A Newbie’s Guide to Building a Website from Scratch

There are lots of reasons why you might want to build a website. Perhaps you have a small business and you want to expand your marketplace into the online world. Or maybe you are passionate about something and you want an outlet where you can write and post useful information to educate others. Whatever the reason, it isn’t as difficult to build a website as you might think. In fact you don’t even need any specialist knowledge. So if you are thinking about creating a website from scratch, here is a quick guide to get you started.Continue reading →

Top Web Design Myths Demystified

Like many other areas, web design is no exception with regard to misleading information circulating about it. Many false notions about effective web design stem from people who know little about the industry or how a website works. Here are some of the top web design myths debunked.

Top Web Design Myths Demystified

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A mobile site isn’t necessary

Even if your website has been profitable for many years, don’t think this automatically means that you needn’t get your website optimised for mobile use. More and more of us are using mobile devices to search for content online. According to the Guardian 61% of users leave a website and look elsewhere if they don’t see what they’re looking for right away. If you’re not mobile friendly, you can expect to get left behind. And in the Spring of 2015 Google have introduced an algorithm that specifically targets sites that do not have

Local businesses don’t need a website

The old-fashioned notion that local businesses don’t need a website is very much outdated. Even if your customer base is centred within the area where you live, many people still like to find out information via a website about a business even if it is just down the road. If you’re a restaurant, for instance, customers might want to check out your menu online before making a visit, or they may check your site out to find directions.

Social media is a waste of time

If you own a website, avoid forming the opinion that social media is restricted to bored teenagers. Social media can have benefits for every business. According to Forbes 92% of marketers claim that social media is important for their business with 80% indicating their efforts boosted traffic to their websites.

Websites designed for free are fine

Although there are templates online that you can use to design a website for free, if you are a professional business looking to create a good impression, this isn’t a recommended option. It’s worth spending time and money investing in a website designed and put together by experts, like the SEO Gloucester agency, digitel.

Looks are everything

You won’t be able to get away with having a website that scores top marks for aesthetic appeal but zero for usability or functionality. A website needs to look good and work well for it to be a success. It should also be easy to navigate and contain information that is useful and relevant to its target audience.

Once you’ve got a website, you don’t need to change it

Technology does not stand still and in age where people are increasingly using different devices to view websites, you cannot rely on keeping your website the same as it was when it was first set up. Successful businesses will need to adapt their websites to make sure they take into account changes in technology, and they should also make sure they react to search engine optimisation methods to make the most of opportunities to boost rankings to their site. Stale content on a website will also not do your site any justice, so keep refreshing what you publish online and do not allow your website to stand still.

How to Setup ECommerce for WordPress Website

Every business old or new, need a strong online presence to reach out to millions of people across the globe. If you are planning to sell something then mere creating a super cool website wont suffice, you need to adopt an eCommerce platform and setup a shop online. The article “How to Setup ECommerce for WordPress Website” will take you through the exact process that is required to setup your own online shop.
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Quartz – Java Job Scheduling Service

Most of the Java Projects, Enterprise Applications need some form of scheduling every now and then. People try to implement in number of ways like Timer, EJB etc. In one of my assignments I stumbled up on very interesting scheduling service known as Quartz. I was amazed by its simple but powerful implementation. Most interestingly its open source and can be integrated with virtually any Java application from the stand-alone application to the e-commerce system. Quartz supports all types of schedules, you can configure your timings from milliseconds to days to years. Quartz stands apart from other scheduling services by providing some state of the art features like Job Persistence, Transaction Support, Job Clustering, Listener Support.

Installation: Quartz get installed in matter of minutes. Only you have to download the latest jars that are available on their official site and add it to your project or application. That’s it!

Quartz allows you to divide your task in Job and run this job as per the schedule you have configured. You can uses a configuration/properties file to read the schedule. Sample properties file is shown below

In ideal scenario, you would need a scheduler class and a job to schedule. Here I am providing sample scheduler and job which is executed by trigger we create as Hourly.

Above scheduler class is creating an instance of job and a trigger to schedule the job. Job names are used so that job is uniquely identified in the schedule context. Here you will see that I am also trying to add the listener to the job. This is helpful when you want to do some another job once this is job is complete. e.g ETL. Here is the job and listener classes.
MyJob.java

MyJobListener.java

You can see that MyJobListener class is implementing JobListener interface and methods jobToBeExecuted and jobWasExecuted are implemented. These method will give user full control to listen to the jobs status.

Java Sorting Using Comparable

In Java you can do sorting by implementing 2 interfaces

1) Comparable
2) Comparator

Here we will see sorting example using Comparable Interface. As an example we will be sorting objects of Employee class.

When using comaprable interface make sure the object class
which you are sorting implements comaprable interface and override compareTo method correctly.

As I was more used to Java 1.4, I didnt followed any Java Generics implementation.

SortTest is main class that will actually create an array list and fill it with some random Employee objects.

Employee is class that will implement compare To method. I have added simple if-else control structure that will decide what to return on the basis of employee id.
less : -1           equal : 0           greater : 1

Here is the code for classes:

Output:
sort_comparable
Limitations:

  1. Objects should be mutally comparable. i.e you can not compare objects of different classes.
  2. Using comparable binds sorting to one perticular strategy.
    e.g. In above example we have sorted using employee id to compare. now if we need to sort on employee name it will be difficult.

Next, I will be putting similar example using Comparator Interface.

