ShooFlyBuzz

Welcome to ShooFlyBuzz, the company weblog. We use this space to talk about what’s happening with ShooFlyDesign, but more generally to talk about web design, the challenges we encounter, the tools we use, websites we like, and provide some training on the care and feeding of your own website.

If you want to send in feedback, leave a comment, send an email, or tweet @shooflydesign.

This Wednesday, June 11, I'll be speaking at the downtown meetup of jQuery LA. I'll be showing a relatively simple jQuery filter that does something useful with images, and show how it can be converted into a plugin without a whole lot of hassle. Then you can take that plugin and reuse it on other projects more easily, and even distribute it through the jQuery plugins registry, your GitHub account, or wherever you like.

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Every year there are two huge Drupal conferences: one in North America, the other somewhere else in the world. North America's was in Austin this year, and just wrapped up. The next one will be in Amsterdam at the end of September. It's a tradition at each con to announce the location of the next one, and next year's will be here in Los Angeles. Yay! I've been to many camps, but never to a con, so this gives me absolutely no way out of finally going. I'm definitely looking forward to this.

I found out about this very shortly before Austin, and helped some of the fine folks in LA's Drupal community put together a video that played during the closing session in Austin, revealing our fair city as the next location. I worked on the music for it, sourcing some material and playing a little bit of ukulele. Check it out!

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Once or twice on most days, I'll get a notification of a comment coming through that is (to me) obviously spam, so I delete it. No big deal. When you see an email like this every day, it can lead you to think "how well is my spam blocker working?"

Well, in my case the answer is a resounding yes. I use Mollom, and I looked at its dashboard today to see just how much it's working.

Mollom has blocked 526,332 spam attempts in the last 410 days

As we say in the business, HOLY SMOKE!

Last month, SoCal WordPress and Hollywood WordPress joined forces for a meetup called "My Favorite Plugin". There were quite a few of us who gave lightning talks on a particular plugin we like. Video from the meetup was just posted. There were many plugins I wasn't familiar with, all coming recommended by folks in the LA WordPress community. Check it out below, or read the post on HollywoodWP.com.

You can also skip to my portion on WP Migrate DB and its powerful, commercial companion WP Migrate DB Pro, at 22:30 or so. As I said in the talk, I haven't quite needed to buy the paid version yet because the free one is well done and covers what I usually need, but I'll probably be buying the Pro version regardless just to say thanks to the developer.

I also hype the idea of writing your own plugin, which was something I went into in a little more depth at the Advanced WordPress meetup later that same week. Our March meetup is this coming Saturday at 11 AM. Come get your weekend WordPress on!

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When you change themes on a Drupal 7 site, you often need to reset the placement of your blocks. If you're using the core block module to place them, you may end up with a bunch of blocks in unexpected places on your new theme. If you want to reset everything and start from scratch, you could edit the {blocks} table in your database, but you can also do it with JavaScript. While viewing the blocks admin page (admin/structure/blocks), paste this line into your JavaScript console:

jQuery('#blocks').find('select').val(-1);

If you're trying to make your Drupal site as fast as possible, you might consider using a static HTML file for page not found (404) errors. There are various other solutions that can help make Drupal faster in these situations while still letting you take advantage of Drupal-level redirects and whatnot, but a static page is always the fastest.

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I'm participating in this campaign to curtail the massive surveillance happening in this country and elsewhere, through the NSA and related organizations. There's a big gnarly banner across the bottom of my site all day, and you can check out The Day We Fight Back for more information. If you're in the US, you can call and email using the tools in that banner.

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The all-powerful Jetpack plugin for WordPress is full of useful features, one of which is contact forms. It's a pretty good choice for this because it ties in with Akismet for spam protection, stores all submissions in the database (so your email account isn't the only place to look if one goes missing), and comes with a nice UI for creating the forms. Once installed, you get an "Add Contact Form" button on your Posts and Pages edit screens, with sensible defaults.

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This has been a crazy year. A whole lot of client work, a new arrangement with lynda.com, some unreleased projects that I can't quite talk about yet, and that's just in the ShooFlyDesign part of life!

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