Monthly Archives: February 2018

Ancient Britons 'replaced' by newcomers

Britain’s Stone Age population was almost completely replaced some 4,500 years ago, a study shows.

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Think Twitter Automation Is the Answer to Efficiency? Think Again.

Twitter announced today that it will impose major restrictions on the use of automation and bulk-tweeting tools.
It’s the latest in a series of moves by Twitter to combat the spread of spam, false information, or bots on its network. 
The motivation behind these new restrictions is to significantly limit

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10 Open Source Modal Login/Signup Windows For Developers

There are so many resources and guides for creating modal windows. Any developer can add these basic UI elements into any website without having to code from scratch.

But custom modals offer more control over both content and display. You could design a modal for a site’s terms of service or to show off a dynamic photo gallery. One of the most common uses for a modal window is adding a login/registration form.

With this UI, visitors can sign up or log into a site from any page – all dynamically using JavaScript.

If you’d like to add this functionality to your site, check out this list of 10 free modal window snippets you can use to get there.

Professional Modal

See the Pen Login/Signup Modal Window by Adventures in Missions (@adventuresinmissions) on CodePen.

My favorite design out of this entire list comes from this snippet running on jQuery.

If you click the login or sign up links in the top-right corner, you’ll be greeted by the same modal box. Here you’ll find two tabs for switching between the forms. They’re both incredibly elegant.

In fact, it’s really the animation and the interface style that grabs my attention. The modal just feels so clean and it could work on practically any website.

The show/hide feature on the password field is a nice extra touch.

Basic jQuery Box

See the Pen Popup Login & Signup with jQuery by Bijay Pakhrin (@monkeytempal) on CodePen.

Bijay Pakhrin developed a pretty simple jQuery modal with OAuth login buttons for Facebook and Google.

Many websites support direct login like this but most of them also let you sign up with a regular username/email. And that’s what the third button does.

I’m seeing this trend on a lot of websites recently. Give this a shot if you’re working on a site with similar requirements.

Slide-Down Animation

See the Pen modal login/signup by Marin Begovic (@Rinma95) on CodePen.

For a dynamic approach to login modals, check out this snippet created by Marin Begovic.

The full modal window drops down onto the page from above and uses CSS3 drop shadow effects to create depth on the page. It also darkens the main page to bring focus right onto the forms.

I like the mild airplane graphic in the background too, although it’s a pretty simple design. The animations are what really sell me on this snippet.

Semantic UI Form

See the Pen Modal with login form Semantic-UI by Saad (@SaadRegal) on CodePen.

Most developers know about the Semantic UI framework, since it’s one of the most popular choices – aside from Bootstrap.

And with this modal script you can add a custom register/login form onto any Semantic UI page with just a few lines of code. This script relies on the default styles and uses less than 10 lines of JavaScript. Talk about simple!

Not to mention that there are no CSS styles to copy since this falls back to the default Semantic stylesheet.

Clean Modal Login

See the Pen Clean Modal Login Form by Ash Scott (@Ashbo) on CodePen.

It’s rare to find usable modal windows built on pure CSS. But this example, created by developer Ash Scott, is one of the best I’ve seen.

The modal supports all the typical features you’d expect like a sliding animation, a darkened background and a fading effect whenever you click anywhere outside the box.

Far too many modals don’t hide when clicking the background, which such an annoying experience for the user. It’s also one of the biggest reasons that I recommend this modal window if you’re looking to use a pure CSS alternative.

Bootstrap Modal

See the Pen Bootstrap Modal Login Example by Anis Nouira (@Weezlo) on CodePen.

I mentioned Semantic UI earlier and I couldn’t go through this whole article without suggesting a Bootstrap solution.

Check out this BS3 modal window running on Bootstrap 3.3.6. While it should work with Bootstrap 4, it hasn’t been tested yet.

Developer Anis Nouira built this entire Bootstrap login modal using pure CSS – which is even more impressive.

However, this only offers a single login form. The pen doesn’t include any extra UI for a registration or signup form.

Tabbed Popup

See the Pen Modal Popup with Login/Register Forms! by Chris (@thebeloved88) on CodePen.

