Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: November 2015


  

We all love a good wallpaper to polish up our desktops. So to provide you with fresh artwork on a regular basis, we embarked on our desktop wallpaper mission seven years ago. Each month we challenge you, the design community, to get your creative juices flowing and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative wallpapers. And, well, it wasn’t any different this time around.

Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: November 2015

Just like every month, designers and artists from across the globe challenged their artistic abilities and contributed their designs. The result is a collection of desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. All of them come in a version with and without a calendar and are free to download. A big thank-you to everyone who shared their artwork! Which one will make it to your November desktop?

The post Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: November 2015 appeared first on Smashing Magazine.


Source: Smashing Magazine

Create a Tabbed Browser Using Node-Webkit and AngularJS

This article was peer reviewed by Edwin Reynoso, Tim Severien and Divy Tolia. Thanks to all of SitePoint’s peer reviewers for making SitePoint content the best it can be!

In the past, cross-platform software development often meant writing the same application in different languages for different operating systems. As you can imagine, this was a difficult situation for project managers, developers and customers alike.

Then, in 2011, Roger Wang introduced something called Node-Webkit. Node-Webkit (which has since been renamed to NW.js) is a combination of Node.js and an embedded WebKit browser which allows developers to use web technologies (i.e. HTML, CSS and JavaScript) to develop native apps. Yes, that’s right! We get to write native apps, using all the goodies that are supported in our modern browsers. For example, CSS3 animations, WebGL, WebRTC, video, audio, and plenty more can all be incorporated into a native application.

In this tutorial, I am going to demonstrate how to harness the power of NW.js to make a tabbed browser, which can be deployed on all major operating systems. As ever, the code for this tutorial can be found on our GitHub repo.

Initial Setup

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As the name suggests, NW.js is based on Node, so you’ll need to have that installed on your operating system. We’ll also be making use of npm (the Node Package Manager). If you need help getting either of these things set up, then check out our tutorial: A Beginner’s Guide to npm.

Next we’ll need a folder for our project:

mkdir sitepoint-browser && cd sitepoint-browser

We’ll also need some dependencies that should be installed globally (namely, Yeoman, Grunt and Bower):

npm install -g yo grunt bower

Of these, Yeoman (AKA Yo) is a tool to scaffold everyday projects dynamically, thereby avoiding the hurdles of always having to create reusable project structures manually. Grunt is a task runner which Yeoman uses. It also uses npm and Bower to install required dependencies.

Next, we’ll install Yo’s generator-wean. You can either do this globally or locally. Here I’ll do it globally:

npm install -g generator-wean

NW.js itself has a handful of generators but generator-wean (authored by me) comes bundled with ExpressJS and AngularJS which eases the stress of installing and configuring them. WEAN stands for Webkit, Express, Angular and Node just like the popular MEAN.

Now our skeleton app can be generated with one command:

yo wean

Yo is an interactive guy and the generator will ask you some questions in order to assist in making a project that best suits what you want. Here you can just accept the defaults.

Folder Structure

The folder structure will look like so:

.
├── app
│   ├── app.js
│   ├── index.html
│   ├── public
│   │   ├── css
│   │   │   └── app.css
│   │   ├── js
│   │   │   └── app.js
│   │   ├── libs
│   │   │   ├── angular
│   │   │   ├── bootstrap
│   │   │   └── jquery
│   │   └── partials
│   │       └── header.html
│   ├── routes
│   │   └── index.js
│   └── views
│       └── index.ejs
├── node_modules
├── bower.json
├── Gruntfile.js
├── package.json
└── README.md

For this project, we are interested primarily in the contents of the public directory. The generator will have filled these files with a bunch of boilerplate (a very simple Angular app), but we will be addressing that as we go.

We can now run the skeleton app using:

grunt run or just grunt

This command can be used at any point in the app development to preview changes. It executes the NW.js project which in turns uses Express for routing just as you would when making a web application. This is a good example of how we can use Node modules in NW.js by injecting them in the app/index.html after initializing.

NW.js also has developer tools and toolbars where we can find controls to refresh, debug, inspect, log, etc just as we do when building a web application in Chrome. You can access these by clicking the hamburger icon in the skeleton app.

Dealing With the UI

The most important aspect of this tutorial is to be able to surf the internet from our native application. The webview and iframe tags are perfect candidates for our plan. The webview tag is effective but quite new to the game as it was only recently added to NW.js. The iframe tag, however has been around since HTML 4 and has wide support. We will use it because it is well-known to most developers.

