Series: Thoughts and Proof of Concepts

Help! I Can’t Find The Right WordPress Contact Form Plugin

In WordPress we have a lot of options to create contact forms. But I can’t seem to find the best solutions. I even think to create my own contact forms plugin.

My Requirements Are:

  1. Responsive.
    Not only in form output/front-end. Administration panel need to work in mobile devices. Well, at least usable, I understand that some features might need to be hidden/disabled in small screen devices for usability and UX. But not broken.
  2. Use WordPress UI:
    Seamless integration with WordPress, native-feel. I’m not a fan of app-like fancy UI. Professional. No excessive branding with cute icon/logo. If possible no cross-selling of add-ons/upgrade (or easy way to disable it).
  3. Simple and easy to use:
    User need to be able to use it without the need to learn proper form HTML markup.
  4. Little to no learning curve:
    No excessive features, I just need a contact form not a shopping cart, not a user registration form. If the code base is extendable and able to do all this via add-on that’s a plus. But it’s not necessary and not needed in the “core” plugins.
  5. Theme and Template Friendly:
    Can be added in a page template, any template file, no need to be in the “loop”. Simple shortcode to display the form should work with do_shortcode() function.

So, basically, something basic that I can use on my clients site and that’s it.

Of course anti spam features (maybe custom honey pot or integration with recaptcha/akismet) is also a requirements.

Here are several of my issue with current contact forms solutions (not in particular order):

Read More Help! I Can’t Find The Right WordPress Contact Form Plugin

Why Do We Ask: What’s Your Budget?

I didn’t ask this question a lot. But recently a client linked to an article, possibly to make sure I didn’t ask for their estimate budget for the project (which is fine):

The Worst Question To Ask Your Clients: “What’s Your Budget?”

The article covers some valid points. Asking budget question might be a sign for:

  1. Lack of knowledge
  2. Signal of deception
  3. No value
  4. No due diligence, etc.

But I don’t always agree. In some case asking for budget is totally fine. Read More Why Do We Ask: What’s Your Budget?

How to Redirect On Theme Activation


WordPress plugin have a activation method, It’s very useful, and we can use it for various things.

One of the popular method in plugin, is “Activation Redirect”, this is a method used by a lot ( I mean **A LOT**) of popular plugins to redirect user to plugin settings page, setup page, or even plugin about page (of course, within the admin panel) when user activate plugin.

This is (probably) useful for user on-boarding purpose, annoy user, keep the user inform about the feature of the plugin or help them setup the pages required by the plugin or install additional plugins/add-on.

Note: I actually really hate it when plugin/theme author did this. But in some case it could be useful.

Usually plugin use register_activation_hook() function to do this. But theme don’t have similar method/function. However, there’s a workaround for that.

Read More How to Redirect On Theme Activation

What Features To Build in Premium WordPress Theme

There are 3800+ Free WordPress theme available in Theme Repository. Premium theme business is hard because there are tons of free options available.

Of course, to make a user spend $50 for a theme is not easy just by “pretty design”. Theme need to set it self apart from the “free” version so this upgrade worth the money.

Here are several features usually added in Premium version of a theme (other than pretty design + support): Read More What Features To Build in Premium WordPress Theme

List of Popular Plugin for Theme Developer

Not all plugins works well out of the box. Some plugin require a theme support, from simple CSS tweak to template files modification.

As a theme developer, it’s hard to choose which plugins I should support in my theme. It takes time to do this, and theme developer also need to “watch” these plugins to make sure all is working well for latest version of each plugins.

Popular plugin such as WooCommerce also have large user base, and it can increase theme popularity. So, without further ado, here is the list. Read More List of Popular Plugin for Theme Developer

I think WordPress plugin review team decision to no longer accept framework is wrong. And this is why.


Recently WordPress plugin review team write a reminder post “Please do not submit frameworks” (Ipstenu/Mika Epstein).

And the reason is:

We require that plugins be useful in and of themselves (even if only being a portal to an external service). And while there are many benefits to frameworks and libraries, without plugin dependency support in core or the directory, it becomes another level of hassle for users.

In a comment, Darrin, who had a framework plugin (Advanced Term Fields) submitted and approved last month asked:

Are you saying the best way to handle this scenario is to include the parent framework in each child plugin, as opposed to alerting the user that “This plugin requires XXX plugin in order to function properly”?

And Mika answered:

Currently, yes. That would have been the best way.

I don’t really agree with this.
I think it should go to the opposite direction. And this is why. Read More I think WordPress plugin review team decision to no longer accept framework is wrong. And this is why.

Responsive Image In WordPress 4.4 (Testing, Thoughts, etc)

Let the browser decide which image size to display !

So, I did some test for WordPress 4.4 beta3 new feature: Responsive Images. And it will make your content retina ready automatically! Awesome.

Not only that, it will also serve smaller image to low res device and it will make your site load faster to the less capable mobile device. Read More Responsive Image In WordPress 4.4 (Testing, Thoughts, etc)

Building a Starter Theme

I love using Hybrid Core Framework, I use it in all my themes, I don’t even know how to build a theme without it. Currently Justin is working on the Version 3 of the Framework and it’s offer a lot of improvement and features.

I want to create my own.
nokonokoHybrid Core is modular and extendable so I can use only the features I need and bend it as I see fit, but I want to create my own framework so I can have full control of the features and code. For my themes I created “Tamatebako“, a Hybrid Core sidekick to build theme faster by setting the defaults. Now I want to experiment and make Tamatebako as a standalone framework.

The focus is a little different than Hybrid Core. Instead of building new awesome features, the focus is for faster theme development. I might failed and switch back to Hybrid Core, but I think it’s going to be a good opportunity to dive in and re-learn about theme development.

I haven’t even done porting main framework features (still a mess), but you can follow the development here.

48 Hours Theme Challenge

Explorer WordPress Theme

A beautiful WordPress theme inspired by file explorer. I create this theme in 48 hours (well, actually 12.5 hours).

So, a few days ago Sami Keijonen create a challenge to build a WordPress Theme in 48 hours. He mention that he need several months to build a WordPress Theme.

Well, for myself, the challenge is not really hard. I usually build a theme in 2-4 days for simple custom theme. As long as the client already have a design (PSD/design inspiration/example) I can build it in less than a week.

I only charge $300 – $500 for a very simple theme. So, I need to work fast 🙂

Read More 48 Hours Theme Challenge