Testing HTTP redirects with Curl

We’ve got a really complex redirection setup for the current project at work, a mix of some general rules (http://blog.example.com/ to http://www.example.com/blog/), some oddball domain redirects (http://blog.example.jp/ to http://www.example.co.jp/blog/), and some more esoteric ones thrown in there for luck. I started off briefing my colleague with a description of what I needed, but this very quickly became too complex and I realised I really needed to give him a set of initial URLs and expected results. Why not express these rules in a quick test script? My colleague could run the script against the redirects as he wrote them, and see the successful ones and the failures, along with detail about why they failed. Continue reading Testing HTTP redirects with Curl

Human readable Gravity Forms exports using XSL

We have a client who needs to review a very complex form created in Gravity Forms. The form has many fields, and to make things worse the labels displayed to the user and the labels displayed to the administrator when someone submits the form are different. Because Gravity Forms has an XML export, it occurred to me that I should be able to create some transformational XSL to turn that XML export file into a human readable description of the form. Continue reading Human readable Gravity Forms exports using XSL

Alfred Workflow to open a directory in Sublime Text

I’ve recently switched to development in two Vagrant virtual machines (VMs), one VM running Nginx and one running Apache. This means that are two locations I might need to open files from, with two sets of directories representing the document roots of my various development sites. Eventually I got bored of using the terminal to “subl ~/Vagrants/nginx/www/wordpress-whatever/” and decided to write an Alfred Workflow. Now I just trigger Alfred, hit “v client“, and Alfred shows me all my projects in directories with “client” in the name. Continue reading Alfred Workflow to open a directory in Sublime Text

Using the OSX clipboard from the command line

The OSX pbcopy terminal command, which adds “stuff” to the clipboard to be pasted later, is really useful. For example, to download some webpage and put the HTML source in the clipboard:

curl -s http://example.com/ | pbcopy

Here’s a WordPress example; want to get some fresh API salts and keys for a wp-config.php? Try this:

curl -s https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/ | pbcopy

Want to be notified when the download and copy are complete? Add the say command, like this:

curl -s https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/ | pbcopy; say 'Ready to paste';

I use DTerm, which is an excellent little “popup terminal” which inherits the current context, and these commands are super handy here.

Spot the duplicates, using a Gravatar identicon hack

A project at work needed me to write a UI to find and delete duplicate attachments on a single post, from a client’s WordPress website. Creating a couple of queries where I could look over each post in turn, and check a hash for each file attached, then spot the duplicate hashes wasn’t too hard. Where I was struggling was making the rows with the duplicates stand out visually, file hashes, e.g. bc38d8d8993b5e9f4617576d2adeb875, are just not that easy to distinguish from other hashes, e.g. dbe0256fe35b88ebd4e4e433604b7487… see the problem?

What I wanted was some way of mapping a file hash to a colour, or something strongly visual. Which is when it occurred to me; Gravatar could do this! Continue reading Spot the duplicates, using a Gravatar identicon hack

Apple Mail sending email from the wrong account

I’m currently running Apple Mail with the unified inbox option, so I can connect to my old company email address as well as my Code for the People address and see everything in one place. There’s settings in Mail to allow you to set the default sending address, and when you reply to a mail it should pick the correct account. Trouble was, I kept noticing that my mail was going out under the new account when I was sure I’d specified the new account to be the sending address. Infuriating and embarrassing.

Continue reading Apple Mail sending email from the wrong account

Protecting staging sites with Basic Authentication

This approach was primarily devised for use with WP Engine staging sites, but will work in any situation where you have no access to Apache’s config and need to use a single .htaccess file for multiple domains (e.g. a multisite setup).

We’ve recently had a couple of projects hosted on WPEngine where we need to have a staging site protected by Basic Authentication so only authorised users can access it. Normally I would configure Basic Authentication in the Apache VirtualHost, but on WP Engine (for example) they handle all the server configuration for us, meaning we don’t have access to the Apache configuration. WPEngine also provide a Git push to deploy facility, which we tend to take advantage of because Version Control Rools, OK? Because all the web files are within Git version control, we are using the same .htaccess file for the developer, staging and live sites. (We could Git ignore the .htacess file, but I prefer to version control more, rather than less.)

Continue reading Protecting staging sites with Basic Authentication

A plugin to clear recalcitrant caches from inside WP Engine

We’re using WP Engine to host various clients, notably the Rolling Stones site, and we’ve been very pleased with both the service and the performance of their hosting platform. There’s always something though, isn’t there? I don’t think I’d really be happy if there wasn’t. In this case it’s the fact the Varnish caching layer that sits between the site and the visitors caches “non-200” responses for 24 hours. So what does all that mean? What’s the actual problem here? Continue reading A plugin to clear recalcitrant caches from inside WP Engine