Articles archive

We have decided to remove our old articles from our current site, but we have left them accessible in case they are still of use to anyone. Please note that any information in these articles could be out of date now.

New Adventures in Web Design 2011

Originally posted on 24th Jan 2011 by Ian Harris

Ever since I bought our tickets for the New Adventures in Web Design conference back in August, I’ve been really looking forward to it and it’s probably fair to say that when Lou and I headed up the M1 to Nottingham late last Wednesday, I was getting pretty excited. Lou and I have never been to an web industry conference before and to be honest, I wasn’t too sure what to expect.

We absolutely loved it from start to finish. Everything about the day way exceeded any expectations that we had and we came away from this amazing event with heads full of exciting new ideas and a heap of new industry friends.

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Why IE6 will probably out live IE7

Originally posted on 28th Sep 2009 by Ian Harris

Microsoft’s outdated and non-standard web browser, Internet Explorer 6, has no doubt had you ripping out large clumps of hair in frustration. I know it has brought me to the point of despair on several occasions. Whether you are a web developer or not, I’m pretty sure you are aware of the array of quirks that IE6 brings to the table when trying to render the most basic of CSS rules correctly.

There are several well supported campaigns running in the web design community (and beyond) to bring the end to this life sapping browser. The most notable are the Death to IE6 and the Bring Down IE6 campaigns, both of which receive my full support for trying to change the web for the better. Most of the big names on the Internet are getting in on the action as well with Facebook and YouTube (amongst others) displaying messages to users who visit their sites using IE6.

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Extend Google Analytics with jQuery

Originally posted on 16th May 2009 by Ian Harris

For quite some time now Google Analytics has been leading the way when it comes to gathering free statistics about the web traffic of your website. I’m sure that you many of you have installed the Google code on your sites and are already using the great reporting tools it provides. However, there are a few limitations to the standard service which you may or may not have come across yet. Using the standard code, we can only track views of pages where the tracking code is installed. It becomes a little bit more difficult if we want to track file downloads and external links, where we cannot add the Google JavaScript.

The aim of this tutorial is to show you how you can modify the standard Google tracking code using the power of jQuery to get extra information from your Google Analytics reports. With jQuery, we can get Google Analytics track your file downloads and clicks to external sites without having to trawl through your code and write any extra mark up.

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Under used HTML tags

Originally posted on 12th Apr 2009 by Ian Harris

The current specification of HTML has been around for nearly 10 years now and us web developers all use this fundamental language on a daily basis. However, due to our busy schedules, there are a few HTML tags that tend to get either neglected or used in the wrong way.

I’m going to list a few of the more important tags here with some examples of their use. Hopefully this article will provide you with some guidance to why we should use them.

1. <address>

As the name suggests, the <address> tag is used to display contact details of the author of a web page. This means that you can standardised the format of either yours or your users contact details to make them easily identifiable.

The important thing to note is that the <address> tag is not limited to just a postal address, but you can include any contact details, such as a name, email, phone number, URL, etc.

For example:

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<address>
    Written by: Ian Harris<br />
    Email: <a href="mailto:info@example.com">info@example.com</a><br />
    Phone: 01234 567 890
</address>

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5 Simple but useful JavaScript snippits

Originally posted on 26th Mar 2009 by Ian Harris

JavaScript can be employed on your website to perform an whole multitude of simple, but quite effective, tasks that make your job as a web developer that little bit easier. Over time, we have compiled a library of these little JavaScript snippets and we have listed a few of our favourites here.

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UK Postal Counties List

Originally posted on 21st Mar 2009 by Ian Harris

On a recent project, we were required to create a drop down list to display the UK’s counties as part of a web form collecting users addresses. We assumed that this would be a pretty standard task and that there would be an abundance of pre-configured lists available on the Internet for download. After about an hour of research, it became clear that it was not going to be that simple. All of the lists we unearthed were either incomplete or out of date and it seems that we were not the first developers to run into this trouble.

You can see how it is easy to get it wrong though, take a look at the Wikipedia list of UK counties. The list of counties has changed quite considerably over time, especially in Wales.

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Create an RSS feed with PHP

Originally posted on 18th Mar 2009 by Ian Harris

Having an RSS feed on your website is a great way of sharing your content with the rest of the Internet. It’s not a new technology and it’s probably something that you use on a daily basis. If you have a blog or use any form of CMS, that software will most likely handle the creation of your RSS feed for you.

Sometimes, however, it might be necessary for you to create a RSS feed yourself. Perhaps you have just won a new client who’s current site has an old bespoke CMS which they like and want to keep, but you want to be able to publish their updated content via RSS. Hopefully this tutorial will help you to achieve this.

What is RSS?

RSS, in its current form, stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a family of web formats to publish frequently updated content. The RSS Feed (as it is commonly known) can then be read by the users feed reading software or by another website which wishes to ‘syndicate’ the content of that feed.

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