Cool Stuff

imsanity

Handy image plugins to keep you sane.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about a few handy plugins that I use all the time. Some of these have saved me tons of time and effort.

My favourite one, and I’m sure lots of developers will agree, is Regenerate thumbnails. While working a theme, if you decide to change an image size of aspect ratio, this plugin will simply go through all of the images in your media library and resize them at once. Fantastic tool.

A new one I discovered a few months ago via twitter, is Imsanity. This tool is brilliant and makes so much sense. I’ve had clients upload 8MB images in the pass and these just end up clogging up the server. This plugin automatically resizes huge uploads to a decent more reasonable large size.

I’ve been a huge fan of the image widget plugin for a very long time. I’m not sure if there’s a better one out there, but this one does exactly what it says, very simply and elegantly. I love it.

Finally, this new plugin, hilariously called My Eyes are Up Here allows you to control how thumbnails are cropped based on face control. I haven’t had the chance to play with it much, but it looks like a great plugin and the authors are stellar developers. I’m guessing this one will soon be everyone’s favourite.

What image plugin have you found awesome? Care to share?

Gitbook

GitBook Resources

I’m constantly amazed by how much great information can be found for free. I’ve been lagging behind in learning javaScript and recently discovered this great book. It teaches the basics and is intended for everyone who wishes to learn JavaScript. It doesn’t go in much detail, but it’s beautiful and very well laid out.

Digging a bit further and reading about the author, I discovered GitBook. GitBook is an open source platform that let’s authors publish books for free using Markdown and Git. If you’re not familiar with these, don’t worry, you don’t need to know about this stuff just to read the books. There were 174 books to choose from when I last checked and many are offered in multiple languages.

Have a look and see if something catches your interest. I’m reading ProGit next.

WTFPL Photos to use for Free

Theme developers and web designers often need photos to work with as placeholder. Place Kitten is a fantastic resource, but sometimes you may want something other than a kitten. Finding the right photo can be tricky, since there are so many licences, rules and regulations. Of course the easiest way to get photos is to just go out and shoot your own… I’ve been snapping pics for a few years now and I’ve amassed a large set of them on Flickr.

Today, I created a new set and decided to share them under the WTFPL. This license is pretty permissive and allows you to take any of these and just do whatever you want with them. So go ahead, help yourself.

Sylify.me

Design research done simply with Stylify.me

Ever visited a site and wondered what font is being use or what shade of green that is?

In the old days (i.e. last year) I would make a screenshot of the web page and then inspected the colours in Photoshop. But that was only good for colours and didn’t give any info about the typeface.

A few months ago I discovered the what font bookmarklet and I’ve used it countless of times. It works really well and even gives me info about the font foundry should I wish to purchase the font.

I mark a lot of tweets as favorites as a way to read them later and today discovered a tool which I think may become my favourite resource of all time. Stylify.me is a fantastic resource for designer.

Simply type in the url of the website you like and you can find all the hex values, typeface used as well as size and line-height as well as image dimension. This tool is so simple, yet allows designers to get a rough style guide without having to dig around the source code. Fantastic.

Easier conditionals with mobble

A few weeks ago, I was working on a site that had the busiest footer. The footer design made sense on a large screen, but I couldn’t wrap my head around how to make it look great on tablets and phones. I was looking for a way to extend beyond media queries and apply a different design per platform, not just breakpoints. That’s when I discovered mobble.

Mobble is a handy WordPress plugin that provides conditional functions for detecting a variety of mobile devices and tablets.

Once installed, mobble allows you to add conditional statement to your theme templates such as:

<?php 
if ( is_mobile() ) {
  get_template_part( 'foot-mobile' );
} elseif ( is_tablet() ) {
  get_template_part( 'foot-tablet' );
} else {
  get_template_part( 'foot-desktop' );
}
?>

Now all I had to do was create different templates for each type of footer. This is so much better than having to fight with media queries.

Some of you will undoubtedly say, that you don’t need a plugin for that. But if your PHP knowledge is limited like mine, this plugin is fantastic!

UPDATE: As noted below in Alex’s comment, if you are using Jetpack, you can also use it’s built in function and target specific devices.

Foundations Icons

Foundation IconsA few weeks ago, I discussed the changes on the Bluelime Media site and talked about genericons.

This week, I discovered another great source of icon fonts distributed by Zurb. The social set is particularly interesting, since they have a few icons which are missing from genericons.

One of the best thing about teaching is learning from my students. I’m glad one of them introduced me to this great resource.

WordPress Community Summit 2012

The first ever WordPress community summit (wpcs) took place last Monday in gorgeous Tybee Island. The weather was a bit chilly thanks to Sandy, but that didn’t keep anyone from enjoying themselves and taking part in amazing discussions. Attendees, each there by invitation, was composed of Automatticians, core contributors, WordPress based companies, hosting companies, plugin developers, designers who have contributed to the community somehow.

The unconference started with everyone wishing to discuss a certain topic giving a 2 minute presentation detailing what they wanted to discuss and who they would like to have at their table. Discussion topics ranged from how to recognize non-code contributors to WordPress, reducing the pain of Plugin and Theme reviews, the future of Multisite and much more. Altogether, there were four time slots for these discussions which lasted 45 minutes. So we all got a chance to participate to 4 sessions and join in on stimulating conversations.

Each session had a note taker and the group needed to come up with one action item. You can view all of these notes on the wpcs website if you wish to read them in more detail.

Read more…