Podcast Episode

483 – A New Tool – Coherence Pro


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

Dapper Desktop is a plugin to help you create a wallpaper with the correct size for your specific electronic devices.

A New Tool – Coherence Pro

I’ve been using this new tool recently to help me manage my windows on my Mac and turn some specific websites into their own apps.

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Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

On today’s episode we are going to talk about a new application that I started using in the last week or so and it’s called Coherence Pro. We’ll talk all about it right here on Your Website Engineer Podcast Episode #483. Hello and welcome to another episode of Your Website Engineer Podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler. I’m excited to be here with you just like every single week. And, today I’ve got a new tool that I’m gonna share with you. Something that I use every single day now and it has just kinda changed the way that I use my computer as weird as that maybe sounds. So, we’ll talk about that in just a couple minutes.

I have a couple announcements to share and then a plugin of course. So, the first announcement is WooCommerce 4.0 is now out into the wild. I put this one first because I am in the WooCommerce space every single day. I work for Automatic in WooCommerce support. So, I get to help people build their websites and get their stores up and running and fix anything that’s broken. And, WooCommerce 4.0 is launched. It’s launched right on time. And, there’s been more than 3,500 changes or 3,500 commits from 45 different contributors. It’s a major release.

And, it’s stated that in the fact that it’s not backwards compatible and it went from Word – WooCommerce 3.6 to word – WooCommerce 4.0. And, we skipped a few versions in there of course. But, that main reason was because of the fact that it is a major change, with a big feature that they added was a – an additional plugin that was called WooCommerce Admin. And now, all of that has been rolled into core and now it works seamlessly together. And, the WooCommerce Admin was a really neat interface that allowed you to manage orders, run reports. The reports part was really, really cool. It was all dynamic. It was very JavaScript-based and it just was really cool.

So, if you are running a WordPress store using WooCommerce, I do recommend upgrading to Version 4.0. Do do that on or do make that upgrade on a Test Site because of course, in support, we’re gonna start to see requesting and figuring out different bugs and different things. There’s only so many things that we can test as an upgrade process. So, if you’re using WooCommerce, make sure that you upgrade that to 4.0. Do a back-up of your Live Site first and then update on a Development Site just to make sure everything works and there’s no issues whatsoever. So, that is the first announcement.

The other announcement or another link that I have for you today to read is all about the Advice for Newcomers to Remote Work and some Lessons Learned. And, this is an article on WP Tavern. And, of course, the world is all shutting down because of this Coronavirus, things are being canceled. I’ve had a work trip canceled. My wife had a trip that was canceled. Her university and all the universities in Ohio have stopped in-person lectures until – that’s all being shut down. I mean, I can only imagine they’re gonna start shutting schools down and all kinds of things over this virus. And, I think, it’s all overkill, completely overkill.

But again, I get to work from home and I don’t have a lot of contact with outside people. And so, I don’t know, I may be a little bit on the bias side. But, if you’re new to working from home, this is a great article. And, I could probably talk the entire Podcast episode about working from home and some of the things that I take into consideration. Maybe I’ll work on that for next week. And, just because I’ve had – I mean, I’ve been working from my house since 2010. So, I’ve got 10 years of work-at-home experience. And, I think I have more work-at-home experience than I do work at a somewhere-else-type-of-a-job experience.

And so, let’s go ahead and we’ll table that discussion for next week. But, if you want a little bit of a preview there’s an article on WP Tavern that you can read and some just advice about moving into this space. If your company has said, “Okay, we’re gonna work from home until the rest of the month is over.” Here might be some things that you can think about and to make sure that you’re honing in your productivity and actually doing things while you’re at home. And, you’re not doing the laundry and you’re not cleaning up the kitchen and you’re not eating from the fridge and watching Netflix and doing all those things throughout the course of the day. So, that is an article to read.

And then, there is another thing that I found and it is called Gutenberg – Introducing the Gutenberg Templates Library. And, there’s a link specifically in Episode #483 for this. But, it is a way to add 100 different section templates and – to different areas into your Gutenberg website. So, if you wanted to add testimonials or teams or logos, galleries, features, all kinds of things. I’ll link it in the show notes so you can see it there or you can just you can search, I guess you can search and look for -- it’s on gethub – or, it’s on gutenberghub.com. So, you can find that whole thing there.

And then, the last piece of news is all about WordPress 5.4 release candidate two. We’re getting close to that launch of for – of March 31st, so just a couple weeks away, and to get 5.4 out into the wild. And, it has some fixes of course. And, you can install this on some, a Test Site somewhere and you can spend a little bit of time figuring out if its gonna work for you. And so, those are the announcements that I wanna share this week. I do have a plugin that I wanna share with you. Just like every week, there’s more than 50,000 plugins; free plugins on the WordPress repository. That’s not even counting all the other plugins that are premium plugins that aren’t on the repository.

