Playing around with the ESPN API a bit lately. I made a quick Rails app to pull in all the NBA teams and display the headlines for each team. Check it out at here.

The API is pretty cool and is progressively getting better. The problem is a lot of the cool stuff is only available to 'partners'. Hopefully they open it up a bit more in the future.

04 Apr 2013

Responsive design is in full effect these days. It's a easy way to make sure you site looks good for everyone. Since all of my personal projects are responsive I wanted a way to quickly check my sites. So, I made a little app to send a set screenshots to any email address. Check it out at ResponsiveShots.com.

It's fairly simple right now, but I have some plans to make it better. I want to add the ability for developers to post to site after a deployment. This will allow a quick sanity check of the site and prove to whoever that the feature(s) were released.

03 Feb 2013

I just finished up some work for a great photographer in Omaha. Check it out at Look Portrait.

I used a couple of new tools this time around. First was Middleman for making a static site but with the advantages of reusable templates, SASS/LESS, and a suite of other features.

For the grids system I tried out Bourbon Neat. Neat is a sweet little fluid grid system developed by some guys at Thoughtbot. It is a different take on grids than I used before and I really liked it. The fluid grids just work and are easily configurable.

I'll post some updates soon, been lazy lately/busy with a baby. Baby Dillon pics :-)

12 Dec 2012

At work the other day we hit 100,000 users. It was pretty exciting as it is by far the largest site I have ever worked on. We also had a hacknight that night at work and was looking to do something with the theme of user and their avatars. So I started playing around with something on JSBin to see if I could make one of those mashups of small pictures creating a larger picture. This isn't perfect but it shows some cool use cases for some new CSS3 properties. Check it here: 100,048.

24 Aug 2012

Posting via Prose.io.

15 Aug 2012

Working on some random jQuery this weekend I noticed something about data-attributes that I hadn't before. Apparently jQuery's .data() function tries to coerce any number like value into an actual JS number object. This means data-whatever="0000" turns into whatever=0 in the .data() object. So, it is advised to use .attr() whenever you need to get the true value of an attribute.

15 Jul 2012

Jekyll

14 Jul 2012

Jekyll is an awesome blogging tool that I read about a few month ago. I played around with it a bit for creating Github pages, and thought it might be a nice replacement to my made from scratch CMS I was utilizing. Turns out this was the case and Jekyll + Github is perfect for blogging...if your developer.

I am still in progress of migrating my posts from my old Rails app to this Jekyll based Github backed blog. However This has proven to be easy to set-up, extensible enough, and worthwhile to learn some new tech.

Ihad a valid reason to use the dreaded CSS !important this weekend. I swear. Well...it was that or my Excel exports would not have the colors requested. So until I fix the Excel export, then !important stays. I feel dirty.

13 Jul 2012

Domain Switch

17 Feb 2012

Ifinally left Bluehost and switched my domains over to NameCheap. I don't have a need for hosting other than Heroku/Github anymore. I store all my personal work in a private repo and any fun or demo type stuff in public. I like it much better than trying to manage a server and all that.

I put the Heroku commands in a Gist for reference later on:

Janus Install Notes

27 Jan 2012

All the cool kids at work have switched to Janus/VIM from Eclipse. I got a new computer today so I decided to try it out. I ran into some issue installing from the default script. I put my notes in a gist just in case I have to redo it later.

So far so good, I prefer VIM to any text editor as I have a systems background I am fairly comfortable there. BUT, our app uses a ton of API calls and I hope debugging will work out well. We will find out in the next few days.

Some Links:

Django RadioSelect Patching

December 30, 2011 06:09

I had to change up the standard Django RadioSelect form widget today because I didn't want the label tags wrapping the input like it usually does. This is normally okay (and semantically fine), but the label wrap can be difficult to style when using it in a list. It was a bit confusing at first but generally simple once I figured it all out.

A couple good links that helped were here:

Here's a gist with what I did:

view raw gistfile1.py This Gist brought to you by GitHub.

I am just getting the hang of Django widgets, so if there is a better way of doing this then let me know! @dsmith1024.

Web Dev Links

August 05, 2011 15:54

Iam switching roles at work soon and had to document everything I do for the next person. I have no idea if the next person will be a web developer or not. So I added a few links for them to use to my Getting Started doc. I figure I should post them here as well. Keep in mind I used Ruby, Rails, and some PHP for my old position.

  • HTML
    • Use to mark the layout of web documents
    • W3.org or search google
  • CSS
    • Use to style HTML documents
    • W3.org
  • JavaScript (ECMAScript)
    • Used for dynamic parts on the web (Filters, Animations, Popups, AJAX)
    • Lots of examples on the internet
    • Mozilla JS Guide
  • jQuery and jQuery UI
    • Framework for Javascript. Very popular, you can write your own JS if you like, but I prefer jQuery
    • jQuery
  • Ruby
  • Ruby on Rails
    • A ruby web framework with Model View Controller (MVC) structure
    • Documents is great and web community is large. You can find examples of almost everything on google.
    • RubyonRails.org
  • PHP
    • PHP used the same way as ruby is. Good for simple quick web pages with integrated access to MySql.
    • Php.net
    • Pretty good documentation with good examples in the comments

There are lots of bad web development examples on the internet. When developing try to learn the base languages then the frameworks after. When developing HTML documents try to use Progressive Enhancement to build the pages. This means creating a semantically correct HTML document first, then styling with CSS, and then building on interaction with JavaScript. Also make sure your code is validated by the correct doctype. I try to incorporate these principles into my websites.

