Custom Web Development and Photography
Development

Using WordPress auto-updates from behind a proxy

I had a WordPress installation that mysteriously stopped updating one day. I would click the “Check for updates” button and it would say that my installation and all plugins were up to date, when they clearly weren’t. The process didn’t display any error messages and my logs offered no clues.

After a few weeks of trying to figure out what was going on, while performing all updates manually in the meantime, I accidentally came across the solution.

I had installed an unrelated piece of software on my local machine and was unable to connect to the remote network. When I contacted our IT department they informed me that everything now has to go through a local proxy server or it wouldn’t work. As soon as I heard this I immediately attempted the same in my wp-config.php file, and updates immediately started working again.

Here’s the code I used in the wp-config.php file:

Hopefully this can save someone else some time and frustration!

Posted on June 11th, 2013 by Dan Z in Development, Wordpress No Comments
Development

Upgrading Apache and PHP on WAMP

Upgrading Apache 2.2.x to 2.2.23 and PHP from 5.2 to 5.4 on Windows Server 2003+ (Win32)

I recently decided to upgrade both my Apache and PHP installs so I can take advantage of some of the new features of PHP 5.4. What I assumed would be a simple, well documented update, turned into hours of frustration and research.  In the end, I was successfully able to perform the upgrade and hopefully this quick guide will save others from the same frustrating research.

Before beginning this upgrade, I assume you have the following installed and working: Windows Server 2003 (or later) x86, Apache 2.2.x, PHP 5.2.x

Step  1
Be sure that you have downloaded and installed the Visual C++ 2010 and Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package x86
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5582
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8328

Step 2
Download VC9 version of Apache 2.2.2x – Apache 2.2.2x Win32 – Same as the Win32 VC10, but build with VC9 x86
[Apache VC9 Binary] httpd-2.2.25-win32-ssl_0.9.8-VC9.zip from http://www.apachelounge.com/download/additional/

Step 3
Extract the Apache zip into a temporary folder and create a backup of your current Apache install.

Step 4
Stop the Apache service and replace the following directories in your Apache path with the ones from the extracted zip file:

Step 5
Start the Apache service and ensure that it works.

Step 6
Download the VC9 x86 Thread Safe version of PHP 5.4 from: http://windows.php.net/download

Step 7
Extract PHP into a different folder than the current version of PHP you are running. I used E:/PHP5.4/

Step 8
Make whatever changes you need to the included php.ini-production file and rename it to php.ini

Step 9
Change your Apache conf file to reflect the new PHP installation.

My settings:

Step 10
Restart the Apache service and you should be good to go.

Step 11 (Optional – If you plan on using Composer or PHP CLI)
To access the new version of PHP from the command prompt you must update the Windows PATH entry.

  • Go to Control Panel and open the System icon (Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> System, or just Start -> Control Panel -> System for Windows XP/2003)
  • Go to the Advanced tab
  • Click on the ‘Environment Variables’ button
  • Look into the ‘System Variables’ pane
  • Find the Path entry (you may need to scroll to find it)
  • Double click on the Path entry
  • Find the PHP directory and modify it to your new installation directory. (eg. E:\PHP5.4)
  • Press OK and restart your computer
Posted on January 31st, 2013 by Dan Z in Development No Comments
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Wordpress

Review of About the Author Advanced

I randomly came across a review of my “About the Author Advanced” plugin today.  It looks like Craig Grella published a pretty comprehensive summary of the plugin’s functionality on wpmu.org.

Check out his review here: http://wpmu.org/add-an-author-box-to-your-wordpress-site-with-the-author-box-advanced-plugin/

You can download the plugin here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/about-the-author-advanced/

Posted on September 14th, 2012 by Dan Z in Wordpress No Comments
Wordpress

About the Author Advanced WordPress Plugin

I’ve released my new WordPress plugin: About the Author Advanced.  This plugin creates a sidebar widget which displays information about the author of a page or post.  It also adds several additional contact options for all users.

You can see more here: http://drzdigital.com/wordpress-plugins/about-the-author-advanced/

Posted on July 27th, 2012 by Dan Z in Wordpress No Comments
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Development

Custom logo and link for the WordPress login page

If you would like to easily change the logo on the login page for WordPress you can add a few simple lines of code to your functions.php file.

To change the logo:

To change the URL that the logo links to:

Results:

Posted on July 18th, 2012 by Dan Z in Development, Wordpress No Comments
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Photography

Aruba

I was going through some old photos and found a few I really like from my trip to Aruba in August of 2010:

Posted on July 12th, 2012 by Dan Z in Photography No Comments
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Development

Setting a default display name in WordPress

I recently had to add a group of new users to a WordPress based website and it was frustrating that you have to individually change each user’s display name or else it defaults to their username. 

Below is simple block of code that you can copy and paste into your functions.php file which will default the display name to “Firstname Lastname.”

Posted on July 9th, 2012 by Dan Z in Development, Wordpress 1 Comment
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Development

Related Documents Widget Update

I’ve made some changes to the Related Documents Widget. Updates include adding the functionality to omit image files from the listing as well as fixing a few bugs with the CSS.

You can see an overview of the new features in the WordPress Plugin Directory.

Posted on July 8th, 2012 by Dan Z in Development, Wordpress No Comments
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Photography

Tuscany

In June of 2011, I won a free trip for 4 to Tuscany.  Below are some of my favorite photos from the trip:

Posted on July 2nd, 2011 by Dan Z in Photography No Comments
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