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ianmjones

Always Developing
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My First WordPress Plugin: Options Pixie

There’s been a number of times when I’ve wanted to quickly check the value of a record in the wp_options table of a WordPress site’s database, but not had easy access to the database, usually when the site and database are on a remote server. I’ve tried using the /wp-admin/options.php page, but it’s not ideal and does not show the contents of serialized values, which of course is where so many interesting values lie in wait.

There are of course a few existing WordPress plugins for working with the wp_options database table, but none have quite fit my needs, either by not showing values in a usable way, not having good search and sort, or simply throwing a million errors when in debug mode (which you always seem to want on when the need arises for checking your options records).

Although I’ve been developing WordPress plugins for Delicious Brains since mid 2014, I’ve never actually released a plugin of my own. That doesn’t seem right, especially as most of my team mates have excellent plugins of their own.

So I’ve scratched my itch as they say, and have developed and released my first open source WordPress plugin called Options Pixie.
Options Pixie List View

Options Pixie Rich View
Actually, as I write this, Options Pixie has been released and available from the WordPress plugins repository, GitHub and my own business site for over 7 months, as I released it at the beginning of July 2015. I guess the fact that I haven’t spoken about it here, only once on twitter, is a testament to my awesome marketing skills. Maybe not.

I’m not sure why I haven’t been jumping up and down and shouting about Options Pixie, as I’m really quite proud of it. It works very well for what I need it to do, and I went to great pains to make it a very high quality and robust WordPress plugin. Maybe I can just blame my natural and very British reserve?

Regardless, I’ve finally finished off this post (I started it just a few days after releasing Options Pixie, 7 months ago), and encourage anyone that finds themselves in the position of needing to check the contents of their WordPress site’s options table to search the WordPress plugins repository and install Options Pixie. It’s currently at version 1.0.1 having had a few bug fixes, and there’s a new version in the wings which improves some of the behind the scenes functionality, enhances working with base64 encoded values, and is tested with the latest versions of WordPress.

Here’s the highlights of what Options Pixie offers:

List, filter, sort and view options records, even serialized and base64 encoded values.

  • List, sort and search options
  • “Rich view” of serialized and JSON string values
  • Works with base64 encoded serialized and JSON string values
  • Highlights broken serialized values
  • Supports Multisites

With Options Pixie you can find out what is really going on with your WordPress options.

I’m also working on Options Pixie Pro, a paid addon that adds bulk actions such as delete and fix serialized, add, edit and delete functionality, and of course priority email support.

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Our Struggles to Stay Healthy While Working From Home

Recently in a Slack chat we discussed how we try and stay healthy while working from home. We all have different methods, some have been consistent and dedicated to staying fit and healthy, some not so much. We’ve all decided that we’re going to “air our laundry” with this post, whether it’s clean or not, …

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My First iOS Game: Missed Three

Today I had an email from Apple to say that my first iOS game, Missed Three, had entered “In Review” status, which I thought was pretty good as it’d only been submitted for review a week ago. Then, just 30 minutes later I received another email to tell me that Missed Three was ready for sale through the App Store.

I guess when you make what is probably the simplest game on the App Store, it doesn’t take very long to review! 😉

It really is a very simple game, keep tapping the targets as they appear, when you’ve missed a total of three the game is over. Of course, it starts off at a reasonably slow pace, giving you a little while to tap a target before it disappears, but as the game goes on the targets disappear in an ever shorter time. It really does get pretty hectic if you’re doing well.

If you get a new high score, you get an opportunity to share it with a friend by sending them an email. I intentionally did not add sharing by Twitter, Facebook or any other social media as I don’t like seeing those kinds of things pollute my timeline, so why would I make it easy to do that in my game? Just challenge your friends directly, you know who will or will not take up the challenge, so why annoy anyone else?

If you’re looking for something short and sweet to challenge friends with, you can purchase Missed Three from the App Store.

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Reboot

Recently I was able to buy ianmjones.com, a slight upgrade to my existing ianmjones.net domain.

On re-appraisal of the old ianmjones.net as was, I felt that the site did not reflect who I am now, so I made the decision to start from scratch, to reboot if you will.

You are now reading the first post on that clean slate.

Some might say starting again with a clean slate is not in the spirit of blogging, surely a blog should morph and transform over time as you do, and still others might comment that at the very least I will be losing valuable search ranking.

I’m in the process of cleaning out and simplifying many aspects of my life, and this site is most definitely needing my attention, along with all my other web sites.

The majority of traffic to this site over the last couple of years has been to “off topic” posts about matters that have no long-term interest for me from people who in general won’t have any reason to ever return. That’s not very useful, to me, or to those visitors arriving by searches that I would never have occasion to try myself.

As the last post on the old site notes, my old site succumbed to the WordPress worm that has attacked older versions of WordPress and laid dormant until just recently. It’s a good time to clean house.

Also, you may or may not have noticed, but this site does not have any form of commenting mechanism. This is not an over-sight, it is intentional. If you would like to comment on anything I should put up on this site, please feel free to send me an email, tweet, IM or even a dead tree letter, or better still write something thought-provoking on your own site.

Often, when this site has been re-born I’ve made some promises or shared some hopes as to what I expected to do with it, this time I make no such promises or declarations of intent.

Previous versions of this site can be found at:
old.ianmjones.com (covering dates 2004-09-30 to 2009-09-16)
old.ianmjones.net (covering dates 2002-02-11 to 2004-09-30)