Other good links:

  • A List Apart - Pretty much everything here is good
  • JSBin - used to test js in the browser
  • Twitter - follow any kind of web developer you can find
    • People will answer questions and post new trends for development all the time
    • Twitter!

Side note: I am moving on to be a Web Developer at Cerner. I will be working on an assortment of Personal Health type websites. Looks like most of the use Python and Django.

Jammit

July 12, 2011 18:28

Irecently needed to fix my CSS and JS (asset) distribution for a project at work. It was my first time doing this but had some great success with Jammit.

Jammit will help with minifying JS/CSS and package them all up as one file. This does a couple things. It first allows you to have smaller files to download, which take less time for the user to download them. Second it packages them into one file so there are less HTTP request to download different files. These two changes will really help page loads.

On top of using Jammit, you will want to setup mod_deflate for Apache. This was partially setup for me by default. You will need to tweak the httpd.conf file a bit. Here is mine:

ExpiresActive On
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/css application/x-javascript application/javascript
<Directory "/var/www/fitness/public">
  ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 year"
</Directory>
Header unset ETag
FileETag none

This actually sets up future expiration dates on files, so they are cached for a longer period of time. This also disables ETags.

I recommend install YSlow for FireFox and testing out your sites. I started with a C grade and moved to and A grade with about a days worth of work. The descriptions for fixes all link to the YUI performance guidelines. These are all pretty helpful, but can be a bit confusing the first time through. Just set your Rails environment to production mode and test it out. You can easily see which items are caching and which are being download from the Net tab in FireBug.

Overall Jammit really made to process easy and had decent documentation. It took a bit of playing around with, but overall was very worth it.

Find by date - Unix

July 12, 2011 21:30

Find by time is often forgotten by me. Hopefully writing it down will help me remember, because it's very helpful. I just don't use find enough to remember it.


find /wherever -name "*whatever*" -mtime -60 # NEWER THAN
find /wherever -name "*whatever*" -mtime +60 # OLDER THAN

Credit: This is my usual spot.

Responsive Smith

June 30, 2011 15:04

Smith1024 is now a bit more responsive. I changed up the scaffolding to be more fluid. This should allow for more flexibility (literally) in the future.

I am currently finishing Ethan Marcotte's (@beep) Responsive Web Design book. It is a short book but has tons of great info. I plan on adding in CSS3 media queries for some more fun later on.

Also check out the new transitions on the menu and header.

Update

Finished this book last week and made a few changes to the site last night. Main changes I made were:

  • Better zoom on mobile devices with the viewport meta tag.
  • Added a min-width media-query to change up the navigation on smaller screens. I dare you to load it up on your Android or iPhone!
  • Added media query for large screens which adds padding to the bottom of each posts first paragraph. If the lines did not wrap then the second paragraph would scrunch up below it.

Pretty simple but powerful stuff. After reading up some more, a lot of people are preferring adaptive design over responsive design.

Links

Flooding Sux

June 18, 2011 21:06

Dakota Dunes, SD was my home for the last week. This is where my parents and a number of friends live. The place is about to flood throughout June because of abnormal amounts of rain and snow in Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming and anywhere else on the Missouri river.

I am finally back in Kansas City now but feel bad to leave. There are 2,000+ people being evacuated from the area currently. The government has told them all that they might be displaced for 2 or more months.

There are going to be other areas affected by this flood not just the Dune's. There is going to be a long term impact from this not just the flooding and housing impact. The whole Siouxland (SUX) area will have a huge economic impact.

Update

June 14, 2011 - Currently my parents and all the Dunes residents are still displaced from their homes. However, there is no damage to my parents home yet. Many of the homes right on the river are having issues, but the majority are still okay. I am not sure how long this will last but currently the levees are holding. There is no telling if groundwater is in the basement yet.

I will update again in when we have more news. Check out the pictures section or SiouxCityJournal.com for pictures.

Finally Live!

May 26, 2011 02:28

Finally this site is up and running. I have made a few different designs and never liked any of them. So finally on my 27th b-day at 5AM we are live!

I decided to skip Wordpress or Joomla or any other content management system and just roll my own with Rails, JQuery, and little HTML5/CSS3 for fun. Since I don't get to at work, I really want to learn more about interacting with different Social API's. So hopefully you'll find more and more integration with Twitter, Flickr and whatever else is next.

I have no clue how often I will post or what about. My main reason for doing this is to play with new technologies and get some more design experience.

Hit me up on Twitter if you have any feedback.