EP322 – Learning from the past for our future projects

May 17, 2019

This week on WPwatercooler we went back in time and talked about ActionScript, Shockwave, Director, Server Side Includes and all the technologies that we learned leading up to WordPress.

Panel: Ross Gile, Leo Postovoit, Manny Costa, Steve Zehngut and Jason Tucker

Whittier CA representing on the show today
More information on WordCamp Long Beach coming soon!
WordCamp Las Vegas is later in the year.
Jason mentions this week’s WPblab EP126 – Marketing Yourself as a WordPress Developer

Steve talked ActionScript, Shockwave, JavaScript, and jQuery.

Manny wrote some e-commerce stuff in ActionScript

Leo talked about how he learned about AMP from WPwatercooler and got his job at XWP from that knowledge.

Ross was the first web developer in Whittier back in 1997 at DigiCal.

Steve talks about the times he was mentioned in old articles like Ross was in. Steve’s dad did picture framing and he has a bunch of places where he was mentioned online. Heaven’s Gate was mentioned in the same page of the article that Ross was mentioned in.

SHTML and Server Side Includes

Steve talks about this being a circular business.

Jason asked if Steve was featured in Webmonkey and he said that the Shockwave Site of the Day was where most of his stuff showed up. Steve won a SXSW Award for Big Pussies Poker Heaven.

Leo missed the Flash days but has been building and working with making simpler tools to build things much like Flash was back in the day.

Steve was a film major and ended up doing web development.

Leo has had to take about 6 months to learn web pack and is “looking forward tomorrows problems but at the same time celebrates yesterdays victories.”

Manny asked the question if everyone works from home making the point that going to WordCamps and WordPress meetups are important. He spoke about Prestige Conf and meeting Pippin of Pippin’s Plugins.

Ross talks about taking home “golden nuggets” from meetups and events he goes to.

Jason “ruins” Ross’ workflow when showing him things like Beaver Builder as a way of changing his workflow of building a website.

Leo talks about how open source works and how documentation is important. Technologies change quickly.

Manny talks on using Canvas and how they had to change to something new.

Steve was “all in” on Director and Shockwave and overnight that technology disappeared. The same can happen to WordPress, don’t put all your eggs in one technology basket.

Steve is observing that you don’t need to use WordPress for everything and WordPress isn’t made for everything.

Manny interjects that backward compatibility and is it important?

Leo talks about Drupal and their backward compatibility issues.

Steve mentions Shopify and working with scaling issues with it. Not every tool is the same.

Jason compares this to Windows and Apple and how they ditch their backward compatibility issues.

00:00 Introduction
02:15 What’s New in WordPress 5.9
06:30 The Importance of Website Security
10:45 How to Optimize Page Speed
15:20 The Rise of Headless WordPress
19:40 Gutenberg vs Classic Editor
24:05 eCommerce Solutions for WordPress
28:30 SEO Best Practices
32:50 Community Questions
37:15 Must-Have Plugins
41:40 Accessibility Concerns
45:55 Remote Work Tools for WP Developers
50:20 Upcoming WordPress Events
54:45 Wrap-up and Goodbyes

Join us on this episode of WPwatercooler by visiting our Participant guidelines page.

WPwatercooler network is sponsored by ServerPress makers of DesktopServer. Be sure to check them out at https://www.serverpress.com


