Before we get started we want to mention that we don’t have lower thirds again this episode because we can’t make them work but thanks thank you I’m Jonathan McNamara from WP engine Emma Emma I like years ago oh god you’re watching finely tuned consultant a series of interviews with some of the brightest talents and tech marketing wordpress as i mentioned i’m john mcnamara and with me is my co-host Emma hey Emma SAT today we’re talking with josh pawlak the writer the speaker the expert on the WordPress rest api josh recently spoke about the WordPress rest api and his new ebook of a subject at wordcamp tampa and before that at wordcamp Las Vegas Josh welcome to the show ah thank you thank you for everything so I definitely want to get into the e-book and work camps and all that good stuff but let’s get started with getting to know you a bit better first how’d you get into WordPress um so the usual path I worked as a recording engineer and then went back to school for environmental studies started log on being a nerd and then got really into hacking my theme right so that’s pretty standard um and I’m making a joke cuz I’m a wiseass but I do think it’s important uh to share these stories because a lot of people who I meet seem to think like oh like I don’t have the qualifications for this all you call the rest of y’all went to school for this and nobody did like very few people did most of us just kind of googled it uh and the quicker we get over that the better we can get at this excellent alright so can you tell us a little bit about building caldera WP and how that got started yeah so at some point I got a job randomly working doing support for the pods framework which is an open source content management solution uh brought and I was just doing support and then documentation and then development I really recommend to people when they’re getting started find a open source project that needs your help see if you can swing it into a job or just a casual contribution because you get to know people who are much better at what you want to do then you’re sure and you endear yourself to them and you can learn from them you can get experience and something much bigger than what you could do with your own skills.
Through that I met David Kramer who had been working on caldera forms a responsive drag and drop form builder for about a year and I needed some sort of better form solution for a wordpress app I was working on and he was also helping me with we were working together on some solutions and pods where he was one of those users who said hey this is cool but this part of it could be better go me go me make some contributions right right so that’s how we met and then we launched earlier this year with some caldera forms add-ons Colorforms is a free plug-in but we have paid add-ons for stripe or pay power these sorts of things and also we launched with the pods add-on sort make a lot of the complex parts of that easier very cool so we mentioned this at the top of the show and I think we should get into it and you gave a talk at wordcamp Vegas and also wordcamp Tampa called extending the WordPress rest api and so I’d like to know how that talk went or how those talks went and also if you can sort of give us a brief rundown for those of us at home who are not well versed in what a REST API is and what it does okay so let’s um I make a joke in my talk that I’m skipping to the back of the book uh that the talk was about some really advanced dude more advanced topics and it was great to be able to make that joke and say but you can actually download the book thanks to the good people WP engine in dork so the book that you’re mentioning is an e-book and I have some questions about that that we’re going to get to a little bit later and we’ll just we’ll just identify that now uh you wrote this ebook this massive ebook and that sort of I guess became the one of the talking points of your work can’t talk right so the rest api is a type of api and philosophy on AP is that its use json that should be discoverable in that meaning that a kayak should be able to figure out what’s there there should be enough metadata there to figure it out I mean but basically it’s a standard way of exchanging data between service providers websites applications so when you click on a tweet this button it’s making a request to Twitter’s a restful api when you pull statuses from Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or whatever I linkedin you’re using their rest api’s so you’re essentially when you say create a list of some of these tweets you’re doing something very similar to the what he would do when they you know navigate through Twitter site and find that down but instead you’re doing you’re using a machine-readable format that makes it easier for you to do it yourself right though the the wordpress.
REST API is a tool that’s going to put a restful api on all of our sites in so in a sense it’s not new it do what it does it’s another way to read your posts update your posts edit your posts delete your posts so in the same way that WordPress gives us this ability that we go to slash blog / hello world and we see a world and then we go to WP admin we see a list of all of our posts that we can delete posts right there we can add a new post we can you know click on edit a post and then we have that editor we already have all these things but this is a new way to do it um using the rest api philosophy super cool super cool um so how did the talk go in vegas and in tampa and also what are the best rest puns that you’ve come up with and how hard was it to keep it out of your talks oh well i actually so the best part about doing a talk two days under two weeks in a row is that those little things that don’t go as well you can do them again sure um everything about word camps is that a I mean I was half across the country but also there are two or three other talks at the same time so in the rare case across over so we can just go to another room um but yeah I got really upset with the talk in vegas which went well but i didn’t make a single dumb russ rest fun and one of the most exciting things about the WordPress rest api is the opportunity to make dumb rest funds right on the day of rest conference coming up in january uh whose website is feeling restful calm I mean that’s just killing it major points to that so I guess you’re gonna you’re gonna get started with making more puns than nice to not just keep resting on your laurels yes because in this first talk I made no response the second one I said um you know it’s Sunday morning but it’s 11 it’s already a little past 11 so we might be a little bogged down but I hope that this will give us an opportunity to rest up for the rest of the day conference strong um so that without well in the second one that like maybe a third of the people lightly um chuckled a third of the people groaned heard of people just missed that a joke had been named that’s pretty good i like to go for maximum groans yeah yeah i feel like this pretty good distribution um besides that yeah it went great on the that topics near and dear to my heart um in the sense that you know people talk a lot about like oh we’re going to use this for building custom apps we’re going to integrate with other technologies and that’s cool but what I do is PHP development isn’t WordPress I like doing TWiki backend stuff so the ability to make a custom API.
