Website Design Workflow: Creating a Living Style Guide

There is no shortage of information about style guides. In fact, while I was writing this post I saw a tweet from Brad Frost announcing the launch of styleguides.io which he described as

“an open-source website for sharing resources about style guides: articles, books, talks, podcasts, tools, and examples”.

I have been working with several style guide theories or libraries lately and wanted to share my thoughts.

Why create a style guide?

  • Helps to keep the code consistent
  • Sets a standard for the vocabulary used in a project (between the team and clients)
  • Keeps code more modular (or at least, lends itself to getting in that mindset)
  • So much easier to test
  • Helps bridge communication between the designer and the developers throughout the project especially when a PSD mockup is not present for every layout you will ever build for every screen size.

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Five Reasons Why I’m Thankful for WordPress

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As a Front-end WordPress Developer, I’ve become an avid reader of WordPress Tavern; their articles are always relevant to me and of a very high quality with just the right amount of new information. Their recently published article, 6 WordPress Things I’m Thankful For by Jeff Chandler is no exception, and got me inspired to ponder about what in WordPress I am most grateful for and write this article. The obvious answer that most people who I know would give is the community that surrounds WordPress, which I would definitely agree with. I have met amazing new friends and have felt a strong community of support and encouragement from my peers. But what about the application itself, the one software that all the fuss is about? It must be the marvelous piece of magic open-source code to support and inspire more smart and passionate group of professionals, business owners, and hobbyists to continue create amazing and increasingly bigger and more complex websites with this community-developed software.

To truly appreciate the grace and elegance of WordPress the application, you must first consider when web publishing was not so graceful; and most times, down-right clumsy. Around 1996, there was Geocities, and for a while that was the way for the average person to have any kind presence on the internet. There was a WYSIWYG page builder, or you could upload your own files via File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Tables were used for advanced layouts and obnoxious animated .gifs littered the entire webosphere. The worst part, however, was not the blink tag, but the enormous amount of black Times New Roman text on gray backgrounds that were displayed by most browsers then when a default font or page color was not specified. Not that there were many choices at the time. CSS, as we know it today, did not become widely supported by most modern browsers until 2004.Continue Reading

WebDevStudios is Dedicated to the Future of WordPress!

At the end of September, Matt Mullenweg published a blog post outlining his vision of Five for the Future. DradCast interviewed Matt at WordCamp San Francisco 2014, here’s what he had to say:

WebDevStudios is Dedicated to the Future of WordPress

Since the start of WebDevStudios, we have always been big advocates of giving back to the WordPress project and community. Over the years we’ve tried various official ways to contribute as a company, but have never figured out the best way to do it.

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WordPress for Schools and Education – A WebDevStudios and WP Engine Event in NYC

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Are you a school administrator, municipality representative, or local government agency stuck wondering why you’re burdened with an antiquated, expensive and proprietary content management system that is simply impossible to manage at scale?

If that sounds like you, then you’ll be happy to hear that WebDevStudios And WP Engine are coming together to bring you a free event you don’t want to miss out on — NYC Happy Hour

Join us Thursday, December 4th (5PM-8PM EST) at the Marriott Marquis  in Times Square.

UPDATE: This event has been postponed. A new date will be set in early 2015. Please register below to continue receiving event updates.

Event Details

The NYC Happy Hour is a social gathering to chat WordPress with local leaders in education, and government. The event is focused around the large-scale use of WordPress in schools, and local agencies. We have some great speakers lined up to talk to you about their experiences working together to leverage the world’s most used (24% of the internet) content management platform.
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A Beginner’s Guide to Contributing to WordPress

admin-ajax (2)I’ve been working with WordPress since 2006, but never on WordPress. In other words, I’ve never contributed code. Excited and nervous at the same time, I started asking other team members for help.

It was suggested that I start with the handbook, however, my head was spinning about three paragraphs in! What I really wanted… was someone to show me.

Thankfully, Michael Beckwith had a moment, and we jumped on a screen-share and he walked me through the process. It’s really quite easy, and an hour later I had submitted my first patch. I can’t believe I was nervous!
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Hacking WordPress Search for Fun and Profit!

I spoke at WordCamp SLC last month on the topic of WordPress search. Why did I speak on the topic of WordPress search? you might ask. I mean, everybody knows WordPress search is dumb and doesn’t work very well, you might add.

I’m glad you asked that question!

My talk (slides avaialable) was based on the pretext that there are three common misconceptions of WordPress search by users and developers alike:

  1. “I don’t know anything about WordPress search”
  2. “WordPress search is hard”
  3. “WordPress search sucks”

I’m here to tell you that you are wrong on all counts.Continue Reading

Security and Privacy Considerations for Website Owners and Developers

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As a multiple website owner and WordPress front-end developer, I am passionate about website security and privacy practices, and the applications and requirements as a modern web developer. I have come to learn that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should. Care must be given to the type of information stored, where it is stored, and how it is transmitted through the interwebs, the resulting consequences range from moderate to severe, but most are avoidable through a little bit of old-fashioned research and prevention.

I am not a lawyer, but I do have many years of practical website building experience, so I would encourage you to discuss your specific concerns with a lawyer. I am going to explain several privacy related topics in a very general way, but in hopes that your interest may be piqued to learn more about each and how they are applicable to you and your website. This is by no means a comprehensive guide, however, more intended as an overview of several general areas of concern. I would like to share my experience with you in hopes that you will avoid the consequences of being naive when it comes to compliance and laws governing transactions that include sensitive information.Continue Reading

WordCamp San Francisco is the World Series of WordPress

WordCamp San Francisco is the Mecca of all WordCamps. With WordPress names like Matt Mullenweg (Co-founder of WordPress and CEO of Automattic), Mark Jaquith, and Andrew Nacin — it’s where you want to be.

WordCamp San Francisco 2014   October 25 26  2014This year, WordCamp San Francisco is being held from Saturday, October 25th to Sunday, October 26th. There will also be a WordPress Community Summit on Monday, October 27th as well as; Contributor days on Tuesday, October 28th and Wednesday, October 29th.

WDS team members Brad Williams, Brian Messenlehner, Lisa Sabin-Wilson, Dre Armeda, April Williams, Ryan Fugate, Ben Lobaugh, Dustin Filippini, Suzette Franck, and Chris Reynolds will all be in attendance. You can find the team roaming around the venue and attending various presentations. If you don’t get the chance to chat with them during WordCamp activites, you may run into them at the Automattic Lounge after party on Saturday.

Don’t worry if you can’t physically make it to the WordCamp, they’re live streaming the whole thing! Tickets are still available here — and in our humble opinion, it’s worth every penny. The amount of knowledge you can walk away with from this conference is mind blowing.

The WDS team is excited to experience WordCamp San Francisco and connect with the people who love what they love — WordPress!

Customizing MediaElement.js for WordPress

MediaElement.js is a JavaScript library that gives you video and audio play capabilities based on the HTML5 specifications. It includes a Flash wrapper for browsers that don’t support certain codecs or that don’t support the HTML5 <audio> and <video> tags.

MediaElement.js has come packaged with WordPress core since version 3.6. The MediaElement.js API page gives a good introduction to installing the library and including it in a project. However, examples on how use and extend it are lacking. The easiest way to extend MediaElement is to connect with the event listeners that it includes.
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