open source


Me again, posting about my favorite WordPress ecommerce plugin, WooCommerce, and my favorite WP themes, Elegant Themes. I recently (today) had some problems with the WooCommerce product display on a client’s website. Scouring the forums and the knowledge base and Google in general, I saw I was not the only one. There are a lot of us who wonder why the default setting for product display on a normal product page is set to “10”. Strange number that doesn’t work well with rows of 4, the default row setting in Woo. BUT that problem is fairly easily solved. I’ve done it several times with no problem. My problem today was different. The number of products on the product category was the issue. It was only displaying 5 products at a time, which looked ridiculous. I spent way too long trying to find the WooCommerce .php template that called for that limit. It wasn’t there. Because it wasn’t WooCommerce’s fault at all. It was my theme. Right there in the epanel of my  Divi theme was a setting for default number of posts to display on a category page… and it was set to “5”. I figured I’d lay out a list of all the places to check if you encounter this problem: Go to Settings/Reading and make sure the field for “Blog pages show at most” is set where you want it. Look carefully through your theme settings for any mention of number of posts on a category page or an archive page. Many themes have a setting that specifies this value. All of the Elegant Themes have a field for this setting. Go to Appearance/(Your) Theme Options/General/Number of Posts displayed on Category page.  If you still have trouble, you may need to add a snippet to your theme’s functions.php referred to in the WooCommerce documentation here. It’s also possible that your theme has its own category or archive page template that dictates the number of posts per category page. Check there as a last resort. Hope this helps you out, and feel free to ask questions below. I’ll help if I...

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Dear WooCommerce- The support was great- thank you so much. But the 2.1.x release has been a nightmare for me. I have many client sites that use WooCommerce, and usually in conjunction with associated plugins. I love WooCommerce and recommend it to all my clients. With the release of WooCommerce 2.1, most of my WooCommerce stores broke, and my clients are angry. I have scrambled to continue updating and fixing problems to this day. With one of my stores, there was a plugin conflict that I should have noticed, and I thank you for your help with that one. But I implore you… PLEASE listen to the complaints you get about this release. I know you can blame it on the plugin and theme author, but that is not helpful. All the authors I have talked to have been very stressed by the release, and are trying to comply. They are upset because core changes  like those to the file prefixes mean that then their plugins are not backward compatible, and people complain loudly to them, especially when they are afraid to upgrade to the latest version of WooCommerce. Perhaps you did let plugin and theme authors in on the release changes before launching your update. And maybe this is not your fault,  but something definitely went wrong here. Was it just the flaws inherent in the open source business model? Are there ways we can avoid them? That is the real question. The thing that concerns me the most is the affect all of this has on WordPress itself. When things break like this, and clients have to pay me even more to fix them, the numbers don’t add up in favor of WordPress anymore. I have clients who are now ready to switch to Shopify or BigCommerce. That just makes me sad… Still, I don’t believe the model is flawed. The community can fix this.  WordPress has become what it is because of stringent attention to detail  in code and procedure. The kind of support that WooCommerce has offered in the last week tells me that you are striving for the same high standards. Please do, we are all counting on you. Your friend, Christy UPDATE: I got the most helpful  and positive response from WooCommerce- who, I repeat, has been very supportive throughout. They told me that “we don’t take these types of changes lightly. A tremendous amount of thought goes into risk/benefit before we ever begin coding.”  I understand from this that they had to bite the bullet and make some core changes, even though they knew the difficulties implied, for the sake of the...

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Women in open source. Women in programming. Women in tech at all. Where are they? View the complete collection of Women in Open Source articles We’re familiar with the statistics, and we’ve seen the photos from the tech conferences. Seas full of men. It requires patience to scan for the odd female in those auditoriums. It’s a popular topic, this scarcity of women in technology, one of the hip things to whine about these days. It’s politically correct to blame the male “priesthood” in Silicon Valley. Ask Paul Graham. He took it in the ribs after a few reckless comments about the funding practices of his startup seed accelerator, Y Combinator. He was quoted as saying, “God knows what you would do to get 13 year old girls interested in computers. I would have to stop and think about that,” in a recent article. Ouch. But, really, is he so wrong? I have an 11 year old daughter. Even though she sees me sitting at my computer for ungodly hours of the day making a living for her, she’s a lot more interested in watching Katy Perry on YouTube than learning how to write code on Khan Academy. Why is that? Coding is fun. Writing some lines of PHP, hitting enter, and watching the look of an entire website change in an instant, now that’s exhilarating! Well… it doesn’t wear a candy striped leotard and strut around through a maze of life-sized lollipops. For years, I’ve been wishing somebody like Wired Magazine or Opensource.com would do an annual “Sexiest Geek Alive” issue, like People magazine does. Give me Matt Mullenweg, Linus Torvalds, or Nick Roach over Adam Levine any day. I’m literally weak in the knees thinking of the long list I could make. Is there anything sexier than a man who can DO something?! I had come to the conclusion that what the open source community needed was more sex appeal, starting with some geeky pinup boys. Then, I read an article by Sarah Pressler which convinced me of the danger of that kind of thinking. I’ve realized that’s not exactly the best direction, as fun as it sounds at first. Boys might attract girls… but eventually, what we want is more females getting enchanted with the mysteries of open source. We want them to feel the rush of writing code or contributing to an open source project. They’ll get interested when they think it might be as fun as putting on makeup or listening to a pop song. So, instead of whining about the dearth of women in technology, let’s show them how fun it is! Seeing incredible, powerful women in the community will draw the girls in. Female role models...

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