Ten Must-Have JS Plugins for Busy Developers

This guest post on HtmlCenter blog is written by Casey Ark who runs Plato Web Design. We are always looking for interesting contributions to our blog which can provide value to our readers, please get in touch.

I run a design firm called Plato, and about a year ago, my team and I had reached an impasse. Like everyone else, we built websites with PHP/Wordpress, and had a great time doing it, but there was one problem: we were slow.

So we analyzed our processes – we watched everything our developers did each day, and tried to find the biggest time-wasting activities. After quite a bit of analysis, we eventually found out that approximately 50% of the time each of our developers spent each day was on repeatable tasks.

In fact, the biggest time-suck of all was in programming and reprogramming simple JavaScript features like lightboxes, form validation, and galleries. And in most cases, we were reinventing the wheel: features like these were already available as free Javascript plugins.

In the end, we spent a few weeks searching out the easiest-to-install, most customisable JS scripts in the world for use in our sites, and we saw an incredible increase in productivity…

Five Reasons Why HTML5 Rocks For Mobile

Andrew Holden is co-founder and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) at Weever Apps. Andrew is a web development expert and frequently writes about mobile visitor engagement and online best practices.

HTML5 is everywhere this year!  Google supports it.  Facebook’s all over it.  It’s clear that HTML5 is the future for mobile.

Ok, that’s cool. So what is HTML5 and what does it do for mobile?

Great question! HTML5 is the latest version of HTML – the standard for presenting and structuring content on the World Wide Web.  One of the great advancements with HTML5 is that it allows websites to function like mobile apps by offering design capability that is mobile friendly, as opposed to laptop/desktop friendly.  This means websites can be designed to fit mobile screens and have a user interface that is easy to control and highly functional with a touch screen. The term used for this technology is “web app”.

For practical purposes, there are two ways to implement a “web app”.

  1. Websites can be designed so that they can scale from a desktop monitor down to a smart phone screen.
  2. An independent web app can be designed, which will open when a website is accessed on a mobile device.

This new approach of presenting mobile content is breaking down barriers – including time, money, and the ubiquitous App Store.  The doors are now being opened to individuals and small business.  Big players are also gravitating to this alternative as they recognize the benefits.

Here are the facts about the mobile market:  50% of all local searches are now on mobile devices.  This is largely due to smart phone ownership surpassing cell phone ownership in the US and other countries.  Despite this notable adoption, most businesses don’t have any mobile solution of any kind – let alone the subsequent marketing benefits.  Unfortunately, traditional app development is just too time-consuming, expensive, and technical.

Adding Settings Fields to Your WordPress Plugin

When developing a plugin for WordPress, a lot of times you’ll want to create your own page of options within the administration area. To do so, you’ll usually use the add_options_page() or add_submenu_page() function to actually create the page; but then you’ll have to populate that page with the actual settings fields.

The first step in that process is to understand the add_settings_field() function. This function accepts 6 different parameters. They are as follows:

Free HTML5 Mobile Training From O’Reilly

Beginning on October 6, 2010, O’Reilly will offer a free 10-week HTML5 mobile course. The live sessions will be held each Tuesday at 3PM Pacific Time. It appears you can download the sessions at a later point but there will be a fee for the download.

Here’s an overview of what the instructor notes you will learn during the course:

  • Discover what’s new in HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for mobile development
  • Build your own Twitter App with these technologies
  • Create apps that detect the orientation of mobile devices
  • Use geolocation and maps in a location-based app
  • Enable mobile users to use your app offline
  • Use HTML5 web forms to create an address book app
  • Create drawings and animation with JavaScript and HTML5’s canvas element
  • Use HTML5’s audio and video elements to build a movie trailer app

You should have some basic knowledge of CSS and HTML for the course. They also recommend that you are on a Mac but you can participate if you use a PC or Linux.

Tables in HTML

Over the last few years, there has been a huge movement (and rightfully so) away from using tables to organize the layout of HTML pages. However, some seem to be taking things a bit too far.

The main reason for moving away from tables was to help make page layouts more semantic. Tables do still have a place in Web design and development, though, when they make sense semantically. Tabular data should be displayed in tables. Some designers and developers seem to forget that from time-to-time.

Improvements to Google Forms

It’s been a while since I’ve used the Google Docs interface to create a Web form; but I needed to create some quick, simple forms today. When I logged in and started creating the form, I didn’t really notice anything different.

However, as I worked more on the form, I noticed a nice update I hadn’t seen before. When creating forms within Google Docs, you can easily add section headers (along with additional text under the header) and even paginate your forms.

Pages: