Chris isn't afraid to admit it: he's a geek from way back, having worked in IT for nearly 20 years. He is currently running his own digital agency with a small team of web developers and marketers. Chris is passionate about keeping up-to-date with the latest web technologies and can be found at many of the tech events in Melbourne, Australia. For more details, check out chrisburgess.com.au.

Chris's articles

  1. Using Modern.IE to Improve WordPress Theme Development

    This article was sponsored by modern.IE Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make SitePoint possible! There are dozens of popular tools to help theme developers test the quality of their code. Not only can this help reduce errors in your themes, but it also helps ensure that your theme is reliably rendered on multiple […]

  2. Optimizing WordPress Performance with P3

    P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) is an extremely handy free WordPress plugin. It captures information on all of the plugins installed on your WordPress website, and then it measures, reports on, and visualizes their impact on the loading time of your site.

    While the WordPress Plugin Directory is one of the biggest assets to the WordPress community, the truth is that some plugins can negatively impact the performance of your site. Plugins that are improperly configured, misused or poorly developed can hurt your site and, in some cases, slow it down to a snail’s pace. Luckily, P3 can quickly and easily pinpoint WordPress performance issues, help you test ways to make your site faster, and troubleshoot problematic plugins.

    As web professionals, we are constantly faced with the challenge of optimizing a growing range of technologies, including richer content, and media designed for various devices and higher resolutions. As we strive to meet these challenges, performance (and performance monitoring tools like P3) become increasingly important.

    About P3

    P3 was developed by Kurt Payne, a PHP developer at GoDaddy and a WordPress core contributor. P3 has been downloaded 266,502 times (as at the time of writing). It has a 4.6 star rating, was last updated just a week ago, and 14 out of 15 support threads have been resolved in the last two months.

    P3 works by monitoring the PHP function calls that WordPress makes when serving pages. It’s packed with an assortment of useful features, and deserves a place in the toolbox of every WordPress user and developer.

    How to Install P3

    P3 is simple to install: use the same process as you would for any other WordPress plugin:

    1. Open your WordPress Dashboard
    2. Click on Plugins
    3. Click on Add New
    4. Enter P3 into the search box
    5. Click on Install Now on the P3 Plugin Performance Profiler result
    6. Activate P3

    You can also manually download the P3 plugin here

    Once P3 is installed and activated, you will be greeted with something that looks like this:

    P3 Installed

    Performing a Scan

    To perform a scan, all you need to do is click on the ‘Start Scan’ button. You will then be presented with two options:

    • Auto Scan: this option runs an automated scan of your website.
    • Manual Scan: this option allows you to browse to selected pages within your website, undertake your own performance testing, and stop the test at any time you like.

    Auto Scan

    This is a quick and easy, simple option. Most of the time, an auto scan will detect any nasty issues. The downside to this type of scan is that it treats you as logged in, which may not be ideal.

    Manual Scan

    This option gives you much greater control on what you’re testing. Once you’ve selected the Manual Scan option, all you need to do is visit your site and, provided that you’re visiting from your IP address, P3 will start collecting data.

    It’s worth mentioning that you might want to open another browser or an Incognito tab/window and browse your site from there. This way, you can test your site as a regular user, not as a user logged into the Dashboard.

  3. Speed Up Your WordPress Site

    As one of the top user experience factors, website performance is more important than ever. Website speed and performance on mobile devices is particularly important, with a rapidly growing number of visitors accessing the web via smartphones and tablets.

    While WordPress is very easy to get up and running, making your site speedy requires a bit more work, and is an ongoing process. In this article we’ll cover why speed matters, and offer some practical advice for how to speed up WordPress.

    Improving performance takes a lot of trial and error, but it’s great fun!

    Why Website Speed Matters

    First impressions count. The benefits of a faster website are numerous, but the three main advantages are:

    1) Better User Experience

    It’s well documented: people love fast websites and despise the slow. If you care about your users, you should care about the speed of your website.

  4. VersionPress: True Version Control Comes to WordPress

    While many WordPress developers use version control as part of their workflow (for example, Mark Jaquith’s WordPress Skeleton is extremely popular), there is still a gap when it comes to easy collaboration and version control for an entire WordPress project. Particularly in relation to database changes. Plugins such as WP Migrate DB Pro from Delicious Brains and the awesome WP-CLI command line tools go a long way in filling that gap, but the challenge of complete WordPress version control for the masses still remains unanswered.

    That was until I came across an innovative project called VersionPress. VersionPress is a WordPress Plugin that will keep track of every change, completely version controlled using Git.

    Currently under development, the VersionPress plugin builds upon Git’s version control system. VersionPress will be able to store an entire WordPress website, database and all, completely version controlled in Git. The plugin is being developed by Borek Bernard (Founder) and Jan Voráček and, once launched, will be licensed under the GNU General Public License.

    According to VersionPress.net:

    VersionPress is a version control plugin for WordPress. It keeps the whole site, both files and the database, in Git enabling things like site-wide reverts, safe updates, easy staging.

    The core features of VersionPress include:

    1. Creation of a backup after every logical change
    2. Restoration of any historical version of a website from the archive
    3. The ability to make changes selectively, without affecting new changes
    4. The ability to enable multiple users to work simultaneously on the same site
    5. A testing environment where there is a two-way sync between the testing environment and the live site
    6. A space-efficient repository that integrates effectively with third party tools

    I was fortunate enough to watch a demonstration of VersionPress by Borek Bernard. My first impression: VersionPress will be a ground-breaking plugin for all developers.