Daniel Olson

Menu

3 things I believe in and why I joined DigitalCube

Transcript from Shifter Meetup Kobe.

Hello and thank you for being here.

Of all the places in the world you could be tonight, you decided to join us and I’m honored for the opportunity of spending this time with you.

The reason I’m here tonight is to tell a story. It’s a true story and I know this because it’s a story about me.

The story I was invited to share is the story of why I’m standing here today, employed as a member of the DigitalCube team.

Konichiwa, watashi wa Dan desu

And this is a photo of me as a kid.

I’m a Philadelphia Native, the Chief Operating Officer of DigitalCube. Find me online at emaildano.

So, what do I do at DigitalCube? As COO I have a lot of roles.

I hold a degree in design, I’m a self-taught web developer, I’m a JAMstack advocate, an AWS superfan and design thinking enthusiast.

Most of all, I never imagined myself being so lucky to be where I am now.

At first, it seemed like an obvious story to tell. One day I asked Hiromichi for a job and he said, youkoso! Welcome to the team.

But, why I decided to ask for a job in the first place, is much more important. What were the decisions leading to that moment?

The reason I joined this team has less to do with the job itself and more to do with what I personally believe in and why I do, what I do.

So, what do I believe in? Let me show you.

I have three examples tonight of how my beliefs influenced my decision to join DigitalCube.

They are three key milestones in my life that I believe changed my perspective on technology, what’s possible and how to achieve even the most impossible goals.

First, a lot of my beliefs around technology and building tools start here.

This is a 1987 Suzuki Samurai.

This model was built the same year I was born. It was one of the first cars I owned and in my experience, it had more of an impact on my profession than any class, tutorial, or conference.

I believe that this is one of the greatest vehicles ever produced and for a lot of reasons. The Suzuki Samurai or Jimny as you know, it is more than just a car to me. To me, it’s a symbol.

Owning this car taught me a lot of things but the most important thing it taught me was this.

1. Power isn’t everything.

Nobody drives a Jimny to go fast. It’s slow. Really really slow. But what the Jimny lacks in speed, it makes up for in power.

But wait… didn’t you say power isn’t everything?

That’s right. Power isn’t everything. It’s what you DO what that power that matters.

The sense of power you felt when driving a Jimny did not match the power under the hood.

A 1987 Suzuki Jimny had about 60 horsepower.

With just a 60 horsepower engine, the Jimny was one of the least powerful engines of any car you could buy.

So, why does it FEEL, powerful? It goes back to why the Jimny was created in the first place.

The Jimny was never designed to be the fastest, or have the biggest engine, or be the most powerful.

It was designed as an offroad vehicle that could go anywhere.

And the most important factor for any offroad vehicle, more than power, more than speed, is weight.

The head designer of JEEP Mark Allen said it himself.

He said: Weight is your enemy.

Suzuki understood this deeply and they designed around that.

The Jimny’s lightweight design, combined with its small engine resulted in a vehicle with one of the highest power to weight ratios, ever.

With the right plan, you can a lot more with less. You don’t need all the power in the world, you just a strategy for HOW to use it and more importantly, WHY it matters.

1. Software is more important than hardware

One of my least favorite computer topics is computer hardware.

Computers geeks love to talk about hardware. New video cards, processors, memory, ram, and more. I don’t. For a very specific reason.

Hardware is nothing without software.

The most advanced video cards and processors cannot be used to their full potential unless they have the proper software to support it.

Better yet, good software can outperform the bad software on the most powerful machines.

Remember, power isn’t everything.

I believe that software is the key to our technological future. If we learned to write leaner code, faster code, we can do more with the hardware we already have.

Here’s an example.

Who has heard of Moore’s Law?

Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on a microchip will double about every two years.

This is what Moore’s Law looks like.

Two times the transistors equals two times the power.

But, what if we didn’t need to double our power to create new things?

Instead, what if we decided to developed software based on the power and concepts we had 3, or 5, or even 40 years ago.

That idea of mainframe computing became mainstream about 40 years ago. They existed as large centralized computers that end users would use to run the code, but they didn’t own the computer itself.

It was the beginning of the “compute-as-a-service” model

In concept, AWS Lambda is the exact same concept as the shared computing concept we used in the 1970s.

