TaylorLovett

5 Essential Free Tools No Web Developer Should Be Without

July 6, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

I’ve been a programming in PHP and developing websites for 8 years and here are 5 free tools that no web developer should ever be without. Most if not all of these require that you use Mozilla Firefox.

1. Web Developer add-on for Mozilla Firefox

Of course number one assumes you are already using Mozilla Firefox browser. This addon creates a toolbar in your browser that allows you to accomplish a myriad of things much more easily than if you didn’t have the toolbar. Disable javascript, highlight css elements, edit CSS elements and view your changes live, view code source more easily, outline block level elements, find bad code, view image properties, validate your code, auto-fill in forms (this is incredibly useful when testing a form with many fields), manage your cookies, and much, much more. It goes without saying that this toolbar is a necessity for any web developer, PHP/Javascript programmer, or WordPress plugin developer.

2. IE Tab Plus add-on for Mozilla Firefox

This add-on allows you, the user, to switch the Firefox rendering engine to that of Internet Explorer’s. Simply right click on a page and click view in IE; this opens a new viewing tab in your browser that renders your current web page in IE’s engine. When building web pages, web developers often switch between Firefox and Internet Explorer (the two most popular browsers) to see how their website looks in each. Now with IE Tab, developers can stay in their current browser

3. Ubiquity for Mozilla Firefox

Another Firefox add-on big surprise huh?!? Ubiquity allows for dynamic commands to be entered by the user. Ubiquity allows for extended browser funcionality with dynamic commands. After installing Ubiquity, users can subscribe to commands that Ubiquity developers have created. Pressing CTRL+Space brings up a console that accepts commands which otherwise would take a few extra steps to do manually. To list a few commands: lookup artilces in wikipedia, search, translate current page, and much more.

4. Ubiquity: PHP Function Lookup

PHP function look up adds a PHP function lookup command to Ubiquity. PHP developers often need to look up functions for a variety of reasons. Not anyone can remember the order of parameters and return type for thousands of functions. Opening a new tab, going to PHP.net, and typing in a function takes time. Ubiquity’s PHP function look up command lets you do this by simply pressing CTRL+Space then typing “php your_function”. This will save any PHP programmer tons of time.

5. Ubiquity: WordPress Codex Lookup

WordPress Codex Lookup adds a command look up feature to Ubiquity allowing you to quickly search the WordPress codex for information. If you use WordPress, create WordPress plugins, or modify WordPress themes, this will save you some time. Press CTRL+Space, then type “wp codex_search” and Ubiquity will open a new tab in your browser with your WP codex search.

Content Boxes and Rounded Corners with CSS

July 2, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Rounding corners has become more and more popular as the internet has grown older. Even Google allows users to select options in Adsense to round corners. There are many ways to round corners some using 2 images and CSS, 3 images and CSS, 4 images and no CSS, purely Javascript, only CSS (CSS3 only unfortunately), and more. To me CSS and rounding corners is an art because there are an infinite amount of ways to accomplish this effect but some are more elegant than others. This Bethesda web developer Maryland WordPress expert found a great website explaining in detail (CSS, XHTML markup, and images included) 25 great ways to achieve rounded corners in your layout with minimal HTML markup. Here’s the link:

25 Rounded Corners Techniques with CSS

Strange Google XML Sitemaps Error Fixed

June 24, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Today, I installed the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. I configured the plugin accordingly then directed my browser to http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml to see my newly built sitemap. I was confronted with the very ugly error:

Error loading stylesheet: An unknown error has occurred (805303f4)

http://www.taylorlovett.com/wp-content/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/sitemap.xsl

After some searching on Google, I found others having the same issue but no definite solution. It seemed that directing my browser to http://www.taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml worked fine but http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml did not. I figured out the problem was that in my General Settings page my WordPress address (URL) was set to http://www.taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml and my Site address (URL) was set to http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml. After changing them both to the exact same URL, the problem was solved!

Comment Template Customization in WordPress

by Taylor Lovett

Today I was working on my blog and started styling comments.php in my WordPress theme – this wasn’t too difficult but still took me a couple hours to sift through PHP/Wordpress jargon to find the HTML/CSS code I was looking for. Before long I wanted to style the actual comments posted by users. To my dismay I learned the code for user comments is not in the comments.php theme file but rather in the comments-template.php file in the WordPress wp-includes/ folder. Bummer.

Customizing the WordPress wp-includes/comments-template.php file is extremely complicated, even to a veteran PHP programmer, and after messing with it for 2 hours I started searching Google for a guide. I found out through various guides that the wp_list_comments() function called in comments.php can take a callback function as a parameter that will use a custom comment function as opposed to the WordPress default. By using the callback parameter to point to your own function, you can really take control of the WordPress comments style and structure.

I found a great guide that will take you step by step through creating your own comment function for the wp_list_comments() function to callback.

WordPress Comment Templates Customization

Also, for background information on wp_list_comments() and a full list of it’s parameters:

Function Reference for wp_list_comments()

Portfolio Is Up and Running

June 1, 2008 by Taylor Lovett

The web development Maryland portfolio is now available. The portfolio contains projects ranging from web design and imagery to content management system integration and PHP programming. The portfolio contains three sections: Development, Imagery, and Management, Purely Scripts and Programming, and Freelance Images. Click on a project to learn more and to view screen shots.