The Events Calendar Outlook Import Fix

In The Events Calendar the ability to add an event to your calendar via an iCalendar file is now in the core plugin. This used to be a feature only in the Events Calendar PRO plugin.
Out of the box this works great for either Google Calendar or Apple’s Calendar. However, in Outlook, adding the event would create a whole new calendar instead of adding the event to the user’s default calendar. It seems that the issue is simply the addition of the X-WR-CALNAME header in the generated iCalendar file. This header is valid according to iCalendar.
Unfortunately Outlook doesn’t seem to like this and its inclusion causes the creation of an entirely new calendar and not just a new calendar event. The solution is to remove this line. When this is done an event will be added to the default Outlook calendar.
A while ago I wrote a quick function to remove this line. This solution was made much simpler by Modern Tribe’s inclusion of a nice filter hook. Lately I’ve found more people having this issue and having difficulty implementing the fix. In order to simplify the solution I’ve converted the solution to a plugin.
So go grab The Events Calendar Outlook Import Fix plugin from the repo. All you have to do is install and activate. Please bear in mind, when this plugin is active users of other calendaring apps may have problems. This is a solution for sites whose users only use Outlook.

Automatic Plugin & Theme Updating From GitHub – Part 1

About 10 months ago I decided to scratch an itch. I was running 3 or 4 different WordPress websites, including this one. I was also playing around customizing these sites by creating some one-off plugins and child themes. At the time I was doing a lot of cowboy coding on my own domains. Mostly because I didn’t know better. Developing in localhost has been an amazing boost in productivity.
I have to mention this because this is not my day job. In fact, my day job keeps me incredibly busy and usually I end up coding at night and in off hours. For those that don’t know, I’m a trauma/acute care surgeon. Currently I’m also the Chief of Staff of one of our local hospitals. It’s not like I already didn’t have enough free time.
So I was creating a number of simple plugins that I really didn’t think were either good enough or appropriate for the repository. As such, when I wanted to use them on different sites I would FTP them up after writing them and then I’d have to do it all again after updating them. I decided it was time to figure out how to hook into WordPress’ automatic updating. At the time, the most popularly used method was Joey Kudish’s WordPress GitHub Plugin Updater.
As I was looking into the code the first thing I felt myself wanting to do was to make the code into a plugin so I didn’t have to put so much extra code into the plugins to be updated. Later I found another couple of projects that did either plugin or theme updating.
Initially I was able to modify one, Codepress’ GitHub Plugin Updater, enough so that I not only had a working plugin updater, but I had managed to parse the GitHub URI of the plugin’s repo to the point that no other settings were needed inside of the plugin that’s being updated other than a single header line.
Around that time Kudish’s project wasn’t getting a lot of updates and in one issue that Gary Jones had created, I referred him to my project. Now you have to know, I had no idea at the time who Gary was. Boy do I now. Gary forked my project and the next thing I noticed were several pull requests that made the code look so much better and work so much more efficiently. Gary was incredible. He gave invaluable feedback without telling me how silly it was do things the way I was and made me think about WordPress Coding Guidelines, at least a little bit.
At this point plugin updating was fairly solid and next up for me was updating for themes. There were 2 projects that did theme updating, one from UCF’s Theme Updater, and one from Seth Carstens, part of his Whitelabel Framework, which improved upon UCF’s work. Currently theme updating is working as well as it is in a very large part due to Seth’s help.
Originally I had created 2 plugins one for updating plugins and the other for updating themes. After both were functioning, I decided to combine them into a single plugin that I call GitHub Updater.
Along the way Paul Clark provided immense help and support by showing me both why and how I should do things one way instead of another. Paul even created his own version, Git Plugin Updates.
What I’ve hoped I’ve created in GitHub Updater is a plugin that not only scratches my itch, but also makes plugin and theme development and updating simpler for many other developers within the WordPress community.
Next up, Automatic Plugin & Theme Updating from GitHub – Part 2.

Add Custom Header Images

After using this plugin for quite a while I decided to refactor it and submit it to the WordPress Plugin repo. I figured maybe someone else might find it useful.
What the plugin does is add all images that have been uploaded to a page titled The Headers to the header image array and allows for the selection of any of them or a randomized selection via the Customize > Header Image menu on the front end of the site.
First the plugin removes any of the default header images, if present, and then adds all the images that have been uploaded to The Headers page as the new header images. If you don’t have a page named The Headers then the plugin will not activate. The Headers may be a private page.
The idea for the plugin came from the article written by Julio Biason who was inspired by

Not Running a Server

I’ve been running my own server for over 5 years now. It has been a great and sometimes frustrating experience. I think I’ve finally decided to let the pros do the server administration and just focus on the other stuff. The other stuff being coding, writing, and playing with technology.
I’m looking into @Dreamhost. They seem to offer a wealth of features at a reasonable price. Honestly what gives me the most anxiety is transferring all the old IMAP email over to the new host. There’s a wiki entry about transferring email and using imapsync. I really need to investigate this.
Wish me luck. Updates to follow.

Delete a Tag From GitHub

So I decided that I really didn’t need to tag releases of child themes that only I am using. Probably not best case usage but I got tired of pushing tags for minor CSS changes.
So I opened the terminal and cd to the appropriate local git directory that has a remote on GitHub.
Then it’s a simple command.
git push --delete origin tagname
Where tagname is the tag version number.

The Events Calendar Category Colors Plugin

It’s been a wild couple of days figuring this one out. Special thanks to Jonah West for all the help and encouragement. This plugin seeks to greatly simplify the ability to create background colors for your categories in the month view when using The Events Calendar plugin. It requires The Events Calendar v2.0.5 or greater.
TEC Category Colors uses the Tribe Setting API to integrate its settings into TEC’s settings page.
You can grab it from the WordPress Repository.