Category Archives: Web Design

GreenScreen Updates
Date Created: January 17, 2013  Date Modified: January 27, 2013

the GreenScreen child theme I made for this blog has been updated and the project is now hosted on github. The repository with the CSS and lack of release notes can be easily found.

The theme now supports Disqus comments and is almost ready for live deployment.

UPDATE 27.1.13: I have added the github commits RSS to the right hand widget area on this and the plugin page…

Update and revert
Date Created: August 20, 2012  Date Modified: May 12, 2013

I decided that my customisations to the twentyeleven theme were getting a bit unmanageable and my timeline for putting the CSS together in a child theme is running out. Back to square one, goodbye funky CSS3 styles (they will be back). I will have a new theme coming in the new year, but for now its OOTB wordpress.

UPDATE 13-5-2013: Well it’s certainly into the new year and I have been doing a bit of site maintenance, so Im linking any posts mentioning an earlier theme to the GreenScreen Theme page.

WordPress 3.3
Date Created: December 12, 2011  Date Modified: May 2, 2012

Well I said I was going to refrain from blogging while Im on contract to DEC, but a new version of WordPress is worth a mention on here–since this site is powered by WordPress. Lets hope all my plugins work as I chose not to run with the Beta on this site..

http://wordpress.org/news/2011/12/sonny/

Occupy Web Technology
Date Created: November 21, 2011  Date Modified: May 2, 2012

The “Occupy” brand has exploded, Im not going to get into all the different products latching onto the Occupy theme–that would take to long. What I have found a little interesting is that two Occupy movements have popped up that I think are worth a mention here, they are Occupy Flash and Occupy HTML. Oh dear.

Lets start with Occupy Flash. Flash is propriety software that is distributed by the corporate giant Adobe, after they purchased their biggest competitor–much to my annoyance at the time. At the time I saw it as Adobe creating a web monopoly, something the OWS have been vocal about since they launched their brand. Since then the web has changed and the Macromedia stable is nolonger the dux-nutz of web development tools. Who uses Dreamweaver as much as they did in 2001?. Flash managed to survive the Web 2.0 upgrade by catering toward a different market, and it worked; testimony to that was Microsofts attempt at encroaching Adobe’s market share with Silverlight… To any webmonkey claiming flash is dead, just log into Google Analytics and right click on the map overlay!

However the folk at Occupy Flash seem to think otherwise:

Flash Player is dead. Its time has passed. It’s buggy. It crashes a lot. It requires constant security updates. It doesn’t work on most mobile devices. It’s a fossil, left over from the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of web technology. Websites that rely on Flash present a completely inconsistent (and often unusable) experience for fast-growing percentage of the users who don’t use a desktop browser. It introduces some scary security and privacy issues by way of Flash cookies.

Flash makes the web less accessible. At this point, it’s holding back the web.

All of the above could be true of any web technology; Sharepoint, iOS, .NET, their all guilty to some extent. Holding back the web? well back in the late 90’s it was Flash that was the fore-front of rich web, and without it we would have never seen any of the Web 2.0 technology we have today; Google Maps, Youtube… I could go on.

Then there is the counter argument from the Occupy HTML folk:

Flash is mature. It’s supported by all major desktop browsers. It’s stable when used properly. If not, it crashes a lot, just like every other technology. It requires constant security updates, just like every other web technology. It doesn’t work well on most mobile devices, and for good reasons. It’s a content plugin, developed during the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of web technology. Websites that rely on Flash can present a unique (and often unparalleled) experience for the massive percentage of users on a desktop browser. Flash powers some amazing experiences that work consistently across all of the major browsers in a way that cannot be replicated without Flash technology.

Championing simplistic statements regarding web technologies makes the web less educated.
At this point, it’s holding back the web.

A “content” plugin? well thats news to me–altho the XML data connector is a great little object to display your content in a visually pleasing way, Flash is for the most part asthetically driven as opposed to content driven (but maybe my definition of content differes from the writers?). The point about Flash working consistently accross browsers is a misnomer too–Konqueror anyone?.

