Published by Jen Kramer | Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
Bootstrap 3, the popular HTML5 front-end design framework (and top-starred project on GitHub), has finally been released—and what a release it is! With tons of new features and a revised API, there’s much to enjoy. Here are some of the new features and things to keep in mind when working with Bootstrap 3.
Mobile-first and fully responsive
The Bootstrap 3 framework has been entirely rewritten to follow mobile-first design principles, so you can more easily build responsive web experiences that adapt gracefully from smaller to larger screens.
A few months behind schedule, version 3.6 of WordPress is out and ready for you to make the most of. The scope of changes in this release are relatively minor, but the updates are important and will help in your day-to-day work with WordPress. Here’s what’s new and why it matters to you.
Twenty Thirteen: The new theme standard
Since 2010, a new default theme has been released every year, and this year is no different. With 3.6 comes Twenty Thirteen. While the previous three themes—Twenty Ten, Twenty Eleven, and Twenty Twelve—got progressively simpler, Twenty Thirteen goes in a new design direction. It’s aggressively blog-centric with a heavy focus on Post Formats, and it’s a great example of the popular flat design trend currently sweeping the web.
Post Formats are a new feature in WordPress 3.6 that lets you choose unique layout and design templates for specific types of blog posts, such as images, videos, quotes, and regular articles, among others. The Twenty Thirteen theme supports Post Formats by providing a bold, unique visual style for each post so your site visitors can differentiate between the content in each one. In the image above you see the Video, Quote, Status, and Chat post formats on the front page. The Standard post format has a white background. The post format styling is also carried over into the post editor so as you change your post format you’ll see the styling change as you work, and the post formats are now identified using icons throughout the dashboard.
Did your Twitter app stop working after the 1.1 version of their API was released? Twitter made recent changes to its API that affected a lot of users and applications connected to the service, so I wrote a small PHP script that duplicates much of the old Twitter API functionality. The video below demonstrates the steps you’ll need to take to use it in your web apps.
Creating an app for Android, iOS, or Windows means learning two things: a programming language and the SDK. Even if you use one of the cross-platform frameworks, you’ll still need to learn some peculiarities of each system. It requires a significant investment in time and talents—and you’ll have to repeat it to create the same app for a different phone.
We’ve built the same app for all three mobile platforms (actually four; Windows Store and Windows Phone are separate), using the same assets and creating the same functionality for each. We enlisted three top-notch authors to show you how they would implement the application on each platform. Our authors shared outlines and met regularly to coordinate their efforts, only making changes when the particular language or SDK demanded it.
To use this set of courses most effectively, start with the platform you know best and review how that author chose to implement the app for your favored SDK and language. Then choose your next device and watch the related course. Feel free to switch back and forth between the two, comparing the platform you know to the platform you’re learning.
Our authors provide you with insights to each platform, pointing out differences that may trip you up if you’re making assumptions based on a different SDK. In the end, you should be able to map your experience from one device to another.
Please be sure to fill out the survey at the end of each course. We’ll read your comments to see how we’re doing and how we can improve.
WordPress is under attack and your self-hosted site may well be in the crosshairs of people with nefarious intent. I’d like to shed some light on what’s going on, how to protect yourself against becoming a victim, and what to do if you’re hacked.
A bot-what-now attack?
Over the last couple of weeks, WordPress sites all over the world have been subjected to an unprecedented attack. Botnets—essentially thousands or millions of infected computers working in tandem—are executing brute-force attacks on self-hosted WordPress sites, attempting to log into administrator accounts, and taking over the sites. A brute-force attack is when a computer tries to log in using every password under the sun. While this would take forever for a human, a computer can make hundreds or even thousands of attempts per minute and eventually stumble upon the correct user name/password combination. This is one of the most extensive and wide-reaching botnet attacks ever recorded and it’s targeting all kinds of sites, from personal blogs to enterprise solutions.
Published by Tom Geller | Friday, February 15th, 2013
You do back up your computer, don’t you? It’s an easy process, even if you don’t use a utility like the Apple Time Machine: you simply move a bunch of files from your one place to another.
But if you try that with your Drupal site, you’ll leave out the most important part—your site’s content and configuration. That’s because those parts live in your site’s database, which is stored far away from the site’s files. The solution is to export the database as a file, then save that file along with everything else. Doing that manually can be a pretty awkward procedure, but the Backup and Migrate module makes it easy. Here’s what I do:
Install Backup and Migrate the usual way (shown in the section “Expanding a Site’s Capabilities with Modules” in Drupal 7 Essential Training).
Define where you want Drupal to store private files by clicking Configuration > File system. Be sure to secure the destination by following the link on that page. If you don’t, your raw database file could become accessible to everybody.
Configure Backup and Migrate to save the database into that directory. (I set up a schedule to save it once a day.) The video Backing up with the Backup and Migrate module in Drupal 7 Advanced Trainingshows you how.
Save that database file when you save the rest of the Drupal files.
A conservative strategy: Backup and Migrate set to save six months of backups.
One last step: Be sure to practice restoring from that backup to make sure it works, as a bad backup is the same as no backup! Note that this is not the same as a straightforward MySQL export: you’ll need to use the Drupal Backup and Migrate module itself to reestablish your site. But while unusual, I’ve found this procedure to be far easier (and more foolproof) than noodling with my site’s Drupal database manually.
Published by Jen Kramer | Monday, February 11th, 2013
Do you have a favorite open-source software you’re using in your professional work? Most open-source software is created by volunteers, organized as a project where the software is created. If you’re making money from the software, strongly consider giving back to the project.
You don’t have to know how to program to contribute. Answer software questions in discussion forums or social media. Make a financial donation to your project. Many projects would like help with issues peripheral to software development, like accounting, legal advice, marketing or SEO expertise, and more. So get involved and give back to the software you love!
Published by Tom Geller | Friday, February 8th, 2013
Rumor has it that early computer maker Osborne folded because it promoted its next-generation (but not-yet-released) model over the adequate (but sellable) one. People decided to wait, starving the company of revenue.
Drupal 7 will be good for a while. The community officially supports Drupal with security updates for two major releases. Drupal 6 came out in early 2008; Drupal 7 followed in early 2011. If the pattern continues, Drupal 7 won’t be obsolete until 2015 or later.
You’ll (probably) be able to upgrade your site to Drupal 8 later, as core Drupal is always upgradeable. The potential problem is in add-on modules and custom code, which sometimes lag. The good news is the biggie: Views is becoming part of Drupal core.
The cost for waiting is too great. While you wait for Drupal 8, your site stays locked in your imagination. There’ll always be something “even better” on the horizon.
So don’t fall victim to the Osborne Effect—build your dream Drupal site now!