Category Archives: Wordpress

Using Divi theme with LifterLMS

Update 30/03/2017: An official solution is now available. For more information, see the Lifti section on the LifterLMS Blog or watch the overview of Lifti on YouTube.

When establishing an LMS with WordPress, LifterLMS is a solid LMS plugin, and Divi an excellent theme. But they don’t play together seamlessly out-of-the-box.

Specifically, you need to go to extra efforts to enable Divi builder and Divi settings for custom post types that come with LifterLMS: Course and Lesson.

But there is a solution!

The longcut

For all the instructions to do this yourself, see Nagdy’s post.

Pay to progress

Another good option, if you’re happy to pay a nominal fee is to use Divi Booster. This plugin allows you to enable Divi on custom post types without getting your hands dirty by touching the code below—I mean, eww, who knows where it’s been??

Free shortcut: My child theme

  1. Download this child theme
    Divi child theme – enables Divi on custom post types for LifterLMS
  2. Unzip it
  3. Tweak as necessary (should work out of the box)
  4. Upload to your WordPress instance
    Path to child theme
  5. Activate the child theme in your WordPress backend: Appearance > Themes

You can use this for any custom post types, just keep adding to the $post_types array at the top of the functions.php file.

function my_et_builder_post_types( $post_types ) {
    $post_types[] = 'course';
    $post_types[] = 'lesson';
    $post_types[] = 'another'; // Repeat this line and tweak
 
    return $post_types;
}
add_filter( 'et_builder_post_types', 'my_et_builder_post_types' );

Results

You should now see the Divi builder and Divi settings options appear when you edit those custom post types.

Divi examples in custom post

Let me know how you go!

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Custom app icons updated

Spent a little time revisiting the Custom app icons plugin for WordPress.

It was well overdue for a revisit, since initial release in 2010, Apple have released a bunch of new devices of differing display resolutions and with them a range of different dimensions of app icon to support. This plugin update allows you to specify a different sized app icon for each device.

I’ve also added the ability to specify if you’d rather Apple didn’t add the glossy effect on top of your icons (select ‘My icons are pre-composed’) in the configuration screen.

Thanks to Stephan S for saying hi and suggesting the idea!

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My first public WordPress plugins

I’ve been playing with WordPress for a fair while now. Hacking together themes, trying and modifying existing plugins, writing my own simple plugins from time to time. Generally doing too much in the theme files, and not enough abstraction into proper plugins.

Recently I’ve decided it’s time to bite the bullet and formalise some of these hacks, so I bring you my first two public WordPress plugins:

  • Custom default avatar

    Plain vanilla WordPress provides a list of default avatars to choose from, but doesn’t allow you to choose an image of your own making. This plugin allows you to specify your own default avatar

  • Custom app icons

    This plugin allows you to specify icon(s) to be used when iPhone / iPod Touch users create a shortcut to your site using the ‘Add to Home Screen’ function in Safari

I hope you find these useful, and eventually I will think about submitting for inclusion in the WordPress.org plugin directory. Before I do however, I’d appreciate any and all feedback, for example: any functionality limitations, plugin faux pas, coding style issues, etc…

Let me know what you think!

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WordPress performance revisited

Stefano asked if I had numbers to back up my previous performance claims regarding WordPress performance plugins. Today I ran some tests to be able to provide those numbers.

All tests were performed:

Results

The “baseline” results represent tests without DB Cache Reloaded, Hyper Cache, or GZIP Output plugins installed. Different combinations of these plugins were then tested. Each combination was tested 10 times and the results have been averaged.

This site (irama.org) — number of seconds to render HTML of the homepage
test baseline DB Cache Reloaded Hyper Cache DB Cache Reloaded + Hyper Cache DB Cache Reloaded + GZIP Output
1 0.325 0.294 0.299 0.409 0.292
2 0.458 0.447 0.322 0.318 0.335
3 0.366 0.267 0.493 0.290 0.313
4 0.287 0.299 0.765 0.331 0.269
5 0.740 0.319 0.393 0.311 0.512
6 0.807 0.276 0.315 0.435 0.354
7 0.351 0.270 0.348 0.280 0.343
8 0.347 0.403 0.361 0.292 0.290
9 0.412 0.298 0.321 0.336 0.263
10 0.418 0.263 0.286 0.364 0.267
Avg. 0.451 0.314 0.390 0.337 0.324
A more complex client site — number of seconds to render HTML of the homepage
test baseline DB Cache Reloaded Hyper Cache DB Cache Reloaded + Hyper Cache DB Cache Reloaded + GZIP Output
1 3.116 2.477 2.198 2.287 2.693
2 2.663 0.749 2.542 0.712 0.895
3 2.820 1.008 2.382 1.143 1.221
4 2.390 0.799 2.501 0.827 0.880
5 2.304 0.758 2.581 0.939 0.939
6 3.348 0.795 2.364 1.068 1.109
7 3.150 0.866 2.248 2.483 1.172
8 3.139 0.989 2.512 1.125 0.912
9 3.115 0.789 2.667 0.939 1.092
10 2.525 0.776 2.306 2.613 0.910
Avg. 2.857 1.001 2.430 1.414 1.182

Analysis

My previous recommendation of Hyper Cache was primarily because it provides GZIP compressed HTML. Since the results for DB Cache Reloaded + Hyper Cache were not as strong as DB Cache Reloaded alone, I looked for an alternative plugin that might provide GZIP compression without as much of a page render performance cost.

I tested the GZIP Output plugin, and while it still seems to negatively impact on page render time, I believe the addition of GZIP compression — which will lower the size of the transmitted HTML file — is worth the small hit on render performance.

Note: If your web server compresses HTML output from PHP files automatically (or it can be configured to do so) then use that approach instead of using the GZIP Output plugin as it is likely to perform slightly better. The other benefit of this approach is that compression will also be applied to the HTML output of PHP files that are not part of WordPress (if you have any).

Conclusion

In terms of performance (on a shared hosting environment) disk IO is expensive, but DB access is more expensive. So while Hyper Cache alone makes a difference, DB Cache Reloaded makes a greater difference. YMMV, but in light of this data, I would update my recommendation…

For best WordPress performance, use the following plugins:

  1. DB Cache Reloaded
  2. WP Minify
  3. GZIP Output (only if your web server doesn’t GZIP HTML output from PHP automatically).

Note: If DB Cache Reloaded is not an option with your hosting provider, or you aren’t able to get it working, Hyper Cache is still a good option (remember: you won’t need GZIP Output if you have Hyper Cache installed).

Finally…

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have feedback about my methods/results, or if you have other WordPress performance tips.

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WordPress performance

Update 5 December 2009: Recommendation revised based on new data.

As promised, here’s a quick rundown of the WordPress performance plugins I’ve been using.

  • DB Cache Reloaded = Big performance wins. Especially on shared hosting.
  • Hyper Cache = Less noticeable improvement than DB Cache, but still noticeable.
  • WP Minify = Essential. Every website should combine, minify then cache static text assets (like CSS and JavaScript) for production.

Note: I have used WP Super Cache in the past and have run into problems. Apparently it doesn’t perform too well on shared hosting setups. Also, in my experience, DB Cache outperforms Super Cache every time.

I have other thoughts about web performance that I’d like to share, but not today. Let me gather my thoughts some more and get back to you.

Know of any other good WordPress performance tricks? Leave a comment.

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