I write about... Development

Creating block.json for a WordPress block

12 November 2020

I have been creating custom WordPress blocks since Gutenberg was in beta, though the vast majority are for work. But this week, I added my very first block to the WordPress block directory. (Hooray for my Color Palette!!) Anyone can...

The Case of the Disappearing Gutenberg

20 June 2020

Once upon a time, there was a WordPress post editor that discovered it had turned into a simple HTML editor…. (Apologies to Anne Tyler’s Back When We Were Grownups.) But in all seriousness, has this happened to you? I ask...

Updating Terminus: A guide for Pantheon users

11 March 2020

If you are a developer who hosts your sites on Pantheon, I would be willing to bet that you also use Terminus. For all you Terminus users, a message like this probably looks familiar: Terminus 2.2.0 [notice] A new Terminus...

Besan Block: A long time coming

15 August 2019

A few times a year, we hold an internal event at work that we call “Serendipity Day.” We use this day, inspired by NPR, to work on projects that are somewhat work related, but have been sitting on our back...

Featured Images, Gutenberg, and You

25 March 2019

A very common editor update that us WordPress developers make is to add options to the featured image meta box in the post editor. This is usually something like a checkbox to determine whether the featured image should be displayed...

The Accessibility of ::before and ::after

19 December 2017

I was recently reading a tutorial on how to use CSS counters. They look great! CSS counters are a new feature of CSS that allow us as developers to enumerate elements in the DOM and then do something with that...

Manual accessibility testing is your new BFF

08 August 2017

Testing your websites to ensure they are fully accessible is a lot of work. There are a bunch of tools out there to help you thoroughly test your sites - Siteimprove or Tenon, for example. These automated tools do an...

I'm lost!: A brief introduction to web landmarks

20 July 2017

Let’s pretend for a minute that you are a new visitor to Washington DC. You look around and see a lot of streets, buildings, and other structures. You need to get from one point in the city to another. You...

Bold and strong are not the same thing

10 July 2017

Believe it or not, the <b>, <i>, <strong>, and <em> tags have all been a part of the HTML spec since nearly the beginning. All four of these tags were introduced in HTML 2. However, for a very long time,...

Keyboard navigation when carousels block your way

20 April 2017

Oh… carousels. Carousels have become a major web design trend over the last several years. They are everywhere, from home pages to slideshows to product galleries. Carousels are terrible. From a content perspective, the majority of users only see the...

Accessibility and phone number formatting

02 November 2016

Accessible phone numbers on the web is a more complicated topic than you would think. Screen readers are remarkably inconsistent in the way they handle phone numbers. This is a huge issue from an accessibility point of view. Highlighting the...

Accessibility testing: Screen reader edition

16 September 2016

Accessibility testing on our websites is a large, large topic. I am writing about testing with screen readers here, but please keep in mind that accessibility testing != screen reader testing alone. There is a already great article from Viget...

When Git ignore doesn't

01 September 2016

Imagine this: You have a file in your Git repository that you need to modify. Perhaps it is a settings file for your CMS. The settings file works perfectly for your QA or production environment, but you need to modify...

Solving my internal CSS framework debate

11 May 2016

Just when I finished teaching my students about CSS frameworks, I come across an article telling me that “You Might Not Need a CSS Framework.” I am not telling my students yet. Let’s just say that is too much too...

4 ways teaching code made me a better developer

11 May 2016

Late last year, the good folks at General Assembly hired me to teach one of their part-time Front-End Web Development courses. I have been coding for years and, more recently, have given a few one-off guest lectures. However, I was...

A few of my favorite (dev) things

22 December 2015

I started teaching a web development class and I have been thinking a lot about what happens after class is over. My students will learn a bunch of HTML and CSS and a bit of Javascript over the course of...

I need a job!: 4 tips from a hiring manager

18 July 2015

The job market has been really fantastic for developers, so much so that technical immersion programs, like General Assembly and the Iron Yard, have become increasingly popular. More developers than ever are entering the market, yet unemployment (at least in...

Backbone: No more hash tags!

18 December 2014

Is one of your Backbone.js pet-peeves the fact that all of your routes have to start with a hash tag? It was mine! The other day, it finally became a problem when I had to integrate my Backbone app inside...

How to write code: Kid edition

03 December 2014

I was recently asked to do some research on how to teach an 8-year old about mobile app development. This made me happy on a bunch of levels. This kid is interested in something that is pretty complicated for adults....

Reverting remote commits in Git

07 November 2014

I had a “git” of a problem this week. (Ha… see what I did there?) I committed a bunch of changes to a remote branch, merged them to master, and then needed to back out those changes. (Why this need...

Adventures in IE: A story of Javascript dependencies

03 June 2014

I have never really been one for developing in IE. To be honest, I usually exclusively develop using Chrome and save my cross-browser testing for the end of the project. This is very likely a debatable practice, and I may...

Hybris: Create components manually

09 July 2013

I have spent a large part of this year working in a system called Hybris, which is a Java-based e-commerce platform.  The Hybris back-end seems to be very robust and includes a decent amount of documentation.  The Hybris front-end also...

Taming my Frankenstein monster of a website

24 May 2013

It was a disaster. My website, that is. I started my site with good intentions. All I wanted was a simple site with some basic information about me. Maybe my resume, too. After all, any serious web developer needs a...

Cheap Trick with YUI Carousel

23 August 2011

This is just another example of why Internet Explorer 7 (and earlier) needs to die. I have been working on a project where a group of images needs to be displayed on a page, four at a time in a...

Adding a character limit to a text area using YUI

29 July 2011

In the UI world, it is a good idea to let the users know about any constraints they have on any form fields. We all know this. There are a million ways to do this – through error messages, help...

YUI 3 in a YUI 2 world

24 May 2011

I know what you are probably thinking. You want to use YUI 3 inside YUI 2? Really? Why not just upgrade to YUI 3 altogether? The question actually came up in one of my more recent projects, with a client...

YUI vs. jQuery

20 September 2010

Ever since I started my consulting gig, I have been learning so many new (or, rather, new to me) technologies. Most of my learning experiences have centered around Javascript libraries – namely jQuery and YUI. In light of the fact...

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