and wordpress: starting, migrating, or importing a site

part one of this tbd series deals with starting a brand new install from scratch on pantheon, or migrating an existing site (local or remote) onto patheon. but first:

a brief foray into pantheon terminology

pantheon has three main ways of categorizing your wordpress build. two make sense.

code: your entire file structure of your wordpress directory. basically everything except the database. oh, and, somewhat inexplicably, without the uploads* folder. you’ll need it, but i’ll get to that.
*located at wp-content/uploads

database: er, yeah, the database, in the form of an SQL dump.

files: here’s where it gets a little weird. for reasons that my cursory googling could only partially figure out (storage, size reasons), pantheon keeps everything normally in an uploads folder in a separate root directory called “files”. so that’s a thing.

Continue reading and wordpress: starting, migrating, or importing a site and wordpress: intro to a potential three-parter

disclaimer: i started writing this in december and then realized it was a lot more information than i thought (mo’ files = mo’ problems). so i split the info into three categories, but i haven’t written the latter two yet. the first is mostly ready so should be out soon. skip to part one


for the past three months, i’ve been using for my development process making a relatively small but almost entirely custom wordpress build. pantheon specializes in hosting and managing wordpress and drupal sites, and for me was mostly a good experience. for some quick tl;dr:


  • Git integration and insta-repo — push changes right from command line or your preferred Git client
  • handles all of your server needs and maintenance
  • somehow free for the first 15 sites
  • relatively easy to initialize and go between dev and testing environments (with a few caveats*)
  • sFTP options
  • one-click backups per-environment


  • setting up locally is a bit of a pain and docs are outdated
  • if you are migrating a large site, gear up your command line skills and pat yourself on the back for good luck
  • exporting a large site for the first time is similarly awkward
  • not really sure what’s happening with the database unless you export the whole thing and look
  • the git/sftp toggle makes updating wordpress & plugins a pain
  • if you’re not sticking with pantheon for the entire dev to live process, it can get a little…awkward, shall we say.

in the upcoming articles, i will (hopefully) outline:

  1. starting from scratch on or migrating a site to pantheon
  2. developing with pantheon
  3. exporting a site from pantheon

note that this article assumes a basic understanding of source control (specifically Git) and wordpress, and that i develop on a macbook pro so most of this will be with os x experience.

*stay tuned!

Tasker: displaying Active Profiles one per line in a Minimalistic Text widget on the homescreen

so a few days ago i actually purchased an app. for the first time ever. (some would say i’m cheap, but i prefer frugal)

what warranted the opulent purchase of $3.99, you ask? Tasker, the android automation app that apparently lets you automate just about everything on your phone. i was instantly enthralled, to say the least.

i’m still new at this, but today i figured out how to display something pretty nicely and i couldn’t find the instructions on almighty google, so i’m sharing:

how to make an at least semi nice looking active profiles display widget


a screenshot of an android with the cyanogenmod 12.1 OS showing custom tasker widgets, among which one shows the currently active profiles
fun fact: i just got cyanogenmod 12.1 the other day so i had to google “how to take a screenshot on cyanogenmod 12” to get this image

if you haven’t already guessed, i’m going to provide a short tutorial of how to get the “Active Profiles” custom widget seen in the screenshot. you may also be wondering why on earth i’m still using BBM, but i’m going to ignore that for now.

some of you might be reading this and thinking “but wait, doesn’t Zooper do something like this with Tasker integration?”

why yes, i have been googling that for hours, thanks for checking. but since Zooper is  $2.99 and i’ve already indirectly mentioned that i’m a fan of free apps, i wanted to see if i could do this with Minimalistic Text instead. so i did.

i’m going to assume that those reading this have at least made one very simple profile in Tasker already (maybe try this first if you haven’t).  there is also this handy tutorial if you’ve never worked with Minimalistic Text-Tasker integration before.

it is important to note that when Tasker Profiles become Active (in use and lit up green within the app UI itself), Tasker stores a comma separated list (a string, not an array) of all of the Active Profiles in its built in global variable %PACTIVE. they also put commas at the beginning and end of this string “to make matching easier”. it is very ugly.  this will come up later.

now to the learning part!