Episode Transcription

(00:00) yeah hey what’s up everyone this is Jason Tucker and this is WP water cooler episode number 322 and today we’re going to be talking about learning from the past for our future projects let’s go around the room real quick get everyone introduced hmm let’s see well before that how about that before we go into that we have a sponsor you just spent two weeks mad you know three three weeks yeah so make sure you go over to super presses website server press comm they make a local WordPress development easy
(00:39) they’ve been sponsoring this for a a couple months now and it’s been it’s been great their stuff is amazing I’ve been using it I’ve been using it for jeez how long we’ve been using this stuff Steve it’s been years years and years and years of being able to do local web WordPress development even if you’re in a airplane it’s pretty sweet so feel free to go take a look at that all right we got the bills paid let’s talk a little bit about ourselves hello my name is Ross Kyle you’re over here
(01:08) from digital and I design WordPress sites and all kinds of good stuff and I wear my rotary shirt on because we’re given away twenty five thousand dollars today in scholarships where we support different things here in Whittier and it’s a lot of fun here at the Doubletree and Whittier and so we’re just gonna give away all the stuff that we raise money for and all the good causes that’s awesome man yeah very very cool thank you for being on as well my my fellow with your I appreciate a right here all
(01:43) right here how about yourself man I don’t know if I want to mitt this publicly but I’m from Whittier I grew up there and it’s a weird place we have the best part about winters we had the largest cemetery in the US and there’s most definitely nuclear waste being stored on the land bill next to it and there was a major police pursuit in Whittier this week where they were literally going like three miles an hour and when you’re it made national news speed chase we also had a guy crash an RV that while
(02:16) he was drunk he crashed and I were be into a business and you know it was a slowest crash ever I’m a full stock engineer long time designer I work for coming out like sub ep we make awesome websites and plugins all kinds of stuff in the WordPress space and I’m one of the co-hosts down in Long Beach also running meetup in Southern California and we’re planning we’re camp Long Beach which is probably gonna happen in October we’re looking at this year if we almost have a date lot so it’s gonna be
(02:51) super exciting but yeah that’s me awesome man good to have you on as always Steve using it tell us about yourself I am Steve’s and I’m the founder of Zeke interactive I run the OC WordPress meetup and I’ll site I’ll tell you something that Huntington Beach where I lived has in common with Whittier it takes like an hour to get to the freeway from anywhere I don’t understand that about both locations what is it about Whittier where every time you get off the freeway it’s another half an hour
(03:21) anyway yeah yep it takes me longer to get to the freeway from from my house in Whittier then to go from the freeway to Disneyland I don’t understand that let me good Beach has the same issue because the freeway cuts across diagonally so it’s all moving minutes to the freeway no matter how I add it up yeah and I was it tells you we need off the freeway there in heightened Beach it’s like yourself to the beach and you’re like what doesn’t make any sense yes Manny we’re doing interest tell us
(03:56) about yourself well I do web development and I some digital marksmen been doing this for a long time since 2010 mostly WordPress related co-organized the few word capes and organizing would kill us various 2080 and we don’t have exact date we are almost finished enclosing the location but Rama bigamy is a tender October disease you know you guys used to have WordCamp agus used to be in December which was the perfect time of year like it was the first week in summer I know that that’s now when we’re camp us is but that was
(04:38) that was a great date to go to Vegas it was it was it we could count on it every single year yeah that was the problem a few years back we had in December but they’re almost like conflicting with what kept us and by the way and show off my very cool Steve just like being able to write off the the company Christmas party invaded we did every year we would combine work camp and the company Christmas party we would just extend word camp into like Monday Tuesday not into like New Year’s I feel like Steve with you and the flash
(05:16) fun yes all right let me show myself you can find me over at Jason Tucker on Twitter my website is Jason Tucker about blog and I do this show as well as WP blob you can go take a look at that we we talked about how to market yourself as a wordpress developer and it was it was really interesting to kind of go through that rachelle wise Bridgette I kind of sat down and just kind of did a little case study type of thing and just kind of talked about what you can do to kind of make those things happen and it is it
(05:50) was really interesting a lot of stuff with work camps as well as going to meetups and stuff where talked about so feel free to go take a look at that that’s a day to work or calm slash WP blab so let’s talk a look about the stuff yeah we we have talked in the past about we talked in the past about the past about how you you know how we all kind of started in WordPress you know we have 30 minutes and we’ve only already kind of killed off 10 of them but I wanted to talk a little bit about this and kind of see how can you take the the
