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 hacking, botnets and brute-force attacks

malwareThese past few days has seen some alarming news about CMS sites being attacked by botnets. Targeting WordPress and Joomla, these bots are simply trying to access your backend with different combinations of usernames and passwords. Various articles have been written about this and below is a roundup of what can be done to keep your WordPress site safe.

Do not use “admin” as your username: Matt points out that since WordPress 3.0 allows you to pick a custom username on installation, to replace the default “admin”. Hackers and bots will attack your site using admin as the username, so if you are using this, please change it right away.
Read more…

Come and join me at WordCamp Ottawa

WordCamp Ottawa 2013The first ever WordCamp Ottawa is happening in a few weeks on April 27. It will be held at the University in the MonPetit Hall. I graduated from University in 1991 and haven’t been back since. I’m a little apprehensive about going back, but excited as well.

I’ll give a talk in the developer track and discuss ways to become a better developer by contributing to WordPress and joining the community.

The title of my talk might be a bit misleading though. I probably shouldn’t have said developer.

Designers, teachers, writers and organizers are also needed and welcomed in the WordPress community. I hope that all types of WordPress enthusiasts will join me and get to know the many ways in which one can participate.

See you there.

Responsive starter theme now with genericons

genriconsIf you’ve visited the Bluelime Media website lately, you’ll have noticed that it’s undergone yet another design change. This latest design is simpler, I removed a lot of content but more interestingly, I substituted the social media icons with genericons. Genericons are vector icons embedded in a webfont designed to be clean and simple keeping with a generic aesthetic. Brought to you by Automattic, they are indeed a pleasure to work with.

With more and more folks migrating to new Macs with retina display, I thought it would be a good idea to get in the habit of using vector icons.

In addition to the Bluelime site, I’ve also built a few responsive sites lately and my starter theme has proven very handy. However, I did find myself changing the same things over and over again. So earlier today, I made the following changes to the BLM responsive starter theme.

  • The social media icons have been eliminated and replaced with genericons. I also had to replace delicious with tumblr. Delicious is no longer as popular as it once was.
  • I’ve updated both desktop and mobile navigation. The small menu now display the menu title and upon click opens up the navigation.
  • I’ve simplified the CSS and removed the gradients from the navigation.
  • The header image, if used, now links to the home page.
  • I’ve also updated silly errors here and there that Robert must have missed.
    ( ahem.. yeah, it must be his fault. I wouldn’t have done that.)

If you’ve used the BLM responsive starter theme, I would love to hear your thoughts. If you think it could be improved, enhanced or modified in any way, please let me know. For those interested in seeing the code changes, have a look through the commits.

FAQ Manager Plugin

One of my favourite aspect of WordPress is the fact that custom post types can be created for just about anything. Movies, projects, testimonials, books etc… These are easy enough to do if you’re a developer but a bit tricky if your just learning. A common request by many clients is the ability to have an FAQ section. Again, this is a great use of custom post types and easy peasy to set up.

However, I recently discovered that all that work is not even necessary. Andrew Norcross has developed a plugin that manages FAQ really simply and is super easy to use.

Simply download the plugin, activate it, enter your questions and answers and then choose the shortcode you wish to display on your FAQ page. Andrew has thought of everything and given you lots of display options. The FAQ manager plugin is definitely on my list of favourites and has reduced my workload.

WFPICCS gets a new responsive website

I first started working with the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care (WFPICCS) in 2003. When I first met with them, the intention was to have a website which they could maintain and add information for doctors and nurses pertaining to news and event in the pediatric field. At the time CMS were very costly and so I built them a PHP website with a very simple admin interface allowing them to add news, events and update bits of information here and there.

While teaching at BCIT, I discovered that at the end of each term, students select projects from a list. So I inquired and thought that a re-design and conversion of WFPICCS into WordPress would be a great project. I was lucky enough to have my project selected by a team of 4. Kate, Chad, Gabe and Sesil did a wonderful job working together and built a great looking site for WFPICCS.

The site has a slider on the home page which is updatable by using a custom post type for each slide. Another custom post type was used for the board of directors and officers making it very easy for the folks at WFICCS to update and maintain.

A responsive design was also selected to allow visitors to access the site via platforms other than the desktop. Overall WFPICCS and I are very pleased with the site and looking forward to working with more BCIT students on future projects.


SubtlePatterns Bookmarklet on your Website

I’ve praised the SubtlePatterns site before on this site and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s an incredible resources for designers. Now there’s a new easy way to enjoy this site even more. The SubtlePatterns Bookmarklet lets you preview any background patterns directly on your website very quickly. This makes selecting a background for your website even easier!

Check it out »

WordPress Theme Customizer

One of the most exciting features introduced in WordPress’s version 3.4 was the theme customizer. The theme customizer allows you to make a few changes and preview your site before activating it.

As a theme developer this means that there’s no longer a need to use a theme options page. Otto wrote a series of great articles detailing how theme developers can implement different options and even created a theme demo for us to play with.

Since then, other developers have written great tutorials on how they’ve integrated the code in their themes. Here are few good ones:

Adding a logo uploader to your WordPress theme with the Theme Customizer, by Kirk Wight
Using the WordPress Theme Customizer to choose between excerpts or full content, also by Kirk Wight
The WordPress Theme Customizer: a Comprehensive Developer’s Guide, by Alex Mansfield

These tutorials helped me immensely in a few recent projects. My new theme Color Palette has a logo uploader and a color scheme selector. My BLM Responsive starter theme has been updated and the links to social media sites are now located in the customizer instead of a separate theme options page.

If you’ve played around with the Theme Customizer and have come across interesting themes or tutorials or if you happen to have downloaded one of mine and have comments or suggestions, please let me know.