The only major change is software. Let’s take a look at the changes over time.

In the 60s and 70s, We had an era of shared computing.

In the 1990s, we created HTML giving us the ability to create complex page layouts and data.

And in 1996, JavaScript was invented giving us more options with how to interact with those layouts and data.

These concepts together, are the JAMstack. It’s nothing new. It’s software that made the difference.

“Your best opportunity is one step out of your comfort zone.”

I don’t remember who told me this or maybe I made it up. Either way, this is the best bit of advice I can give.

What does that mean?

“Your best opportunity is one step out of your comfort zone.”

The idea is that small challenges become small victories. And they give us an opportunity to reflect and adjust.

The first time I was introduced to DigitalCube was through Amimoto. I was a web developer at an agency in Philadelphia where the first ever WordCamp US was hosted.

I approached the Amimoto booth and realized a few things.

First, the technology they were offering was incredible. They presented a new way to host WordPress on AWS that I’d never seen before.

Second, their branding wasn’t the best. As an engineer, I understood the technology but they couldn’t communicate that with the average user.

Third, the seemed like a lot of fun.

Despite having very few people at their booth they were energetic and convinced they had a great product. I understood that, and I wanted to help them.

So, naturally, I asked them out for a beer.

That night over a beer, this is what we talked about.

The belief that you can do more with less.
And that software is our future.

Two concepts that were already cemented in my philosophy.

We literally talked about the Suzuki Samurai and its abilities for being such a small vehicle. We talked about using good software design to solve technical problems. And taking small chances.

If I never asked the team out for a beer that night to learn more about them, I wouldn’t be here.

Taking one step out of my comfort zone changed everything for me.

The rest is history.

JAMstack Conf NYC Recap and Netlify Integrations on Shifter

We attended JAMstack Conf NYC last week and there is a lot we would need to share.

JAMstack Conf is an event focused on the design, development, and deployment of fast, modern web projects. Unlike most conferences about the web, it covers the entire stack from the browser to the backend. If you’re into JavaScript, APIs, serverless, or performance, you should check it out.

It started in San Francisco founded by Netlify. They are a company that offers hosting and serverless backends for static websites. The content and session topics at this event were a perfect fit for their customers and developers using this approach.

Simply put, it was a great time. It was comfortable, friendly, diverse, and energetic. There was a mix of knowledgeable engineers, front-end developers, and designers in attendance. It could have felt overwhelming but everyone we met was very approachable and had a lot to share.

We attended JAMstack Conf to speak with the Netlify team about Shifter’s new webhook features and our mission to bring JAMstack to the WordPress community. For us, WordPress has a place in the JAMstack community and that was one step toward making it easier to connect them both

Shifter Webhooks and Netlify

Introducing Shifter webhooks, a release that brings Netlify integrations back to Shifter in a whole new way.

During the development of Shifter’s Version 1 API, we had the opportunity to present an idea to Netlify co-founders Mathias Biilmann and Chris Bach. We said, let’s deploy static WordPress sites to Netlify, and we did exactly that!

We built an integration for Shifter users to create static sites and deploy them to Netlify. Then we rewrote our entire API and that super cool feature went away.

Now they are back and much improved. This feature allows users to create static WordPress sites and triggering actions outside of Shifter. Webhooks are based on lifecycle events such as when an artifact is complete. They are now more flexible too, so if you want to use it on a service other than Netlify you can do that.

We were super excited to attend JAMstack Conf and run these ideas past the engineers in person. We got a ton of great feedback and ideas to go work on we’re looking forward to the next release. There’s a ton of potential for static WordPress sites on Netlify. Thanks again to the entire team!

Sessions Recap

JAMstack Conf was a single track event with an amazing lineup of speakers. Here’s a recap and a few personal takeaways from each.

Keynote
Matt Biilmann · Netlify

Matt started by putting the state of the JAMstack ecosystem into content followed by a heavy mic-drop which we can now call Netlify Dev.

Netlify Dev brings edge logic and features for developing locally with teams for local teams all available through CLI. It’s probably the most significant release for any business or team using Netlify.

Action packed JAMstack
Brian Douglas · GitHub

You may remember Brian from an interview I did on JAMstack radio. He presented ideas on how to better leverage the rich API that GitHub whether to improve the quality and insight into your project or for fun because that’s one of the best ways to learn.