(06:21) skill set that you have currently in the past and then how do you apply it in the future all of my flash and ActionScript skills come in handy today you use all your action scripts still huh absolutely you ported them over to like jQuery yourself or what actually yeah I I say jokingly because you know I was I was a chocolate guy and I was the flash guy for many many years but flash is the flash and ActionScript was built on equus script which is all the it’s really all a parent of JavaScript so I actually do
(06:59) have some transferable skills right now Wow I’m not a great in it anymore but they they it does transfer over to today’s today’s technology right so if you were a flash programmer there’s still help for you I think if you are a flash programmer I think I’ve seen you at the support group I wrote a whole will be poem erssime ActionScript back in 2002 oh well it might remediate before Adobe yeah yeah yeah yeah that sounds awful a lot of work I thought I recognized you I mean as I look back at WP water-cooler
(07:43) I mean I’ve been watching the show probably for a good four or five years I’ve seen I’m so sorry yeah the worst ones were the ones where we had some guy yelling he’s like use flash as I was steve ii know uh the the there’s a lot that you’ve covered over the years things like advanced custom fields things like custom post types I mean I remember long long time ago the first time I discovered amp was actually watching at WP water cooler episode it was like why is someone talking about this and long long story short I ended
(08:12) up working on the plug-in working for xwp like this is a whole chaotic universe as we know at the same time like this is an archive we literally carry all this knowledge and there’s a lot of stuff out there most people are just reading or watching the new stuff not necessarily the old stuff there’s a lot to be said around where we’ve come from because we’re building on the past yeah I remember going over to Ross’s office for the first time and he has he has like a shrine to himself a little
(08:40) bit in his office it’s like here’s all the things that I’ve done in the past that kind of got me to where I am now he was like yeah I was like the first like web developer in Whittier like check this out and I’m like ran a whole newspaper article about him and stuff so cool to kind of see like how somebody especially somebody who is my essentially my only competition and and whittier doing development you know it was like oh man this guy this guy actually has an office and stuff and I’m literally doing them the bedroom that
(09:08) I’m in right now you know but having having somebody like that who’s been doing this stuff for you know I think I think probably probably both Ross and Steve have just been doing this stuff since since dirt was brand-new and Wow before that yeah there’s a great flood and then after that right Steve rolled up was like alright this to build some actionscript I’ll make sure all of your all of your restaurant menus are not accessible it’s gonna be awesome you know it’s funny I just moved we just
(09:43) moved into a new house and and I had an attic full of old picture frames right I did but they had owns a picture frame shop so that’s happens to be just what I hoard is picture frames and what he did is every time there was a some sort of publication like we early on in Zeke days we did a lot of PR and we’d have you know we’d be in web magazine or a newspaper and so if you framed all this stuff and so I have all this stuff I have stacks of it they’re just in picture frames and so I can’t do
(10:10) anything with it so I think I have to take out I’ve disassembled the picture frames and scan it all so that I can actually use it somewhere but yeah same stuff the guy it made me think of it because you were just saying that that Ross had some some articles written about him you know yeah on the Earl early on the web days it was really easy to get published anywhere because it was so new like every was so excited about it right and so it was it was fun Ross hold that up real quick yeah what year is that from 1997 I’m on the front I’m
(10:48) on the top page and with your daily news it was the front page article and if I have a copy of it but it happens to be the same day this article came out Friday March 28th 1997 bringing the first website into Whittier and it happens to be the the same day the article came out if you remember down San Diego there was a lot of those web designers they all committed suicide to ride hell Bob what was the name of that group that article let me start and it came out the same day you see my article on the top you see the Heaven’s Gate
(11:29) all those web designers body bags in the back of a truck I could not happen at worst time to get my 15 minutes and they have these other I was crazy with a crazy day of news but but and I just proved how much I just have a head full of useless [ __ ] oh my god crazy but you guys you guys talk about Flash and boy you know that’s all that’s all was the new stuff when I when I started I started before it was front page you know front page so this was all just regular HTML and one thing that was really cool at the time when this came
(12:15) out was s HTML you guys remember that oh yeah site those was called server side includes and I thought that was the greatest thing since sliced bread because you could take a web page and be able to do little modules in the build those enough to create these pages all from scratch all in 100% HTML you can say okay create the template and do these little site that server side includes and guess what we have today we have beaver builder or whatever other page manager you have you create this thing where you can just do it’s a fancy way
