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By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, July 24, 2014
Responsive layouts have become commonplace in today’s web experiences, but the current HTML <img> element still has a fundamental flaw when used with responsive designs: It assumes uniformity in the screens it’s displayed upon, a uniformity that doesn’t exist in today’s mobile-saturated world.
Consider an image on a web page from the viewer’s perspective. Although it appears to be part of the page, it’s actually a replaced element: The code of the page cuts a hole in the page big enough to contain the image, and then retrieves it from its remote location to fill that hole. In some cases the hole has a specified width and height; in others the hole is built to be flexible and scale to a percentage, or proportion, of the screen size.
By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Wednesday, June 11, 2014
One of the most popular requests I’ve received from lynda.com members is for a course on how to build WordPress themes from scratch. I’m excited to announce that WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores has finally come to fruition. The course is an introduction to WordPress theme design and development, a best-practice example of a mobile-first, standards-based web development process, and a first-hand look at my personal approach to custom WordPress projects. Just as importantly, it’s an introduction to Simone—the WordPress theme that I build in the course itself, which is now available for free in the WordPress Theme Directory.
By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, April 17, 2014
WordPress 3.9 “Smith,” named after James Oscar “Jimmy” Smith, was released yesterday. This new version of the popular web publishing app introduces several highly anticipated new features that make managing your WordPress site and its contents easier. Let’s break down the key new features of WordPress 3.9:
A more powerful Customizer
The Customizer makes managing the appearance of your WordPress site easier by allowing you to see your edits as you make them and preview your theme configurations before you take them live. With the 3.9 update, two of the WordPress community’s most anxiously awaited feature requests have been added to the customizer to make it “complete”:
By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, December 12, 2013
See what’s new in WordPress 3.8.
Today’s release of WordPress 3.8 is revolutionary in the history of WordPress—and a clear sign of things to come from the popular content management system. Sporting a clean new interface, tons of new features, and a new development philosophy, the 3.8 release is a milestone for the WordPress community in many ways. We’re already hard at work updating our WordPress Essential Training course to reflect WordPress 3.8, but there’s a lot to notice in today’s release beyond just what ships in the code.
Deadlines are not arbitrary
Establishing the current WordPress philosophy “Deadlines are not arbitrary,” WordPress cofounder and project leader Matt Mullenweg made a series of bold announcements at WordCamp San Francisco back in July. First, he stated that WordPress 3.7 and 3.8 would be developed in parallel, with firm, preannounced release dates for each. Furthermore, he announced that all new features slated for version 3.8 would be developed as stand-alone plugins first, and only built into the WordPress core code once they were stable. Finally, Matt announced that he’d be personally leading the development team for the 3.8 release.
By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, August 01, 2013
A few months behind schedule, version 3.6 of WordPress is out and ready for you to make the most of. The scope of changes in this release are relatively minor, but the updates are important and will help in your day-to-day work with WordPress. Here’s what’s new and why it matters to you.
Since 2010, a new default theme has been released every year, and this year is no different. With 3.6 comes Twenty Thirteen. While the previous three themes—Twenty Ten, Twenty Eleven, and Twenty Twelve—got progressively simpler, Twenty Thirteen goes in a new design direction. It’s aggressively blog-centric with a heavy focus on Post Formats, and it’s a great example of the popular flat design trend currently sweeping the web.
Post Formats are a new feature in WordPress 3.6 that lets you choose unique layout and design templates for specific types of blog posts, such as images, videos, quotes, and regular articles, among others. The Twenty Thirteen theme supports Post Formats by providing a bold, unique visual style for each post so your site visitors can differentiate between the content in each one. In the image above you see the Video, Quote, Status, and Chat post formats on the front page. The Standard post format has a white background. The post format styling is also carried over into the post editor so as you change your post format you’ll see the styling change as you work, and the post formats are now identified using icons throughout the dashboard.
By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Monday, April 15, 2013
WordPress is under attack and your self-hosted site may well be in the crosshairs of people with nefarious intent. I’d like to shed some light on what’s going on, how to protect yourself against becoming a victim, and what to do if you’re hacked.
