web development

My current job is that of a "Web developer." As such, I will occasionally obsess over the construction of this website.

Major Overhaul of Planet Pimp Web Site

Did you know I maintain an informational resource page dedicated to Planet Pimp Records (the greatest record label ever to exist)? Well, now you do, and today I uploaded a massive update to the site. This is mostly behind the scenes stuff that makes the site easier for me to update, but I have also added some new features including links to external video and audio. There have also been some fancy style tweaks so the site now scales to fit mobile devices.

My First Foray into SASS

As I mentioned a few posts ago, this site has received a major theme overhaul. Aside from a couple form element styles, this change was mostly structural and behind-the-scenes. The new theme is my first foray into using the SASS CSS preprocessing language. Let me tell you, it was a revelation. SASS allows you to write CSS using a super-clean tabbed coding style and (finally) allows the use variables and expressions in styles.

Another Site Update

Well, recently I've been trying to learn how to use SASS for styling Web pages and have kinda fallen in love with it. So here is my first go at it in the form of a new site template. Not much has changed visually, but, trust me, there have been a ton of changes behind the scenes. I will post more about this and the trials of retrofitting a Drupal theme for SASS sometime in the near future. In the meantime, look at the neat comments buttons I made!

Drupal, Pathologic and Corrupted URLs

I've been having some technincal issues with this site lately. Strange links to content within the site have been appearing at random. I would insert a hyperlink to an archived post and then, days later, I would come back to see that the URL has been rewritten with a random sub-domain prefix. My domain would appear as www.wqw.robertgomez.org or similar.

Drupal: My List of Essential Modules

Taking a break from my usual and completely unnecessary review posts, I thought I'd take a moment get a little technical. This site and many others I have developed use the Drupal open-sourced content management system. Drupal is great. It's incredibly flexible, powerful and yet moderately easy to use if you have a little Web design experience.

Other systems I have used in the past, including Microsoft Sharepoint and Wordpress, don't hold a candle to Drupal. Sharepoint is an abomination and the only reason you should ever use it for a public facing Web site is if you work at Megacorp, Inc. and some idiot I.T. guy bought it as part of a multi-million dollar corporate enterprise package. Customizing Sharepoint is an exercise in futility and self-immolation. Just assume that your clean standards-compliant code with get destroyed and converted into a stew of redundant tags and impossible-to-style markup. Wordpress is much better than that but it still falls short of Drupal when it comes to customizing your content types and controlling look and feel. You can hardly do anything custom in Wordpress without having to hand code PHP. Simple tasks like adding an extra field to a post-type are just a pain and require some sort of third-party plugin (of which there are many and all of them do it differently). The only area where Wordpress is better than Drupal is in installing and updating plugins and core systems. Drupal is getting better at this, but it still has a way to go to match the ease of use that Wordpress offers.

For all my Drupal love, it still isn't perfect right out of the box. Any Drupal install is going to require also installing a number of add-on modules to get your site fully reach its potential. So here is a list of the modules that I will include in every Drupal site that I create.

Upgrading to Drupal 7

Well, I've finally decided to upgrade this site to the latest verison of Drupal. The actual process of migrating to version 7 wasn't too bad. The majority of issues came from Views and fields not being named or typed the same way they were in Drupal 6. Changing all the views by hand was not that difficult and it allowed me to do a bit of how cleaning withing views. Views in Drupal 7 is sooooo much better!

Dummy Image Bookmarklet

This afternoon I came up with a handy little bookmarklet (or favlet) that uses the site dummyimage.com to create a place holder graphic. Simply drag the following link to the button bar of your browser:

Dummy Image

When you click the bookmark it will prompt you to input image dimensions. Use the format, WIDTHxHEIGHT (for example 640x480) and a new window should open up with a downloadable GIF with those exact dimensions.

Adobe Contribute Is No Longer My Friend

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Adobe. Some of their products are great—Photoshop is a verb these days for good reason—but, they have also released some of the most disappointing software I have ever used. Encore, their DVD authoring program, will crash anytime you try to do anything with even a moderate degree of complexity. Dreamweaver will give you cryptic JavaScript errors out of the blue, when you are not actively editing anything. Heck, everyone knows Acrobat is a bloated resource hog.