!

parse_git_branch() stopped working after Xcode 6.0.1 update [FIX]

I got a little surprise after I updated Xcode and the Command Line Tools this morning: the bash prompts in my shell had stopped displaying the current git branch. Eeek!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with parse_git_branch(), it’s a small bash script that simply highlights the current git branch at the end of the bash prompt. It lives in your ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bashrc file.

When it’s working, it looks something like this:

$ (master) (where (master) is the current git branch)

Some people use tools like zsh or liquidprompt to accomplish the same effect, but I use this little bash function because I don’t need all that extra stuff.

I poked around the web for a while this morning and couldn’t find any solutions.

Turns out, it’s a simple fix:

  1. Open Xcode
  2. Click to Agree to the new terms
  3. Install the remaining components
  4. Reload your shell of choice

Hope that helps somebody.

If you’re interested in using parse_git_branch() yourself, you can simply put the following into your ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bashrc file:

function parse_git_branch() {
	git branch 2> /dev/null | sed -e '/^[^*]/d' -e 's/* \(.*\)/ (\1)/'
}

RED="\[\033[0;31m\]"
YELLOW="\[\033[0;33m\]"
GREEN="\[\033[0;32m\]"
NO_COLOUR="\[\033[0m\]"

PS1="$GREEN\u-MBA$NO_COLOUR:\w$YELLOW\$(parse_git_branch)$NO_COLOUR\$ "

There’s also a couple of non-sed versions floating around the web if that’s your preference. Adjust the colors as needed.