How to add Options Framework to WordPress Theme

When a WordPress Theme developer takes up any new theme development, he has to think about some neat and unique design and what all features he is going to offer in the new theme. It’s not quantity but quality and configuration usability that makes user to choose your theme over others. If you start to code for admin configuration in your theme, it will take you ages to come up with some descent design and options.

When I gave a try to WordPress theme development, first thing I looked for is that “How I am going to provide all those options which I have in mind with minimal code?” I stumbled up on few plugins that were available in market and could have worked very well with my theme. Of all such plugins one stood out in simplicity and functionality and that is Options Framework Plugin . The Options Framework Plugin makes it easy to include a full featured options panel in any WordPress theme.

My aim was to use same functionality as an in-built feature of my theme and not as a plugin. This would have saved a great deal of time of theme. So I did some search and trials and I was able to implement the framework inside my theme. I am going to share the same here in this article.

First you need to copy the plugin copy from GitHub to your local drive. Once you have the zipped archive on your machine, unzip it and copy files and folders as displayed in below image to to one “admin” folder.admin-dir

 

Next task is to initiate the framework and provide options.php to this framework. Basically this framework uses a php file to get its options data. By default the name of the file is “options.php” but you can override this by simply adding simple filter. Now I will show you my theme’s includes/inc folder where I am going to put above admin folderinc-dir

 

You can see I have one “options-panel.php” which is going to initiate the framework and “options.php” which stores my actual options. Here is the code for framework initiation

The code is simply locating the options framework and invoking i. The above code also shows you how to put in the filter to override the options file name. Now this framework supports almost all of the options types, these are listed below

  • text
  • textarea
  • checkbox
  • select
  • radio
  • upload (an image uploader)
  • images (use images instead of radio buttons)
  • background (a set of options to define a background)
  • multicheck
  • color (a jquery color picker)
  • typography (a set of options to define typography)
  • editor

The framework provides you nicely grouped options. All options belonging to one group are displayed in one tab. Tabs shown as below.basic-settings

And above can be achieved using the options.php

The first element with type as heading will be treated as one tab and all other options that follows will be added under that tab till we encounter next element of type heading. Isn’t it easy? Now if you want to add next tab, just add one more element with type heading in and you will get your next tab. e.g.

You can find details of other options that is available in the downloaded folder. With all this information I think you will be able to add options framework to your theme with ease and make your theme powerful than ever.

Top 5 Best Responsive CSS Frameworks for Web Design

After developing two WordPress themes based on responsive css frameworks, I believe I should put in my opinion on which framework I felt is more user friendly. I am going to start a new WordPress theme which uses Foundation CSS Framework and then I will a try to Twitter Bootstrap Framework and develop the Theme. In this article I will be concentrating more on these 2 frameworks but we will review other frameworks that are available in market.Continue reading →

3 Tips to Help You Simplify Your Web Design

When it comes to web design, the saying ‘less is more’ could not be truer. Simplicity is key, as it provides an all-around easier to use design for the user, helps to reduce confusion with navigation, and makes the website look sleek and professional. In turn this can help to produce more of your desired results – for example, more signups, better sales of products, and visitors staying on your site for longer. But, what if whatever you do, you simply can’t get the sleek, simple, minimalist looking result that you desire. There’s no need to worry as by following some simple steps, you’ll be able to simplify your website and start seeing results. Here are some tips.

Photo by tiramisustudio at freedigitalphotos.net

Focus on the Essentials

There are a number of cool elements that can be added to websites that aren’t absolutely necessary and can often cause a cluttered looking interface if overused or not used correctly. Unfortunately, many web designers fall foul to these features, thinking that by adding them, the website will look better – a result that is not always the case. This is why when designing a simple website, any good web designer (such as those at Sioux Falls web design) will tell you that you should concentrate only on the bare essentials. The 80-20 rule is a great way to go about achieving this result. When designing your site, focus on the 20% that is delivering 80% of usefulness – this could be reviews, media badges, an online store button, or a subscribe form. The fewer distractions there are on your website, the better chance it has of doing well.

Less Pages

The more pages that your website has, the harder it will be to navigate around, meaning that many users might be put off visiting or staying on your page for long. Having fewer places to explore and less clicks is a key element of simplifying your website design, and you can do this by either merging multiple pages into one, or trimming away pages that aren’t absolutely needed. A great way to do this is to imagine that you are the customer – if you visited your website, what would be the key things that you’re looking to do? Once you’ve determined what it is that your customers want to find out when they visit your site, you’ll know which pages to keep, and which can go.

Limit Colors

With so many color choices out there, it’s easy to see why many web designers can get carried away when designing the color scheme of a site. However, using too many colors can simply become a distraction, so it’s important to choose no more than two or three complimenting colors to keep your website looking sleek and simple. Using different shades of the same color, for example, light blue and dark blue, adds more subtlety to your site.

If you’re a web designer who’d like to add any tips to the above list, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Working For Yourself. No, It’s Not Easy

Being an entrepreneur, on any level, is tough. It takes a lot of attention, focus, self-esteem, and drive. All of these elements go into your will, and it’s your will that guides you forward in your life. There are plenty of things that cause people to struggle in the world of working for oneself. We get lazy, distracted, and lose focus in so many other ways. But if you’re a solopreneur, even if you’re just a freelancer, your success, at the end of the day, comes down to you. So how do we stay motivated? How do we maintain the drive to succeed? It’s different for everybody, but here are a few ways.Continue reading →