HOWTO: Target Firefox for Specific CSS

Generally – the best way to handle CSS is to keep it simple, clean, and without any hacks. From now and again there are some times when I need to write CSS specific to IE (using conditional comments). I recently came across a site where I needed to target Firefox because of a width issue. This is the first time in my many years I ran into this – and tried a number of hopeful solutions but nothing worked. I then found that if I used: @-moz-document url-prefix(){} that that would work out and only Firefox would use the styles within that.

Example:

.font_example {font-size:1.1em;}
@-moz-document url-prefix() {
     .font_example {font-size:1.075em;}
}

Safari, Chrome, IE, etc will use the first .font_example code while Firefox will use the code within @-moz-document url-prefix(){}.

While this is not recommended for everyday usage – when and if you hit a wall, this could be something that will save a lot of time and headaches!

Asset Management with ResourceSpace

This is a follow-up post to my post: Asset Management. I spent an exciting Friday night going through the config, learning the workflow, setting up accounts, and getting to know everything that ResourceSpace has to offer. After a few hours of playing around and applying various customizations (with ease) I am sold on using ResourceSpace for asset management.

What I like about ResourceSpace:

  • It has good documentation – both in the code as well as in a wiki
  • It is easy to customize both in look and feel as well as configuring admin options
  • It has been well thought out and has just about everything you could want (users/groups/fine access control/flash uploads for multiple uploads, contact sheet creation on the fly, etc

What I do not like about ResourceSpace:

  • They use frames
  • The layout is liquid vs. fixed (I am a fixed layout kind of person

The dislikes are minor in the grand scheme of things. Overall – I am excited I gave this a try and look forward to adding and archiving projects in here in the future.

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.

When Designing – Use Real Content

There are many lessons to learn out there as a designer, and please let this be at the top of your list: when designing something – whether it be a business card, a brochure, or a web site – use real content.

Lately – when doing any design work for a client – we always make sure they provide us with actual content so they can see their content in a working design. Often clients will see another site they like – want you to use similar ideas – but in actuality – their content is completely different or would not work. (We see this a lot). When working with clients who have their own designers or some pre-designed mockups – we always allot for more time – as there are bound to be changes because the designer only showed a few items (which in reality is a lot of items) – and then the client does not like the layout of their “real content”.

If the client does not have real content – red flags should go up. Not only are you setting yourself up for a potentially longer than expected engagement (if they do not know what their actual content is – do they really even know what they want anything to look like?) – but a lot of changes and headaches will follow. If they provide the content up front – everyone’s expectations are set right away and the end result will match the design. No questions/confusion.

In conclusion – save yourself a lot of time, frustration, and potentially endless change cycles by making the client provide real content for your designs.

WordPress Themes Over the Years…A Look Back and Then into the Future

After working with WordPress for over five years now, I have seen a lot of changes both front-end and backend – both for developers and for users. I work for the most part on WordPress themes for a few hours a day and have been doing so for the last 3+ years full time. As I wrap up the final changes for my company’s commercial WordPress theme Lucidity – I wanted to take a few minutes and point out some of the changes over the years and also talk about where I think themes are going.

I remember back in the day being excited about Alex King’s Theme Competition and wishing I had some spare time (I was working full time and doing consulting every other moment) to also participate. These early themes were generally simple and were something people would use on their simple blogs -using a hand full of WordPress functions. During this time, the functions.php was unheard of and there were not too many custom functions that were used (for most themes). The big difference between them were mostly in how the sites were laid out with HTML and CSS. Even though these themes were simple – they were great because it allowed you to easily modify the look and feel of your site by editing a few template files and modifying the CSS.

These themes were more about look and less about function.

If you think about themes then and themes now – the difference is often huge. Most themes now are packed with custom functions, have advanced admin options, and give the users greater control of their content, the site’s look and feel, and general options – all without having to modify any template files or know any CSS. Themes are more complex, are generally made up of more template files, and are much more flexible.

These themes are more about providing both users and other developers with a framework and tools to easily manage content.

Recently Alex King/Crowd Favorite released Carrington Build which is a perfect example of where themes are going. This theme offers an unbelievable amount of flexibility and customization and will make both users and developers eager to use this theme.

So as I wrap up development on Lucidity – I am trying to bridge the old (simple) with the new (framework/tools). I look forward to getting this out to the public so they can enjoy the ease of use, flexibility, and further control over their content.

All in all – WordPress themes have come a long way and will not only continue to improve user’s front end experience, but also improve the backend experience when using WordPress. Look for even greater things to come!

Which WordPress Caching Plugin Is Right For You?

Most people can agree on one thing: they want their site to load faster. With a number of WordPress caching plugins now available – it is nice to see someone that did a comparison between the top contenders: http://www.tutorial9.net/web-tutorials/wordpress-caching-whats-the-best-caching-plugin/.

Remember – your results will vary based on your hosting environment, your theme, your plugins, etc.

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!

WordPress 3.0 (beta1)

I have been testing WordPRess 3.0 for a few weeks now and have been very happy with what I have seen so far. The merge of Standalone WordPress and WPMU code is huge for me as you then only have one code base to maintain and develop for.

As always – the developers continue to make WordPress easier and more robust with every release. There are some great new features which make WordPress more and more appealing to both small and large companies looking for an easy to use and maintain CMS.

With WordPress 3.0 – there are now “custom post types” which will allow people to better define their content. Example – you are a company that has a portfolio. Instead of using the traditional pages or posts for that, you can create your own “post type” of portfolio which would then keep it completely separate from the blog posts and site pages organizationally. The possibilities are endless.

Creating and maintaing your menus will be easier than ever too. No more custom menu ordering with numbers – you can now drag and drop menu items into place.

There are a number of other changes too which include a new default theme, improved child theme support, some nice new UI touches, improved revision comparison user interface, new template files for better control, and countless other goodies which I am sure I will cover in the coming weeks.

All in all – this is an exciting update which promises to deliver both to users and developers alike!

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 😉