Accessible Websites for Everyone May 17, 2013
As digital workers we live in an extremely exciting time. New innovations are being developed every day, and they can be used to create incredible experiences for our users. There are endless amounts of fantastic open source projects on Github, and as many tutorials as you can walk through on sites like Nettuts and Smashing Magazine. Easy implementation of previously complex techniques have given rise to an abundance of sites using parallax, draggable elements, CSS animations, the list goes on.
With all of these possibilities, it can be tempting to throw them all into our web pages in the name of creating 'cutting edge' experiences. However, many developers are getting caught up in these temptations and losing sight of the real goal of our websites and webapps: to distribute our content to as many users as we can. As fancy as we can make our experiences, in the end we are still information disseminators and it is important to put on the blinders and make this a priority.
Learning From The HTML5 Boilerplate May 16, 2013
The [HTML5 Boilerplate](http://html5boilerplate.com/) is a starting point for front end development focusing on best practices and common inclusions. It might not be necessary to replicate it, especially if you like starting all of your projects from the ground up as I do, but at the very least it is a great accompaniment to your workflow and having it open when starting a website can ensure you don't miss anything important.
It can also be a fantastic learning tool too get into the habit of using these best practices yourself. Doing a simple read-through will no doubt reveal some practices that might have been missed or introduce some tweaks that can make everything run more efficiently. During a read-through I decided to note both some of the most important inclusions in the boilerplate as well as the useful points that may not be as commonly used.
Search HTML For String Using jQuery May 13, 2013
We recently ran into an issue where we had a eight tags from a JSP that each populated a <div&rt; based on a string from a database. Some of the strings sent "null", meaning that the box should be hidden as no content was delivered. A validation for this would normally be easily written on the server side, but we were sending this content through a web service call to a client's portal. In other words, our goal was to populate a single HTML string and sent it to the client, so once the content was populated we would no longer have any control over the page. This meant that all of our validations for the null content had to be done on the client side once the user opened the document in the portal.
Mishandling of Trust May 10, 2013
Large brands sell not only a product or service, but an image. Some of these companies compete in industries that, by nature, garner a following that isn't just committed, but downright passionate. Major sports teams are at the head of this type of industry that gains inherent trust with those who follow their product, and that trust can be easily taken advantage of.
Blog Redesign! May 3, 2013
As you can see, the blog is newly redesigned! It was quick and dirty, just took the afternoon, but it is no doubt a huge upgrade. When I designed the first one I didn't have much experience and I was too excited to add unnecessary "cool" things. Unfortunately that resulted in a lot of extra file size and HTTP requests.
This redesign focuses on what's important, easier readability and a light backend that makes mobile viewing, well, not a pain in the ass.
I appreciate everyone who read this blog before despite it's large load and iffy design, and hope the new redesign keeps you coming back!
Form Placeholders in HTML5 April 29, 2013
Easily Show Labels Inside Input Elements April 24, 2013
HTML forms are certainly not well liked, and are very rarely considered fun. However, there are ways to make your forms look and function more concisely. Putting the labels inside your form fields can shorten up your forms, save space, and allow a little more creativity in your form design.
If you run a CRUD type app using Rails, an important piece is keeping users from interfering with others' work. Add these few lines to 404 the page for anyone trying to edit other's posts.
Record IP Address on PHP Form Submit March 27, 2013
When receiving questions or feedback from an online survey, sometimes it's nice to use a basic PHP-to-email form instead of a database, as long as you don't plan on getting too many emails to handle.
A possible drawback of this approach is that typically it isn't a smart form, allowing users to resubmit. This could result in a potential issue with unhappy or disruptive users sending multiple forms while you're under the impression that they are coming from multiple sources.
Recently I needed to create a multipage Rails app, which took a list of articles and sorted through them, then let you click a button that added the title to a preview list that could be temporarily saved and opened in a new window.
You can view an early backbone of the tool [here](https://github.com/m0ose89/juvo) to get an idea of where I was headed with the backend.