The WordPress way is really awesome because I’ve rolled a bunch of really custom api’s and WordPress um and being able to use the infrastructure written by people who are better than me is awesome right that’s why we use open source software we do the work of people were better at this than us and also uh then I can do it instead of doing in a way that makes sense to me and i hope i’ve documented clearly and i hope another developers gonna come and see that and be able to figure out the hell I was thinking and also not you know get too mad about the decisions I made versus what they would have made I’m looking forward to some of the projects I’m doing right now and in the future where i’m using the rest api for custom api’s because people are going to look at that source code and once they learn these patterns that the rest api suggest for doing custom api’s it’s just going to be a standard they’re gonna look at it and say um yeah okay that makes sense and it’s like it the metaphor I draw is that you could write a bunch of custom sequel queries and somebody’s going to have to hopefully they know sequel and they can read through those queries and make do some task to make some test sense of what you were doing or you can use WP query er WP comment query or WP user query and if you just look at the arts not anybody else is going to look at those arguments and know what they do or look in the Codex to figure out what they do so it allows us to work together with people that we have no idea who they are people were inheriting our code looking at our plugins or themes that’s what’s exciting about it coming so doing a little a little bit of simplest and organization yeah and I think magazines we can do better coat we can do better work that’s more maintainable and that’s a real victory for everybody cool so besides the puns that you can come up is there anything else that’s a little bit really exciting that people should know about about REST API well I mean I think that besides puns it’s hard to get more exciting than funds I think people should you know we talked about the rest api in a lot in terms of integrating the rest api with other other frameworks in so wired com is a the example that get set up about this new york times huh as blogs where it’s a wordpress back end Pete writers go in and use WordPress the great content on unwire calm and then but that WordPress site doesn’t have a front-end it’s connected to a note app via the rest api people get excited about that but I think I don’t want people to miss the opportunities this gives us in WordPress um John James Jacoby J trip has sort of coined the term WordPress without wordpress for those um in he draws the metaphor of the site Garfield without Garfield they had a Garfield out of garfield was really weird I love it but it’s weird and we’re missing this opportunity to have you use the rest api to make wordpress better in terms of can we use it instead of admin ajax for front-end ajax requests so that way they can be faster right they can be you know a better coat in the back end like we were just talking about um can we use them in our admins to update our settings something I’ve been doing on a new project where I’m building my admin uh instead of using admin Ajax to save things i’m using in custom REST API endpoints and that’s really awesome because now i have i’m as i go building a restful api and if i want other people and the future to build third-party integrations with this how are they going to do it with this restful api that I’m billing from day one and it’s not an afterthought.
It’s really well done in so I hope that it influences how we write um the when you’re writing custom endpoints it really forces you to when you follow their pattern to get a separation of concerns you validate your your inputs in one place sanitizer inputs in one place ensure that everything that’s required is there in one place process it in one place make a response at one place so I hope it’ll have a positive influence uh and also I’m excited about what we have no idea about in the sense that like it creates possibilities and creative people do things when that when it’s possible so when WordPress started as like a couple people who wanted to make sure their bog still worked in the future right right i mean that’s the origin story it not mullen waiting in mike little saying oh we need to make sure be to keeps going because that’s what we use for our book and they didn’t know that this was going to be a thing that was used to power apps was used for e-commerce in in the end the infrastructure wasn’t there for it then but I’d sure how could be be right but it way but but then new features got added on that made possible to do an e-commerce site and in infrastructure that makes things possible is what WordPress does because WordPress still doesn’t do ecommerce you can’t do ecommerce out of the box but we provided all this flexibility for a multitude of ways to do ecommerce there’s this account list number of ways um that you can use wordpress for e-commerce and that’s just one example that when you provide something that’s easy and is accessible and is super extensible other people will fill in amazingly new things and uh so I don’t know what really what the rest api is gonna do in thats awesome yeah that’s so really cool so from talking about what is possible let’s let’s go back to sort of the beginning for complete novices what resources are there for us i’m gonna let myself into that for us to get started with the you rest api I mean obviously other than your ebook are there any other things you recommend right so I do recommend the e-book ah it was randomized a really nice guy Josh ooh I like a lot okay if he um I hear that guy’s into puns yeah it doesn’t have too many dumb jokes uh Maria’s an excellent editor and she was she edited the books yet it said torque all my stuff and she only lets me get away with so many dumb jokes and up in a good way I don’t agree I see what I can put in a good word for your puns right I feel like when I’m writing on my own blog there’s a lot more dumb jokes more spoilers references and bad language and maybe if there’s anything wrong with that yeah I feel like it comes off a lot better on book whatever real editor so I came back to your question the docs v2 dot WP hyphen API org on have some big holes and you should fill them it’s on github the source but the sections that exist are very good and i really recommend that i recommend trying and out get postman which is a it’s a it’s a chrome app but I lets you prototype API is very easily and play with it try it read the source Luke um the it’s very well written document ‘add and you can learn a lot by reading it and trying it and um when also with postman you should be able to read the schema of the of the API in that should lead you to trying things out um and a lot of other people are writing about it now which is good um it seems always a popular manage WP org those articles there’s a course coming out I think Tim Nash is doing one so there’s a lot of resources out there and you know asked on Twitter when you’re confused can you describe the process that you undertook to go put this ebook together I’ve seen it and I’ve seen it when I was just completely raw just drafted out that’s all 90 pages of it yo you saw the google doc I’ve seen it ok.