As someone who wasted MANY years of my life with ActionScript, Im not one to quickly bash Macromedia’s Adobe’s rich-web software. That said, having years of experience dealing with an anti-Flash market, and the shortcomings of the platform, Im not one to instantly praise it. Flash is still useful in certain situations, and HTML5 does not get full cross browser support (yet). Really its like comparing Apple’s and Wintel’s.

Im not going to bash either technology, both are useful, both are required by the market. Both cater to a different market share. And most importantly: Both can co-exist on the web. If we as developers and designers dismiss one tech for another then we are only limiting ourselves to one market or the other.

Live and let live.

Drupal 7 Release
Date Created: October 6, 2011  Date Modified: October 26, 2011

Im going to be spending an all nighter in Drupal sandbox getting ready for the release. Hopefully I can get something cool together for opening night. But for now the sandbox is fairly inconspicuous.. Below is a promo vid from team drupal that will no doubt be tweeted a million trillion times between now and Saturday morning:

If you are interested in upgrading to the new version, then join the party!

EDIT: Changes for version 7 can be found on the following page at drupal.org

This rant was posted in CMS, Drupal, Media, Video, Web, Web Design, Web Development on by .

I dont think so
Date Created: October 2, 2011  Date Modified: January 7, 2013

Had an interview at a local design agency, one that actually does design. I dont think I will be the successful candidate, as I made two cardinal sins in the design field.

First off was calling Mac’s evil empire machines, yes I have a bias against Apple, but one must never let opinion override professionalism.

The second, wich ties in with the first a little was that I mentioned flash, the rule here is: dont bring up old technology. Sure flash is still used, but its no longer held in the same regard as it once was. I tnink if I can overcome my own perzonal bias I will have no trouble securing the next placement.

Layout Changes (navigation)
Date Created: September 26, 2011  Date Modified: September 26, 2011

So I have spent the afternoon knee deep in CSS customizing the navigation and Im nearly happy with the layout. Now my problem is to go thru and edit each post to fit within the layout, there are about 6 blogs of mine I have bought together in this site and none had the same template, tho most of my blogger accounts are not the issue–its the bleepin Murdoch blog that has given me the most drama so far–and it does not suprise me given that we could only choose from a few templates and no access to the template files.

Im yet to check this site in IE; I know thats not best practice but I spent the last 12 months building spesifically for IE (UNDA company policy was Microsoft-centric), so now that Im free to work on my own site Im quietly avoiding that little blue “E”…

On the topic of IE: one thing I did notice is that the Twenty Eleven theme sitll supports IE6. Great for people with computers that still have windows 98–but not nessisary for anyone (read: everyone) else. Im tempted to take out all the “if IE6” CSS, or put a javaScript browser detectioin that redirects IE6 users to Microsoft’s downloads page but thats a bit conceded and arrogant.

The market share of IE6 is now at 2.0%, less than Safari, less than the more standards compliant Opera. Im not forced to support it but if I dont, its basically saying Im only 98% of a web developer, as Im only serving potentially 98% of the market.

I guess its something to think for another day, I’ve done enough for now..

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…
Date Created: September 19, 2011  Date Modified: January 22, 2013

playing with the CSS today so the site might look wacky.. I dont like the OOTB twentyEleven theme..

Im baseing it on my blogger site layout that kind of evolved its own CSS over the years. At least I am hacking together my own style here from twentyEleven–even if im not building a theme from scratch..

Still have a few more elements to sort out before the theme is stable…

UPDATE: All thats left to do now is customise the navigation and then I think we’re done with the CSS for now.. DONE

UPDATE: I commented this out of the original post but I have decided to have it visible because this is all too common and it cheapens my industry

I think its worth pointing out that there are some design agency’s (read: more than one person unlike myself) are using OOTB paid for themes sans any custom CSS.

Im also going to add OracleDigital this list as they are another web “company” who dont even use their own theme. Im going to continue cateloguing every so called web designer in WA that, as I said in the commented out sections of this post:

Yes I am annoyed at the lack of knowledge and skills some people manage to make a living from.

