Welcome to my very first WordPress based site.
After today's launch, I am capable and ready to make more!

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Aug
31

Launch!

Posted by Peter Bacani on August 31st, 2011 at 7:05 pm
Eurekapoint.com screenshot

September 1, 2011 – My site is reborn!

Today, I have achieved a personal milestone of sorts, after being long overdue for several years, I’m finally launching my redesigned website and marking the start of my full-time freelance work. Had I launched this site a month earlier, it would definitely not have been made on the WordPress platform.

If it weren’t for a project proposal for a client, this WordPress this site would not have been here now. I explored, tinkered, customized, tuned and (broke and resurrected a few times) several WordPress installations but after that, boy did I learn a lot! Let me tell you, this publishing platform is amazing – its mature, has tons of plugins and most importantly from a developers perspective, its highly customizable (if you are already familiar with PHP/Jquery/CSS/HTML 5 that is). Adding functionality and expanding its features are all done through plugins. For security reasons though, I will not be publicly naming what plugins I used.

I explored, tinkered, customized, tuned and (broke and resurrected a few times) several WordPress installations but after that, boy did I learn a lot!

Although not all plugins are guaranteed to work with one another, some managed to play well with the other plugins after a few PHP/CSS/JS and template tweaks along the way.

This journey to WordPress enlightenment wasn’t without its perils of course, I encountered some style issues when I was doing cross browser testing in IE6 & IE7 but managed to get them to work. A plugin was misbehaving by inserting a form field that was way too long for IE to handle causing the layout to break and my sidebar to drop below the content – so after I fixed the plugin to make sure it inserted the form tags correctly, no more layout breaks with the ancient browsers.

Jquery based plugins sometimes do not cooperate well with other Jquery based plugins – in some cases installing one Jquery plugin caused some of my existing effects to break. But I managed to put these issues to rest with proper plugin configuration and a few code fixes with the enqueued styles and scripts: combining some styles with the main style.css and also combining some of the plugin js files with theme’s script.js. One script issue was fixed when I had it ignored by the minification plugin.

With regards to SEO plugins, I chose the one that most people seem to use. Its configuration and setup was a breeze and easy to figure out. The security plugin installation was another smooth process, so now I have a brute force attack deterrent, security scan, and an SQL injection mitigation feature thrown in.

Another work which I thoroughly enjoyed was with reducing the HTTP requests made when fetching site assets

Lastly, one of the most laborious work done here was with performance optimization, I had to test out three javascript minification and consolidation plugins and see which ones worked the best. Some minification plugins kill other plugins. The best one I found successfully minified ALMOST all of my scripts (with the exception of one js file) the styles and the generated html file was minified and compressed without issue. Another work which I thoroughly enjoyed was with reducing the HTTP requests made when fetching site assets, the template I used did not have css sprites built in so I had to go back to code and modify the style and template files to make the buttons use the sprite I made. I also tried to reduce DNS dependency, although I’m not sure if everyone will agree with me but I decided to prevent several enqueued scripts of two or three plugins from making calls to the js libraries stored in external CDNs for fear that in the event of their outage my site will be unusable so I just stored their local copies on my host.

In general, I think I made myself a pretty spiffy, efficient, secure and SEO friendly WordPress site. Moving forward, I am more excited than ever to make more feature rich, robust and much better looking websites for my clients especially now that I have found a working formula of plugin combinations to use with my upcoming projects.

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