Archive for July, 2010

Top 10 Reasons To Use WordPress

1. WordPress is Truly Free and Open Source

Unlike other “free” and “open source” solutions that have hidden agendas, WordPress.org is completely free learn more for you, forever.  WordPress doesn’t start charging when you hit a certain size, nor does it close off any of its code to you.  This is one of the less tangible but probably most important elements of WordPress.org’s success.  No fees, no gotchas, no nonsense.

2. Automattic is an Awesome Company

The more I learn about Matt Mullenweg and his company, Automattic, the more I like them.  These guys write amazing code, protect open source programming, fight spam, host affordable and educational conferences, take security seriously, and seem like genuine nice guys.

3. Plugins Give You More Functionality

Plenty of platforms out there offer plugin functionality, but I’ve never seen a more smooth and thorough implementation than the plugin effort on WordPress.org.  Plugins allow you to add great photo galleries, sliders, shopping carts, forums, maps, and more great functionality.  There’s a searchable, one-click install directory of plugins think App Store for WordPress.  Their code is riddled with “hooks” that allow developers to add their code to virtually any aspect of WordPress without editing the core.  Look for a few new and important WordPress.org plugins to come from the Computer Courage labs soon!

4. The Visual Editor and CMS are Outstanding

The intuitive, user-friendly backend of WordPress is probably what made it so famous in the first place. I’ll never remember the relief I felt when I first installed WordPress after a few Drupal experiences. I always tell my clients, “if you can do it in Word, you can do it in WordPress.” In fact, with the Paste From Word tool, that statement is more true than you would imagine (this article was written in Word). WordPress is continually improving its CMS, adding features such as threaded comments, galleries, revision histories, trash, custom post types, and more. If you haven’t maintained a WordPress site yet, give it a look.

5. Easily Add a Blog To Your Site

How is this number 5 on the list you ask? WordPress really came to fame for blogging and is still considered by many to be a blog platform. Even WordPress itself seems to identify with blogging first, as the default configuration is for the home page to be a blog. Aside from the amazing advances in CMS (see #4 above), the blog functionality is still the best in the business. With categories, tags, threaded commenting, gravatars, easy theming, widgets, fantastic moderation controls, anti spam solutions, and plugin infrastructure, you can’t find a better blog solution. Adding a blog to a WordPress site is a great way to attract and involve visitors, and to keep Google paying attention. If you don’t need a full site, and just want a quick blog, check out WordPress.com.

6. Themes Let You Style Your Site

I tell my business clients every day that their site doesn’t need to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to design. We love doing custom web design for our clients, but many of them don’t need it. We’ve been able to make very beautiful and successful sites by starting from pre-existing themes and doing customizations from there. Because themes are open source, you can buy or download them and then modify them to your heart’s content. I have to give special credit to the folks at Elegant Themes who make wonderfully powerful and easy to use themes at a very reasonable price. Remember, themes are independent from your content, so you can edit or swap out themes at any time and keep your content and functionality in place.

7. It’s Easy to Keep WordPress Secure

WordPress has always bragged about its “Famous 5 Minute Installation”. Not only is WordPress pretty easy to install (it actually takes 5 minutes if you are handy with your web servers, newbies will have a learning curve), but WordPress is also surprisingly easy to update for security and new functionality. When a new version is available, WordPress will give you an easy link for a one-click upgrade. Warning: Computer Courage always recommends backing up your blog before doing an install in case something goes wrong. Look for backup plugins or techniques first.

8. Google Loves WordPress

At Computer Courage, we focus on getting new customers for our clients via Search Engine Optimization. Ever since we started doing WordPress.org installs, I noticed a spike in search results. Over the years I’ve used many valuable SEO plugins such as the All-In-One SEO Pack and Google XML Sitemaps. But even without these plugins, I always felt like the simple layouts of WordPress, the permalinks, and the easy linking in WordPress would be naturally attractive to Google. I even heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. Matt Cutts, the other awesome Matt and the head of Google’s “web spam team” spoke at WordCamp SF 2009 and said it directly – “Google Loves WordPress”. Edit: After saying this for the last year, I went back and checked. It turns out I’ve been exaggerating. He said “WordPress is a great choice” (video and slides here) but still, he goes on to gush about how much WordPress helps you get better results. We always recommend a conversion to WordPress when doing SEO.

9. WordPress Sites are Accessible

WordPress sites are usually built on relatively simple and accessible technologies. It’s easy to install on Windows or Linux servers. It uses all free license server software. The web pages render in HTML and CSS allowing them to show up on iPhones, BlackBerrys, Android, iPad, etc. It’s also easy for alternative browsers such as text only browsers (see Lynx) which are excellent for those with disabilities.

