Stop Events Manager from cropping thumbnails

Events Manager gives you a special placeholder that you can put into its templates, for inserting the event's "featured image" into lists and single event pages. If you want to insert a thumbnail, it uses the timthumb script to create one on the fly -- but it crops that thumbnail. Here's how to use the WordPress uncropped thumbnail (or any registered image size).

Overview of building custom fields for Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a great way to build all sorts of forms in WordPress. It can be so simple that non-programmers can easily build their own basic forms. It's also incredibly flexible so programmers can extend it in myriad ways, even by adding some complex custom fields of their own. But as usual, there's a trade-off -- ease of use for non-programmers means lots of hoops to jump for programmers. Here's an overview of how I built some fairly complex compound fields for a custom application using Gravity Forms.

Events Manager locations map with directions

Events Manager is my events and bookings plugin of choice for WordPress, because it is very flexible, easy to integrate into a theme, and has hooks galore for customising to suit almost any requirement. Its location map doesn't offer a way to provide directions, however. So, here's how to replace the Events Manager locations map with WP Flexible Map and get a directions link on location pages.

Classic ASP, MySQL and UTF-8

Countless references on the web will tell you that you can access Unicode data in MySQL by setting the connection character set to utf8. Mostly, they tell you to execute the statement "set names 'utf8'" as the first statement in your connection. But when you are accessing MySQL from Classic ASP using the MySQL ODBC driver, you get an error: "SET NAMES not allowed by driver". Here's how you actually do it in Classic ASP.

Repair WordPress image meta

There are times when things just go wrong. I had one of those times the other day. The pressure was on to deliver a project, and there were bits of PHP and CSS and JavaScript flying everywhere here at WebAware Central. And so it happened: I wiped the image attachment meta data in the WordPress database.

Get custom fields for WordPress post

WordPress lets you store custom fields on your posts (and pages, and custom post types that allow it). However, it gives them to you in a rather inconvenient manner, with your values mixed in with its own special fields and any plugin's special fields, and with values in an array. Here's how to easily deal with that.

Add shortcodes to WordPress Text widgets

WordPress comes with a few standard widgets, one of which is the Text widget. It's a fairly versatile widget that lets you add simple text or even HTML into any widget zone on your website. One thing it doesn't let you add is shortcodes. But it's very easy to allow the Text widget to accommodate shortcodes too.

Stop turning off CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER and fix your PHP config

As Pádraic Brady points out in a recent article about PHP security, there's a whole lot of misinformation about how to deal with the error "SSL certificate problem, verify that the CA cert is OK" from curl. Nearly everyone advises that you turn CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER off (in fact, countless comments on the PHP manual page for curl_setopt tell you this). This is bad, because it allows your nice, encrypted stream of confidential data to be silently highjacked by a bad guy. Don't do that! Instead, just fix your PHP installation so that it doesn't get that error.