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Using AWS Auto Scaling with an Elastic Load Balancer cluster on EC2

Back in June last year I wrote about creating a WordPress cluster on Amazon’s EC2. In this post I’ll run through a couple of the problems with that cluster, I’ve experienced, and how I solved them with Amazon’s Auto Scaling service.

The problems with the cluster

A couple of things were not ideal with the cluster that I’ve been putting up with for far too long but finally set aside some time this afternoon to fix.

1) The price of micro-sized spot instances spikes, to crazy prices, sometimes.
This has meant that although the price of micro instances while they’re running is cheap, when the price spikes they all die off and leave the cluster vulnerable. Unfortunately to set up auto-scaling in combination with spot-priced micro instances would require coding up a hybrid solution with shell scripts, and although I enjoy tinkering with this setup, I can’t justify that much effort when an out-of-the-box solution exists, Auto Scaling.
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How to Edit and Disable Checkout Fields in Woocommerce

This is just a quick post that shows you how to edit or disable the checkout fields in Woothemes WordPress shopping cart Woocommerce. It may make all the Magento developers jealous to see how nearly trivial it is – but I couldn’t see a good blog post explaining it, so here goes.

Disabling and Editing Checkout

To use the WordPress API, I made a simple little plugin that listens for the filter event and then makes some changes to the arrays.

The anatomy of a plugin is really just a class definition, in the constructor you listen for events and bind them to functions of that class. In those functions, you do the real grunt work. In this case, that’s where I weed out disabled fields, and swap in my edited field definitions.

Hopefully the way the code is laid out makes the actual editing/disabling is performed self-evident. To see the full range of available fields and options, please see the underlying array declaration in the core file woocommerce/classes/checkout.class.php.

My class looks like this:
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