Over the last couple of weeks, WordPress sites all over the world have been subjected to an unprecedented attack. Botnets—essentially thousands or millions of infected computers working in tandem—are executing brute-force attacks on self-hosted WordPress sites, attempting to log into administrator accounts, and taking over the sites. A brute-force attack is when a computer tries to log in using every password under the sun. While this would take forever for a human, a computer can make hundreds or even thousands of attempts per minute and eventually stumble upon the correct user name/password combination. This is one of the most extensive and wide-reaching botnet attacks ever recorded and it’s targeting all kinds of sites, from personal blogs to enterprise solutions.
By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, March 21, 2013
Responsive design has long been on the minds of web designers and developers, and over the last couple of years, it has become a focal topic among industry insiders and clients alike. Is the site responsive? Should it be responsive? Is responsive web design a good idea, or are we focusing on it as an exclusive solution to a much broader set of problems? Going to web design conferences these days you hear as many takes on the topic as there are people, and a common theme among them is that responsive design is profoundly confusing and complicated.
But does it have to be?
By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Wednesday, January 16, 2013
What makes WordPress a good solution? Why is it so popular? Regardless of the question, the answer is the same, and it can be boiled down to three simple words:
Because WordPress works.
Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that. Let me put it into context from the perspective of the three main users of WordPress: the end user, the site owner, and the designer/developer.
Easy to find, easy to use, easy to share
A poorly kept secret about WordPress is its findability. If someone asked you how to get indexed on Google and you answered “Just set up a WordPress site,” you would not be far from the truth. The way WordPress is built makes it a magnet for search engines and other online indexes. So much so that if you don’t want your WordPress site indexed, you have to take steps to prevent it from happening.
Out of the box, WordPress has great search and share optimization. With the addition of plugins like WordPress SEO, AddThis, and Facebook for WordPress, these built-in capabilities are further enhanced, giving any site the opportunity to become the next big thing on the web. This is provided the content is great, of course. We’ll get to that later.
The purpose of many websites is to put out easily findable, accessible, and shareable information. And WordPress does this in spades. When you are searching for content on the web today, you will likely find it on a WordPress site. If you are reading or viewing content on a WordPress site, you are able to access and interact with that content through comments and RSS feeds. And once you have read the content, you will have an easy time sharing it with your friends on social sharing sites and social media.
Easy to publish, easy to configure, easy to maintain
WordPress is a prime example of the virtues of open source. It is built, evolved, and maintained by the people that use it and is therefore in a constant state of forward-moving flux. For site owners this means by simply running a WordPress site and keeping it up to date, they are at any time using the most current web technologies to communicate with the world.
Over the past three years, WordPress has undergone several fundamental design and development changes that have made an already easy-to-use application even easier to use. At the same time it has become more powerful and diverse. From how it is installed to how a site owner can publish content and interact with visitors, WordPress leads the way in removing the barriers that prevent anyone from publishing online. Between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress, most people with access to an Internet connection are now able to publish their thoughts, ideas, and creations online with minimal effort. With the challenges of web technologies all but removed, the site owner can focus on what matters: producing and publishing excellent content to share with the world.
Easy to build, easy to augment, easy to evolve
For me, the true power of WordPress lies in the back end. Whether you are a complete novice or a seasoned pro, building themes and plugins for WordPress will make your life easier and will enable you to do more in less time. I am walking proof.
With a design in place, building a custom WordPress site from scratch—one that looks and behaves nothing like what is expected of a WordPress site but is still just as easy to use and maintain—takes less time than with any other platform I have tried. When people ask me what WordPress can do I answer, “Whatever you want it to do.” And I stand by that statement. At its core, WordPress is a simple interface between the site owner, the database, and the end user. All the stuff in between (administration, themes, and functionalities) is available for the designer and developer to play with and add to in any way they want. And because WordPress is open source, people can step in and contribute to the WordPress community in whatever capacity they feel fit, from answering questions in the forums and building free themes or plugins to contributing to WordPress Core.
The bottom line
Though it may sound like I see WordPress as the be-all and end-all of web publishing, the reality is I am a pragmatic platform agnostic. The reason I laud WordPress and why I love teaching people about WordPress is because I see it as one of the best available solutions for most websites today. I have and continue to work with other solutions including Drupal and Joomla!, but for most of the websites I encounter, WordPress is one of the best options.
Whether you are just starting to play with the idea of publishing a blog, you want to become a web designer or developer, or if you already know all there is to know about the web and you just want to play with something new, WordPress is a great tool to use. It has both the ease of use and the advanced features to suit pretty much any need. And when that need isn’t met, a theme, a plugin, or an extension is there to fill the void.
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