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WordPress 3.8: A quiet revolution

Published by | Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Today’s release of WordPress 3.8 is revolutionary in the history of WordPress—and a clear sign of things to come from the popular content management system. Sporting a clean new interface, tons of new features, and a new development philosophy, the 3.8 release is a milestone for the WordPress community in many ways. We’re already hard at work updating our WordPress Essential Training course to reflect WordPress 3.8, but there’s a lot to notice in today’s release beyond just what ships in the code.

Deadlines are not arbitrary
Establishing the current WordPress philosophy “Deadlines are not arbitrary,” WordPress cofounder and project leader Matt Mullenweg made a series of bold announcements at WordCamp San Francisco back in July. First, he stated that WordPress 3.7 and 3.8 would be developed in parallel, with firm, preannounced release dates for each. Furthermore, he announced that all new features slated for version 3.8 would be developed as stand-alone plugins first, and only built into the WordPress core code once they were stable. Finally, Matt announced that he’d be personally leading the development team for the 3.8 release.

Lucky 13: The NEW FileMaker Pro 13 platform is here!

Published by | Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

After 20 months of anticipation from the product community, FileMaker Inc. finally unveiled its next-generation platform for business productivity: FileMaker Pro 13. Having worked closely with FileMaker 13 for several months prior to launch to prepare for my new course, FileMaker Pro 13 New Features, I can tell you there are plenty of improvements in this release to satisfy any level of FileMaker developer or end user. For new FileMaker users, the platform makes it much easier than ever before to create beautiful app-like databases—and it offers some long-awaited features that FileMaker fans won’t be able to live without.

Chief among the more than 50 new features are

WebDirect
The marquee feature of the new FileMaker 13 is a web-sharing technology called WebDirect, which allows you to share your FileMaker database through any HTML5-compliant browser—with no web development skills required.


Information architecture: More than just a pretty menu

Published by | Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Comparing information architectures

Explore this course at lynda.com.

Some people in the design community insist on calling website menu systems “information architecture.” I think they do it to make menu design sound sexier or more esoteric. Unfortunately that’s not what information architecture is. Or rather, it’s only part of what information architecture is.

Information architecture (IA) is actually “the structural design of shared information environments.” It’s no good just having a well-thought-through menu system for your site. Once you get people to where they need to be, the content needs to be arranged in the way they expect, using words they understand. Knowing how your users think about and self-categorize your site’s content should be central to your whole design effort. It boils down to finding out how your users think about and categorize the concepts, tasks, and activities that your product deals with, and then creating an architecture that matches this world view. My course Foundations of UX: Information Architecture steps through the discipline of IA, and the practical steps needed to apply it to your projects.

Bootstrap 3: What you need to know

Published by | Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Bootstrap 3 is out.

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.

WordPress 3.6: What’s new, and why it matters

Published by | Thursday, August 1st, 2013

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.

The Twenty Thirteen WordPress default theme

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.

Working with the Twitter API 1.1 changes

Published by | Monday, July 15th, 2013

Twitter API v1.1

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.

 

New Adobe Muse features for Q2 2013

Published by | Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

This is arguably the biggest update to Muse since the product’s initial release. The big new features this time around include Parallax Scrolling, In-Browser Editing, and something near and dear to my heart: a Layers panel. As always, there are a bunch of smaller updates and enhancements, too.

Parallax Scrolling

MU_parallax_scrolling

Parallax Scrolling helps you create animated effects that involve two (or more) “layers of content” that move in the browser at different speeds. It is a web design technique that enables you to set the speed of each element. Using this technology, you can apply these animated effects to individual objects on your page to create visually compelling designs. Check out a great example of a site using built with Muse using parallax scrolling.