Embrace the New , Remember the Old

Four years ago I put together a base theme/framework called “Lucidity” that served me well. I even created a mobile version which also worked great. As the years went on – and I started using Bootstrap for responsive designs, I realized it was time to update my personal site and here it is. I will be making some final tweaks over the next few days, but it feels good to get something new and more modern out there, while still using some of my favorite elements of Lucidity and the older versions of jappler.com along the way.

Hello new design

Goodbye old design

Jappler.com: New Theme Using Lucidity 2.0

My company SDAC Inc. is preparing to release the next version of the commercial Lucidity WordPress theme. I decided that since I am selling a theme – it had to be something that I could easily use, and customize without making major changes or changing much code. With this in mind – I added a number of new features, redid a lot of the admin interface, and added in some of the great new functionality that comes along with WordPress 3.0+.

The theme that you see here is actually a child theme of Lucidity. I customized one theme template, added in a home.php template, added 8 image files, and added just around 50 lines of CSS to customize this theme.

I am hoping to have Lucidity completely finished (going through last bit of QA now) and ready for purchase next week. I am also hoping that now that I have a clean new theme – I will be more inspired to start blogging on a regular basis (one of my goals for 2011).

Interested in Lucidity? Check out the theme site for a demo: Lucidity WordPress theme.

Back to School Code Cleanup

Whether working on projects with a fast change cycle or something that has not been changed recently – it is always a good idea to step back and review your code from time to time. Generally most people put it off for when “things slow down” or do not do it because “if it works don’t fix it” mentality.

When working with something like PHP, CSS, etc – you develop the best you can at the time you develop the code. If you simply leave everything as is – you risk incompatibility/security issues, etc because nothing is constant (browsers, PHP versions, etc). While it might not seem like the best way to spend your time at first – it will definitely help you down the road and at the very least make you realize how much you have learned since you initially wrote the code.

After working with a number of open source projects (WordPress, Drupal, XOOPS, etc) – I realized while that ignoring code cleanup is not an option and am going to from now on delegate September as my code cleanup month in which I will designate 2 days a week to spend exclusively on reviewing code and looking for ways to optimize it, get rid of any depreciated functions/etc. There are projects where code reviews happen more frequently – but for those that do not have reviews built in – this will be the catch all month.

Everyone writes code they are not proud of from time to time – the difference is there are some people who just let it slide vs. others that take the extra step to fix it. Time to review the jappler.com site 😉

Back from Blog Vacation – Goodbye Facebook!

Just as we all need a vacation from work, etc – I needed a vacation from blogging. I took a month off to think about what I wanted to do with this and my other blogs, as well as my presence on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

I have been thinking about the time I spend on Facebook and I blame the time I spend reading about x person needing y item in z game and I realized I do not need it and do not want it.

I have this blog, my company blog, my son’s blog and now the twin’s blog that have been also light on postings and I am going to change that. The time I once spent on reading garbage – will now be spent on sites that actually matter to me.

I will still be on Twitter and in fact will probably be more active on that, but it feels good to get rid of Facebook (especially since I heard W made it onto Facebook today).

Expect more old school Jappler posts in the next coming days, weeks and months!

Excuse the Dust

I am in the process of re-organizing and re-doing a lot of the backend of my jappler.com sites so if you see anything out of place or broken – I am on it 😉

WordPress 2.9 RC 1

Well – it is that time again – another new version of WordPress is coming out in the next few days (WordPress 2.9). I am running WordPress 2.9 RC 1 here on jappler.com and only one issue so far. If you have not read anything about the newest version soon to be available and you use WordPress, check out: WordPress 2.9 New Features/Changes.

Try and Try Again

Well – In the past I thought about posting on a particular subject certain days of the week would be good for me and something the readers might find interesting…until I started dreading it, posting less, getting a lot less comments, and realized I was pushing content like traditional media (I say when and where, you tune in).

I am going to be making some changes here over the next few days – to really make this more interesting, relevant, and more fun for me to post/share information.

Thanks for your patience – and I hope this will become a blog you look forward to reading again.

WordPress Wednesdays: Jappler Category/Tag Feeds

Perhaps you come to this site because you personally know me or like some of the WordPress hints I like, or like my CSS posts, or just like my personal rants (which seem to happen less…hmm I need to get on that!).

If you are only interested in some of my posts but not others, you can easily subscribe to just certain “subjects” very easily.

For example, lately I have been posting on a certain subject each day. (WordPress Wednesdays, etc). If you are only interested in reading those posts, subscribe to this RSS feed: http://www.jappler.com/blog/archive/tag/wordpress-wednesdays/feed. Perhaps you only want to read about things I post in the “Serenity Now” category. You can subscribe to http://www.jappler.com/blog/archive/category/this-and-that/serenity-now/feed. Do you see what I am doing? This logic will work on any tag or category. Find the tag URL (click on a tag) or find the category URL (click on a category in the sidebar) and then add “/feed” to the end of the URL – and there you go. A custom filtered Jappler.com feed.

Just another way WordPress makes it easy to interact with content!

Jappler Blog Format

After four years of blogging – I think I finally am getting close to having a solid idea of what to write that would be both regular and interesting.

I am going to make each day of the week specific to something that I find interesting. This will not only hopefully be more interesting for you – but will also allow me to really focus in on some topics, and get me to write more.

Starting next week Jappler.com will begin featuring:

  • Media Mondays (music, podcasts, movies, etc)
  • CSS Tuesdays (CSS tricks, tips, resources,etc)
  • WordPress Wednesdays (WordPress specific posts)
  • Linkfest Thursdays (links I find interesting)
  • Random Fridays (I need one random day)

The Story of My Life – Told in the Header

For the last few versions of Jappler.com – I have had images in the header arranged in a way to tell a story.

  • My roots. This picture was taken out of my car on the road my parents live in NY.
  • My home. Old Main on the Penn State campus. I was destined to go to Penn State and it was my #1 goal since I was 3 years old (besides a few months in 7th grade when my #1 goal was to beat Super Mario Brothers) I spent a lot of time sitting on the front steps reading, people watching and hanging out with Amy.
  • Pita. Right after we moved to Chicago – I wanted a kitten and we chose Pita. She is my little helper.
  • Salsa. We figured Pita needed a friend so a year later after getting Pita – we got Salsa. Her name is perfect for her – she is a spitfire.
  • My Apple tattoo. Back in 2000 – I decided it was time to get a tattoo and what better and more meaningful than what changed and formed my life more than anything else?
  • My first trip to Vegas. I finally made it to Vegas in my early 20s and it was unforgettable.
  • September 11, 2001. This changed me – and probably all of us forever.
  • Chicago’s Bean. Millennium Park opens four years late – but is an awesome place!
  • Triscuit. My first dog – Triscuit who was absolutely amazing (and fast).
  • My mecca. Doug and I went to the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta. As a huge Coca Cola fan – this was awesome.
  • My Apple Cube. As an Apple collector – I had to have it (and it looked great next to my B&W!
  • Sears Tower. How could I not have this in my header? I absoltely love the Sears Tower and spending time in it.
  • Golf. I finally started golfing after a few years of not golfing and bought my first set of Ping irons – which I love.
  • My S80. This was Volvo #3 for me – and my absolute dream car. I cannot imagine getting rid of it.
  • Penn State football. After a rocky game at Northwestern that we were at – Penn State not only turned around their season, but their entire program.
  • Evan. My first born son brought a new perspective and endless entertainment into my life.
  • Colby. Colby – Triscuit’s brother found us right after Triscuit died and we feel very fortunate to share our time with him

And so you have it – the history of my life…all in a web site header collage of pictures.