I beilive in industry self-regulation–if you are making money from other peoples hard work, be afraid!.

HTML Kit
Date Created: September 9, 2011  Date Modified: September 21, 2012

I have been using this HTML text editor since 2001, in the early days I used it alongside Dreamweaver, but now I use it as my primary editor. I have put so many prople onto this product, from enthusiasts to profesionals, to accademics. Try it out, it will be a welcome addition to your arsenal.

My new WordPress driven Site
Date Created: September 4, 2011  Date Modified: September 19, 2011

Well after years of working with CMS systems–and avoiding having one drive my own online content, I have now bitten the bullet and setup wordpress! (is the exclamation mark intellectual property of Joomla!?)…

Currently have just imported a couple of my blogs, and a few questions that came to me via formspring here and there is no REAL content, I aim to get that in coming weeks. and also change the CSS so its not looking so default.. (I avoided using the word “Designer” in the title because of this.)..

Anyway, Ive left UNDA and Im off to explore the fine city of Melbourne so Im not having much time to maintain this site.

Peace

Xenu Link Sleuth
Date Created: December 12, 2010  Date Modified: September 4, 2011

If there is one piece of software I cannot live without (aside from a good text editor) it would be Xenu Link Sleuth–It is possibly the best link checking software available, and if configured correctly (via FTP) it can also detect orphaned pages.

Best of all its extremely fast!–I kulled over 800 broken (404) errors in a fraction of the time it would have taken me using either googles webmaster tools or the site checking reports in Dreamweaver

This rant was posted in SEO, Web, Web Design, XML on by .

Web traffic resources
Date Created: November 12, 2009  Date Modified: September 9, 2011

As ‘Webmasters’ its a good to have an idea about web traffic, not just to ones own site thru google analytics, but also potential traffic. One of the tools google offers is trends, for traffic on a particular keword. or there is internet traffic report, which has overall data info.

This rant was posted in SEO, Web, Web Design on by .

I have decided to move my site to…
Date Created: November 8, 2009  Date Modified: September 4, 2011


This post was the Hello World for this wordpress installation that I had on my site, but only used as a sandbox and sample site for projects; both my own and for clients. At the time I chose not to use wordpress as the CMS driving this site–I was wanting to be taken seriously as a CMS developer and it would, as I thought, have been counter-intuitive to use a blogging platform as a Content Management System.

Some time has passed since then and I have worked with a number of systems and considered at one point even using MySource Matrix here. At first some might consider that as overkill but as a Web Developer who deals with multiple sites, an enterprise level CMS built for multi-site, multi-domain deployment could have been an interesting way of managing projects… I decided against it for obvious reasons.

Anyway, nearly two years passed without any software driving these pages–but now we have it. WordPress. Lets see how long it is before I switch to Drupal (which I also have on this server for the same reasons and length of time as WP).

ots late and there is much to do. at least this migration wont take too long…

Thumbnails software
Date Created: August 10, 2009  Date Modified: September 4, 2011

I normaly make thumbnails by running a batch in photoshop but due to not having a photoshop licence for this laptop, and the continuing problems with the old workstation I decided to try Easy Thumbnails, by Fooks. I have uses Thumbs Plus many many years ago but didnt really like it, I just dont want to have to re-size hunderds of images one by one.

maybe I should just learn how to run batches in GIMP

EDIT: I have been using EasyThumbs for about a month now and Its awsome. So much time I have saved, and all those actions for photoshop I dont have to record. Its also nice and lightweight so it doesnt hog resourses on the notebook.

Google Chrome: Love and hate it
Date Created: July 9, 2009  Date Modified: September 14, 2011

Ive been using chrome alot latley, and I love the fact you get more srceen realestate, but im not happy that the java plugin keeps crashing, and highlighting input boxes is annoying, but when those bugs are fixed its going to be great.

The best thing is it supports flash right out the box. I f you havnt tryed chrome then download it now and check it out.

This rant was posted in Browsers, Chrome, Flash, Web, Web Design on by .