Bootstrap will serve as the base for our UI. We will use a custom bootstrap theme named Slate from Bootswatch. Download Slate and place it in app/public/css/bootstrap.css.

For our icons, we will make use of Font Awesome. From the project root run:

bower install --save fontawesome

This will download Font Awesome to our libs folder just like other bower dependencies. This is because we specify the following line in the .bowerrc file in our project root (the default is otherwise bower_components).

{
  "directory" : "app/public/libs"
}

Fortunately, Bootstrap will handle most of the UI tasks but we need to tweak some of the components and contents to actually make a browser that looks good. To achieve this, we will write some simple and short CSS and place it in app/public/css/app.css:

html,
.tab-content,
.tab-pane,
body > div {
  height: 100%;
}

iframe {
  background: white;
}

.controls {
  position: fixed;
  top: 10px;
  right: 8px;
}

.controls > i {
  padding: 0 3px;
}

.controls > i:last-child {
  color: red;
}

.controls > i:hover {
  color: white;
  cursor: pointer;
}

.close-tab:hover {
  color: red;
  cursor: pointer;
}

The html, body, tab-content and tab-pane height are set to 100% to ensure that regardless of the size of our browser app, the content should fill up the height of the window. By default, width is 100% so there is no need to explicitly specify it. We also give a minimal style to our browser controls which we will be seeing in a while.

Continue reading %Create a Tabbed Browser Using Node-Webkit and AngularJS%


Source: Sitepoint

Handling POST Requests the WordPress Way

An interactive website needs to be able to interact with user input, which is commonly in the form of form submissions. A WordPress site is no exception to this rule. There are various interactions happening on a website on a daily basis. For example, subscribing to a newsletter, sending a message to the site owner and filling in an order form. All of these usually happen from POST requests during a form submission.

WordPress Transients API

In this article, we’re going to take a simple example of handling a POST request from a user, which is submitted via a contact form. We are going to use an internal WordPress hook to properly get the data, process it accordingly and redirect the user back to a specific page.

This article assumes you have a basic knowledge of the WordPress Plugin API. If you’re not familiar, it’s highly recommended to become review the Codex page first.

The Background

WordPress is based on an event driven architecture. This means internally, WordPress core is filled up with various actions and filters to modify the program execution or to alter the content during runtime. Examples of actions that are running during program execution are init, wp, template_redirect and wp_head. Many plugins utilise these actions and filters to modify how WordPress works.

It is no different with what we are going to achieve. All we need to know is the proper hooks needed for the POST request and to modify our code accordingly. This is possible by pointing all our form submissions to a specific file in the wp-admin directory called admin-post.php. If you have experienced integrating your application with WordPress internal AJAX API, then you will notice that the basic structure of admin-post.php is not much different to the admin-ajax.php counterpart.

Continue reading %Handling POST Requests the WordPress Way%


Source: Sitepoint

New Course: Animate Your Site With AngularJS

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Animation is no longer an optional feature in web applications. Users expect it, so developers must oblige. If you’re writing an AngularJS-based application, then you already have a wealth of built-in animation tools available. 

In Animate Your Site With AngularJS, Tuts+ instructor Jeremy McPeak will teach you about AngularJS 1.4’s revamped ngAnimate, the module responsible for animation. ngAnimate is built on CSS3 animations, so you’ll learn a lot about those along the way.

You can take our new course straight away by subscribing to Envato Tuts+. For just $15 a month, you get access to this course and hundreds of others, with new ones added every week.


Source: Nettuts Web Development

13 Tips on Designing and Building Apps More Efficiently

Programmer

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the small utility apps I’ve programmed over the years and how I could have designed them better.

I loosely define a utility as any project designed to solve a singular and specific problem for a certain situation or business process.

For example, I built a small PHP application that accepts an export from an ecommerce store and parses the data into another format needed for a specific business process.

How could I design these better?

I normally build a utility by having an idea of a problem to solve, and I jump right in to an editor and start typing.

Some time later, I find myself wanting to steal functionality from old utilities, but when I go to reuse some code, I find out how badly I programmed the thing! Generally I don’t spend a lot of time on small utilities, so they are programmed without classes, namespaces, or even OOP. Procedural FTW!

It’s made me think that I should be more organized, even in tiny projects.

Here are some issues I now consider before starting any new project.

1) The basics are required!

