A Collection of My Talks

Last updated August 2017.

I’ve given a few talks (mostly about WordPress) in recent months and years, but I haven’t blogged about them in the past. Here’s a list of the talks I’ve given and links to the video recordings and slides when they’re available.

A Deep Dive into the Roles and Capabilities API

Video. Slides.

The user roles and capabilities API is one of the most powerful APIs in WordPress. With it you can giveth, and with it you can taketh away. In this presentation I talk through the basics of roles and capabilities, and go on to explain some of the more advanced and interesting use cases of working with the API.

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SublimeCodeIntel in Sublime Text 3

Update: Forget about SublimeCodeIntel and use the new CodeComplice package instead.

There is now a Sublime Text 3 compatible version of SublimeCodeIntel, thanks to the hard work of Germán M. Bravo (aka Kronuz). I had a job getting it to correctly index my project files though. I’m posting here what I did, in the hopes it’ll help someone else out.

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Access Your Desktop Development Environment from Your Mobile Device

It’s really easy to get an iPhone, iPad, or Android device to access a local web server running on your development machine. All you need is an HTTP proxy such as Charles Proxy running on your development machine. Once that’s running:

Make sure your device is connected to the same network as your development machine. Go into the Settings -> Wi-Fi menu and find the HTTP proxy settings. On Android, this means a long-press on your Wi-Fi network (Modify Settings, then Show advanced settings). On iOS this means pressing the (i) icon next to your Wi-Fi network.

Switch your proxy over to ‘Manual’ and enter your development environment machine’s network IP address (eg. 192.168.0.4) as the server, and 8888 as the port (Charles’ default port unless you’ve changed it).

Voila. All your HTTP traffic from your device will now route through your host machine (Charles will prompt you to allow access first) and you’ll have access to your local development server. Awesome!

Pro Tip: Are you still editing your hosts file in order to manage the host name mapping for sites on your development environment? Stop it. Just use the Tools -> DNS Spoofing menu in Charles and make life easier for yourself.

WordPress Plugin: User Switching

Latest version: 1.3.0– Released 09/11/2017:

Description

This plugin allows you to quickly swap between user accounts in WordPress at the click of a button. You’ll be instantly logged out and logged in as your desired user. This is handy for test environments where you regularly log out and in between different accounts, or for administrators who need to switch between multiple accounts.

Features

  • Switch user: Instantly switch to any user account from the Users screen.
  • Switch back: Instantly switch back to your originating account.
  • Switch off: Log out of your account but retain the ability to instantly switch back in again.
  • It’s completely secure (see the Security section below).
  • Compatible with WordPress, WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress and bbPress.

Security

  • Only users with the ability to edit other users can switch user accounts. By default this is only Administrators on single site installs, and Super Admins on Multisite installs.
  • Passwords are not (and cannot be) revealed.
  • Uses the cookie authentication system in WordPress when remembering the account(s) you’ve switched from and when switching back.
  • Implements the nonce security system in WordPress, meaning only those who intend to switch users can switch.
  • Full support for administration over SSL (if applicable).

Usage

  1. Visit the Users menu in WordPress and you’ll see a Switch To link in the list of action links for each user.
  2. Click this and you will immediately switch into that user account.
  3. You can switch back to your originating account via the Switch back link on each dashboard screen or in your profile menu in the WordPress toolbar.

See the FAQ for information about the Switch Off feature.

Screenshots

  1. The <em>Switch To</em> link on the Users screen

    The Switch To link on the Users screen

  2. The <em>Switch To</em> link on a user's profile

    The Switch To link on a user's profile

Installation

FAQ

What does “Switch off” mean?

Switching off logs you out of your account but retains your user ID in an authentication cookie so you can switch straight back without having to log in again manually. It’s akin to switching to no user, and being able to switch back.

The Switch Off link can be found in your profile menu in the WordPress toolbar. Once you’ve switched off you’ll see a Switch back link in the footer of your site.

Does this plugin work with WordPress Multisite?

Yes, and you’ll also be able to switch users from the Users screen in Network Admin.

Does this plugin work with BuddyPress?

Yes, and you’ll also be able to switch users from member profile screens and the member listing screen.

Does this plugin work with bbPress?

Yes, and you’ll also be able to switch users from member profile screens.

Does this plugin work if my site is using a two-factor authentication plugin?

Yes, mostly.

One exception I’m aware of is Duo Security. If you’re using this plugin, you should install the User Switching for Duo Security add-on plugin which will prevent the two-factor authentication prompt from appearing when you switch between users.

What capability does a user need in order to switch accounts?

A user needs the edit_users capability in order to switch user accounts. By default only Administrators have this capability, and with Multisite enabled only Super Admins have this capability.

Can regular admins on Multisite installs switch accounts?

No. This can be enabled though by installing the User Switching for Regular Admins plugin.

Can I switch users directly from the admin toolbar?

Yes, there’s a third party add-on plugin for this: Admin Bar User Switching.

Are any plugin actions called when a user switches account?

Yes. When a user switches to another account, the switch_to_user hook is called with the new and old user IDs passed as parameters.

When a user switches back to their original account, the switch_back_user hook is called with the new (original) and old user IDs passed as parameters. Note that the old user ID can be boolean false if the user is switching back after they’ve been switched off.

When a user switches off, the switch_off_user hook is called with the old user ID as a parameter.

Download

This plugin requires WordPress version 3.7 or later.

Download the plugin on WordPress.org. Any comments, questions, queries, suggestions, complaints, etc, please leave a comment!