Category Archives: WordPress Updates

Learning HTML, CSS, PHP, jQuery & Hosting via WordPress

A few years ago I spoke at at WordCamp Phoenix about how you can learn Web Design and Web Development via WordPress.

This holds as true today as it did then.

A lot of WordPress Pros learn design and development through WordPress

Check Out My Talk

Have You Learned Design & Development From WordPress?

Chances are if you are reading or watching this you have learned some of these technologies through your work with WordPress.

If so, would love to hear about it!


Learn JavaScript & The WP REST API Deeply at a Day of REST

A Day of REST Boston 2017 - The WordPress REST API and JavaScript Conference

A Day of REST is Coming to the States!!!

The Day of REST Conference kicked off last year in the UK with an incredible line-up of speakers, all using the API in production project and a few core contributors to the WP REST API.

In 2017 The Day of REST Conference is coming to the US for the first time and I encourage you all to attend!  Here are 3 good reasons:

  1. This is THE Conference on the WP REST API (and JS for WP)
  2. This year they are adding 6 AMAZING Workshops
  3. I believe supporting A Day of REST supports WP API adoption

Hurry before the Early Bird Discount Expires!


I Mean, Just Check Out These Workshops

Just attending the one day of talks is worth the entire trip.  I attended last year in the UK when I still had a lot of questions about the API and using it with JavaScript.  I got all of my questions answered and a lot more.  

In addition to the day of talks, they are adding two days of workshops (one day before and one day after).


The Workshops Include:

  • Full Day – JavaScript w Zac Gordon (That’s Me!)
  • Full Day – React w Wes Bos (Teacher crush!)
  • Half Day – Webpack w K. Adam White (Webpack goes deep..)
  • Half Day – WP API Authentication w Joe Hoyle (Worth the entire trip)
  • Half Day – Backbone & WP API w Adam Silverstein (It’s already in Core!)
  • Half Day – WooCommerce API w Brian Richards (The API is for Woo Too 🙂

The pricing for the conference and the workshops depends on what you want to attend, but I can guarantee that coming out here will up your JS and WP API game.  You want to be in the cutting edge of WP Dev, right?  This is the community and event to plug into.  Keep reading to hear why I feel this so strongly.


Why We Should Support The Day of REST Conference


I have been honored to work a bit with the folks from Human Made who put on the Day of REST and Week of REST events.  But Human Made is also a VIP WP Partner, they build production apps and sites with the REST API, and they contribute time to Core API development.  I really doubt the WordPress REST API would be where it is today without their support.  On top of that they’re amazing Human Beings.

Anyone who gets into running conferences knows you don’t do it for the money.  I do not know all the inner workings of A Day of REST, but I do know that putting on a quality event like this takes a lot of human and financial resources.  Again, this is on top of the amazing Core Development and professional implementations they already do as a company.

One of the easiest ways you can show your support for a wider adoption of the WP REST API is to drum up attention for and attend A Day of REST.

This is why I think it comes to us in the community who want to see more from the WP REST API to support these events.  Even if you cannot fly to Boston in March, buy a ticket just to show your support for what A Day of REST and Human Made are doing to help further education around the WP REST API.


My hope is that if A Day of REST goes well, Human Made will continue to offer it and also bring A Week of REST to the States.  And let me tell you what… that is gonna be one heck of a “You Want To Be Here” Event! (Check out my 2016 Week of REST Review)

So, please, talk to your employers and partners and see if you can make it to A Day of REST on March 9th (Workshops on 8 and 10th) in Boston.  This is the one conference out there solely focused on the future of API Driven WordPress Development.

I hope to see you there!!!

Learn more about a Day of REST Boston on March 8-10th, 2017.


Oh! And as an added bonus the conference site is running on React and the WP REST API 😉

5 Big Announcements from the JavaScript for WordPress Master Course – 1 Year In!!!

1 Year Anniversary and A Lot of People to Thank!


Last weekend at WordCamp US 2016 marked my 1 year anniversary of working on the JavaScript for WordPress Master Course and the 1 year anniversary of us as a community having Learning JavaScript Deeply as a homework assignment.

Thank you to all of those I mention (and forget to) in the video above.  I would not be here still doing this course one year later without the support of the WordPress Community.  Thank you all.

An Announcement About the Cost of the Course


Starting on January 1st the cost of the course will go up from $397 to $697.  In this video above I talk about the important reasons for this and mention a way you can reserve your seat now to lock in the $397 price for the next enrollment period 🙂

Announcing the JS for WP Scholarship Fund!!!