Regardless of how tiny the utility is, practice good programming! Use proper source formatting, naming conventions and commenting. Another developer should be able to see what’s going on in the code with little effort.

Avoid procedural coding where possible.

I no longer allow myself to write sloppy code, even if the project is tiny or of limited use.

2) Define the project

It doesn’t matter if the utility has a single function to perform: it should be well defined before coding begins. The definition of the app will include basic declarations, like who will use it, what data it will expect, and what output it’s supposed to give.

Define data sources, security concerns, and whether the app will grow with more functions over time.

Where will the utility be hosted?

The more detailed the definition, the easier it is to pick tools and stay in scope while programming it. This is especially true if you’re programming for someone else!

App development

3) Will others work on it?

If other programmers will be involved, increase your documentation and commenting. Use source control, and focus on separation of concerns in your classes and methods.

If no programmer will ever need to read your code or work on it except you, keep to the basics and don’t overwhelm yourself. Just make sure you can still make sense of it!

4) Source control?

Depending on the context of the utility—such as if it is an internal project for an organization that will own the work—the code may be hosted in a public repository. If so, increase documentation; add a readme.md file; add DocBlocks to define ownership of the code, and use Semantic Versioning.

If there are concerns about intellectual rights and who owns the code, this would require you to throw a license in there.

5) Do I have to maintain it for the long haul?

If you foresee future development, assume that others will work on the app, and that it therefore needs source control, improved documentation, and a license attached.

You may not be the person to maintain future versions if the app is internal to an organization. It’s better to spend the extra time on these chores than for future programmers to dismiss you as a poor programmer.

If you write well-documented code, you may be able to come back later for a letter of recommendation. (You can’t take company-owned code with you, but at least you’ll have a letter confirming all your work was good!)

Continue reading %13 Tips on Designing and Building Apps More Efficiently%


Source: Sitepoint

Powerful Custom Entities with the Diffbot PHP Client

A while back, we looked at Diffbot, the machine learning AI for processing web pages, as a means to extract SitePoint author portfolios. That tutorial focused on using the Diffbot UI only, and consuming the API created would entail pinging the API endpoint manually. Additionally, since then, the design of the pages we processed has changed, and thus the API no longer reliably works.

In this tutorial, apart from rebuilding the API so that it works again, we’ll use the official Diffbot client to build custom entities that correspond to the data we seek (author portfolios).

Diffbot logo

Bootstrapping

We’ll be using Homestead Improved as usual. The following few commands will bootstrap the Vagrant box, create the project folder, and install the Diffbot client.

git clone https://github.com/swader/homestead_improved hi_diffbot_authorfolio; cd hi_diffbot_authorfolio
./bin/folderfix.sh
vagrant up; vagrant ssh
mkdir -p Code/Laravel/public; cd Code/Laravel; touch public/index.php
composer require swader/diffbot-php-client

Additionally, we can install Symfony’s vardumper as a development requirement, just to get prettier debug outputs.

composer require symfony/var-dumper --dev

If we now give index.php the following content, provided we added homestead.app to our host machine’s /etc/hosts file, we should see “Hello world” if we visit http://homestead.app in our browser:

<?php
// index.php

require '../vendor/autoload.php';

echo "Hello World";

Diffbot Initialization

Note that to follow along, you’ll need a free Diffbot token – get one here.

define('TOKEN', 'token');
use SwaderDiffbotDiffbot;

$d = new Diffbot(TOKEN);

This is all we need to init Diffbot. Let’s test it on a sample article.

Continue reading %Powerful Custom Entities with the Diffbot PHP Client%


Source: Sitepoint

Creating Wearables? Here Are 6 Ideas to Consider

I recently heard Google Glass described as the Segway of wearables and I’m still smiling.

Whether you believe wearables are a dynamic and growing part of consumer technology or a short term trend favored by early adopters, it’s a innovative sector that’s hard to ignore. Wearables are media friendly, at the forefront of R&D and instrumental in linking two seemingly disparate sectors, fashion and technology. Beyond Google Glass, there are better examples of wearables and fashion.

You’ve probably thought about being the creator of the next Pebble or Fitbit but what about working in fashion? I undertook some research and interviewed three people working in fashion wearables in Berlin, Brooklyn and Shanghai and came up with a list of 6 things to consider.

Continue reading %Creating Wearables? Here Are 6 Ideas to Consider%


Source: Sitepoint

Interested in Writing for Tuts+ Code?

