Newsletter April ’10

May month is here and it is time for our monthly newsletter in which we report to you what happened in the past month at Tribulant Software. There has been a lot going on at Tribulant, which gives me some exciting stuff to report back on this month. I always think to myself just as I finish one newsletter what will I be writing about next month that will be of interest to our readers.

Moving of our Cloud Server

Support has been kept busy this month, not that they don’t have enough to do as it is, but we decided to move to a new hosting provider for better service. Here is an article I wrote in which you might find interest in – Why I left the Rackspace Cloud.

New Staff

Nicholas Middleton has joined the development team as a trainee web developer this month. He is 21, South African and single. He comes from a computer and hardware background. Nick qualified as a computer fax technician with Canon (Canco Business Systems Pty Ltd) in Sandton, Johannesburg. He joins Tribulant in the UK office but will be working directly with me on a daily basis. Nick’s hobbies include jogging, computers and World of Warcraft when he gets time away from his busy work schedule

Quick Start Guides

This month we have been writing Quick Start guides for most of the plugins. These are not meant to replace the online documentation but are aimed at giving a new user to a particular plugin enough basic information to get the plugin working. The Quick Start Guides start at activation which assumes that the plugin had been installed properly. Each plugin has already got a detailed guide on installation in the documentation.

March’s plugin of the month reviewed

Since computers first began backups have always been the pain of everyone’s life. Most of us hate doing them. Many of us don’t do them as often as we should and I suspect nearly all of us have at some stage wept bitter tears when something has gone wrong and we have lost precious data.

While most host providers do daily, weekly and monthly backups of our servers, these are a “all or nothing backup” so if something small does go amiss with our WordPress site it often means quite a headache in going back to the most recent “sever backup” which can effect things like email and so which may not need to be restored. It would be handy to be able to backup just our WordPress data in instances where we need only to restore our blog tables.

Support gave me the heads up on a nifty plugin that does the job admirably WP-DB-Backup. It can be downloaded at: http://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/wp-db-backup.2.2.2.zip

“WP-DB-Backup allows you easily to backup your core WordPress database tables. You may also backup other tables in the same database.”

It is released under the terms of the GNU GPL, version 2 so once again it’s a free plugin and you may modify its source code according to your needs. 

There is a disclaimer by the author against liability for data loss etc and this is normal for this type of product. While we feature this product in this month’s Newsletter we also need to say that Tribulant’s takes no responsibility for any loss in using the product.

Hey we also have to cover ourselves but don’t let this put you off. Try it on your development server and make up your own mind. We use it on most (if not all) WordPress sites and have it email a backup through to us on a daily basis.

Installation

The installation and setup is fairly straight forward and the author had detailed notes and guidance on WordPress so I won’t repeat every thing here.

Size

At 154kb zipped it’s very small and is a quick download; installed it comes in at around 433kb which is really manageable Backup file sizes will vary depending on the size of you WordPress data.

Compatibility and version

I tested the current version of the plugin with WordPress version 2.9.2 with no problems.

Cost

Free

Conclusion

I like this plugin. It does take the headache out of manually doing your own server side backups. While it may not be for everyone and is aimed at those users that are more technically minded and do not have the advantage of someone else to do their backups, it gets 4 out of 5 apples.

The Tribulant Grapevine

Last month I mentioned the WordPress shopping cart plugin with a new release including global tax. It has not yet been publicly released but it is coming along well and we integrated more payment gateways into it this past week. In addition to that, there are many new features and improvements.

Feel free to ask us to try out our latest development build if you already have a license for the Checkout plugin. Just send a ticket to us with your Tribulant Software user ID or email address and ask us to send it through.

I am also told that from this coming month the programming department will be releasing at least 1 major or minor version of a product once a week. We will be sending out mini blogs on the released version of the week as the month progresses. Check the blog and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with what we are doing.

Blogging Tips and Suggestions

We are often asked what plugins we recommend for a site. Each client has different needs and may require a different set of plugins. When the programming department sets up a new blog they install the following set of plugins as a basic starting point.

Articles and Snippets

As a reminder, we invite you to send in articles of interest, comments and feedback for our ‘Readers Column’. 

If you have a press release for your own products or website, please feel free to submit it for consideration in the next newsletter.  Topics may be varied at this stage as this is a pilot project.

All we ask is that the articles are related in some way to your business, field of interest or expertise and are non-political, may be considered of general interest and are suitably tasteful. For those interested let us know by opening a support ticket.

A little Humour

The Wrap up

That was it for April. I look forward to hearing from you and don’t forget to send us your site for inclusion in next month’s news letter. Remember to subscribe to our blog and to follow us on Twitter. Be safe and be well.

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