Meet John P. Bloch, WordPress Expert

John P. Bloch John will be joining us on November 30 for the WordPress Unit Testing session. He’s also a pretty smart guy 🙂

Where can we find you on the internet?

My employer, 10up, can be found at 10up.com and my personal site is johnpbloch.com. I can also be found on twitter@johnpbloch. I suppose I’m on Google+ too, but I don’t actually use it for anything but hangouts.

When and how did you get started with WordPress?

I got started with WordPress in 2008 when a group of friends and I started a blog together and decided to migrate off of blogger to a self-hosted WordPress installation.

What resources to you turn to when you want to learn something new?

That depends on the subject, but generally Google, which leads me to Stack Overflow/Exchange. When it comes to languages, I generally check for a Learn Code the Hard Way book first. Those books are phenomenal (and generally free!). For unit testing, my go-to resources are (in this order) Eric Mann, The Grumpy Programmer’s Guide To Building Testable PHP ApplicationsThe Grumpy Programmer’s PHPUnit Cookbook (the last two both written by Chris Hartjes), and the PHPUnit docs. Finally, I also try to avail myself of the wealth of knowledge that is the WordPress community. There are a lot of brilliant people out there and most of them are happy to answer your questions and give you pointers. You just need to engage the community in good faith and you’ll find your way.

On a more practical note, if you just follow Brian Krogsgard and follow everybody he retweets you’ll be off to a good start. 😀

What is your favorite WordPress feature/aspect?

wp-admin/admin-post.php. Best super-obscure part of WordPress. I’m always finding new and crazy ways to use it that still blow my mind.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned/discovered while unit testing?

We, as developers tend to have a cognitive bias against simplicity. We all know that programmers are known to tend to over-complicate things, but unit testing large codebases will teach you an entirely new definition of complexity. Sometimes even a function that looks very simple belies a complexity that good unit tests will very quickly uncover.

What advice do you have for others looking to become WordPress experts?

Read through the runtime execution of WordPress. Seriously. Go line-by-line reading what WordPress does from start to finish through an execution. Try to find all the hooked functions and read through them at the right place. It will open your eyes about what actually happens inside.

Use version control

Turn XDebug on and get interactive debugging and script profiling working

Finally, just DO. Build. Tinker. Play. Break. Iterate

Bonus Question: What is one interesting non-WordPress-related fact about yourself?

I studied English Lit in college and was teaching myself how to build websites at the time out of pure fascination. I can recite the first 11 lines of Beowulf in Old English. W.H. AudenWallace Stevens, and W.B Yeats are awesome.