Five Sass-y tricks to impress your friends

I am not ashamed to tell you that I was really reluctant to try Sass.

When you’ve been doing front-end development as long as I have (20 years this August), you know that there are new tools and techniques made available on an almost-daily basis. Most of them are fleeting at best, so I tend to wait until it looks like something is gaining some traction before I take the time to try it out.

But Sass won me over on the very first project I put it to work on and I’ve used it on practically every project since. Along the way, I’ve picked up some clever tricks that make life easier and development faster.

Here’s a small roundup of some of my favorites. Enjoy! Continue reading

Responsive sticky footer woes and fixes

Over the years, I must have used about a dozen different approaches to coding up a sticky footer, with varying degrees of success. I recently stumbled upon an elegant CSS3 solution and immediately put it to work on the theme on this site. But then I discovered some problems. Here’s how I fixed them.

What’s a sticky footer?

Alright, let’s say you’ve got a design that involves a big, chunky footer like the one on this site. If you have a page or a post that’s light on content, maybe just a few lines (like my contact page) and your site visitor happens to have a tall browser window, you don’t want that big footer hanging out in the middle of the screen. You want it down at the bottom of the browser window.

yes-no

That is the art of coding a sticky footer. Continue reading

Why frameworks make me cranky

Violin

The past few years have been witness to an explosion of frameworks and libraries: CSS frameworks, WordPress theme frameworks, JavaScript frameworks, PHP frameworks…frameworks for just about any language you might want to write code in.

On one hand, this is great. As developers, we tend to solve the same problems over and over again. It makes sense to take advantage of code that’s already written that solves the problem we’re solving right now. On the other hand, it’s so easy to become over-reliant on frameworks. It’s so easy to solve every issue by looking for a a bit of code somebody else already wrote to solve our problem. Continue reading

How to Make a Local Copy of a WordPress Site in 5 Minutes or Less Without Dealing with Code, Terminal, or PHPMyAdmin

WordPress 3.8 was released today. Maybe you’d love to give it a try, but you’re not sure how it might work on your own site. Will it break any features on your site? Will your favorite plugin turn out to be incompatible? Chances are slim that you’ll run into any problems, but of course, you want to be absolutely sure before you upgrade.

How can you be sure? By making a local copy of your site to use for testing. By ‘local copy’, I mean a copy of your site that lives on your own computer instead of on a server. You’ll be the only one who can view it. Local copies are also great for adding new features, coding child themes, making adjustments to an existing theme and more. Think about all the things you can do with a WordPress site that you don’t necessarily want your site visitors to see in an unfinished or half-baked version. Continue reading