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Roadmap 2017

After a hectic 2016, it’s time to look forward to what’s in store for the new year.

In 2016 I managed to hit a couple of achievements:

  • Spoke at my first WordCamp
  • Facebook Page Plugin passed 20,000 installs
  • Increase in leads and clients
  • Changed jobs twice

This year will hopefully be even bigger and better.

Plugins

Most in the WordPress community would know me for my suite of plugins. Since launching my Facebook Page Plugin in April 2015, I’ve released two more plugins to the WordPress repository.

Unfortunately, despite my plugins being used by more than 20,000 websites, I haven’t received even a single donation from them. As it is becoming increasing difficult to maintain a number of plugins, especially with no return on the time I’ve spent working on them, I have launched a Patreon page to help fund ongoing development.

Facebook Page Plugin
cameronjonesweb facebook page plugin icon

In December the Facebook Page Plugin moved past 20,000 active installs!

New Features

A few new features are planned for upcoming releases of the Facebook Page Plugin, including:

  • TinyMCE plugin shortcode generator
  • Adding the new ‘Events’ tab
  • New ordering system for tabs
  • Setting suggestions (to avoid issues such as facepile and tabs not being visible due to the height)
  • Utelising the new partial refresh functionality in the Customizer API
  • Improved documentation and onboarding process for new users

Goals

The Facebook Page Plugin currently has over 20,000 active installs, having been launched in April 2015, however I’m hoping to grow that number to over 30,000 by the end of the year. A list of all the upcoming changes are recorded in the plugin’s issues, as well as to keep track of Facebook’s API.

The release of 1.6 of the Facebook Page Plugin is imminent, with 1.7 to hopefully follow not too far behind.

You can follow along with development on GitHub.

Blocky! – Additional Content Blocks
cameronjonesweb blocky additional content blocks icon

Blocky! was originally built for this site, but as I will be launching a new redesigned site soon it’s purpose will have been served. However there are close to 100 other sites using it, and there are a few improvements I’d still like to make rather than completely abandon the plugin.

New Features

  • Class based
  • YoastSEO.js compatibility
  • New setting to disable the_content filter for those using the get_additional_content() function
  • Improving the implementation of the_content filter
  • Background images and colours for content blocks
  • Custom CSS for individual content blocks
  • Reordering content blocks

CSS and background images would also be toggled in the settings.

There’s also some super exciting news, Blocky! now has it’s own user profile! What does that mean? I can’t go into too many details, but Blocky! is well on the way to becoming more than just a plugin.

You can contribute to Blocky!’s development on GitHub.

Fluid Customizer
cameronjonesweb fluid customizer icon

Not much to be said for the Fluid Customizer, as there is currently a feature plugin that is set to be merged into core in a future release that does a similar job. The merge was originally slated for 4.5, however has been pushed back. As such, there are some updates that need to happen but will probably be the only batch of updates for this particular plugin.

  • Check for Customize Pane Resizer and disable if present
  • Check WordPress version and disable once the feature plugin has been merged
  • UI improvement for the resize handle

Development is also on GitHub.

New Plugins

There are also a couple of new plugins currently in development. Some of these plugins will be paid plugins, as it’s not sustainable for me to release even more plugins that are free while I receive nothing from them.

  • A plugin to automatically style the login page
  • A social sharing plugin
  • A plugin to handle redirects for deleted posts
  • A Hashbang redirect manager

Website

I’ve been developing a new website for cameronjonesweb.com.au. For most of the site the design will be unchanged, but the blog has been redesigned, and the portfolio page has been split into separate pages for plugins and websites, and will include a new plugin store for paid plugins.

I’ll also be sending out regular email newsletters to my subscribers, as well as blogging more frequently.

Processes

Any developer who is worth their salt will consistently be reviewing their processes and improving them. I’ve been working through optimising a number of aspects of my processes to improve the speed and quality of the work I produce

  • Moving from BitBucket to GitHub.
    All my open source code, such as my plugins, is available on GitHub, but I have been managing my private code, such as client sites and side projects, on BitBucket. This has been because BitBucket has unlimited free private repositories, but for private repos on GitHub it costs money. For the sake of consistency, I will be coughing up some cash for private repos on GitHub. GitHub also has the advantage of the contribution graph.
  • Moving from DeployBot to WP Pusher for WordPress projects
    I have been using DeployBot to automate the deployment of client sites in the past. However, it can be a bit time consuming to set up. WP Pusher, on the other hand, is custom built just for WordPress and is far easier to set up. It also supports updates for public custom code, such as a plugin available on GitHub but not the WordPress directory. DeployBot is a fantastic and powerful tool, but for WordPress WP Pusher is far superior. I will still be using DeployBot for non-WordPress projects though, so I’m not abandoning it completely.
  • A new client dashboard
    It can be difficult to maintain communications with clients when there are many channels of communication. When you’re talking to clients via email, text and phone call it can be easy to lose track of things. To try to improve this, I will be aiming to build a client dashboard to attempt to streamline communications and ideally introduce automated invoicing.

Community

I’ve been fairly heavily involved in the local web community, particularly WordPress, and I intend to keep that up in 2017. I regularly attend the Brisbane and Ipswich WordPress meetups, and occasionally the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast WordPress and BrisJs meetups. I’ll be aiming to attend those meetups more regularly and also new ones as they appear. I spoke at 2 of these meetups last year and hope to speak at a couple more this year.

I’m also an organiser for WordCamp Brisbane 2017! This is the first time I have been involved as an organiser having attended 3 WordCamps now. I won’t be speaking at Brisbane due to the commitment of being an organiser, but I am hoping to speak at some other WordCamp this year.

That’s (Not) All Folks

There’ll be even more plans on the cards for me both personally and professionally in 2017 that may or may not eventuate, which will all come out in due time. Wishing everyone reading this all the best for the new year.

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