Subversion, Coda, and WordPress

I’ve been using Panic’s Coda to develop my WordPress plugins and manage my sites and I love it.  When I published my first plugin, it took me quite a while to find any real resources on using Coda with WordPress’s Subversion servers.  It’s fairly simple stuff really, but updating plugins baffled me for the longest time and I’ve finally figured out the proper steps to do it without errors or partial uploads (as evidenced by the version 0.32 of ArtistDataPress plugin that didn’t include the widget, css, or images folders…).

Random tip: when developing, use the trunk files.  These files aren’t the ones given to the public and if you have more than one developer, this is where each of checks out the files you’re working on.

For those using Coda and wanting to develop for WordPress, these are tested instructions for updating a plugin:

Make changes as needed to your plugin files.  Be sure to update the stable version number in your main plugin and readme files.

Go into the tags folder.  Duplicate the latest tag folder in there.  When it asks if you want to update, say yes.

Change the name of the folder to the latest version number.  Say yes to updating.

Copy the updated files from the trunk folder into the newly-created tag folder.  At this point, there should be a green A next to that tag folder.

After all the files have been copied to the tag folder, click the green A.  This will add this folder to the SVN repository.  Coda will ask you to type in notes about the changes – make them as detailed as possible, this is the only thing people in the future will see when looking at why the plugin was changed to a new version.

The new tag folder and all the updated files should be added to the SVN repository.  Wait about fifteen minutes and you should see the changes reflected on the plugin’s page in the WordPress plugin directory.

If the steps above don’t work or you start getting odd errors (like you need to force an update), copy your trunk files to your desktop and remove the site.  Then add the site back and check out the repository again.  Then follow the steps above.  I just ran into this today (2/11/2012) and this worked for me.

W3 Total Cache

Load and activate the W3 Total Cache plugin to see significant improvement in your WordPress blog load times.

I just discovered an amazing caching plugin, thanks to yoast.com.  It’s called W3 Total Cache and is available through the WordPress plugins directory.  I’ve endorsed WP Super Cache in Your Band Blog, but frankly, I never really noticed it making my site faster.  When I installed and activated W3TC, I noticed.  I completely believe their claims of a 10x load time improvement.

The best part is, it doesn’t require much tweaking, most of the default settings are great.  I had one minor issue: for some reason the plugin wasn’t able to put its file, advanced-cache.php, in the plugins folder, so it disabled that portion of the plugin.  I manually uploaded the file, reloaded the plugin options page, and all was well.

Here are the settings I changed from the defaults:

Page Cache Settings:

Change HTTP compression to gzip and deflate (best).

Minify Settings:

Change HTTP compression to gzip and deflate (best).

Check the enable box for HTML minify settings.

That’s it.  The plugin will prompt you to empty the cache after each change, just wait until you’ve made all three, then you’re good to go.  You should notice a dramatic increase in your page load times, I know I did.  I have yet to gather any concrete data, like Google Page Speed analytics, but it appears to load much faster than before.  Give this plugin a shot and I think you’ll be happy with the results!