Custom Post Types in WordPress

Custom Post Type in WordPress is special post type that you can define yourself. A normal post in WordPress is what appears under the Blog entries. It can be added from the WP admin panel interface. A normal WP post is generally text content along with some uploaded images.

With custom post type you can add more to the default WP functionality of posts. Here’s an example. Consider you want to showcase your projects under the Portfolio section of your website. You would want to display more information apart from just the text content. With custom post type it is possible to have a separate menu called Portfolio in the admin panel. It is possible to define various new fields in the add/edit screen which you want to display on the Portfolio page of your website. For example, you can define a dedicated field to capture the project start and end dates, a field for the project URL, a field for the client name and any other field you like.

The above example can be extended to virtually anything you like. You can have custom post types for Events, Team, Services, News, Music CDs, Artists, etc.

Find out more about implementing custom post types from the WordPress official site.

If you like the easy way out then here’s a very good WP plug-in called More Types. You may also like to check out another plug-in called More Fields which can be used to add new fields to your custom post type. These fields can range from text-field, textarea, checkbox, radio button, WYSIWYG or select box.

Responsive or Dedicated Mobile Theme for Magento

Should Magento have a dedicated theme specially targeted for mobile phones and tablets, or should it have one single responsive theme that works in desktop browsers as well?

In Magento one can set up multiple themes. One of these themes can be specified in the admin panel that should be picked up by Magento if a user is accessing the store from a mobile or tablet device. Of course this theme has to be a slim down version of the original website theme so that it loads faster on mobiles and tablets. Magento admin interface allows this to be done from System > Configuration > Configuration Scope > Design. Here’s a good article on how to do this.

This approach has a downside that a new separate theme has to be created specifically for mobiles and tablets.

However, what if one single theme was sufficient enough to display your online store on all platforms. I am referring to responsive design which adapts itself to the screen resolution the user is using to view the website. You can read more about responsive designs here.

This approach has its own downside that the website may / may-not load with the same speed on mobiles and tablets which have limited connectivity.

Ultimately the the choice is with the client and/or the designers. Personally I feel that Magento should have a slim down version of theme for mobiles and tablets so that page load speed can be optimized for devices running on low speed connection.


Cloud Computing: What’s in it for me?

Today everyone who logs on to Facebook or similar social networking sites, uses Cloud Computing. What is it and what does it mean to a normal user? Well in simple terms it is a cluster of server farms where all your data is mirrored. So whenever a request goes out from your browser to fetch an image on Facebook, it is routed through to one of these servers. These servers could are spread across the globe or within a single country itself.

From business point of view cloud computing has many benefits. That’s why many companies are already switching over to cloud computing. They have started hosting their web applications in cloud. Some of these benefits are:

  • Whether it’s CPU power or storage, pay only for what you use.
  • Easy access to more storage as required. This helps in scalability.
  • Auto Updates for software and hardware relieves IT team from future upgrade worries.
  • High availability of your data in case of any disaster.

There are many companies that offer cloud computing services. Some of these are Amazon, Google, Salesforce, Rackspace, HPDell and Microsoft.