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Jeff Starr
Author Archive

htaccess Code for WordPress Multisite

For the upcoming Digging into WordPress update for WordPress 3.0, I have been working with WordPress’ multisite functionality. Prior to version 3.0, WordPress came in two flavors: “original” and “multisite” (MU). Most designers probably work with regular, one-blog installations of “regular” WordPress. The htaccess rules for all single-blog installations of WordPress haven’t changed. They are the same for WordPress 3.0 as they are for all previous versions. But now that multisite has merged with regular-flavored WordPress, we can stick with single-blog installs (which is how things are setup by default), or we can activate multisite functionality and create an unlimited […] Read more »

2010 IP Blacklist

Update: Check out the new and improved 2013 IP Blacklist! Over the course of each year, I blacklist a considerable number of individual IP addresses. Every day, Perishable Press is hit with countless numbers of spammers, scrapers, crackers and all sorts of other hapless turds. Weekly examinations of my site’s error logs enable me to filter through the chaff and cherry-pick only the most heinous, nefarious attackers for blacklisting. Minor offenses are generally dismissed, but the evil bastards that insist on wasting resources running redundant automated scripts are immediately investigated via IP lookup and denied access via simple htaccess directive: […] Read more »

How to Micro-Optimize Your CSS

There are many ways to optimize your web pages. In addition to reducing HTTP requests and delivering compressed files, we can also minify code content. The easiest way to minify your CSS is to run it through an online code minifier, which automatically eliminates extraneous characters to reduce file size. Minification shrinks file size significantly, by as much as 30% or more (depending on input code). This size-reduction is the net result of numerous micro-optimization techniques applied to your stylesheet. By learning these techniques and integrating them into your coding practice, you’ll create better-optimized CSS during the development process. Sharper […] Read more »

HTML5 Table Template

A good designer knows that tables should not be used for layout, but rather for displaying columns and rows of data. HTML enables the creation of well-structured, well-formatted tables, but they’re used infrequently enough to make remembering all of the different elements and attributes rather time-consuming and tedious. So to make things easier, here is a clean HTML5 template to speed-up development for your next project: Update, June 9th: Here is an absolute basic vanilla template for any markup language. Update, June 9th: Here is a better template for HTML5. For HTML 4.01 or anything XHTML-flavor, use the following template: […] Read more »

Wrapping Long URLs and Text Content with CSS

To wrap long URLs, strings of text, and other content, just apply this carefully crafted chunk of CSS code to any block-level element (e.g., perfect for <pre></pre> tags): pre { white-space: pre; /* CSS 2.0 */ white-space: pre-wrap; /* CSS 2.1 */ white-space: pre-line; /* CSS 3.0 */ white-space: -pre-wrap; /* Opera 4-6 */ white-space: -o-pre-wrap; /* Opera 7 */ white-space: -moz-pre-wrap; /* Mozilla */ white-space: -hp-pre-wrap; /* HP Printers */ word-wrap: break-word; /* IE 5+ */ } See demonstration Explanation By default, the white-space property is set to normal. So you might see something like this when trying to […] Read more »

htaccess Redirect to Maintenance Page

Redirecting visitors to a maintenance page or other temporary page is an essential tool to have in your tool belt. Using HTAccess, redirecting visitors to a temporary maintenance page is simple and effective. All you need to redirect your visitors is the following code placed in your site’s root HTAccess: # MAINTENANCE-PAGE REDIRECT <ifmodule mod_rewrite.c> RewriteEngine on RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !^123\.456\.789\.000 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/maintenance.html$ [NC] RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !\.(jpe?g?|png|gif) [NC] RewriteRule .* /maintenance.html [R=302,L] </ifmodule> That is the official copy-&-paste goodness right there. Just grab, gulp and go. Of course, there are a few more details for those who may be unfamiliar […] Read more »

Top 5 CSS Shorthand Properties

An excellent way to simplify and streamline your Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is to take advantage of the many different shorthand properties available to you. Working with a lot of CSS, you eventually memorize these different shortcuts, but every now and then, I find myself needing a quick, straightforward reference for some of the more elaborate property combinations. In this post, I’ll show you the shorthand rules for the following properties: Font Properties List Properties Background Properties Border and Outline Properties Transition Properties (CSS3) These are the top 5 on my list of most complicated and frequently used shorthand properties. […] Read more »