Continue reading Tasker: displaying Active Profiles one per line in a Minimalistic Text widget on the homescreen

this sqldump file is too big for a text editor to find and replace without crashing, HELP

this helpful tidbit is for readers with perl installed on their computers that need to perform a find-replace on entirely too large of an SQL file. on a mac you can find out if you have perl by checking for the version:

perl -v

if something shows up like “This is perl 5, version 18, subversion 2, etc. etc. etc.”, congrats, you have perl!

the other day i was exporting a monster wordpress site and needed to do a find-replace on the entire database before importing again. the sql file was a tad large, and by that i mean it crashed my Sublime Text Editor. it also crashed a regular text editor and Coda. so i did what i always do when my programs fail me: to the command line!

Continue reading this sqldump file is too big for a text editor to find and replace without crashing, HELP

thoughts from today in responsive web design

i’m in class today, so a lot of these helpful hints have to be attributed to my professor, Andrew Smyk.

today we’re talking about how to get your website noticed and up to responsive web design standards.  my professor purposefully broke his website and made his code terrible as a teaching tool. a pretty effective tool, at that. it’s like a scavenger hunt for bad code!

anyway, here are some dos and don’ts for all of your beautiful webpages:

  • DO: a favicon. let me repeat that. a favicon. apparently this will increase clickability in the browser by 50%. you know how when you have a bunch of tabs open you’re more likely to go back to the tabs with pretty pictures instead of a nondescript blank page icon? yeah. that.

Continue reading thoughts from today in responsive web design

CoffeeScript Beginner Beginner’s Guide


Hey there! You’ve found my intro to CoffeeScript page. You can learn CoffeeScript at the same time I do! I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a few things and thought it would be good to share. This is my beginner beginner’s guide.

CoffeeScript is a self-described “little language” that compiles to Javascript.  I’ve also seen it described as a Javascript pattern-handler, in that it takes common Javascript patterns and gives the developer easier and shorter programming alternatives to write the pattern. For example, and I will get into this is more detail later, CoffeeScript allows you to use classes in a similar way to Ruby or Python, while actually using prototypal syntax behind the scenes. This saves the developer a lot of writing, as we will see.

This tutorial will include written explanations and demo videos. They will be divided into sections based on themes in CoffeeScript. This was my first time uploading videos and I couldn’t figure out how to edit them without majorly decreasing quality, so unfortunately to strike a balance they’re a bit blurry. Any helpful hints would be appreciated!

Continue reading CoffeeScript Beginner Beginner’s Guide

thoughts from a conference gone by

on October 21st, 2014, I attended the WEST (Wearable Entertainment and Sports Toronto) Conference. it was my first ever conference, and basically is the reason I’m now an active follower of wearable news and tech (they got me with their promises of exciting biostats data, obviously). after attending a few more conferences, it is still my running favourite. I livejournaled the event, so I thought I would share. here it is! your new content (and by that I mean it’s from October):

So. First conference! I feel underdressed. Definitely need to add about 17 blazers to my wardrobe. Things I’ve learned so far:

1) I’ve never felt so official as when I received my personalized lanyard at registration. Welcome to the big leagues, kid.

Continue reading thoughts from a conference gone by

the start.

hello, future readers! in an attempt to set up a working and customized wordpress site (for practice, of course), I thought, why not just make a real blog out of it? so here we are.

I’m not sure how much this will be updated — I was an avid writer in high school but have since found it hard to write about my own opinions (having to cite every reasoning/sentence you ever write for lab reports over four years will do that to you, apparently. schience). maybe this will spark my writing interest, who knows.

I’m also a bit of a stickler for spelling and grammar so if you see any unintended typos please tell me — although ironically I’m not too bothered by capitalization, as you may have noticed. sometimes fluid rules are good for you, or whatever. right?

anyway, (and congrats if you’ve read this far), i hope you find something enlightening/fun/at least a tad interesting while reading. let the writing begin! (i think. it’s up to future me for that one.)

thoughts and musings and maybe something helpful, or whatever