(12:50) of these s HTML so yeah that’s literally an Excel BP and our company the X company and x5 they used to literally called XHTML eyes because they originally started their business on converting sites to XHTML that used to be the approach of sort of modern web content and then as we moved toward you know PHP and JavaScript like we now have a different way of being able to build and bundle information and write and like these concepts have been around for 20 thirty years we’re just now having a bit of better you know fashion st says he’s
(13:24) got translatable skills to the modern day of xmas which sounds like a skin disease look a you know this is a cyclical business what’s old is always new again you know that’s right can I show you you guys don’t believe me so there’s the article right there weekly news right there below it is right there those are the web designers in the back of a truck the timing of that was incredible well you know I I remember when that happened I was working as an asset asset manager for a company that was building that was building director
(14:08) director apps for CD ROMs and stuff yes building we were building the the cd-rom for the Lexus and they were gonna have a guy walk out in front of a Lexus while the Lexus was spinning in the background and the guy come out and start talking to you and everything and I’m building all the assets for all this stuff and then I looked over and like yeah you know there’s this article about this this horrific thing that happened is like oh my goodness were you ever featured in any of those sites like like web monkey or any of those like way back
(14:41) in the day yeah we were more of the shockwave side of the day so there was a that’s or that’s what we really that was where we played so when Macromedia launched shockwave calm they picked a daily site and they’d feature a shockwave side of the day they’d have a shock we said of the week and eventually it was shock we said in a month and I think we had I think we were up to a dozen at one point sites of the day and a couple sites of the week so those were our big claim to fame we won a South by Southwest award Paul
(15:14) for the game we built for The Sopranos which I’m gonna go ahead and mention on air which goes to his called big [ __ ] poker heaven and so I I went to South by Southwest view that year I got invited to go because we were we were a candidate right my plane was late I get to this award ceremony literally the moment my name is called I didn’t even hear the nominees right I walk in and they said the winner is Zeke interactive and I just like walked in and walked on the stage with nothing prepared I was like I didn’t expect to well like oh
(15:46) this is so cool it was like a like a webby type of Awards it was it was fun night yeah I mean I I think the biggest thing that I noticed right now and Steve you and I are probably right on the same you know wavelength though I think you probably have 10 years of experience on top of sort of my budding world of things where we see some people emphasize tools as like the thing to know whereas like we focus a lot like it’s all about the process it’s all about why it’s all about who it’s all about when some on oldest other stuff
(16:15) it’s about building relationships it’s about solving the problems that really matter and I think but that’s to me really why we do this we ultimately wants you know obviously make a little bit of money but really to connect people that are storytellers to you know make better interactive games I mean I I missed the flash era because sometimes those things were really fun to play they’re really easy to build I mean I I was building a good’n burg block yesterday it took me like three hours to wrap my head around
(16:41) the existing code for this other block to be able to interface with it was ridiculous I mean I remember in flash being able to spend something up and not being able to have a functional game and like an hour and a half like it’s way easier than the most people like bother to care like we need simpler tools to be able to tell the stories we want to do so modern isn’t always better I think sometimes old can actually lend us I think a lot of insights tools don’t make you a developer just like they don’t
(17:09) make you a designer just like they don’t make you anything right it’s just a tool right so that you’re right the concepts don’t change right it’s still I mean I don’t want to film school it’s still about storytelling right film school is all about storytelling no matter what role you’re in it’s all about this all that storytelling that’s really it’s really what we’re doing here right and so you’re right the processes haven’t changed over the years the tools may have and
(17:35) they may even make it they’ve gotten easier to develop things but the the process still remains the same I mean I would say it’s both easier and harder every single year like that’s that’s the constant thing that I that is a struggle where as I learned something new I’m like how is this a thing like I finally have wrap my head around webpack but it’s taken me six months it took me three months understand promises in JavaScript like these things are confusing concepts they they literally make sense but how you
(18:05) implement them and what they’re actually doing is a long history behind them and I mean I look forward to tomorrow’s problems at the same time I celebrate yesterday’s victories and I think that’s our tweet for the week Jason is I looking forward to tomorrow’s problems for yourselves do you all I well I I mean I I own the company but yes I work from home because one thing that I found out is that because I work from home most of the time but I think it’s super important to go to those meet
