Woot. You're talking.
As far as the sliders go, take a look at my jukebox example. There is different behaviour depending on if you are using the mobile app or the browser dashboard. My example shows the workaround.
If you want to use virtual pins, you need to manage the pinMode settings yourself:
#define DIR_PIN 13
//out function for direction pin on virtual channel 1
Personally, I think below is bad coding as you could be creating a race condition. Best to set it to whatever is on the Dashboard.