Full stack web developer, interested in all the things, but especially the web, code, design, Linux, OS X, PHP, WordPress, JavaScript & robots.

Tagged: github

GitLab, First Impressions

Screenshot of GitLab running in Firefox.

Today, at work, we set-up the Community Edition of GitLab. It took a while to get it set-up, but this was mainly due to complications of installing a hosted service on a corporate network — the actual GitLab installation only took a couple of minutes and was really very simple.

We installed the service on a virtual machine running Ubuntu 14.04 and the provided deb package did all the work, the only thing I had to do was to configure the hostname. If I was rating the installation experience, I would probably give it 9 out of 10. The only reason I wouldn’t give it 10 is because there was a slight issue with the provided Ubuntu repository, which meant that I had to manually download the deb file and use the dpkg command to perform the install. Other than that, the installation was flawless, which is quite remarkable given the dependencies involved.

Regarding the web interface and administration, I’ve only just started using it, but it looks and feels like a quality product. Anyone familiar with GitHub should feel instantly at home when using it, I know I did. Also, something that struck me straight away was just how helpful it is. There is lots of guidance throughout and it’s all written in plain English (switch English for your preferred language, as I assume it features localisation). A nice touch.

There is not much else to report at the moment, but if you’re interested in GitLab, I would highly recommend giving it a try. Having a local GitHub-esque service with free private repositories is a definite win.

A GitHub Repo for the Lincoln LUG Website

Tonight, I created a new GitHub repository for the Lincoln LUG website. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but for some reason I’d not managed to get around to doing it until now. Poor show, Mr Newborough.

A screenshot of the Lincoln LUG website.

I’m hoping that the new repo will encourage some members to get involved and make changes to the website. I think it would be really cool if as many LUG goers as possible could get their names on the contributors list. Also, while I know some of our members are definite Git users, I’m sure we also have some members who have never used it, so it might make a good topic of conversation at our LUG meetings — I know Git is a cross-platform thing, but it does have its roots in Linux.

No Longer Naked

I’ve pulled down the CSS for my site’s WordPress theme from the GitHub repo and it’s no longer naked. This is a good thing and I’m pretty happy with the result.

The design is still quite basic and there is more to do, but I think I hit my target of replicating my Twitter profile page. It’s not identical, obviously, but I think I’ve captured the overall style quite well. See below:

My current Twitter profile:

Screenshot of my current Twitter profile page.


My website design:

Screenshot of my website's design.


Styling My WP Theme

I’ve begun styling my WordPress theme. It’s going well, but it’s taking some time as I didn’t quite realise how many markup elements there are in a theme. In case you’re wondering, there are lots and lots and lots.  Still, I’m enjoying it, so it’s all good.

Regarding my style choices, I’ve opted to try and replicate my Twitter profile page. It’s totally different from the minimalist style I’d normally go for, but I like it and think it’s kind of fun. Interestingly, or not, I didn’t realise, until I started to attempt to replicate it, how good the current Twitter page and UX design is. Personally, I think it is a work of genius.

I’m sure my attempt at replicating it will pale in comparison, but as long as I get the basics right, I’ll be happy. Anyhow, the code has been going up to the GitHub repo and I’m hoping to pull it down to this production server soon.

A somewhat funny observation: I’ve used Twitter’s Bootstrap in pretty much every project for the past year, but now, as I’m attempting to replicate my Twitter profile page, I’ve opted not to use it. Go figure.

Hello Host WordPress Plugin

I’ve created a hack of Matt Mullenweg‘s famous Hello Dolly plugin. Instead of a lyric from Louis Armstrong’s “Hello, Dolly”, when activated the plugin displays the server’s hostname in the upper right of the admin screen on every page. It is intended to be a handy plugin for developers who work with ‘development’ and ‘production’ servers.

Screenshot of WordPress Hello Host Plugin

I haven’t checked if any similar plugins already exist, I’m sure they probably do, but again, it was good practice to create it. If you are interested, the plugin can be found on GitHub.

A simple Google Analytics WordPress plugin

I’ve created a simple WordPress plugin. It’s called Simple Google Analytics. Can you guess what it does?

Yup, you guessed it, it allows WordPress site owners to quickly install their Google Analytics tracking code.

Screenshot of Simple Google Analytics plugin admin page.

Apart from that, the only other feature is hidden — the plugin only outputs the tracking code if the user is not logged in.

I’ve installed the plugin on this site, but I’m not sure anyone else will find it useful as there are a lot of Google Analytics plugins already available for WordPress, obviously. Reinventing the wheel is stupid, but I enjoyed writing it, and besides, it was good practice.

If you fancy taking a look at the code, you can find it on GitHub.

Minimum Viable WordPress Theme

As previously mentioned, this site is now proudly powered by WordPress, instead of my own custom CMS. I’ve dumped all my previous content, bad form I know, but a necessary evil as I’m starting from scratch with WordPress. I’m developing my own theme, which has just reached a stage where I can happily consider it a minimum viable product.

What does that mean?

A minimum viable product has just those core features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more.

For a WordPress theme, I guess it means that the theme can at the very least display these words and optionally, allow any visitors to submit comments and have their words displayed too. Simples.

For anyone who might be interested, the theme is hosted on GitHub and you can follow its development. I’m intending on writing more about its development as it, erm, develops.