I absolutely love the Memphis WordPress meetup group. We met last night after a month off and I had been away with unavoidable business conflicts since May. Quite a few new faces and most of the regulars were in attendance. I started the group one year ago and have been the organizer from the beginning. Which means each month I find other people smarter than me to come and talk about WordPress and related topics.
We’re blessed to have core WordPress developer Samuel Wood, better known as Otto, living and working right here in Downtown Memphis and Otto attends almost all of our meetups. He’s a constant source of help and wisdom and last night was no exception.
Our meeting was a Q & A session with Otto providing the answers. Here are some of the topics we touched on:
- Why WordPress, as of the current version (3.2.1) no longer supports PHP 4. Hint: security issues that won’t be patched on the older version. If you’re running an older version of PHP, most hosts will upgrade for you upon request.
- The Hot Fix plugin, which “everyone should have,” according to Otto. The plugin page says it “provides unofficial fixes for selected WordPress bugs, so you don’t have to wait for the next WordPress core release.”
- How to choose a good plugin
- Average rating — User ratings, so not always accurate
- Download count – How popular the plugin in
- Last updated time – Though time is sometimes not particularly accurate – look for plugins updated in the past six months
- Compatibility – Which version of WordPress the plugin is compatible with
- Authors – The best predictor of a good plugin is the author. If you read a lot or spend time in the forums, you’ll begin to notice prominent names. Plugins written by the core team members or other well-known contributors can be trusted. You can find their names in the credits at the bottom of your WordPress dashboard.
- Child themes and why it’s a great idea to use them. Answer: it allows you to install theme upgrades without losing customizations to theme files.
I think we had about 16 people — didn’t get a precise count. Our group includes all levels of geekiness – beginners up to developers. So if you’re thinking about blogging or about using WordPress for content management on your website, come see what we’re about.