(18:41) ups conference work camps because it helps overcome those roadblocks that we may find like no you just said whenever now he’s trying to learn about promises and then you know someone the conference can tell you the the right way or the right path to go you know I never few years back keeping him here to come to Las Vegas and wasn’t a wood cat conference it was something ever speak was prestige prestige conference yeah yeah and he was here and while he was here we were able to ask him a few questions about plugs and stuff and he
(19:15) could point us to the right direction to do those stuff you know and sometimes even with all the resources that we see online Oh YouTube everything out there sometimes is something specific that you don’t know where to find the right solution oh and I think it’s super important for us to stand on the shoulders of giants you know and then meet those people in person and be able to connect with them so yeah I think like work camps meetups and not only WordPress meetups but I don’t know you over there but here we have great lyrics
(19:47) and react and all this stuff you know cybersecurity we are very lucky to have access to those all the mihrab sue one of the things that I do is one of my giant is Garrett there Steve I go to his this is a for his OC meetups I go there and I don’t expect to learn anything but if I can get one golden nugget out of his meetups is worth it and those golden nuggets are I use those all the time and a comment about Leo you know using new tools and all that kind of stuff I find it hard to learn new tools myself because all of us have
(20:21) been doing this a while we have our own workflow so a new tool into the into the mix like how does this match the current workflow that that you’re normally used to and that’s when for some like then somebody might start in this business and learn this new tool really quickly but for some people it’s like wait a minute how does this work in my current flow that I’ve been working on for all these years right why ruin Ross’s workflow every single month when we do our meetup over at his office and I’m like hey have you see
(20:50) this beaver builder thing and he’s like oh we’ve been doing this other way for I have to do it this way and he’s like he’s like buying into it that’s before I even like finished a sales pitch and I’m not even trying to sell it to him he’s just like why didn’t you show me this earlier what the heck’s going on here know what your problem and I’m not gonna pick on any of the premium plugins pick on them as an industry like one of the things that we’ve also learned is that
(21:21) like as time marches forward and platforms get closed off and SAS products rise and people have to pay for software and then some plug-in developers stop offering updates or maybe they kill off a feature because Gutenberg or not Gutenberg we’re gonna see a lot of this happen again it’s happened a couple of times in the past but we need to be really careful about how open-source works how open documentation works I mean we’re in a weird weird time where all of the space is gonna go wild and it’s really
(21:51) exciting like I I was viewing the source code just a couple days ago from a project that was announced at Google i/o that literally The Flaming Lips were playing a bowl of fruit on stage you can you can replicate parts of what they were doing I know it’s pretty weird but the reality is like we don’t have to do everything from scratch we don’t need to close off everything not everything is about modernization of a lot of this is about collective knowledge and keeping the space of line being able to move forward and ideally
(22:16) allowing this to be the past for the future yeah I mean Steve’s told me in the past he’s like you know don’t worry about the was they just like don’t get so used to WordPress because at some point we’re presses you can’t get replaced by something else and you know it’s like the whole ActionScript thing with flash and doing director and doing all these technologies that just kind of disappeared yeah I have a headache I want to spew some bad we used to do a lot of website commerce websites yeah
(22:44) running on cameras and they you know automatic bought McComas and then they say well we got a discontinued campus so we had like a bunch of websites maybe like I don’t know two thousand websites on cameras that we had to move over to something else you know yeah so we need to be prepared I’m just speaking from experience right I mean we were I was all in on director and shockwave like I we were all that’s all we were doing right we hunker literally when I when we were in Santa Monica we were the director
(23:20) guys we were the go-to agency in LA the all Hollywood new for director and overnight that business was gone I think it was just it was just gone and so you know the reason I say that director that WordPress is not forever right is is it’s definitely you know it’s it’s an it’s an entrenched it’s got a lot of ubiquity right it you know it’s it’s definitely here to stay for the foreseeable future but don’t ever put all your eggs in this single technology basket right because you never know
(23:54) right and you know WordPress you know isn’t perfect right we talk about all the time of the water cooler the the team makes mistakes right I mean and and they they throw some things at the wall and sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t and it’s just the natural evolution of software but I think what I’ve seen over you know the last I don’t know three years maybe two or three years is we’ve got to a point where you know people were trying to use WordPress for everything literally for
(24:28) everything and it’s not the tool that’s made for everything right it’s got a lot of really good strengths and we still rely on it for building good strong content management systems and good good good publishing websites we rely on it for route you know ecommerce and WooCommerce and all that all the things that that does really well right but we don’t use it anymore for all the sass products that we’re building because it’s not the right tool for it right there are slimmer tools that don’t have the same