Starting on January 1st we will be accepting nominations and applications for the new JS for WP Scholarship Fund.  Please take a listen to the reasoning for it and some of the details.

If you know someone (yourself included) who might want to sit on the Board of Directors to help nominate and select students, please contact me and let me know.

The Three Open Enrollment Periods for 2017


Last year, I announced enrollment dates late and planned them randomly.  This year is different 🙂  Check out the video to find out all three enrollment dates.

And, learn how to get one of the sweet JS for WP Bandanas!!!

Part 4 of the Course is FREE and Getting a Major Revamp


In this video I talk about the 4 Parts of the JavaScript for WordPress Master Course to put Part 4 of the course on Real World Projects into perspective.  Part 4 of the course became available for Free after the end of the last enrollment and is getting a major overhaul in the coming months.

If you have JavaScript or API related WordPress projects, please contact me and let me know!  I would love to feature them as a resource for the community.  Please watch above for details..

Slides from WordCamp Baltimore – A Year of Learning (and Teaching) JavaScript Deeply

Today I had the chance to speak at WordCamp Baltimore 2016 about my last year of learning and teaching JavaScript Deeply.

I had a great time preparing the slides and getting everything ready and hopefully it all went well 🙂  I’ll add up the video once its on


Getting PayPal API Credentials for WooCommerce Refunds

You can process payments in WooCommerce with PayPal using only the account email.  However, in order to refund payments from within WooCommerce you must enter your PayPal API credentials.

Here are the steps for doing that:

  • Login to PayPal
  • Go to Profile > Profile and Settings
  • Click My Selling Tools
  • Go to API Access
  • Select NVP/SOAP API integration
  • Click to view API Username, Password and Signature
  • Add information into WooCommerce PayPal settings

I find it much easier to refund payment directly from within WooCommerce and not need to login to PayPal to refund manually in addition to from within WooCommerce as well.

Review of A Week of REST UK 2016

A big thanks goes out to Siobhan McKeown for following through on her idea from near a year ago (or more?) to have  A Week of REST.  The Day of REST conference earlier this year went quite well and plans were made to do a week long version of the conference where attendees would go in depth learning and building a project with JavaScript and the REST API.

I was quite honored to have the opportunity to work with Siobhan, Joe Hoyle and Ryan McCue  on this bootcamp, which aligned so well with my JavaScript for WordPress Master Course.

We started preparing a number of months ago, including meeting in person for a week to build the project and plan the course modules.  I did a nice writeup on our experience preparing for A Week of REST.

Welcome to Matlock

Matlock, UK is home to Human Made headquarters and the event took place in a quant local up the hills from the office amidst a beautiful pond and collection of stone cottages.


The course flow went like this:

Day 1 – Setup and Introductions

  • Folks arrived starting around noon
  • We did an overview of the schedule and content
  • Helped get local develop environments setup
  • Hung out and got to know each other

Day 2 – Up and Running with JavaScript Development

  • A few folks came to the morning office yoga I offered
  • I took the first half of the day to do talk about JavaScript Development Tools, ES6 and React Basics
  • Joe took over in the afternoon to talk about the React boilerplate we were using with our app (and can also be nicely adapted for other projects )
  • That night we held a long informal Q&A that raised and answered a number of great questions

Day 3 – The Big Day of Authentication

  • A few more people came to morning yoga 🙂
  • Joe went over how to read posts from the WP API with a nice library he built and I did some exercises on using it with React
  • Ryan rocked the afternoon with an in depth walk through of Authentication, OAuth and the WP Broker they built.
  • By the end of the day we had our live blogging app authenticating with a WP site and pulling in content

Day 4 – Posting via the API & Leveraging Custom Content

  • A few morning folks joined in morning office yoga
  • Ryan walked through the WP Broker OAuth JavaScript library that Joe made for the workshop
  • Then Joe walked folks through the ins and outs of posting to WordPress via the API and JavaScript and working with custom post types and content
  • My work mostly involved doing some example exercises to bridge between the slides and building the project
  • It was pretty cool how fleshed out the Liveblog project was that we built over the week

Day 5 – Taking it Further

  • On the last day I talked about places online folks could go for further learning (including of course my JavaScript for WordPress Master Course)
  • Joe showed some extended features of our app that folks could use for taking things further
  • Then we discussed important related topics like React Native, Redux, React Router and more
  • I’m looking forward to hearing about a number of the projects that attendees had shared about doing

A Big Thanks to Everyone

Matt and Paul helping

Matthew Haines-Young and Paul de Wouters from Human Made were tremendously helpful, walking around helping folks all week.

