Code Poet Interview

Code Poet has been around for a while and back in May I wrote that the site was now transformed form a directory to a full resources site. Code Poet is a great place to find quizzes, free e-books and interviews. Last week, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Krista Stevens and the interview is now live. This articles focuses on my teaching rather than theme building, but if you’ve ever wanted to know why I love WordPress, check it out.

WordPress Resources by Code Poet

This weekend at WordCamp Seattle, I was pleased to hear that Automattic has revamped their Code Poet website. What used to be a directory of top-notched WordPress developers, is now a resources for anyone who uses WordPress to make websites.

There are loads of tutorials and WordPress how-to out there. Do we really need another? The difference with Code Poet, is that all the resources found here are written, published or recommended by Automatticians. So you can be sure that it’s the best info.

I myself had a lot of fun last night taking the WordPress quiz. I failed to get the Master ranking, but Expert is pretty good. I’ll have to review those questions I missed.

But before that, I’ll be reviewed one of their first eBooks, “Getting Pricing Right“.

Oh and in case you were wondering, yes, it’s all FREE.

Subtle Patterns

When I started working on the websites for my class material, CSS for graphic designer and WordPress, I questioned why I was doing this. It’s a lot of unpaid work and I have no idea if people appreciate it. But now and again,  I’m reminded that people all over the web share their content for Free.

Today, I discovered Subtle Patterns, a web project by Atle Mo.  Atle is a Norwegian designer and his subtle patterns projects is both wonderful and Free. You can browse the various patterns, preview them, download the one you wish to use or download them all. How wonderful!


Teach your clients about the mysteries of the web

As designers or web developers, we’ve all been there. We create an initial mock up based on the client’s request, they love it but ask for changes, we revise again, add more bells and whistles, they still love it, but now that they see it, they think it needs more of this or that want… next thing you know your design looks like crap.

If you don’t know what I mean, take a look at this comic from the Oatmeal. This is obviously an exaggerated scenario, but sooner or later, as a designer, you will be in the same situation.

So what can we do to avoid this?
One of the best way is to educate ourselves and our clients. Paddy Donnelly & Jack Osborne have gathered a great list of resources just for you. Make sure to bookmark it and then simply send your client to one of their topic pages for a quick intro on the subject. Hopefully that will provide them with the wee nudge that was needed.

Domain name and web hosting, what’s the difference?

When setting up your first website it’s not uncommon to get confused between domain name registration and web hosting.

Your domain name is the name of your site or your url ( and can be purchased by going to a domain name registrar. Domain names usually range from about $10 to $50/year depending on the extension. (.ca are more expensive than .com.)

Read more…

An Event Apart: The Design Conference For People Who Make Web Sites

On a tour to Sweden many years ago, Ringo Starr was asked the following question about his role as the narrator in the famous children’s television series:

“Prior to working on Thomas the Tank Engine, what did you do?”

To which Ringo’s humble reply was:

“I was part of a wee band”.

For some reason, this story stuck in my head, not because of Ringo’s humility or the ignorance demonstrated by the interviewer, but rather, by the fact that anyone working away in any industry can get trapped so deep in their own work that they forget that there’s a whole world out there.

In the case of web design that world is changing fast. Much can be self-taught on the web by reading tutorials, viewing videos and demos but in my opinion, the best way to stay ahead of the curve is to attend conferences such as An Event Apart. When asked why I love going to An Event Apart, I always think of Ringo’s interviewer. Perhaps if he had been less obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine maybe he would have heard of the Beatles.

Jeffrey Zeldman, Eric Meyer and everyone involved with An Event Apart never fail to impress. Their speaker line-up is always stellar and cutting edge technology is always on the menu. More importantly the speakers are approachable and genuinely nice people. During each others presentation you can find them in the back listening to each other and commenting via blog posts or twitter. How often have you been to a conference where the speaker comes in for his talk and then immediately leaves once done? There’s a sense from both the audience and the speakers, that there’s always something to be learned, no matter how experienced or talented.

As their tagline says, An Event Apart is a design conference for people who make web sites. If you’re in that industry, you should check it out, you will learn something, I assure you.

Chris Coyier’s Blank WordPress Theme

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago, Chris Coyer, one of the authors of “Digging into WordPress“, released his blank theme. In his article he states the following:

I have a “blank” WordPress theme for myself, because I make a lot of WordPress themes. Starting from Kubrick, or any other pre-made theme, would be absurd. There is to much stuff there that would have to be stripped out or fought against to be useful. So, I have my own.

Music to my ears. When I started using WordPress years ago, I couldn’t get my head around Kubrick. Cleaning the code took way too much time and energy. I originally created my own theme for a WordPress class. In order to teach students how to theme a site in 6 weeks, I needed something clean and void of excess stuff so I set up my Basic Theme.

I was thus curious when I read Chris’s article and downloaded his theme. It’s super clean and to my delight it’s not so different from mine. I have a lot more CSS than he does and he’s got some fancy stuff going on in his header.php, but overall I would highly recommend it. Starting from a clean theme to design a WordPress site is the best way to work. If you haven’t had a chance to try a blank theme, you should check it out.