Google Fonts

Google Font LogoOne of many new features in CSS3 that has the Web development and design world clamoring is the introduction (well, reintroduction and standardization, really) of embedded fonts. Commonly referred to as the @font-face property, CSS3 will allow you to use non-standard fonts on your Web pages without having to resort to using images. Instead, you’ll upload the font file (in most cases, a Truetype Font [TTF] file) to a space on the Web, then use the @font-face property to import that font file as a resource for the page.

Reset Stylesheets

Whenever I begin slicing up a new website design to turn it into a template, one of the first things I do is to implement a reset stylesheet. The ideal reset stylesheet will essentially turn off all of the proprietary default CSS properties that browsers impose on various HTML elements. At the very least, padding and margins need to be reset, as each of the major browsers tend to implement those in completely different manners.

Three-Column Layouts

For me, it’s pretty rare that I develop fluid website layouts, so I’ve not played much with them. However, as part of a recent project, I needed a way to create a fixed-width sidebar and a fluid second column. I started searching around, and came across an old (January 2006) article from A List Apart (ALA). Although it’s old, it’s still extremely useful. It’s fairly aptly titled “The Holy Grail.”

The article explains how to create a three-column layout with fixed-width side columns and a fluid center column. For this particular application, I modified it slightly to use a two-column layout, but I’ve since realized just how powerful and useful the techniques described in the article are.

Using Javascript in WordPress Themes

If you’re planning to use javascript on your WordPress blog or website, there is one function with which you should become intimately familiar. That function is wp_enqueue_script(). It will also be helpful if you do a little bit of research into the wp_deregister_script() function, though, the only official information you’ll find about that function is in the codex information about the wp_enqueue_script() function.

Basically, this function keeps a log of all of the javascript files and libraries you want to use in your theme, makes sure you aren’t duplicating any, and then outputs them in the right order. I would recommend setting the $in_footer parameter to boolean true for all of the scripts you enqueue, as that causes WordPress to add the javascript calls to the footer of your pages rather than putting them in the header. In order to do this, though, you need to make sure that you include the wp_footer() function inside of your theme (preferably just above the closing </body> tag).

Improve Your Page Performance

The other day, Glen Campbell (no, not “Rhinestone Cowboy” Glen Campbell) posted some tips on Friendfeed to help people improve the performance of their Web pages. I can’t say I completely agree with every single one of the suggestions across all situations, but they are definitely a great place to start. Glen indicated to me that his tips are “basically a distallation of the Yahoo! Developer Network “Best Practices”“, but I think he’s done a really good job of pulling out the meat of those best practices and putting them in a language that can be easily understood. I hope you will evaluate the tips and best practices for yourself and use the tips that apply to your situation as well as you can.

Microsoft Previews IE9

Today at the MIX10 Conference, Microsoft previewed Internet Explorer 9 to an apparently very receptive crowd. I watched along on Twitter as Molly Holzschlag live-tweeted from Dean Hachamovitch’s speech (the link only shows a small portion of the tweets she posted from his speech – this is also a really impressive tidbit from Molly). She seemed impressed by the demo of Internet Explorer 9, and, I have to admit, I was extremely impressed by the information she shared.

At the end of the speech, it was announced that Internet Explorer 9 is already available for download. It’s obviously far from final, but it’s really cool to see that Microsoft is moving so quickly toward releasing new browsers and embracing the standards of the Web. Microsoft is referring to the available version as a “platform preview,” which is a creative way of referring to an alpha or beta release, I think.

If you want to try Internet Explorer 9, you can download the “platform preview” from Microsoft’s Web site.

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