WordPress Words: Blockquotes

Text b-quote Illustration in Text editorBlockquotes is the sixth tool on your toolbar, they have a specific function in WordPress.

According to George Plumley in his book WordPress 24-Hour Trainer:

“A blockquote is an HTML tag for designating a section of quoted text.”

They are used for text both on the web and printed material. You use them to surround the text of material you are bringing into your article that is written by someone else that you are quoting. WordPress has a default to indent to the left and right.  But hold on, look at the type of theme you are using. WordPress could do something different with a blockquote. So you need to be aware of how it may look in your article. Continue reading

WordPress Words: CSS

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a simple mechanism for adding style (e.g., fonts, colors, spacing) to Web documents.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3)

“The CSS in this part of the code is not coded correctly. Are you sure that the color of that Page is correct in the CSS?”

According to the W3C (or World Wide Web Consortium), Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, is a mechanism used in web development to style certain elements of a website. CSS originally applies to web coding alongside other languages, such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and JavaScript/jQuery/jQuery Mobile. Currently, the latest version of CSS, CSS3, is being used for many websites today.

What is the history behind CSS development? In Chapter 20 of Cascading Style Sheets, designing for the Web by Håkon Wium Lie and Bert Bos, both Lie and Bos delineate the origins of CSS from 1994 to their present year in 1999 (the second edition of their book was published in 1999). Looking back over twenty years ago, it is easy to see how much of a struggle it was to establish CSS as a fundamental part of web browsers and the construction of the World Wide Web in general. However, in 1994, Cascading Style Sheets were proposed as one out of the other proposed languages for style sheets:

… But CSS had one feature that distinguished it from all the others: it took into account that on the Web the style of a document couldn’t be designed by either the author or the reader on their own, but that their wishes had to be combined, or “cascaded,” in some way; and, in fact, not just the reader’s and the author’s wishes, but also the capabilities of the display device and the browser. … CSS was perceived by some as being too simple for the task it was designed for. They argued that in order to style documents, the power of a full programming language was needed. CSS went in the exact opposite direction by making a point out of being a simple, declarative format.
Håkon Wium Lie and Bert Bos, Cascading Style Sheets, designing for the Web – Chapter 20: The CSS saga

Cascading Style Sheets can be seen as the unity of stylistic and functional viewpoints between “the author and the user,” but “cascading” can also refer to the actual function of CSS. When coding CSS, something interesting happens when you code down in the style sheet itself. In the example below, there is a coded heading with a pair of <h1> tags:

<h1>This is a Heading</h1>

But what happens when you code two different font colors for the same heading tag?

h1 {color: black;}
h1 {color: blue;}

When this code appears in the web browser, the black font color for the heading will not appear. Instead, by virtue of being the most recent (bottom-most) typed code in the style sheet hierarchy, the heading will be blue instead. In a sense, the stylistic effect needed for the heading was applied after the browser cascaded down through the style sheet to find the most recent code for the heading. Although this CSS code is valid, it is improper to code a heading style like this. So, if certain changes are made, the heading will remain black while all of the other headings (specifically with <h1> tags) will be blue in either of these ways:

#id h1 {color: black;}
h1 {color: blue;}

#id > h1 {color: black;}
h1 {color: blue;}

Why use CSS in the first place? Besides the fact that they are a huge part of web development today (HTML5 and CSS3 are quite a pair), there are a number of notable points made by W3C on another one of their informative pages, “Using Style Sheets”. Some of these points include that style sheets help contain all the styles for every HTML page it they connected to, the HTML can be changed and cleaned up easily by referring to one Style Sheet, and the browser will even “[cache] the style sheet, which saves download time.”

Since CSS is a big part of the Internet today, naturally WordPress uses style sheets. In WordPress, each WordPress Theme has one or more style sheets, and the core style sheet is called style.css. The CSS file changes the way a Theme looks, as CSS does to any HTML web page.

WordPress has a a set of guidelines for the Theme style sheet in WordPress. A couple notable points within the guidelines are that the CSS files must feature a comment at the top of the file that hooks into the WordPress interface for users to learn more about the Theme, the CSS must follow CSS coding standards, and the CSS must also be valid. Continue reading

Is Your Server Safe from the “ShellShock” Bug?

