Useful Things Web Development WordPress Desktop App

Automattic released a app for Mac OS X today. I’ve been using it for some time now during development and it has found a wonderful place into my regular workflow.

Download the OS X app now!

A Feed Reader

I have a love/hate relationship with Feedly. I migrated all of my RSS feeds over to it when Google Reader was axed. For the sites that I truly want to read every single thing that is published out of it, I like it. It’s a good way to have an inbox of posts.

I found myself, though, having plenty of sites that I wanted to read on a regular basis, though I didn’t really care all that much if I missed any particular post. The mental stress of seeing unread counts in Feedly was frustrating me.

The Mac App
The Mac App

The Reader, available on and in the Mac App, was the solution I was looking for. Cross-platform (as it also works in the iOS and Android apps) and providing a stream of posts instead. It is more like Twitter and Facebook—modern consumption—than the more e-mail-based model of Feedly (again, it has uses though and I am still a proud Feedly Pro member).

I’m enjoying the app as a feed reader. I love browser tabs and the Reader in-browser would always get lost in a sea of tabs1.

Site Management Tool

The new management interface, the codebase known as Calypso, I use throughout the day to either check stats or to write or edit blog posts. I’m an old WordPress guy, so wp-admin has a special feeling of home. The app, though, has provided a different vector to adding content to my site. Before the app, I know I could have managed this, as a Jetpack-powered site, via, but once I started typing in a browser’s address bar, wp-admin came out. Old habits and all of that.

The app though has provided a new way for me to think “I need to jot something down”, sometimes a quick draft, or sometimes a full post.

Notification Center notifications are a big part of my day. Both comments on my own sites, the o2 sites that I’m on for various projects, and all of my work at Automattic. A nice hack for when I need to be head down, mostly, but still need to see notifications come in is either watch the bubble on the dock icon, or resize the app window to just contain the notifications window.

I’m biased…

I know I’m biased. I don’t work directly on the desktop app or the Calypso codebase, but I really enjoy testing out these new ideas to explore what it could become or inspire. The desktop app was, though, the first time I had a release named for me. 😄

Early dev release of the App

The Future

I’m excited to see where this will bring us. With Calypso open-sourced, powering a desktop app, what could other WordPress sites do with this?

For something a bit more concrete though, do sign up for the mailing list to hear more about Windows and Linux versions

  1. I know, I know. “Pinned tabs” are all the rage to some people. I have a lot of browser windows open too. 
Useful Things Web Development WordPress

Developing with Jetpack

At this very moment, I’m presenting at WordCamp DFW about using Jetpack in your development. It is meant to wet your appetite to think about Jetpack in, perhaps, a different way. Far from comprehensive, I’ll mention things not in the slides and still miss plenty.

Check out the Developing with Jetpack deck!

Featured Useful Things WordPress

Press This Extended 1.1

Press This Extended 1.1 is now out in the wild and available for your Pressing pleasure via

1.1 is an upgrade to roll smoothly alongside the changes coming out in 4.3, which hit Release Candidate today and so 4.3 is the required minimum version. If you are testing 4.3, please do test 1.1 and let me know if you see anything amiss.

Today’s version has three changes of note:

Useful Things Web Development WordPress

World of Blogging

Yesterday, I presented on the World of Blogging at the Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference. The deck is online now. I might have notes published later, but to be honest, I didn’t keep notes besides the outline that drove the slides.


Technology Useful Things

Beer + Slack

There are so many things from this screenshot of the Beer channel in Automattic’s Slack instance that makes me smile.


Useful Things Web Development WordPress

Press This Extended!

WordPress 4.2, released today, includes a complete revamp of the Press This tool in WordPress. It is an easy and simple way to “press” interesting articles or other webpages and continue the conversation on your own site.

Press This 4.2This version include a lot of new features: a stand-alone option that works as an alternative editor and works on mobile, auto-inserting custom crafted meta descriptions when you haven’t selected text, and a slew of filters to tweak the behavior.

During development, anytime we had an open question about what should the experience be that both sides were reasonable, the question arose—what about a filter? Let it be changed?

WordPress’ philosophy includes “Decisions, Not Options”. Press This is a simple tool. It shouldn’t have a million of settings to tweak, be confused over, and become frustrated with. Out of the box, it’ll just work.

If you want to tinker, you have to open up a php editor, know where to find the filters, and how to use them. Not all power users are to that point.

Introducing Press This Extended.