For the first time in over a year, we’re looking to add more instructors to our team. Specifically, we’re looking for those who have strong skills in Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, and more, all of which we’ll cover momentarily.

What’s required to become an instructor for an established educational network like Envato? Depending on the level of experience you have with any of the above technologies, it could mean a variety of things. 

Here’s a breakdown of everything we’re looking for and what you need to know in order to apply to join the team.

The Skills We Need

For those of you who are regular readers, you know that we aim to publish content on Tuts+ Code that focuses on web development technology. Sometimes, we do a call for instructors across a variety of areas.

This time, we’re looking for people who have a deep knowledge of the following topics:

  • Ruby
  • Rails
  • Laravel
  • HTML5
  • JavaScript (and related frameworks and libraries)

Regardless of whether you work with these in a professional capacity or as a hobby, we’re looking for people who are well-versed and passionate in all of the above to help educate others.

Writing a High-Quality Tutorial

If you’re looking for tips on how to write high-quality tutorials, here are some quick pointers:

  • Look at projects that you’ve recently completed and the most challenging aspects of them. What did you learn? This is content that would make for a good post.
  • Review your email and see if others have asked you any questions recently. If so, take a look at the answers you’ve provided and then use them as inspiration for a post.
  • Look at some of the things that you’ve used in past writings or courses to teach others, and take advantage of that content to seed ideas for content.

Of course, there’s more. For more information on what it means to write a high-quality tutorial for us, please review this post.

How Much Can You Earn?

One of the first questions that every instructor has with respect to writing for us is: “How much will I get paid?”

Given the topics that we’re looking for, pay rates start at $250 USD per article. We offer $60 USD for quick tips. We are also willing to discuss rates for higher profile authors and educators.

Furthermore, if you’re a regular instructor who consistently meets deadlines, provides high-quality content, and follows up with readers in the comments, then you can expect to earn more as you continue to work with us.

Apply to Be an Instructor

You can visit this page to apply, but before doing this, please consider the following points:

  • As mentioned, we’re looking for those of you who have a deep knowledge of the aforementioned languages and technologies.
  • We’re looking for developers who have some experience in writing; however, we do have a review and copy editing process that we’ll use to make sure your writing follows our standards.

What information is required to apply?

  • Your name
  • A brief paragraph about your background and why you’re a good fit
  • A link to an article that you’ve written, helped create, or like
  • Two ideas for tutorials that you’d like to write for us
  • Examples of your work, either attached images or a link to your portfolio

Note that e-mails with just a couple of sentences or without ideas for articles will be discarded. We’re looking for passionate instructors to teach passionate readers.

Applications are taken on a “first come, first served” basis. They should include any prior experience you have—as asked for on the form—as well as ideas that you have for articles.

Though pitching an article doesn’t guarantee an opportunity for authorship, it will allow us to talk with you about your potential for writing for us.

With that said, I look forward to hearing from you and I can’t wait to see what you bring to the table to help us!


Source: Nettuts Web Development

Web Development Reading List #110: Jekyll, libSass, 2G Tuesdays and Service Workers


  

What’s going on in the industry? What new techniques have emerged recently? What insights, tools, tips and tricks is the web design community talking about? Anselm Hannemann is collecting everything that popped up over the last week in his web development reading list so that you don’t miss out on anything. The result is a carefully curated list of articles and resources that are worth taking a closer look at. — Ed.

Jekyll 3.0

My friend Tobias told me of an interesting approach a few weeks ago. If you work on a big project with a team, just force all developers to delete the project before they leave on Friday, and have them reinstall and set it up every Monday morning (or every other week). This way, you’ll ensure that the process of onboarding people and the whole project’s setup is as simple as possible. And you will love it if the server crashes and you can set up the whole thing again within a couple of minutes. Now, enjoy this list and have a great weekend!

The post Web Development Reading List #110: Jekyll, libSass, 2G Tuesdays and Service Workers appeared first on Smashing Magazine.


Source: Smashing Magazine

Growth hacking made easy with exclusive SumoMe offer

Growth hacking is one of those phrases that feels like an annoying buzzword – until you take advantage of its power and become a full-strength convert. We’ve discovered the secret of easy growth hacking thanks to our friends at SumoMe. They know how to turn a website into something epic. Over 200,000 websites use their […]

Continue reading %Growth hacking made easy with exclusive SumoMe offer%


Source: Sitepoint