10. Your Site Can Grow With You

When you add up a lot of these features, you find that your WordPress site can grow with you over the years. You can easily upgrade it for new features and security. You can add a new theme (ma.tt seems to add a new theme most years) without redoing your whole site. You can add new plugins for enhanced functionality (add e-commerce if your business grows, focus more on search results, add a store finder, etc.) WordPress.org is used by millions of sites, from the simplest little blogs to huge brand names like the New York Times blog, People, Flickr, and more. See the WordPress.org showcase.

Have further thoughts on why WordPress.org is or isn’t a great platform for building websites? We’ve love to hear from you in the comments below. Thanks for your participation and interest in the web and in WordPress.org. Finally, if you’re looking for a professional team to put a WordPress.org website together for you, contact us today or sign up for our newsletter.

via Top 10 Reasons To Use WordPress.org For Your Website | Computer Courage: Computer Repair, Web Design, Virus Removal in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco Bay Area.

Jonathan Ive on the design of the iPhone 4

“Those three black splits are co-molded in, and then the band goes through more processes,” Ive points out. “So it's assembled first, the band, and then the final machining and grinding are performed, so the tolerances are extraordinary…. Whatever people's feelings are about the actual design of the product is of course subjective. But objectively I can say that the manufacturing tolerances are phenomenal. And we determined this, we designed it from the very beginning to meet those goals.”

via Core77 speaks with Jonathan Ive on the design of the iPhone 4: Material Matters – Core77.

Lightning strikes three of the tallest buildings in Chicago at the same time

For the third time in the last 6 days, another line of nasty storms rolled through Chicago on Wednesday evening. In this clip you will see three of the tallest buildings in Chicago get struck by lightning at the same time. Willis Tower (Tallest), Trump International Hotel and Tower (2nd Tallest) and the John Hancock Building(4th tallest).

via Lightning strikes three of the tallest buildings in Chicago at the same time! on Vimeo.

Magento Absolute Theme New Grid Layout

Due to the odd row class kicking in after x number of columns, the $_columnsCount number needs to be set to the total or row count:

YouTube: HTML5 Video Is No Match for Flash

The YouTube developer blog lists several things Flash can do that HTML5 video tags cannot:

Flash cuts down on the number of formats YouTube needs to encode. With browsers divided over which video codecs to use, YouTube would need to re-encode most of its content. With YouTube users uploading 24 hours of video to the site every minute, that’s no small task. The new WebM video codec offers some hope here, but it isn’t universally supported yet.

YouTube already does this anyway. The codec issue is therefore already resolved with the exception of a few mozilla hippies who were insisting on ogg but may now settle for VP8 in any case.

Flash offers “fine control over buffering and dynamic quality control.”

Hadn’t really noticed, it all looks pretty bad to me a lot of the time.

The HTML5 video tag doesn’t cover live streaming, nor does it allow for adaptive video quality when streaming long movies. However, as the post points out, “a number of vendors and organizations are working to improve the experience of delivering video over HTTP,” meaning there’s hope this problem will eventually be solved.

Hopefully quicker than flash is adapted for mobile. I was under the impression streaming HTTP was already used in iPhone but could be wrong.

Flash offers content protection.

While not the top of the list when it comes to features a user is looking for, without a means of protecting content from being distributed illegally, most of YouTube’s content partners would likely jump ship.

Name me a single user who wants “copy protection” or a “copy protection” that actually works.

Encapsulation and embedding.

Flash makes it easy to send extra data along with your embedded video, meaning ads, captions, annotations and extras like related-video lists automatically show up. There’s no easy way to do the same with HTML5 embed code. JavaScript, sure, but not the native code.

Guess what? The same browser that delivers HTML5 likely supports JS too.

Fullscreen video.

This one makes the least sense. Firefox and WebKit both offer rudimentary support for fullscreen HTML5 video, though there is no hardware acceleration or other extras you’d get with Flash.

Hardware acceleration in flash on a mac would be nice too one day.

Camera and microphone access.

The ability to record video directly to YouTube requires the site to be able to access your computer’s camera and microphone, something HTML5 video on its own cannot do.

Hardly a mainstream requirement, but it will be interesting to see how HTML5 integrates with device hardware features as it evolves.

YouTube also doesn’t mention a couple of other areas where HTML5 video lags well behind Flash: accessibility and translation tools.

Accessible flash? Really? I’ve tried to find out more about this and usually find precious little evidence even though I now people who are paid to enable this. Yet to see a flash translation, but I don’t doubt it can be done any more than it can be done in JS.

via YouTube: HTML5 Video Is No Match for Flash | Webmonkey | Wired.com.