React Static and progressive static site generation
Tanner Linsley · Nozzle

There were a few moments during Tanner’s talk that really made us think. He talked about his experience developing React Static and best practices for optimizing site performance. He opened us up to the power of prefetch and we’ll be forever thankful.

Panel discussion on E-Commerce
Moderated by Phil Hawksworth

E-commerce for days! While e-commerce is an iffy topic for static WordPress sites this talk gave us a few ideas worth exploring. We’ve started testing a few of these concepts and hope we can bring some exciting news very soon.

Delivering more to customers with less overhead
Beth Pollock and Luis Ugarte · Citrix

The great part about this talk was transparency into the process. Citrix had a problem and not only did they solve it, but they also shared their story at JAMstack Conf.

What’s your JAM(stack)?
Amberley Romo · Gatsby

As a front-end dev, there’s a lot out there right now. Amberley presented ideas on how to cut through the noise and how to select what works for you and your team.

Get better at JavaScript with just JavaScript
Wes Bos · Syntax FM, Reactforbeginners.com

This was part variety show, part crash course. Wes delivered a talk that scrambled our brains in a very good way and we’ll never think about JavaScript the same again.

The post JAMstack Conf NYC Recap and Netlify Integrations on Shifter appeared first on DigitalCube.

Bringing JAMStack WordPress to Scandinavia

We’re traveling to north this week for WordCamp Nordic; to participate, sponsor, and celebrate this newly minted WordCamp region.

This event is the first-ever WordCamp Noric. As the number of camps around the globe increases each year, a signature event of this kind comes as no surprise.

WordCamp Nordic is taking place in the ridiculously cool city of Helsinki, Finland. This will be our first event in Scandinavia and for most of us, our first time in Finland! So many firsts.

Looking ahead at the event and what we can look forward to a few things stand out.

The Speakers & Session Topics

The lineup of speakers and topics for this event really do raise the bar. This one-day multitrack event hosts nearly 30 speakers with a background in the Norwegian Government to Engineers at Google. There is a lot to look forward to.

WordPress at scale within the Norwegian Government

This session stands to us for a few reasons. The adaptation of WordPress as a part of any official state agency shows the power of open source and to us is a nod to its long term success. For anyone who is new to the Open Source Software idea, OSS could be perceived as risky whether it’s a security concern or about protecting your investment.

Growing a site backed by WordPress is one thing which I assume they will cover. But how that first step happened is just as interesting. We’ll have to wait for the Q&A!

Devs and JS

Every Developer and JavaScript-focused sessions on this list. Our mission is to introduce JAMSTAck WordPress to WordCamp Nordic. Using JavaScript and the power of APIs to think about building WordPress sites in a new way. The amount of advanced topics covered at this event tells us to look forward to a lot of hallway conversations.

WordPress for Designers and Agencies

Good design is a part of Scandinavia. It’s as if those two things cannot exist without the other. We look forward to learning about the tools that designers, developers, and agencies in this region and we hope to learn a lot from meeting new friends.

See you in Helsinki!

The post Bringing JAMStack WordPress to Scandinavia appeared first on DigitalCube.

Introducing Shifter Passwordless Login and Magic Links

All WordPress sites on Shifter now come with Passwordless Login and Magic Link access to the WordPress Dashboard.

Magic, you say? Yes! It’s really really magic. 🎩

Let’s take a look.

What is Passwordless Login?

Passwordless Login is feature that allows users to access their WordPress dashboard right from our Shifter dashboard. All you have to do is start the WordPress container and once it’s ready login right in.

This feature is designed to improve the editing experience and remove the friction of logging into WordPress.

What are Magic Links?

Are you working with a trusted friend or client and need to share access to your WordPress site? Or what if you need help from Shifter support and would like to share access that way. There’s a Magic Link for that.

Shifter Magic Links allow users to share access to the WordPress Dashboard without setting up a username or password. These URLs are token based and work only once per session.

How are WordPress users handled?

WordPress usernames are based on your Shifter account. Passwords are randomized and user roles are set to admin by default for now. In an upcoming release we’ll introduce more tools to manage WordPress users and organization members right from the Shifter dashboard.

Need to access WordPress as a different user?

