My WordCamp San Francisco Experience

I was fortunate enough to attend my first WordCamp San Francisco last weekend. When I say “fortunate,” I mean that in the very truest sense of the word, for I would not have been able to go without the support from some unexpected generosity. All in all, the experience was incredible, and I wanted to share with you some of what I got out of the trip.

The sessions were terrific, and not only did I learn a lot from the likes of Mark Jaquith, Konstantin Kovshenin, Josh Broton and more, but I also learned what I still need to learn. Once things settle down with our big project at RP3, I intend to buckle down and hop on the vagrant, grunt, puppet and all the other bandwagons a solid web developer needs to be on these days.

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MEAP Deal of the Day

So all this week I’ve been bombarding you with the news that my book, Responsive WordPress Theming, is now available as part of Manning’s Early Access Program.

Well today, July 18, it is their MEAP Deal of the Day! (Insert trumpet fanfare here.) Use offer code dotd0718au for 50% off either the ebook MEAP or the ebook + print edition MEAP.

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The 62.5% Solution?

I’m kinda tired of seeing blog posts advocate

html { font-size: 62.5%; }

In case you’re not aware, this makes the default font size for your entire website 10px (assuming the browser’s default font size is 16px, which is the standard but is also user-configurable). Sure, it makes the math easier when you’re working with relative font sizes from that point on (either ems or the more future-friendly rems), but it kinda ignores the point of setting a default font size in the first place.

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“Responsive WordPress Theming” Now Available in MEAP

Good news, everyone!

The first three chapters of my book, Responsive WordPress Theming, are now available through the Manning Early Access Program. When you subscribe to my book through the MEAP, not only do you get these chapters right away, but future chapters are delivered right onto your computer as I write them in real time, Google Docs style! Well, maybe not, but you will be getting chapters as they are released.

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Thanks, Baltimore WordPress!

Last night, the Baltimore WordPress meetup was kind enough to let me talk a bit about CSS Preprocessors and how to use them in WordPress. It was a great crowd in ADG Creative‘s very swanky offices in Columbia, Maryland. If you couldn’t make it out, you can catch my slides here.

I hope to be giving this same talk at conferences later this year, including WordCamp Baltimore on September 21. I’ll keep you posted.

A Little Vindication

Yesterday I chimed in on an exchange on Twitter about the constant CSS argument of whether or not to use IDs as selectors (I’m in the not camp, BTW):

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More Adventures in “Photoshop for Developers”

I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop for, I don’t know, something like sixty years now, or at least some days it seems like that long. But I’m not a designer, and my Photoshop skillz are still rather primitive. Almost everything I’ve ever learned about how to use Photoshop has come from seeing the comps that real designers give me to develop, and Googling the things I find in them.

Well, one thing that’s always vexed me as I do my art production has been how to perfectly align images in a sprite file I’m putting together. (I know, I know, why not just use Compass? Because it has its pitfalls. I’m going to keep doing it old-school, at least for now.) But after years and years of hand-crafting and nudging, pixel by pixel, my own sprite files in Photoshop, I only recently licked the whole alignment thing. I share this with you now…

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“Requiring” Plugins

I’ve started working on a redesign of this site (spoiler alert: it’ll be responsive! Eventually.), and one thing that’s kind of dogged theme developers (I think) is what to do about plugins that are pretty much required in order to make your theme go.

To this point, it hasn’t been an issue for me. Pretty much every theme I’ve developed has been unique for a particular client, and I have as yet attempt to release a theme to the WordPress theme repository. Ergo, if I required a plugin for the project, I installed it. Boom, done. However, in creating a theme for the general masses, I could totally see me needing to include something like a plugin that lets you add classes to widgets and that sort of thing.

So the question becomes, how best to go about this? I see three possible solutions:

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WordPress 3.6 Preview

Last night, I had the honor of taking the folks at the WordPress D.C. meetup group on a tour of the awesome new features of WordPress 3.6.  Many, many thanks to Jorbin and Nacin for inviting me to do this.  If you missed the meetup, the recording will appear on soonish.  You can also check out my slides, but since much of the presentation was demoing the features, the slide deck might seem a little thin.

But the best way of experiencing the new hotness in WordPress 3.6 is downloading the beta yourself, install it on a nice sandbox somewhere, and get to playing!

A Small Request for Web Designers

As a web developer, there are some things that consume a disproportional amount of my time (the whole 80/20 rule: 80% of the work takes 20% of the time, and the remaining 20% of the work takes 80% of the time). One of those things is creating and implementing sprites. Now, I could just use a super-cool tool like Compass to automagically generate and implement my sprites for me, but as I pointed out in a series of articles for the Treehouse Blog, there are some issues that make them kinda difficult to work with, especially when you’re dealing with HiDPI (let’s just call it Retina) displays.

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