Learning Angular and Backbone

This was kind of a random decision for me, but so far its been very fruitful. For a long time I was considering getting into Backbone.js. I read up on a lot of articles that compared them and while all of them were really useful, neither of them really could tell me which one was right for me, so I figured there was really only one way to go about it.

I tried to learn Angular and Backbone both

Well, sort of. I did them separately,  and I can honestly say that if you know more javascript then just jQuery it will do wonders for you. At the first time I tried i really didn’t. I understood the logic, and wrote it all the time, but more then anything I reimplemented existing snippets that I found around. For a time it was the same with PHP and SQL. Maybe thats just how you learn, but thats not the point really. I didn’t understand either and could really only slowly follow my tutorials and it felt kinda crappy.

Some time later, I decided that I was going to give it another shot, and this was after having considerable more experience with javascript, jquery and bootstrap. The community support for Angular.js had really changed a lot at this point. Now I haven’t really done anything exciting of note yet, but I took tutorials for both again, and had a much easier time.

Learn the basics first.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that learning Angular and Backbone may be really exciting, but it could potentially be very frustrating if you don’t know enough javascript to make you feel good learning it. Ultimately whatever side you stick with in the end, Angular or Backbone, Laravel or Fuel, WordPress or Joomla, its going to be way easier with a solid foundation.

On the other hand, if you’re way past all this already and just wanted a comparison chart, I’d recommend this article.


What I love about the WordPress 2015 theme

Typically, I look for my instant WordPress site needs from theme markets such as Themeforest, ElegantThemes and many more. Really, theres a whole lot to choose from but for reliability reasons I always take a good look at the themes wordpress releases. Ironically however I’ve never actually used one until now. Instead, i always just activated it to reset settings and fix errors with other themes that were causing issues, and didn’t really care for them.

I love the WordPress 2015 Theme.

And I haven’t even really used it that much yet. There a few things that I wish were different or easier, but thats more a personal preference thing. Honestly I love this theme because I love the mobile look.

I typically look for a few key things in mobile versions of my WordPress themes. You’re always going to want solid and easy to use navigation, readability, and other factors that make the website usable, but sometimes the small things are really worth it.

WordPress 2015 has an awesome yet simple mobile layout.

Primarily, in mobile the featured images are 100% width of your device while the content retains its padding. It has padding still on a larger device like a 1200 px desktop but can be easily made full if desired.

The stacked pagination at the bottom of the page in mobile is also great with the featured-image being set in the background.

Typically I’m not a fan of dropdown menu style navigation and prefer off-canvas for mobile devices, but I think the way the 2015 theme does it is excellent. Especially how it includes your widgets.

These are all pretty small things really, but its exactly what I needed to get started before I release my own theme again. For what I needed, this was excellent. Hope it does the same for you.

What do you like/dislike about it?

Bootstrap 3 Modal issues PT 1

As some of you may know , I’ve been working on a new website using the new version of Bootstrap. I had previously been using Bootstrap 2 before switching to Bootstrap 3 and have welcomed the plethora of new features.

Unfortunately I can’t really say that I had a flawless execution of working with it. For quite some time I had been using Zurbs Foundation framework and still prefer it, but I did not want to fall out of practice with Bootstrap.

I switched to using modals to display the data on my portfolio pieces, but had some serious modal issues. By using the modal-toggle and modal-dismiss data values I was able to easily control which modals were active and inactive, however I still had scrolling issues in the background. That is, after having set up the display and loading all my data, I wound up scrolling the document body rather then the modal taking over fullscreen.

I wrote some custom javascript functions to add and remove various classes that fixed the problem with CSS.

Mainly, if you encounter this problem you can solve it by applying overflow:hidden and position:fixed to the document body while the modal is open, but its kind of a hack and requires a bit more work then should be necessary. If you inspect the document while interacting with the modals you’ll notice that Bootstrap applies the class modal-open to the body when a modal is active.

I set the previous fixes to that class, and the trick wound up making sure that it was always applied. A simple matter, except for the fact that nested modals only had limited support and required a little more work to get functioning properly.

It just so happens though that there was a plugin developed to fix that very issue. If you head over to github and look around for bootstrap modal, you’ll find a project that makes sure that the nested support is provided as well as the appropriate CSS. Theres a little bit more CSS required for Bootstrap 3, but its all provided in the documentation.

Truth be told, just including the script in my file solved everything immediately. If you have similar issues to what I had, I would suggest going over to https://github.com/jschr/bootstrap-modal/ and taking a look.

It provides great support for stackable nested modals, fixes the background scrolling issues, allows for backwards compatibility and has its own options for loading and managing data in modals with AJAX.

I only wish I found it sooner.

For those looking, you can find the github repository here:

Bootstrap Modal

Creating a new website

I’ve been at my desk working hard over the last two weeks to create a new website look. While not necessary, I am doing so because I do believe that its good for a business to change its look around as often as every year. Its been far longer then that since my website has gotten a real facelift, and in fact , I haven’t posted on this blog in even longer.

I’m really looking to change that. A lot of things both good and bad have been happening lately, and it just felt like the right time. I always advocate having a blog for your business, but for years I didn’t follow my own advice very well.

For now, I’m using this awesome 2015 default theme for WordPress, but am behind the scenes working on integrating and converting the new website and blog together to create something great. It will be slow going at first, but ultimately completely worth it. In the  mean time, anything I learn that might be of some use to others in the same boat, I aim to post here.

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Morning Glory House

This is a piece I’ve done about a year ago, but never wound up adding to my portfolio. The design was made for Morning Glory House which is an elderly retirement home near Kalamazoo, Michigan. They were looking for a solution to create and manage pages so they could easily update the website for their business as well as a floral themed design to match the name of their business.

For this custom wordpress theme development I used the thematic wordpress framework by Ian Stewart to cut down on cross browser inconsistencies and made a general layout.

The Site URL can be found at MGH Seniors.