Whether you’re a theme designer, freelance developer, creative lead, or any growing number of web-related job titles, chances are that you use Photoshop. Some, like myself, probably use it every day. If you’re designing the next big WordPress theme or slicing a designers Photoshop mockup in preparation for coding, there are some definite best-practices to follow that will help the transition into a WordPress site be more seamless.
Let’s take a look at some simple tips you can incorporate into your workflow that will have you moving between Photoshop and WordPress like they were the same program!
Part II of III in the wd_s Series:
A new project comes in: scoped, and all. Client provides Photoshop comps, sweet! Who is going to write the first line of code? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It could be you, and you’re setting the tone for the rest of the project. Project scaffolding can be fun, and can be daunting. Here are some things I learned getting wd_s set up on a new project recently:
Becoming a good developer is super easy, right? You just read all the right books, learn the right languages, read the right blogs, and 💥 you’re a developer! It’s nothing a four year degree from a technical college couldn’t give you, right?
Or maybe not. Colleges and universities are woefully behind on emerging technologies (where are you supposed to learn this stuff???), blog posts and books have inaccurate or outdated information, and, anyway, you’re not really a developer…you just mess around in code sometimes. There’s no realistic way you could ever claim to be a “good” developer–there’s just too much you don’t know.
Great developers aren’t grown in a lab. You can’t download all the awesome information you want to know into your brain like you can in The Matrix. When I started out, I was really intimidated by all the amazing developers out there, the guys who speak at WordCamp US or even–gasp–present at actual PHP or JS conferences. I thought, there’s no possible way that could ever be me; I just don’t have the chops. It’s easy to be intimidated (and maybe a little awed) by the WordPress rockstars who have their names on all the cool plugins you use. And it’s easy to look at really big and complex plugins like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads and feel like there’s no way you could build something on that scale.
The key to beginning a journey to being a better developer is first by understanding that all those developers that you admire and respect started the exact same place that you did. Everyone starts from nothing. And, as hinted at above, most university programs are woefully behind the times when it comes to emerging technologies in web development–which is to say that most devs are, at least in part, self-taught. But that means that you can do it, too, if it is something that you choose to pursue.
One of the most exciting things of my job here at WDS is getting to spearhead our internal starter theme: wd_s. It has come a long way since its inception (a fork of Automattic’s Underscores) and it’s a thrill to help mold it into something that our agency uses on every project. Though it hasn’t always been that way…
In the spring of 2013, WDS started to take on more enterprise level clients. Internally, WDS was also hiring more and more developers to match the workload. Our internal project workflow was also pretty fluid. Developers were assigned to projects based on individual availability. The first person to start a project would generally spin up a Genesis child-theme, or use our own premium theme Startbox, or maybe even choose a theme they were familiar with.
Shortly after I was hired, we kicked off a build for Securelist. Based on my availability, it was up to me to choose a theme. Naturally, I asked around to see how everyone felt. Because of some recent hires, not everyone was familiar with Genesis or Startbox. Given the size and scope of this project, we decided against Genesis and instead I opted for TwentyThirteen.
It’s been awhile since we last visited Custom Post Type UI on the WebDevStudios blog. We released version 1.1.0 on June 12th 2015. Not long after that, Custom Post Type UI surpassed 1 million downloads.
Since then, I’ve been slowly but steadily working on the next major version. Today, I am happy to announce the release of version 1.2.0. A mix of 21 new features, bug fixes, and updates have gone into this version. We will go over some highlights today.
From time to time, you may get clients that want share counts to be displayed on their site. There are indeed SAAS (software as a service) services out there that do this for you, but what if a third party isn’t possible? Since Twitter dropped their JSON endpoint for share counts, a lot of people are looking to these services, and most are commercial, offer a lot of bloat, and just do MORE than what you want. Instead, learn how to use the Twitter REST API to your advantage when counting your tweets.
Cross browser testing (CBT/CBT-ing) is something we take very seriously here at WDS. If you don’t believe me, just ask our design leads Greg Rickaby or Corey Collins. As a front-end developer, providing screenshots from cross browser testing is a must before submitting work/code for review. Making sure a site functions and looks correctly across required browsers and devices is key to delivering a top notch product and that’s a goal we should all strive for.
Take the Time
CBT-ing is not fun and there are slew of reasons why. One of the biggest is that it takes time…a lot of time. Add a deadline that you have to meet and both your stress level and heart rate will shoot through the roof!
There are many different setups when it comes to cross browser testing. WDS currently uses a service provided by CrossBrowserTesting.com. Even despite its rich feature set, testing can still be time consuming and at times a frustrating process. In this post, I will show you some cool tricks I’ve learned that to help you save time and streamline your testing process when using CBT.com. At the bottom of this post I’ve included links to the relevant resources for each feature we cover.
High traffic sites that heavily depend on search can run into server resource issues and cause a sluggish experience for users. A good solution for this is to allow a third-party service to handle search for your site. We recently had a client that needed just that and ElasticSearch was a good fit. 10up’s ElasticPress plugin was used for integration with WordPress.
ElasticSearch provides a wide variety of filters and tokenizers that will fit nearly every project. The ones mentioned below highlight some that were helpful in resolving search issues during the project.