(24:56) overhead and that’s not it’s not a good or bad statement it’s just it just it’s not gonna be the right fit for everything so I’m sorry I would say we would totally see the chaos of publishing we have to be open and recognize that there are things like ghost and crafts which I think are really interesting challenges to publishing workflows yeah do you guys think these problems we call of the the backwards compatibility but they do because what times we can’t just you know a lot of other other tools that we
(25:24) see out there they just dump everything and then scrap is that on the first batch so at the same time I think it’s the the reason why would press is so popular is because of the backwards compatibility but at the same time we can’t grow as fast to the new stuff because of that you know I’m saying is like a dilemma no I mean Drupal is right now planning their next major upgrade is a Drupal night I believe and they’re for the first time in a very very long time going to have an upgrade path they’re
(25:55) literally building out the entire ecosystem in the current code base so they’re heavily leveraging symfony they’re trying to make this you know not be so chaotic because part of what you know Drees it said a few months ago is that Drupal should no longer be on the island you literally need to start blending those ideas to other places I was gonna mention Steve’s a big advocate for things like Shopify I really like big commerce even in the e-commerce space like WooCommerce is probably not the right answer for certain kinds of
(26:21) sites like you need to understand that everything else needs to push us further to really be able to open ourselves up and the legacy code is probably the smallest part of the discussion I think it comes down to ideas that really open you up and looking the past the past to find inspiration looking outside the ecosystem find inspiration that’s really going to give you the things that make you happy yeah and again you Shopify’s not the end-all be-all for ecommerce right Shopify is great for just starting up a store if
(26:48) you need to if you need a turnkey solution for a store it’s excellent right but if you need to scale Shopify doesn’t work that that well right it’s very difficult to scale on and you also don’t own your code right it’s it’s it’s it’s like a you know it’s like a like Oh a Wix or a Squarespace right where you’re using a SAS product right so again not every tool is perfect for every situation right right yeah I I see that the WordPress is kind of going through it’s it’s Microsoft Windows
(27:23) evolution of we have to ditch 16-bit we have to ditch this we have to ditch that and kind of get to the point now where it’s like let’s make sure that we’re running this stuff of more modern things and we need to get rid of some of that old stuff does the same thing on the Mac where you had like Rosetta where the thing would boot up a whole nother operating system inside the operating system to kind of make the old stuff work at some point you got to be able to just kind of you know kind of cut your
(27:48) losses there and be like all right well we got to be in this modern way of being able to kind of approach this thing one King one thing that I’ve been bringing out up and studying a lot now currently about what is this headless way of doing things yes it’s amazing you know we could do you can do everything else differently no I think it should be big so you know I’d love actually I’m gonna go check out what present of TV to see that is any good talks they are not this I have to go back in and talk about more
(28:20) headless stuff we haven’t done that in a while now mmhmm yeah that’d be great I just always recommend caution as you dive into the new things like understand that headless comes a lot of crazy territory and as we dive into new things you have to be careful like we can learn for the past they really can sure can well I want to say thank you all for coming on the show and hanging out with us it’s been great Steve I want to say thank you very much for the last couple weeks here of being Jason Tucker
(28:47) sorry it’s tough big Jason Tucker it’s art it is hard there’s a bunch of stuff you gotta do to kind of make things happen so I really appreciate you going from the trials and tribulations of making that work and thank you for that and thank you all for being on the show and hanging out with us and all the folks that are watching us live streaming and stuff we’re streaming all over the place if you’re if you’re watching this stuff on periscope on Twitter hit the hit the retweet button
(29:15) we’d love to see that happen if you’re on Facebook and you’re watching this hit the share button we would love to have that happen and if your vine if you’re online then 2012 called and they want their social network back we’re gonna be doing pretty soon here Steve just so you know is the c-suites gonna start seeing this thing pretty soon here because we’re gonna be streaming live over on LinkedIn and LinkedIn is going to be a very interesting where okay the stream LinkedIn startup it’s where my resume
(29:46) lives currently but videos on there too so feel free to go take a look at that all those places that we’re at if you’re if you’re just watch this for the first time you want to subscribe good debut work or calm slash subscribe you can learn how to subscribe to this stuff as well as be able to be on the show and we would love to have you on the show if you’d like to so talk to y’all later you have a good one my interwebs

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