Stop 404 Requests for Mobile Versions of Your Site

If you’ve been keeping an eye on your 404 errors recently, you will have noticed an increase in requests for nonexistent mobile files and directories, especially over the past year or so. The scripts and bots requesting these files from your server seem to be looking for a mobile version of your site. Unfortunately, they are wasting bandwidth and resources in the process. It has become common to see the following 404 errors constantly repeated in your log files: http://domain.tld/apple-touch-icon.png http://domain.tld/iphone http://domain.tld/mobile http://domain.tld/mobi http://domain.tld/m So some bot comes along, assumes that your site includes a mobile version, and then tries […] Read more »

Visual Walkthrough of @font-face CSS Code

In my previous post on Quick and Easy CSS @font-face Code, I provide a choice set of CSS rules for embedding custom fonts into your web pages. It’s a solid, cross-browser technique that works great, but as Marty Thornley pointed out, it would be useful to have a more thorough explanation of how the code actually works. So, rather than going back and adding a bunch of additional information to the original post, I’m following up with a visual walkthrough of the @font-face code. In step-by-step visual format, this article will show you what the code is doing and how […] Read more »

Quick and Easy CSS @font-face Code

I’ve been using custom fonts in my designs for quite a few sites now, and have refined what seems to be an ideal chunk of CSS code for implementing the @font-face rules. Some of the sites that include these rules include Perishable Press and Digging into WordPress, which look more stylish and refined with the custom fonts in effect. I’ve tested this code on quite a few browsers, including the following: Safari 3.1+ Opera 10+ Firefox 3.5+ Chrome 4.0+ Internet Explorer 6+ This technique delivers your custom fonts quite consistently to all of these browsers, and degrades gracefully for those […] Read more »

Fixing WordPress Infinite Duplicate Content Issue

Jeff Morris recently demonstrated a potential issue with the way WordPress handles multipaged posts and comments. The issue involves WordPress’ inability to discern between multipaged posts and comments that actually exist and those that do not. By redirecting requests for nonexistent numbered pages to the original post, WordPress creates an infinite amount of duplicate content for your site. In this article, we explain the issue, discuss the implications, and provide an easy, working solution. Understanding the “infinite duplicate content” issue Using the <!–nextpage–> tag, WordPress makes it easy to split your post content into multiple pages, and also makes it […] Read more »

Is it Secret? Is it Safe?

Whenever I find myself working with PHP or messing around with server settings, I nearly always create a phpinfo.php file and place it in the root directory of whatever domain I happen to be working on. These types of informational files employ PHP’s handy phpinfo() function to display a concise summary of all of your server’s variables, which may then be referenced for debugging purposes, bragging rights, and so on. While this sort of thing is normally okay, I frequently forget to remove the file and just leave it sitting there for the entire world to look at. This of […] Read more »

Digging into WordPress Version 2: New Chapters, Free Themes, and Site Redesign

The updated book is looking better than ever! A little over 3.5 months after Digging into WordPress v1, Chris and I have updated the book, the site, and everything else for DiW Version 2. Both PDF and printed-version of the book now include two new chapters and two free themes. We have a new “Bonus Tricks” chapter with some awesome theme techniques, and another chapter on “WordPress Updates” that explains how to use all the latest WordPress features. Along the way, we also discuss the two free themes that are bundled exclusively with DiW Version 2. We even updated the […] Read more »

Understanding CSS3 and CSS2.1 Border Properties

Even before CSS3 introduced a cornucopia of new border properties, CSS2.1 provided plenty of great functionality, enabling designers to style and enhance borders in many different ways. But now with the many new border properties available with CSS3, much more is possible, including everything from background border images, asymmetrical border radii, border transformations, custom fitting, and much more. While not every browser fully supports all of these new stylistic possibilities, we can practice progressive enhancement to create beautiful, well-styled borders for modern browsers while supporting the dinosaurs with suitable fallback styles. Many of us know how easy it is to […] Read more »

A Few Steps Back

I have been doing some non-design-related work recently and have not been saturated with anything even computer-related for the past several weeks. Mostly I have been just enjoying life, but also drawing quite a bit and going around taking photos of old, decrepit homesteads and factories. Needless to say, it’s been a much-needed respite from the usual crunch and grind. Taking a few steps back like this from the Web — even for such a short period of time — is remarkably refreshing, and has given me time to contemplate all this web-stuff that keeps us all so busy. When […] Read more »

Should We Support Old Versions of Good Browsers?

I mean, basically anything except for Internet Explorer, which is a debate in and of itself. Here I’m referring to old versions of good browsers, like Firefox 2, Safari 2, Opera 8, and so on. It seems that older versions of these browsers are not as common as older versions of IE, so should we bother supporting them when designing our websites? Most agree that we shouldn’t support old versions of crappy browsers like IE, but what about older versions of good browsers like Firefox, Opera, and Safari? Backwards Compatibility One of the cool things about adhering to Web Standards […] Read more »

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