Tabs always improve navigation and they’re incredibly useful to display hidden elements all on the same page.

Check out this tabbed effect built into a lavender-colored modal window. This features both a login and register tab with custom animation effects when switching between the two.

Note that this does use a good amount of jQuery, totaling almost 100 lines of code.

But the effect is fantastic. And, if you alter the colors a bit, this should fit into the design of any website.

Pure CSS Modal

See the Pen Pure CSS Modal window / Login & Sign up / Tabs / All Responsive by Andrew (@WhoIsAndrew) on CodePen.

Here’s one other pure CSS solution for developers who want to avoid JavaScript.

As you can tell the demo is pretty… blunt. It uses a huge call-to-action to display the modal window and the interface slides into view from the side of the screen.

This animation is brilliant and pretty snappy. And the form inputs have their own animations on focus. It makes for a pretty cool effect and it’s something that’s easy to replicate.

Navbar With Modal Login

See the Pen navbar with login modal by Nashwa (@Nashwa_Ashour) on CodePen.

Few login windows are the lone element on a page. The majority get integrated into the top navigation bar – which is exactly the design style of this pen.

The animation is really clean, with a super simple UI design. And the whole interface runs on Bootstrap, which is a nice touch (although not required).

One thing that could use improvement is the modal window’s structure. It feels a little small on my widescreen monitor, so it might work better with some breakpoints and responsive design styles.

Panel Modal Login

See the Pen Painel Modal Login by Rodrigo (@skazee) on CodePen.

Last, but certainly not least, is this pen that uses Portuguese for the labels. That shouldn’t stop you from replicating this into another layout, but it does make navigating a bit trickier.

The initial modal window asks if you want to login or sign up for a new account. Then, whatever you pick just appears into view. Simple!

If you like this type of UI/UX flow, then try duplicating this modal for your own project. It’ll take some editing to change the language and styles – but that’s also the case with virtually every pen.

If you’re looking for even more custom modal designs, I recommend checking CodePen to see what else you can find.

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Keystone to represent Bosch products in North, South Carolina

Keystone Sales & Associates is now the sole manufacturer representative of Bosch plumbing and HVAC products in the Carolinas.

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Burn or bury

Since China refused last month to accept any more foreign waste for recycling, the UK is facing a challenge disposing of its plastic waste.

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This Simple Diagram Will Help You Tell Better Brand Stories

Tell someone to write a poem, and chances are, they’ll freeze up. Tell someone to write a haiku, however, and we bet they’ll bang one out in less than 10 minutes.
The reason: constraints unleash our creativity. But how can you translate that to the complex world of content marketing?

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Trimble buying e-Builder for $500 million

Officials said the deal will allow Trimble’s construction products to offer greater productivity gains to contractors, including the ability to curate data for workflows.

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France to let wolf population grow despite farmers' fears

The government wants the number to rise from 360 to 500 by 2023 but farmers are unhappy.

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We Read 9 Self-Help Books So You Don’t Have To

This summer, I decided to really give the whole “be-present-in-the-moment” thing a shot.
I wanted to take this seriously, so I decided to check out a couple self-help books dedicated to the idea of “living in the now.”
And here’s the thing: some of the ideas, I could really, really

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Becoming a Better WordPress Developer – One Project at a Time

Time is one of the best indicators of how far you’ve come in terms of being better at your job. But it seems like web design and development is a line of work that provides the most tangible evidence of progression. All you have to do is take a look back at an old project and the proof will be there, looking right at you.

In my own career, I go back to my days with static HTML websites. I can easily see the signs of improvement in the code – and particularly when it comes to how I accomplished various layouts (hint: table layouts were older).

But over my years of building themes for WordPress, I can also see how things have changed. Sure, the design trends have come and gone. Those are the most obvious types of progress. But there are other, more subtle, aspects of development that provide an even better picture of evolution.

Below are some lessons of WordPress development I’ve learned through experience. Most all of it has been learned the hard way. And, while I can’t guarantee that this is how others would do it, I hope that it can at least spark some thought about how and why we do things.

The Straightest Path Isn’t Always the Best

Rarely do we ever build a WordPress website that doesn’t include some sort of custom functionality. That is, after all, part of its appeal as a CMS. It can do just about anything we dream up.