But, this one is called “Dapper Desktop.” And, I don’t know if this is gonna be very helpful other than for a few use cases. But, this one like I said, it’s called Dapper Desktop. And, this allows you to change your desktop on your computer. And, how does a plugin do that? Well, what this does is you give it a wallpaper file and it generates the other sizes and makes it easy to download. So say, for example, you find a big image. Maybe, its 5,000 pixels wide by 3,000 pixels for a desktop and you upload this to your Media Library and then you add the Dapper Desktop plugin. You add the image to the plugin section inside of the Gutenberg editor.

And then, you publish the post and then it gives you a button that you can – on the live part of your site, it gives you a download button and then you can choose what version you want. And, it gives you different options based on what size of your – if you need a desktop image or if you’re looking for a background image for your iPad or your iPhone or something. It’s a completely weird plugin and I have no reason, no understanding of why somebody would create this to be useful on a WordPress site. But, it’s a kind of a cool way and a cool tool to use if you wanna generate different size wallpapers for the different devices in your life.

And so, if that – if you’ve been looking for something like that, I recommend checking out Dapper Desktop, and it’s by sorta brilliant, in the WordPress repository. And, as always you can find a link in the show notes for Episode #483. Alright, today, like I said, we are going to talk about Coherence Pro. And, it is a plugin that I discovered from a colleague just a couple weeks back, maybe two weeks or so ago. And, it is a plugin that allows you to turn in a website into an isolated application using Google Chrome as the backend. Now let me set this up just a little bit.

We have a – we have a technology called Happy Chat and it is an interface that we use to do live chats with customers on WooCommerce or wordpress.com. This is what I live in most days when I’m chatting with customers, we’re using this tool called Happy Chat. And, it is all browser-based. Some really experienced, really smart people developed this. It’s in an in-house tool, so automatic purchase, not purchase, but automatic employees actually created this. And so, it has all the tools that we need. We can see Dashboard items.

And so, when somebody comes or if you come and start – wanna chat with us on wordpress.com or if you have a WooCommerce issue, we can look at your account information. We can see what you’ve purchased. We can see details and it lists out your system status report. It gives us all the information that we need to start debugging and figuring out, do you have a subscription? And, all these types of things. So, it’s a really cool thing. It’s great. It works really, really well and we’ve been using this for years.

Well, the thing is that it’s not perfect and there’s ways that we have other Happiness Engineers or other developers, who don’t – aren’t quite developers, but they have the ability to kind of hack in and to add custom scripts to make things work better. If you’ve ever heard of Tampermonkey before, this is a way that you can actually inject a JavaScript, or you – JavaScript’s the main thing that you can do. You can use JavaScript and inject JavaScript on any webpage that you want.

So, if you wanted to kind of customize the way google.com looks every time you go to it, you could go in and you could create a Tampermonkey script so when you log into google.com then it can do some funky things on the website if you’re wanting. So, we have some Happiness Engineers that have gone in and added customizations and they’ve added different arrangements and have done different things. But, in order to use this, you need to use Tampermonkey. And, I’m sorry this whole thing is getting a little long-winded.

But, basically what I wanted to do was I wanted to create a stand-alone app or stand-alone version of this Happy Chat application so that I could add these cool Tampermonkey scripts, and that I could have a place where I can Command-Tab and this on the Mac, Command-Tab, from Chrome to Happy Chat. And – or maybe I’m in Safari and Happy Chat. Or, maybe I’m looking at something in the database and I’m using Sequel Corp Pro and I need to Command-Tab to get back to my chats. Otherwise, it’s in a tab inside of a browser.

And, right now I’m recording this and I just wrapped up a LiveChat shift and I’ve got 56 different Chrome tabs open just from different issues and different things that I’ve been working on. And so, instead of trying to find that amongst the sea of tabs, I use this thing now called Coherence Pro. And, like I said, it allows you to turn a website into a Google app. It is a plugin that is, I believe its $19.99, for the Mac version is $19.99 or you can get it as part of Setapp. And, Setapp is a Mac application platform where you can get hundreds of apps for just $10.00 per month. And so, we’ll talk about Coherence Pro and what it can do.

But, I also wanna highlight the fact that there’s one called Appmaker.xyz and this you can – you can pretty much do the same thing but it gives you the ability to do it on Windows or Linux. There’s not quite all the features in Appmaker.xyz but you could do the same thing. And, where I’m kinda going with this is – where I got the idea is, if I wanted to always keep yourwebsiteengineer.com kind of opened in its own thing, what I could do is I could create a stand-alone app for yourwebsiteengineer.com. I can log in to the backend. I can see the favicon. It can use a favicon or a custom icon.

And so, it could create this own little app for myself so I wouldn’t have to keep yourwebsiteengineer.com open in a separate tab. I could just launch the app and I could have everything open that I needed. And so, that’s kind of where the premise comes from. And, you could do this with, I’m thinking about doing this for YNAB, the software that I use for all my budgeting and whatnot. Like, create an app. It’s just a web wrapper but it looks more like an app. And then, you can have it open and you don’t get it lost with – amongst all your different browsers and the different things that you have opened up.