There are options for that now with Plugins such as User Switching and more. These still work with Passwordless Login.

Is it secure?

Yes! Only you as an admin with access to your Shifter account can access that secure URL. It’s not public, broadcasted, or shared with anyone except you. It’s also randomized and expires so it cannot be accessed more than once.

In addition secure URLs the underlying passwords which allow users access are also randomized.

If you have a concern or need more info please let us know and we’d be happy to update this post for other readers and review and feedback you may have.

The post Introducing Shifter Passwordless Login and Magic Links appeared first on DigitalCube.

New landing pages for Korean, Thai, and Taiwanese

Hello everybody, This is Seiji, Customer Success Manager at DigitalCube with another update.

Following the addition of Shifters new Taiwanese landing page, we recently added two more for Korean and Thai! This is a part of our effort to make Shifter more accessible in native languages wherever we travel.

This would not have been possible without the support form a few key folk we’d like to shout-out. Thank you very much to William Tai, Yuli Yang, Hung – Chun Chiang, Hyunmin Kim, Kittaya Kanchanobhas (Tak) who helped translate.

Taiwanese

https://www.getshifter.io/taipei/

Translation by William Tai, Yuli Yang, Hung-Chun Chiang

Korean

https://www.getshifter.io/kr/

Translated by Hyunmin Kim

Thai

https://www.getshifter.io/thailand/

Translation by Kittaya Kanchanobhas (Tak)

We often use English in an international environment, but language sometimes is as much the culture itself as the country and it is deeply related to the identity of the speaker.

As WordPress is translated into a variety of languages ​​by contributors while the layout of the dashboard in each language is kept beautiful because of a precise translation of volunteers who appreciate and understand their native language.

Due to WordPress’ s democratization of publishing as a mission, it is devised so that it can be used in various languages.

From now on, Shifter is a completely new approach called a serverless static site generator that will contribute to WordPress users to push for democratization of publishing. Please let me know from the chat window if you have any notes.

The post New landing pages for Korean, Thai, and Taiwanese appeared first on DigitalCube.

We’re sponsoring WordCamp Europe, 2019!

We’re super excited to share this bit of news today and make it official. We are sponsoring WordCamp Europe, 2019!

Following last year, this will be a revisit to WCEU as a sponsor and one of the best WordPress related events we have ever been a part of. It’s going to be a big one, it’s in a great location, city and there is a lot to look forward to.

Event Location

It’s in the capital city, Berlin! It’s not only the largest city in Germany by area but also population. Today, Berlin is a hub for startups, a booming culinary scene, community focused arts and more. We think Berlin is an idea place to host WordCamp Europe.

What’s Planned

Our team will be there at the Shifter booth to answer questions, play video games, talk shop, and more. We hope you swing by and join us or hit us up online through the community of worldwide armchair WordCampers.

In the past we’ve worked on shipping new releases for these events and this is no exception. Maybe we already have something in the works for WCEU. Maybe?

When

The event begins June 20th and runs until the 22nd. If you are planning to go and this is your first WordCamp we suggest staying longer as there are lots of events before and after not on the official schedules that you may want to attend, such as product focused and local meetups, community tours and more.

Stay Tuned

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the latest news and releases. We will have more announcements we get closer to the event.

That’s all for now and hope to see you there!

The post We’re sponsoring WordCamp Europe, 2019! appeared first on DigitalCube.

Changelog: The next version of Shifter’s generator is now available

Shifter’s generator version 2.0 is now available. This update was built and designed to do a few specific things.

Introducing support for PWA

We’ve updated our generator to recognize and support the PWA WordPress Plugin developed by XWP, Google, and it’s many contributors.

We like this plugin not just because it’s open source but it also adheres to the standards set by Google and was developed in collaboration with the WordPress community.

It’s a great addition and we look forward to future releases and maybe just maybe one day making it’s way into WordPress Core as a standard feature.

Until then, head over to the official listing to give it a try.

Improved error handling

Sometimes generating artifacts fail. This is just as frustrating for you as it it for us, so we’ve updated our generator to provide more information about what failed and why.

What’s next?

This is a first step towards providing more insight into this process and we hope it is a foundation for more features such as performance suggestions, warnings, errors, and more.

We hope you enjoy this update as much as we do and we encourage all users to give it a try.

