New England GiveCamp 2014 Recap

I spend the weekend of April 4-6 at New England GiveCamp, a weekend hackathon that pairs tech and design people with charities in the Boston and New England region.

This year, I worked for Generations Inc., a Boston-based charity that pairs senior citizens as literacy tutors for children.

The process they used for accepting volunteer applications was time- and labor-intensive. Basically, they used the Job Manager WordPress plugin to accept applications, which went into their WordPress install as a custom post type.

Then, a staff member would have to re-enter all that information into Salesforce, which they use to track volunteers, clients and related assignments.

Since Salesforce is the endpoint for managing all of Generations Inc.’s relationships, they wanted a way to take online applications and put them directly into Salesforce. So that was my project for the weekend.
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New England GiveCamp 2014 This Weekend

I’ll be at New England GiveCamp this weekend, helping Generations Inc., a Boston-based charity that couples literacy volunteers with those in need.

The GiveCamp movement promotes hackathons to assist charities with their technical needs. Mostly, New England GiveCamp creates and overhauls websites; but there are a number of other projects out there.

This year, I’ll be creating an interface to accept volunteer applications from Generations Inc.’s website and put those into their Salesforce CRM application. Thankfully, Salesforce has a robust developer support portal, which includes both excellent documentation and a fully functional sandbox, so early indications are that troubles should be few and far between. Knock on silicone.

As always, I’ll post a recap. Until then, you can follow along with GiveCamp on Twitter, hashtag #negc2014.

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Using WordPress XML-RPC With PHP: Introduction To The Post Model

Part 3 in a series on working with WordPress XML-RPC in PHP.

To being coding our PHP-based solution for working with the WordPress XML-RPC API, we first need to create models for each of the kinds of data we’re going to leverage. The logical place to begin doing that is with posts, since most content in a typical WordPress install are posts.

A model in this context basically means creating a class. (If you’re not familiar with classes, see this primer.)

The class will bring together not only the post fields that we can manipulate through XML-RPC — some of which are complex — but also the methods (aka functions) that will allow us to easily modify the data in those post fields. This will include methods that prepare our data for sending to XML-RPC, and interpret the responses we get back from the API.

That’s what makes a data model: The data itself, or properties / post fields, and the means to manipulate that data via methods / functions.

Why bother with a model?
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Using WordPress XML-RPC With PHP: Introduction

Part 1 in a series on WordPress XML-RPC

Lately I’ve had cause to work with WordPress’s implementation of XML-RPC, which is basically a kind of SOAP service that lets you view, add, edit and remove content from outside of your WordPress install.

XML-RPC has been part of WordPress since its initial public release some 11 years ago, but is usually scorned as little more than an efficient attack vector. Which is a fair assessment; few end users need the ability to remotely publish content.

But over the years — especially the last two — as WordPress has melded into a turnkey content management solution, XML-RPC has been improved, both in terms of its base security and its functionality.

Today, it’s perfectly positioned to be a great way to manage content from outside of WordPress itself; that is, to bring in content from third-party systems (which is how I am doing it) to automating virtually any task you have that involves the actual content of your blog.

Except …
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