Several months back I wrote a custom bare bones theme. I had tried a few starter themes in the past, but none of them really pleased me. I wanted something as bare bones as possible, so I decided to create my own. It’s worked out well for me and now it’s time to share it. There is nothing but the basics here, this is intended for theme developers who want to bypass the boring part of setting up a starter them.
I recently had to migrate a large group of microsites from an IIS setup to a new LAMP stack and it proved to be more challenging than I thought. Linux is case sensitive and Windows is not, in other words a file may have been named EN_logo.gif but it may have been embedded with en_logo.gif. This also means any external links coming in with the wrong case would also be broken. A nightmare was in the making, luckily there is a simple Apache module that will fix this.
I have been against opening new browser windows because a user can choose to do this on their own. There are several ways they can do this like middle middle clicking or right clicking for a contextual menu. I also wrote about it a few years ago as part of my 12 bad website practices. I’m a little more open to this practice now; I believe the choice to open external links in a new window also depends on your website and your taget audience. I constantly middle click myself, because often when you visit a link embedded in article you fully intend on coming back to the source article after taking a peek. Regardless of whether it’s right or wrong, here is a super easy way to make all external links open in a new window using jQuery.
I’ve had a Boxee Box for several months now, and since I haven’t done a review in ages, I feel it’s time to sing its praises. This great little device is a Home theater PC (HTPC) or also called a Media Centre. Before I bought the device I did a crazy amount of research and I just couldn’t find the right solution for me. My criteria was simple, I wanted something affordable, I didn’t want to build my own HTPC, and I didn’t want to be locked down. The Boxee fit the bill on all of these, but when it was first released it was lacking many features and early reviews said it quite buggy. Fast forward almost a year and the Boxee team refocuses their efforts entirely on set-top boxes and mobile devices bringing in much more favourable reviews. I can say that I’m glad I waited, and the Boxee Box is definitely now ready for prime time.
When the iPhone first came out it was a game changer; we could finally have a real full web experience from a small hand held device and it was pure awesomeness. Others quickly followed suit with big players like Android and Blackberry using the same WebKit browser engine used on iOS devices to power their devices too. Then the iPad and other tablets came out giving us an even larger mobile experience that has trimmed time spent on traditional desktop computers substantially. Somewhere along the way some people have forgotten how amazing this breakthrough really was by taking our incredible mobile experience and substantially dumbing it down. Not everyone has got it wrong though, in fact some are delivering incredible mobile experiences, but for the rest, it’s time to stop serving less to mobile users.
My server of choice is Apache, but I’m no web administrator, so I use MAMP a great quick install Apache, MySQL and PHP stack. Recently I have found the need for local subdomains like dev.localhost. With a local subdomain you can more accurately simulate your live environment because you can link absolutely to the root of your server. These simple directions are specific to the MAMP configuration, but the same steps can be used on any Apache WAMP and LAMP setups with the exception of the location of the configuration file, so lets get started.
jQuery still never ceases to amaze me. The developers of this fantastic library seem to have thought of everything, and the only real challenge for us end users is hunting through the API. Recently I was tasked with creating slide out toggle boxes that had links embedded within them. The problem was that the animation would be triggered before the links, thus rending them useless. Luckily like many things with jQuery the fix is simple and I will demonstrate with two examples.
Fancybox is a pretty cool lightbox plugin for jQuery that I have been using for awhile now. It’s got a great feature set, looks good, and for the most part it just works out of the box. There is however one thing that was mind numbingly hard to figure out, and that was how to automatically set the height of an iframe lightbox. Fancybox has this functionality built in for inline content via the autoDimensions key, which is set to true by default. Unfortunately this is not the case for iframes. After some hair pulling I managed to piece together an auto height solution for Fancybox iframes, but this technique could also be used without Fancybox to find the height of any iframe.