CSS: Fluid-Width Dropdown Menus

More than seven years ago, a fantastic article was posted on A List Apart explaining how to create dropdown menus with pure CSS. Up until that point, most (if not all) Web developers and designers were using javascript in some way to make their dropdown and fly-out menus function. The concept, for whatever reason, was referred to as the “Suckerfish menu“.

Shortly after that article was published, someone else came along and published information about the Son of Suckerfish menus. Other concepts based on the Suckerfish menu came along as well. The major issue with all of those articles and examples, though, is that they seem to require fixed-width menus for some reason. If you don’t set your top-level menu items to be a fixed width, by default the dropdown menu items will either wrap onto multiple or will force the top-level item to expand to fit the dropdown menu.

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WordPress Multi-Site: Switching Blogs

WordPressEarlier today, I was working on a new plug-in for one of my WordPress Multi-Site networks. I wanted to pull a list of top-level pages from each site/blog within the network, but I didn’t want the overhead of using the switch_to_blog() function. All I really wanted to do was to query the appropriate tables within the database, but, with WordPress Multi-Site’s implementation of table prefixes, there was no reliable way to attempt to ascertain the correct table name.

It took me a while to figure out how to do this, but I finally did figure it out.

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Calculating Future Dates with PHP

I recently received a request to set up a form that displays a recurring schedule of dates and times, allowing visitors to request one of those blocks of time as an appointment. The schedule would be the same every week, with numerous available blocks of time on specific days of each week.

I had two choices; I could either manually figure out each of the dates and then insert them into the database (either by-hand or with a script of some sort), which would require me to update the database to add new future dates rather frequently, or I could figure out a way to let PHP figure out the dates for me. I chose the latter, and I’ll show you how I did it after the jump.

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WordPress 3.0.2 Released – Mandatory Security Update

The folks over at WordPress released a new minor version this evening, and are calling it a “mandatory security update”. From the looks of it, only a handful of “minor” (their word, not mine) security holes were patched in this version, so I’m not quite sure why it’s being tagged as mandatory.

Regardless, if you’re running WordPress anywhere, you should really login to your administrative area, back up your site and then perform the update (if you don’t have a nag message at the top of your dashboard, you can always go to the “Updates” section under the “Dashboard” menu).

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Writing Dependent WordPress Plug-Ins

WordPress is a fantastic system in many ways, but one place that it’s really lacking is the ability to extend existing plug-ins. There is no built-in system of dependency when it comes to WordPress plug-ins, unfortunately.

Therefore, if you’re thinking of adding on to an existing WordPress plug-in, you basically have two options:

  1. You can modify the plug-in itself
    Using this method isn’t all that ideal, because any changes you make will obviously be overwritten whenever the plug-in is updated.
  2. You can write a plug-in that attempts to depend on the other plug-in
    With this method, if something changes in the other plug-in that causes your dependency check to fail, you could end up breaking the WordPress installation (which results in a blank white screen on most installations)

I would love to see WordPress implement some sort of dependency check or prioritizing method for plug-ins similar to the way they’ve implemented the method of using javascript and stylesheets. Sadly, though, there seems to be opposition from the development team because of too many unforeseen variables in the process.

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iPhone Apps I Want on Windows Phone

One of the huge downsides of being an early adopter is the lack of features you generally get in the beginning. For me, the humongous difference between the number of iPhone apps currently available and the number of Windows Phone 7 apps available isn’t that big of a problem, but there are a few apps I really miss. Following is a brief list of those apps. Please feel free to add more in the comments if you have any thoughts on the matter.

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Virgin Mobile (Secretly) Announces New BB2Go Plan

I logged into my Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go account the other day and noticed something new. Previously, I had two plan options: $10 for 100 megabytes (or 10 days, whichever comes first) and $40 for unlimited data (lasts for one month). However, there is now a third option in the list.

It seems, since I bought my MiFiĀ from Wal-Mart, I can get one month of service with 1 gigabyte of data for only $20. Obviously this plan wouldn’t work for me as my sole source of broadband (I know I use a lot more than 1 gig each month), but it is probably a great deal for people that just use the MiFi occasionally or strictly for Web browsing (no downloads).

I initially thought you could get this deal if you simply bought a new top-up card at Wal-Mart, but this article seems to indicate that it is only available to customers that bought (or buy) their MiFi devices at Wal-Mart. Sadly, at this point in time, Wal-Mart seems to be charging $40 more than list price (and Best Buy is charging $50 more; both according to their websites – Radio Shack is still selling the device at the $149 list price) for the MiFi devices, so you’re most likely going to have to decide how much you think you might use this mid-tier plan before you decide whether to buy the device at Wal-Mart.

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Windows Phone 7 vs. iPhone

After using an iPhone 3G for about 2 years, I gave it up last week. Then, this week, I picked up one of the new Windows Phone 7 devices (the HTC Surround). Following is a brief comparison of the two from my perspective.

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Virgin Mobile Experiences Major Outage

Around 2:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, (just a few hours after I finally cancelled my satellite Internet service), my access to the Internet through my Virgin Mobile MiFi device stopped working. After trying to restart the device a few times and doing some other troubleshooting, I decided to call Virgin Mobile to see if they knew what was happening.

When I finally got through to a technician (around 3:15), they told me that they were aware of the outage and that I should try connecting again in about four hours. We still went ahead and tried it throughout the rest of the day anyway without any luck. By 9 p.m. last night, it still wasn’t working, so I decided to call back and ask for an update. The Virgin Mobile technician told me they were still working on the outage and asked me to try again in about two hours.

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Updated Again: Is AT&T Shafting Its Stores?

This evening, I headed out to our local AT&T store to buy myself a brand new HTC Surround Windows Phone 7 handset. Unfortunately, when I got to the store, they didn’t have any. After I asked about it, I found out that it wasn’t because they’d sold out; it was because they still hadn’t gotten any. On top of that, they hadn’t even been told yet when they would be getting their first batch of the phones. The poor guy at the store really had no idea what the story was; he hadn’t even yet seen any of them in person.

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