Oftentimes, that means using plugins. We literally have an entire world of them at our fingertips. They help us do things like sell online, optimize our site for search engines and share content with others.

We often think of plugins as the straightest path to solving whatever challenge we’re facing. And, while a well-coded and properly maintained plugin can be exactly what we need, the decision to use one is often more serious than we may think.

The ease of installing and activating a WordPress plugin can give us a false sense of security. A few clicks provide instant functionality (and gratification). However, there are potential consequences each time we do it. Plugins can have an impact on virtually every aspect of a website – security, performance and compatibility to name just a few. Then, there is also the possibility of a plugin becoming abandoned and left to die out. That puts us right back to square one.

In many cases, the right code snippet can provide a much more efficient solution. It can save performance-degrading overhead and, importantly, is within your control. One of the most frustrating aspects of plugins is that you are essentially handing over part of your site’s well-being to a third party. If something breaks, you must rely on them to fix it. And even the best plugin developers out there will run into a hard-to-fix bug sometime. That leaves you to wait while a solution is found.

The bottom line here is that, while it’s fine to use plugins, think about the alternatives as well. There may be a better way to accomplish your goals.

The Straightest Path Isn't Always the Best

Find a Comfortable Starting Place

My first designs with WordPress were often the result of pulling apart whatever default theme that came with the software. For example, many of the sites I’m now in the process of redesigning were built with a thoroughly hacked version of the Twenty Ten theme. I didn’t even bother using a child theme, which of course is a big no-no. I just renamed the theme and went to work.

While this method worked, it was hardly efficient. I found myself having to rip the same things apart over and over for each new project. Default themes are actually meant to be used as a starting point, so it wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been with a fully-bloated theme. Still, there had to be a better way.

As time has gone on, I discovered the beauty of a WordPress starter theme. There are a number of ways you can go, from full-on frameworks to something a bit more barebones, like Underscores (my personal favorite solution).

What I love about Underscores is that, out of the box, it’s pretty much as unformatted as you can get. That means I don’t have to rip anything apart before I can start building. I’ve got my own customized version, complete with some basic responsive styles, to give me a healthy head start on design and development.

This also allows me to design prototypes knowing how it will apply to my starter theme. There aren’t nearly as many worries about how I can achieve a specific look or layout because I have built in ways to handle most anything. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some challenges, it just provides a nice blank canvas with which to work.

If you develop a lot of sites, you’ll be much further ahead if you set up your own starter theme. Include the scripts and layouts that you use most often. That will get you up and running with each project in no time.

Find a Comfortable Starting Place

Take the Time to Learn

Early on, one of the biggest mistakes I made with WordPress was that I didn’t put in the foundational work when it came to learning the right way to do things. In particular, I had very limited knowledge of PHP. While I knew enough to hack my way through things, not having a grasp of the fundamentals made everything more difficult than it should have been.

For instance, it seemed like every project had a point where development stalled while I tried to figure out how to make something work. Because I didn’t really understand things, I found myself just hunting for code snippets and hoping they’d do the trick. Oftentimes I found that I couldn’t even customize those snippets to fit my needs – all because of my incredibly scattered approach.

Finally, I did something about it. I took an online PHP course one summer and, all of the sudden, things began to make sense. I am nowhere near a master programmer (the next must-have plugin won’t be coming from me anytime soon), but this basic understanding of how things work has improved the development process dramatically.

I still get stuck from time-to-time, but those issues tend to get cleared up much more quickly than before. And, while I still need code snippets, I generally can make them work for my situation.

So, instead of hacking your way through building with WordPress, take the time to learn the skills you need to know. Having even a basic understanding will empower you to do more than you thought you could.

Take the Time to Learn

Tomorrow Will Always Be Better

Lastly, I think it’s worth pointing out that evolving into a better developer is what we are supposed to do. So often, it’s easy to be hard on yourself when you have to dig in and try to fix something you built years ago. The old, “Why did I do it this way?” is a lament that we all face sooner or later.

The key is to learn from what you’ve done. As time goes by, you’ll find that your knowledge is greater and your processes are leaner. The result is that you’ll improve – one project at a time.

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