Beyond Analytics and other interesting links

I’ve been a bit obsessed with YouTube lately and in my traversals have run across some interesting Web Tools to which I might not otherwise have been exposed.

Using Google Analytics for your website tracking but looking for even more information about visitors?

Click Tale

CSSVista

For the Windows users out there wanting to check out both browsers (IE and FF) at the same time check out:

warning: It looks like they haven’t include FF3 yet and yes Firebug is a good solution but this tool allows you to change CSS and look at both browsers in a split (or tabbed) window. Instead of moving from FF3 (or 2) and then IE7 and open Firebug in FF and the IE Developer toolbar in IE)

If you are a visual learner like I am then some of the CSS tutorials at YouTube can really help speed along your absorption of knowledge.

One of my favorite “teachers” is http://www.youtube.com/user/FDVISIONS . His accent is a little thick but the teaching speed is just right.

On the right side of his videos you’ll find links to related videos so start exploring if you haven’t already. It’s amazing how much you learn in a 3 minute video!

Hope you are having a terrific labor day weekend!

today’s adventure in IEhell

Did you know that IE7 will take a Son-of-Suckerfish drop-down menu, beat it up then call it’s mama?

Alright, overly dramatic but I spent better part of today trying to figure out why IE7 is the only one that refused to close my sub menus on the Plone drop-down menu I was working on. At one point all my sub menus were exposed for the world to see and I couldn’t make them go away!

That said I ran across a couple neat links I thought I’d share:

Granted this is a 2 year old post but it worked for my particular issue. Be sure to read through the comments and double check Safari, rumor has it that the fix may not work as well on older Safari browsers.

A Fix for Suckerfish Dropdowns in IE

A nice list of options for dealing with the IE7 sticky sub menus

Sticky Sons of Suckerfish

Funny thing is, IE7 is giving me more grief than IE6 today! Now off to try and figure out why IE7 thinks I requested:

font-size: ginormous;

Resources for Plone designers

So you heard me lamenting not that long ago about the unfairness of the new “way” to theme a Plone site (Plone 3.0). How those of us who are integrators were feeling the sting of being “left behind”.

As time is passing I’m warming up to the ideas presented and trying my hardest to assimilate myself into this new “process” as much as possible. I owe it to my clients. That said.. I’m always on the look out for resources to help those of us who don’t dream in code learn how to make Plone look pretty (or at least match our clients look & feel).

So about a month ago one of the regulars on IRC , RobZoneNet, posted his theming write up to the channel and I, being curious, went on over and took a look.

Rob has provided an excellent write up for those of us who don’t need to know about adaptercomponenttypethingiesontuesday…

https://weblion.psu.edu/trac/weblion/wiki/PloneThreeUserInterfaceChanges

Beautiful! I have this baby printed out and stuck on my wall with a bright red thumbtack…talk about valuable!

Oh and to top it off.. Rob is working on another one..

https://weblion.psu.edu/trac/weblion/wiki/PloneThreeWhereIsWhat

Wanna learn more about TAL or how to customize the Plone favicon.. go here

https://weblion.psu.edu/trac/weblion/wiki/WebDevelopment
(most of these were written by Rob)

Granted..one must always check Plone.org for the latest in documentation.. but keep these links bookmarked because I guarantee you.. these will be dog eared in no time.

Why CMS’s are good for designers

Plone (and other cms’s) allows those of us who architect, design and generally determine the look & feel of websites to do so without stepping on the toes of our programming counterparts.
When I started in this field in the 1990’s, Front Page was all the rage. Heck, I got so good at building Front Page sites that I was training a whole network of content managers (for a large women’s network) on how to add pages (thank goodness for includes) to the site and add their content. I spent a lot of time cleaning out cruft in the Front Page output thanks to Netscapes aversion to yucky code.

How things have changed.

My role as designer has changed significantly in the last five years or so since the content management system has become so prevalent. Oh yeah, there are a lot of websites out there using Front Page and Dreamweaver without the benefit of a CMS. A lot more of those sites are looking at ways to update content more frequently (because they know that keeping their site “sticky” requires regular content updates) . They are looking at cms’s with an eye towards keeping their look & feel primarily the same. It’s what they are used too.

A couple years ago I consulted,designed and helped to implement a Plone based intranet for a large company (500+ employees). Their concern? Don’t change the links! They wanted everything to stay the same. It didn’t matter what I wanted architecturally (but it makes sense to put all this information here …) all they cared about is keeping things the same but allowing for staff members to update the site themselves and taking the load off their overworked webmaster.

I still do mockups and wireframes and css. Lots and lots of css. Now though instead of just creating a page with ‘includes’ that points to other pages in a site. I create a “template” by “chopping” up a mockup and placing the elements within a template. I also use tons of CSS (did I mention I do a lot of css). Do I touch “code”. In my designer capacity, I don’t touch code. I can totally redesign a cms template through css and replacing cms elements with my own graphics..either by overriding what the cms has specified in it’s own css with a custom.css or creating my own and putting it last in the list of css specifications.

The mark of an excellent customizable CMS is it’s css hooks. Of all the CMS’s I’ve worked with Plone still outshines the others in this designers eyes for it’s “hooks” and the awesome css registry (I’ll talk about that in another post).