Categories
Coding

Coding with the other side of your brain

This might seem like a weird topic for a blog post. Let me elaborate.

If you’ve ever coded for a system that is build in a convention you’re not used to (for example, coding using a MVC framework, if you’re not used to it), this concept will begin to make sense. It refers to the almost complete paradigm shift required when approaching an unfamiliar coding framework or system. Here are a few things that I’ve found ease the process of coding with the other side of your brain.

Categories
Coding WordPress

My WordPress plugins toolbox

Hey everyone,
Just thought I’d post a list of my most regularly installed WordPress plugins and why they are installed on virtually every WordPress installation I do. If there are any plugins I haven’t listed that should be, please let me know in the comments. 🙂

1. Maintenance Mode

This plugin is truly awesome. It allows the developer and end-user to test the WordPress installation thoroughly, on the server where it will eventually be hosted, without displaying it to the world. It also allows the user to, as it says in the title, take the website down for maintenance at any stage and leave a message for users letting them know of the downtime.

Categories
Coding Design General

A quick word on inspiration

This afternoon, while thinking of what I could write about today, I got to thinking about the concept of inspiration. Where does it come from? How do we channel it? What is it, really?

I find inspiration to be an enigma. It can come from anything (a walk in the park, your favourite band, a smell in the air) and can be channeled into anything. For me, I’ve discovered that inspiration usually stems from things where I appreciate the quality of the end result; for example, a really slick looking design, really neat and streamlined code that serves an amazing function or a song that makes every vein in my body jump for joy.

Categories
Coding Technology

Content Management that enables developers

Content Management has always been an area of web development designed to make updating a website simple and easy for the end-user. Over time, I believe, the concept of content management systems (CMSes) has developed, in certain aspects, in a point-and-click direction. By point-and-click, I mean where developers sign into a console and click through a series of steps with, effectively, a “create module” button at the end. This then pumps out a module for the client to update when the website is live.

Does this make for a good CMS?

Categories
Coding Tutorials WordPress

Getting the information of a root page in WordPress

Often, when using WordPress as a content management or blogging tool on a website, one uses a multi-level page structure. This entails a page being listed “underneath” another page in a tree structure. Usually, if your WordPress installation’s permalinks deviate from the default setting, your page URL structure will look something like this:

http://websiteurl.com/parentpageslug/subpageslug (Note: note a real URL)

What if you require a value to be set depending on the highest level parent page? The process looks like this:

Categories
Coding Tutorials WordPress

WordPress Shortcodes… in short

In the spirit of the topic, I’ll keep this post short and sweet. Today I’ll be discussing WordPress’s shortcode API and how to utilise it.

WordPress shortcodes are codes (eg: [list_bookmarks]) which can be typed into the content area of a page or post in order to provide functionality of some kind. Shortcodes can be wrapped around text (similarly to how HTML tags are wrapped around text) or can be used as a single tag. In this post, I will discuss using shortcodes as a single tag to save time as well as providing more control to the user of your WordPress theme/plugin/function.

Categories
Coding Technology

Perch – a new lil’ CMS is on the market

This Monday past, I received an email from “Perch”. On opening this email, I was reminded that Perch, a new “small CMS”, has now launched. Content Management Systems being an interest of mine, I took a look into this new lil’ guy on the CMS market.

Perch is lightweight and easy to install and integrate into any website- new or existing. It allows the administrator to create custom content types (eg: one for pages and another for a single block on the website’s homepage) as well as providing a clean, customisable and easy to use system for the client user to work with. 

Perch retails at 35 Pounds per license. This looks like a potentially strong contender in the CMS market, despite it’s youth. I’d be keen to see a working demo version on their website. The video is quite explanatory, although there’s nothing quite like browsing through a CMS yourself on a demo version.

Categories
Coding Design

How do you browse through a blog?

Blogs in general seem to cater for similar functionality: tag clouds, categories, post tagging, search functionality, etc. My question here is, which browsing method works best for you when browsing a blog? I’ve been considering adding “related posts” into this blog’s current design. I’m just wondering, do users in general find a related posts block to be useful?

It can be so easy for a layout to become bloated or cluttered. Hence, the reason for streamlining the blog navigation and reading process. The only thing is, everyone reads through a blog with a different process. How do blog theme designers and developers factor this into development?

Categories
Coding WordPress

Integrate tinyMCE into a WordPress widget

So, the native WordPress text widget is great, right? It allows users to insert virtually any form of content into a widget, provided they either want plain text or know a bit of HTML. The fact that this widget can be used in multiple instances is also awesome. Recently, I’ve needed to provide a bit more control though. Hence, my integration of tinyMCE.

Before I start, this tutorial assumes that you have a widget up and running (multi-instance or a conventional single instance widget) that has a text area which will be replaced with a tinyMCE editor. This tutorial is only about the integration. In my research on this topic, I came across a support query where a user was experiencing the same issue I was having: the content of the tinyMCE replaced text area was not saving. After a bit of testing, I found the solution.

Categories
Coding

Useful HTML characters reference

While searching for a specific character (→ to be exact) I stumbled upon this great resource for HTML character entities. It can serve as a great resource for common characters used in web design (copyright symbols, etc) as well as other characters (for example, replacing a ^ with ↑ in a “back to top” link on your website).

I hope you guys find this as useful as I have today. 🙂

View the HTML characters reference.