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Google Calendar v3 API Gotchas

We use Google Calendar for quite a few of our clients. They get a nice interface for managing their events, and we can leverage the API to display the content in various places. Both by using our own developed tools and by using plugins like Google Calendar Events.

Just to cover all of the bases here, on November 17th, 2014, Google turned off parts of the v1 and v2 Calendar API and required access through v3. Many plugins were not updated in time and calendars went away only showing cryptic error messages. Even after the updates of some of the plugins and creation of special API keys, some sites were still unable to show their calendars.

This is the solution we had for our particular problem.

When you create a new “Server” Google API key for public access, you need to supply a list of IP address that are allowed to access the API with your key. Here’s the gotcha, if your hosting provider is IPv6 enabled, you must include your server’s IPv6 address as well as the IPv4.

That’s all well and good if you’re running your own dedicated server or VPS, but what if you’re on a shared host and they don’t list the IPv6 address of your server? We did a silly hack and popped the following code into a .php file and uploaded it to the sites that were still having problems:

<?php echo file_get_contents('http://whatismyipv6.com/'); ?>

That will give you the IPv6 address of your web server. Just take that and paste it into your Google API console.

Delete the file when you’re done of course.

Announcing WPCmdCtrl

WPCmdCtrl (WP Command and Control) is a new service from Soju Web Development designed to help you easily manage multiple WordPress installs.

It was initially developed as an in-house tool to manage all of our client sites, but as word of it leaked out more and more contacts started asking about being able to use it for their own businesses. Today we are proud to announce that WPCmdCtrl is ready for open signups.

We realized that applying WordPress core and plugin updates while extremely important, was a huge time sink. So we built a way to automatically perform them.

We’ve had clients with FTP access accidentally, and in some cases not so accidentally, delete their uploads folder along with all of the “backups” that were stored there. Automated off-site backups immediately became a major priority. So we added those in.

Nothing is worse than having a client call and ask why their site is just a white screen, and has been for the past week! The next worse thing is to track down that their hosting company silently updated PHP and broke some plugin. We needed to know about these thing ASAP. So we built a way to track that, automatically.

Site response time is a major factor in both SERP rankings and reducing bounce rate. What happens when two random plugins cause a conflict to add 2 seconds to a site’s load time? Are a group of sites on a hosting node with a bunch of noisy neighbors that bring your sites to a crawl during prime time? We needed a way to track these things, so we built it.

What if one of your client’s sites gets hacked and is redirecting off only traffic from Google? You look at the site and everything is fine but the traffic is gone. Or even worse, all of the visitors are getting a “This site is unsafe” warning screen. How can you keep up with 15, 30, 250+ sites, every day? We covered that as well.

WPCmdCtrl is also designed to be completely hands-free. Once you setup your account, you just install a single plugin one time to each of your sites. The plugin will automatically add the site to your account and start doing it’s magic. If anything goes wrong, you’ll get an email (or text message or phone call if you’d like) letting you know exactly what site has the issue. And in the event of  a catastrophe, we’ll have a complete backup of your site and database stored in multiple data centers around the world so you can bring the site up again right away.

You can signup for a risk-free 14 day free trial at wpcmdctrl.com

HackVT 2012 – Local Ingredient Search

We participated in the HackVT 24-Hour Hackathon in Winooski this weekend.

Although we did not get to complete the event due to a combination of prior commitments, injury (!!!) and a long wait for approval for a supplied API, we did get a nice, we think anyways, demo up.

The app as it stands uses HTML5 geo-location to find the closest Vermont suppliers of a particular ingredient to your current location. If you are not currently in Vermont, this will be somewhat useless, so please feel free to use any Vermont city in the search field to update the map and the listings.

If work had not stopped at 5am, there would be integration with the Yummly API along with a shopping list and a “traveling salesman” solution to track down your ingredients.

Technologies used:

Datasets / APIs: