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Posts by: Nexcess

Assess Your WordPress Theme’s Accessibility with Tota11y

July 28, 2015 0 Comments

Color CombinationsAccessibility is not often at the front of our minds when we are choosing or designing a WordPress theme. We’re more concerned with aesthetics, functionality, and conversion potential. But ignoring accessibility excludes a huge proportion of our potential users.

Worldwide there are 285 million people with visual impairments, 39 million of whom are legally blind. There are almost as many people with hearing impairments, and a huge number with movement problems that make navigating the web difficult. That’s a lot of people who won’t be able to enjoy your site unless you invest a little time and effort to make it compatible with tools like screen readers.

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Choosing Color Combinations For Your Site

July 23, 2015 0 Comments

Color CombinationsIf you aren’t a trained designer, choosing color combinations for your site can be a minefield. With layouts and typography, there are some relatively simple rules that will produce at least passably good results. But there are tens of millions of potential color choices and trillions of possible combinations. Hitting on colors that look good, look good together, and reflect the character and branding of your site is a hair-curling task for someone without training.

It’s also incredibly important to get color choices right. Some people go too far when they talk about the impact of color psychology, but there are measurable effects — both psychological and aesthetic — associated with particular colors.

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Install WordPress and PHP 7 on CentOS

July 21, 2015 0 Comments

With PHP 7 around the corner, we wanted to create a dev environment to test some apps and prepare for its arrival.

PHP 7 installation for CentOS is not difficult and can be found here. With the precompiled builds, we created a VM with the appropriate software to start testing WordPress: Apache2, MariaDB and PHP 7. For this VM, we used Vagrant and VirtualBox.

VM setup involves two files: Vagrantfile, with centos.sh as a provisioner.

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WordPress’ New Security Czar Is Good News For The WordPress Community

July 16, 2015 0 Comments

Security CzarWordPress is a complex software ecosystem. Its huge userbase and an active developer community numbering in the tens of thousands make for a potential security nightmare, but, in fact, it functions surprisingly smoothly.

For users who hear only about the most recent security vulnerability, it might not appear so, but the widespread publicity of security vulnerabilities — almost always accompanied by a patch — is evidence that WordPress’ immune system is functioning properly.

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New Magento Community Edition Security Patch Released — Immediate Patching Is Advised

July 14, 2015 3 Comments

Magento has made available a new patch bundle that addresses several serious security vulnerabilities. Magento CE & EE users should update immediately to ensure that their eCommerce store and its users are not put at risk.

Among the vulnerabilities addressed are the potential leaking of customer information and cross-site scripting vulnerabilities.

The patch bundle — which is part of the recently released Magento Community Edition 1.9.2 — has been given the code SUPEE-6285, and is available from Magento’s site. Before applying the SUPEE-6285 patch bundle, you must also have applied SUPEE-5994, which is available at the above link.

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How Will HTTP2 Change Front-End Performance Best Practices?

July 2, 2015 0 Comments

HTTP2In an ideal world, front-end designers shouldn’t have to waste much time on the details of performance optimization. Sure, they have to make sure their web pages aren’t excessively large, but the bulk of performance optimization should take place at a lower level: the server and its software, the network, and the technology and protocols that let servers talk to each other and to browsers. In reality, designers spend a considerable amount of time optimizing how their assets will be served to reduce load times: concatenating files, inlining CSS, creating CSS sprites, even sharding assets across several domains.

Much of this extra work is done simply to get around the limitations of HTTP/1.1, which was first released nearly 20 years ago and has been out-of-date ever since. Created for a web that bears little resemblance to today’s complex ecosystem of applications and media rich sites, HTTP/1.1 has major limitations, the most relevant of which is the way it makes requests expensive.

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Is Ghost a Viable WordPress Alternative?

June 30, 2015 0 Comments

Ghost WordPress AlternativeWhen WordPress was first created by Matt Mullenweg, he was scratching his own itch; he wanted a simple-to-use blogging engine — and that’s what WordPress used to be. Over the years, it has grown into something much more powerful. WordPress is now a superbly feature-rich content management system with an enormous collection of extensions and themes — if you want to build a website of any sort, WordPress is more than capable of supporting it.

Some people just want to blog, though. They don’t need all the extra bells and whistles. They want what Mullenweg wanted when he first created WordPress, and that’s the itch Ghost creator John O’Nolan set out to scratch. He aimed to build a simple elegant blogging engine that does everything a blogger needs but no more. He succeeded admirably. Ghost is an excellent blogging engine.

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Book review: Magento Best Practices

June 25, 2015 2 Comments

Magento Best Practices HandbookFrom time to time, someone publishes a book about Magento that provides worthwhile advice for both for expert and inexperienced developers. Alessandro Ronchi recently published Magento Best Practices Handbook, an eBook providing tips and strategies understandable to anyone that already understands the fundamentals of Magento development.

At 115 pages, the handbook is not long, but it covers essential subjects such as autoload, logging, runtime, Magento MVC, and a simple, powerful strategies for deployment. With short, accessible chapters, the work advises readers to already have a running Magento installation so they can explore its code while studying the handbook’s contents.

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Using Metadata To Improve WordPress Search And Social Performance

June 23, 2015 0 Comments

Ideally, search engines and social networks would be smart enough to look at a website and glean all of the information they need from the human-readable content on the page. In reality, they’re nowhere near intelligent enough; they can make guesses which are often pretty good, but they need a little help to understand what the content on a page means. Metadata is one way we can help them out.

Metadata has been in the news a lot over the past few years, and, in essence we’re talking about the same thing here: data about data. But where web sites are concerned, we have a specific sort of metadata in mind: information that we add to entities on our pages to help crawlers like Googlebot understand what the entity is.

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Google’s Mobile Search Breadcrumbs Highlight The Importance Of Information Architecture

June 18, 2015 0 Comments

Mobile Search BreadcrumbsSince the beginning of 2015, Google has made substantial efforts to improve the experience it offers on mobile. Part of that effort can be seen in the algorithm changes Google implemented to give mobile-friendly sites a boost in mobile search, and part can be seen in the iterative changes they’ve made to the SERPs themselves.

In a recent announcement, the company highlighted a change in the way SERPs are displayed on mobile. It’s a change that imposes some burdens on site owners, both in the form of new code to add to sites, and in the focus it throws on information architecture and the appearance of URLs.

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