So I wrote a lot most of this as torque articles with just like I went to wordcamp Milwaukee in 2014 and I met Ryan McHugh and Rachel Baker who are the lead developers and they like explain to me what it was because I didn’t know what it was or what a REST API was and then I went and saw their talk and said oh this is really neat i can learn this stuff and so i wrote an article about that um in nascent had given a talk saying like this is the future or press so i wrote an article cites the future WordPress and so then I wrote two articles um introduction to it and they were really popular were a source said keep going keep going so I did and eventually she said hey we wanna make this book and I said that’s awesome ed uh that became this massive google doc that had to be updated to version two and had to sort of changed the wording from in this article to in this chapter and stop being so repetitive in places and you know we wrote some new content for an introduction in outro and um if Marie worked really hard to make it legible and flow properly and Doc up doc pop up did all the art for it because I’m not a designer I do TWiki things like extend rest api’s any project I’ve ever worked on that looks good that’s not my fault somebody talented design is to blame for that he he did a great job of making it look good and engaging really happy with the way it looks so yeah um a lot of literally just one giant Google Doc that was kind of a mess it worth four thousand million comments and I kind of whimpered and cry for a while whenever I opened it whoa waiting for the stupid thing to load yeah it came together into something really nice um and I I’m really grateful uh that it was able to come together it’s something I’ve wanted to do like make free ebook you’ve got to get an editor you’ve got to get somebody to design it and you’ve gotta like fine time for it and the people at WP engine and torque made that possible and that’s awesome like uh like achievement unlocked for Josh right and obviously we’re a little bit biased but it’s a great book it’s really great and congrats for having it be done and completed and out there hey dress so do you have any other projects coming up that you want to talk about any new talks another ebook may be in the works um I have thoughts about ebooks nice lot of things I would like to ebook um somebody come up with a way to make it possible um yeah we at how their WP we just put an exciting new add-on into beta today publicly you can check it out at Cadair WP calm there’s a doctor blog there’s an article about it but it’s a way of connecting multiple forms into sequences so you can do those long so those are you we’re depending on it on what people put into one form you want to go to a different form as your next step and bring them all back together to really neat you I it’s one of these things were I build a prototype that basically work but was a disaster in firms the usability and my partner David Kramer made this incredible interface.
We were like dragging forms around that making connections and adding conditionals and it’s really neat I’m excited about its give equal project and it’s really complicated so we’re hoping some people will pay the tests and figure out what’s busted and we’re to keep how their forms is a really exciting project being able to start fresh and new later than everybody else makes us you know way behind but it means we can do things differently so we’re going to keep playing with that and we’ll hopefully it’s going to continue to grow and be interesting very nice so you do a lot man you’re writing ebooks you’re giving talks you’re doing all kinds of plugin work you’re tweaking backends of wordpress uh what do you do when you’re not coding and working sleeping sleeping i like to do a really good thing to do uh you know I have a wife who’s really awesome and I spend a lot of time with her um and we have two dogs two cats I have a cat right here if you want proof I was hoping convince oh thank you but yes she’s my work at I work for her um so I do that I’m really into science fiction um says no other program were ever uh and we don’t get that very often right so I’m in the middle of um Richard K Morgan book right now and excited to see the Martian this weekend uh I don’t know I’m really into food like cooking and health food and veganism and that sort of thing and I’ve been traveling so I’ve been off on exercise but that’s kind of my current obsession nice it sits in the josh optimization category but it’s what you really is alright so that’s all the time we have for this edition of finely tuned consultant Josh thank you so much for being on the show with us today thank you for everything for more on Josh you can go to Josh press net or follow him on twitter at josh 4 12 and if you’re interested in reading the e-book Josh wrote about the WordPress REST API you can check out the description of this video for the link or pretty much just google it and it will come up yeah you can also go to the WP engine blog and it’s also on torque so if you want to go to torque magpie oh you can find it there as well and hey if you enjoy finally to consultant please like and comment on this video even if you don’t like finally two weeks old they just want to leave some comments that’s cool will read them you can also subscribe to WP engine on YouTube which would be really great and would make me personally a much to your person so consider that and if you want to watch other episodes of finally to consultant right now you can do that by clicking on a square that may be hereish I’m thinking possibly here it’s probably near might think it’s on the other side it’s over here okay no not be back at the other side Oh God can you can you get a hat of like just fruit now and you just keep doing that I’m I’m gonna end this episode before Emma makes even more hopeful of me but we’ll see you next time on on finally to consultant.