The attendees, who ranged from full stack JavaScript developers to folks new to React and the API, and everyone did a great job helping one another.

Overall I had a great time and I think the event went really well.  I look forward to the next Week of REST, hopefully in the US 🙂

Joe, Ryan and Zac

What’s Next?

For now I suggest folks check out A Day of REST, a single day conference in Boston on March 9th that will give a big picture overview and real world examples of the WP API in action.

I can also share that a lot of what we covered in A Week of REST is also covered in my JavaScript for WordPress Master Course, which has an open enrollment coming up in the next month.

So, if you missed A Week of REST UK 2016, check out A Day of REST Boston 2017 and my JavaScript for WordPress Course to catch up!




Planning with Human Made for a Week of REST

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Northern England to prep for the Week of REST Bootcamp with Joe Hoyle, Ryan McCue and Siobhan McKeown from Human Made.

For those who don’t know about it, A Week of REST is an intensive, week long, in person bootcamp where you learn how to build web apps with the WP REST API, JavaScript, React and Webpack.  This is a follow up to Human Made’s successful Day of REST conference they held earlier this year.

Goals for the Week


At the beginning of our week long planning session in the quaint town of Whitley Bay, we set our goals.  We had to build the example app, create the exercises, and hammer out the schedule (along with a few other odds and ends).


On our first day of planning we set out all the learning objectives (yay for pedagolically sound approaches!) and mocked up the app itself, a Live Blogging app.  It was fun for me to work with such smart, experienced people and also to get to draw wireframes, which I haven’t done since my UI time at Blackboard 🙂


From there we decided that Joe would work on the back end of the app and the supporting JavaScript API library that would help with connecting to the WordPress API Authentication Broker.  Ryan focused on building out the React front end of the app, and being DJ.  I took as my task writing exercises that went along with each piece of functionality in the app.  Siobhan focused on some of the bigger picture planning and promotional items.  Then we set out to work.

Getting it Done

I am pretty sure Ryan finished the majority of the app in about a day.  Joe banged out a nice little library to help people connect their sites with the WP Broker and posted it to NPM.  Then came deeper discussions between the two about how to approach one feature or another or even what features the app should include.


It was a lot of fun working alongside Ryan and Joe.  They are both quite bright, fast and know a heck of a lot about the REST API and building with it.  They also approached the app from a let’s make it something folks would really use perspective.

This Live Blogging App is much more than just a simple demo.  That was refreshing for me because I have often built demo projects that I wish I had more time (or a team like these two) to flesh out further.

My favorite part about working with Joe and Ryan was getting to ask them question after question all day (and evening long).  From why do you setup webpack this way to what ES6 conventions do you think are most used or why does this work that way in React and when should you decouple your app.  Every question got an answer, and several answers led to more questions.  I give Joe and Ryan my deep thanks for patience and playing the role of teachers during that week 🙂

20160713_172721It was also great to have Siobhan on board too who helped with identifying learning objectives, breaking down modules, and assessing how much we could fit into a day.  Felt like I was working with another teacher, which I love, and find leads to good learning.


Of course we also took some downtime in traditional web nerd fashion and went to the local WordPress Meetup in New Castle, where Joe spoke about the REST API and Ryan fielded a few questions from the crowd.

Why I Highly Recommend Attending A Week of REST Bootcamp

My first reason for you to attend A Week of REST is that I want to attend.  Even though I’m one of the presenters, I have learned so much in prepping for this workshop and know that I’ll learn even more while there.

You cannot attend a workshop on the WP API and JavaScript with better presenters.  Ryan and Joe work on the API itself and work for Human Made, probably the leading agency for work with the REST API.  In addition to having hands on workshops all day, there are also Q&A sessions every night where you can be like me and ask them all your questions that you have been wondering about the REST API, JavaScript and building apps with it all.  For this reason alone it’s worth attending.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 12.14.39 PM

For those who work for agencies, you will be bringing back a very tangible skill set to your company.  You will have gained insight into planning apps with the REST API, working hands on with best practices for authentication, and you’ll have a solid app that you can use as a boilerplate for your own projects.

A Week of REST is a perfect compliment to my JavaScript for WordPress Master Course too.  Rather than taking potentially months of your time to work through my course, in a week, you get all of the most practical parts on React, OAuth and the API pulled out with a hands on experience.

Please check out the Program Overview on the Week of REST site to get details like location, pricing and what you will learn.  I hope to see some of you there!!!