The post Changelog: The next version of Shifter’s generator is now available appeared first on DigitalCube.

We’re sponsoring WordCamp Bangkok 2019!

We’re headed to Thailand to sponsor WordCamp Bangkok!

This is our first time in Bangkok as a WordCamp sponsor and we’re thrilled to be a part of this community event.

Here’s a couple things we’re looking forward to at WordCamp Bangkok.

Meeting you!

The Shifter team will be attending this event with a sponsor booth for live demos and to answer your questions but most importantly to make new friends.

Highlighting Multisite and eCommerce

This year there are quite a few sessions covering topics on Multisite and eCommerce. This is exciting for us as are advocates of WordPress for enterprise and advanced topics.

That’s all for now! See you in Thailand.

The post We’re sponsoring WordCamp Bangkok 2019! appeared first on DigitalCube.

Test Drive: WP Page Builder by Themeum

As a frequent WordCamp Sponsor, our team has the opportunity to travel and meet a lot of companies in the WordPress community doing a variety of interesting things.

One of those companies is Themeum, a company working on WordPress theme and plugin development. As a fellow-sponsor at WordCamp Kuala Lumpur, we wanted to give their products a try on Shifter.

Page Builders on Shifter

Page builders and Shifter go great together. Our team has noticed a boom in the quality and complexity that page builders can offer. The ability to create unique layouts, customize, or import pre-made layouts has never been this easy.

The major benefit of any page builder on Shifter is our static site generator. Create layouts without the worry of longer page load times since there’s no database to query or slow down on static sites.

Despite the launch of Gutenberg in WordPress Core, we do believe that page builders will always have an edge on the Gutenberg Block Editor. Whether it’s rapid development among teams dedicated to just working on their products or those teams building integration for Gutenberg a new ecosystem of theme dev tools is out there so dig in and give them a try.

Getting Started with WP Page Builder

This plugin is freely available in the WordPress Plugins directory with an option to go premium.

The free version offers a block editor, layout builder, some pre-made full-page layout options, and more. It’s a great option to start with and try but there may be some components you’re looking for that are only available on premium.

Here’s a video walk through of getting started with WP Page Builder by Themeum.

WP Page Builder WebPageTest Benchmarks on Shifter

Out of curiosity, we performed a benchmark test using WebPageTest.org, a free tool for testing sites publically available from different locations around the world.

WebPageTest is our go-to testing tool for its availability and straightforward options.

For this test we set it to run three times and report the average using a cable connection from Virginia. It’s also set to perform a retest after each visit and record the repeat view as well.

Our first load time without any cache is just above 1s at 1.094s! Sub-second load times are always preferred but 1.094s is great too so we’ll take it.

On repeat views, that load time drops to just 1.074s, 2/100th’s of a second faster than the first visit.

It’s also worth noting this Shifter site using WP Page Builder received A’s across the board in every category including Time to First Byte (TTFB), Image Compression, Caching Static Content, and Effective use of CDN.

All of these features are available by default on every WordPress site hosted on Shifter without any caching plugins or custom settings required.

Other Products by Themeum

The Themeum team also offers a variety of Themes and Plugins such as Mega Menu.

Mega Menu  in particular is one we’ve been excited to see as there are still very few options for this type of web component that work well.

With the progress made by theme builders, layout plugins, etc. menus are still a pain point but Mega Menu by Themeum is one of the few options that does this well.

The post Test Drive: WP Page Builder by Themeum appeared first on DigitalCube.

Changelog: Deploy now with WordPress 5.0

Shifter now supports the latest WordPress version 5.0!

This release was announced at WordCamp US 2018 in Nashville. WordPress 5.0 was the largest release ever for WordPress Core and comes complete with a new theme for 2019, new block-based content editor, and more.

5.0 includes the hotly debated Gutenberg editor which replaces the tried and true TinyMCE and if you’re not a fan, no worries, the Classic Editor plugin is still available for anyone who wants to use that. Both editing options and experiences are still supported on Shifter sites.

Safe Mode Updates

With the stable release of the twenty-nineteen theme, launching in safe mode will now use this by default. For more information about twenty-nineteen, check out the official release notes.

The post Changelog: Deploy now with WordPress 5.0 appeared first on DigitalCube.