So, that’s kind of where I’m going with and kinda how I’m tying this into WordPress and how this could benefit you in some way with your WordPress site. Most of these tools like the one that I said, the Coherence Pro and the – the other one, the Appmaker.xyz, both of these are real simple, you add the name for your app and then you put the URL of the website. So, I could call it Your Website Engineer and then I could put the URL as yourwebsiteengineer.com. I could click next and then it asks you if you wanna have any extension.

So, if you wanted to be able to login with the – one password or save to Google Drive or any of the Chrome extension that you’ve added to your Chrome browser, you can add these to Coherence Pro and build those into your apps as well. And, you could do this for some other examples, are having your own app for Netflix or for Slack if you didn’t wanna use the Slack app or if you wanted to have a special thing for YouTube. Then, you wanted YouTube to have its own kind of app. And so, Twitter, any of these things you can do and you can build it into – build them into your own apps instead of having individual things.

The other thing that you could do with these is since they’re in – they’re different apps, you could call these or you could use these apps with somebody like Keyboard Maestro or maybe some sort of display management software where you could rearrange the windows on your computer. You could move, okay, I’m gonna open up the Netflix app and I want that in the upper left-hand corner and just kinda stay up there and I’ll watch something kind of in the background. Or, I want Twitter to be open but I want it on the right-hand side and I want it to kinda stay over there and just kinda be out of my way.

And so, that’s kinda what I’m thinking when it comes to how you could use those, Coherence Pro or the Appmaker.xyz. And, like I said it is a, it’s a paid app. The one that I’m using is the – the different version. It is, like I said, $19.99 a one-time fee or it is $10 – or it’s part of Setapp which is $9.99 per month. And, the cool part is once I’ve created this, now I am using, I’ve got some Custom CSS built in and I’m using Tampermonkey. So, those are two extensions that I’m using for the Happy Chat one. So, if I wanted to change the colors, I’ve customized mine so it’s a Dark Mode. And so, I can see everything kind of in Dark Mode versus the Light Mode.

So, you could customize that if you wanted to have just Twitter opened in the – on the sidebar instead of having the Light version. Or, if you wanted to create your own custom color scheme, you could add a Stylus extension or whatnot. And then, you could customize it, put custom colors, and you can do things like that, all built into this application. This definitely isn’t for everyone. It isn’t a necessity by any stretch of the imagination. You can go in and you can log in to your WordPress site and can use – you can use it right from the browser, you could use the wordpress.com. There is a wordpress.com app, you could use that.

It’s kinda limited in some of your features. You can’t quite navigate to everything with the app itself. But, you could use something like Coherence Pro, create your own app, and then you could save your credentials. It’s just like a separate instance of Chrome. And so, you could save your credentials in Chrome and then you could log in. You could have your dashboard. You could make customizations as you needed. Or, if you wanted to work on some CSS, you could install the Stylus extension and then you could start tweaking your CSS and then you could work on that without affecting your Live Site in any way, shape, or forms.

There’ll be a link in the show notes on how to get the software. You can try it out for free to see if it’s something that you wanna use. It’s something that you can use for it’s got a two-week free trial. And, you can go ahead and do that. And then, when it comes to the Appmaker.xyz, it looks like that’s completely free. It creates the app and then you can download it and then you can use it straight away on your computer. And, it’ll email you the files I guess. And, it’s good for Windows, Linux, or Mac OS.

And so, oh I guess and if you wanna remove the branding one on Appmaker.xyz, so if you wanted to not see any notification about it being Appmaker branding, then the splash screen that’s gonna cost $50.00. So, that is an upgrade. But anyway, these are just a couple options that you can use to find out and – and see if creating a separate workspace or a separate application would be beneficial to you. So, I thought it’s been very beneficial to me over the last couple of weeks and I thought, “Hey, I’ll put this out there and see if it’s something that’s interesting to you.” If not, completely skip this episode. Don’t worry about doing anything about it.

And then, next week we’ll talk more about kinda some work-from-home strategies and how to stay not distracted or keep from being distracted with household activities while you’re at home if you’re being quarantined away from work. That’s all I’ve got for you this week. Take care and we’ll talk again soon. Bye-bye.

Speaker 2: For more great WordPress information head on over to yourwebsiteengineer.com.

Dustin: Alright, today we’re gonna talk about like I said, confer – comprehensive – com, com, what’s it called? Coherence Pro. Alright, today like I said, we’re gonna talk about ca, co, ugh. That’s what we’ll talk again. That’s what we’ll talk about next week. Take care and we’ll talk again – we’ll – how do I say it? We’ll talk again soon. That’s what we’ll talk about and we’ll take care and we’ll talk again then. Bye-bye.