According to Troy Hunt: “ShellShock” Bug is far worse than the Heart-bleed bug. If your server has this “ShellShock” your code is up for grabs by any hacker.  Vladimir Prelovac has made a Plugin to check your server for the ShellShock “CVE-2014-6271 and CVE-2014-7169″ If your server has a bug take a screenshot and let your host know ASAP.

Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp Europe Incited Heated Discussion

According to WPTavern at WordCamp Europe, Matt Mullenweg asked that companies that benefit from WordPress invest 5 percent of their efforts into the continued development of the WordPress Core during his Q/A. He goes on to say that mobile is a huge part of the future of WordPress. The other main point was that Automattic has been contributing nearly 100 percent of the ongoing development in the mobile APP.

Tom McFarlin: Become a Better Programmer and Person

Tom McFarlin writes an outstanding article concerning the fact that we have all become way too comfortable in expressing our unfiltered opinions in 140 words or less.  Tom does a great job in showing how a simple lack of empathy in a seemingly unimportant, small discussion online can influence way more people than intended.  He shows how people insulate themselves from criticism by basically using the lyrics from a classic rock song from Queen. “Nothing really matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters, nothing really matters to me.”

What Matt Mullenweg Has To Say About The Future of WordPress

Matt Mullenweg thinks that WordPress can make it another ten years, as long as people are willing to continue giving back to WordPress. In the article Contributing Back to WordPress, it becomes clear that WordPress users need to recognize the different kind of ways to give back to WordPress (there are indirect and direct ways to do so). According to this article and Mullenweg, WordPress can continue to stay relevant and innovative into the future, as long as its users stick to a 5% rule, in regards to giving back to WordPress.

WordPress Support Handbook

If you want to teach new WordPress support volunteers on the various WordPress forums such as Installation, WP-Advanced or Multisite, how to troubleshoot the many issues they’re likely to encounter, there’s a new guide available appropriately titled Troubleshooting Handbook.

screen shot of section 3 table of contents for wordpress troubleshooting handbook
Section 3 Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s designed to be a hands-on guide to troubleshooting. In the third section of the handbook the volunteer can learn about giving good support including some pre-defined replies to simplify and standardize across the various forums.

According to Jerry Bates
A desire to help goes a long way, but what about the other things that go into giving good support, such as:

  • Helpful tools and strategies for troubleshooting WordPress sites
  • Exercises on how to break a site (and then fix it) to gain a firsthand understanding common issues seen in support
  • Advice on effective communication styles and approaches to use when helping others
  • Tips and trick for working with the forum software (as a volunteer rather than a moderator) to make life easier

Currently, there is no go-to guide that collects all that information in one place for anyone starting out to benefit from; the Troubleshooting Handbook aims to fill this gap.

Hat Tip: WPTavern

Make a Better WordCamp

According to Aaron Jorbin, WordCamp organizers need to create an interesting experience for attendees by utilizing strategic and engaging ways to teach WordPress. Subject matter being discussed should be of primary importance. His article suggest that WordCamp should provoke thought, discussion, and make people walk away feeling like they gained valuable knowledge. If people walk away from a WordCamp and don’t think about some aspect of it later, you can’t call it a success.

Jen Mylo Series: Putting a Site on a Domain

Jen Mylo series “Site Setup Journal: Prologue,” is about how she has set out on her adventure to set up a website on a self owned domain by using only the resources available to the average Joe. She then continues to express her frustration of trying to accomplish this task. Mylo has set this series up in a way that will make you want to read her next articles.

Jen later goes on to explain in her “Site Setup: Act 1,” how she thought that her little experiment was going to be easy, but soon found that it was going to be way more time consuming then she first envisioned. She goes on by talking about the steps to get her website up and running. She talks about her complications she encounters getting her old domain name from Bluehost and Dreamhost.

Screen grab of the user changeing the defalt password for the root.Another article about building web server is on the on Server Mom. The article, “Complete Newbie Guide to Build CentOS Server to Host Websites,”  talks about how to build a working server to host a website. They discuss how to build the server without the use of Control Panel software. The steps are presented in a seventeen part article series.

Students Serving Up WordPress Tips and Techniques for Clark College Students and the World

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