Playing around with animation and layers

One day I just woke up and had to make this. I collect limited edition screen prints, and one of my first Artist I started collection was Daniel Danger. The layering effect of screen printing lends itself perfecting to layering elements in an animation.

Scroll the frame below

As with all code, after 6 months there are things I would have done differently, but you can silently judge me here, by looking at my code.

How to make WordPress Show in an iFrame (X-Frame: SAMEORIGIN)

So I use a nice Chrome plugin for testing responsive layouts called “Dimensions Legacy”, and it puts your content in an iFrame and lets you resize the frame without having to resize your browser (good for inspecting!), HOWEVER, wordpress has added a Frame showing restriction into their default security that won’t allow wordpress to render in an iFrame anymore!

I tried a few things that were meant to make it work, like commenting out the header hooks and even the function that inserts the X-Frame directive, but nothing seemed to work. Even after a reboot!

Finally I found a nice solution (in StackOverflow), that lets you invalidate the X-Frame SAMEORIGIN directive, by adding your own nonsense one that makes the browser ignore them both!

In my page template I added:

<?php header('X-Frame-Options: GOFORIT'); ?>

Problem Solved! 3 years and noone has hacked me yet!

Old Reliable vs Bleeding Edge : WordPress CMS to Ghost CMS

A new client of mine wants to re-brand their existing website, and I’m excited about it!  They are in the industry, they have hired other very capable freelancers to work with me, and they have a clear view of their goal.

We were talking together about how we wanted to serve the web content.  We could make a static site, but it’s not flexible enough for the client to edit on their own. We could use a CMS, but we aren’t interested in a blog (yet!) and only want web pages.

Blogs make great non-blogs!

Using a blog engine these days doesn’t mean that you are actually making a blog anymore.  Wordpress has introduced for a while, the concept of a static “homepage”.

So, Do we want to use WordPress?

Yes and No.  Wordpress I know how to use (though I’m not very fluent in PHP), and it has a ton of support for themes (but we want to start with a barebones theme anyway) and it’s got a lot of widgets and libraries (that we don’t really use).

I asked myself, do i want to use all this infrastructure to make a light-weight, fast website?

Then my hero Jeff Atwood (of Stack Overflow fame) wrote recently that he’d changed his own blog over to Ghost. I also had been starting to work with Node.js framework recently, and when I googled “Node.js CMS” Ghost came up prominently!

Destined to be haunted…

Ghost is fast, really lightweight, and very much focussed on posts and pages and blogs and THAT’S IT.  My only really big problem was I was going to need a static page as the home page and Ghost version 0.4.1 supports pages, but not a page as the root page! 🙁

Ghosts are transparent!

Hey but it’s all good! All the code in ghost is non-compiled and you cna hack away at anything you want… so i fiddled with the routing and controllers a little and BOOM!  Static page for a homepage!

Lets go!

So my next exploration is : Hosting this baby on AWS using a Bitnami image and making sure this is going to work!

Old Flexbox is slow. New Flexbox isn’t. Things solved with Flexbox!

Thanks (again) to Paul Irish doing the hard work for all of us and testing if modern flexbox is “up to par” for performance.  Good new everyone!  It is.

Oh and incase you were wondering what can be done with flexbox?

Things solved by flexbox

Perfect your Vertical Rhythm: CSS Line-Height Explained and De-mystified

Props to Russ Weakley for this fantastic and quick slideshow on everything you wanted to know about line-height and adjusting your “Vertical Rhythm”.

I guess what I took out of this more than anything, is specifiying line-height: 1.25; (with no unit) is a great option that will cascade down through child objects in your DOM and re-calculate line-height based on each item’s size.

Using Mustache Templates for Javascript : Practical Examples


Mustache.js is awesome for making HTML templates in an MVC framework, and I’ll tell you why.  Previously I had used underscore.js for templating and it allowed you do pretty much anything you wanted.  This would invariably end in templates with business logic and data-massaging code embedded in “the view”.  Mustache is the drill-sergeant of templates : It only allows it’s own logic tags, and is not going to take any bullshit from you soldier!

Sir! Yes Sir!

Now rather than being a pain to use Mustache is actually refreshingly simple and lightweight, but also incredibly powerful.  Since the documentation ranges from “great” to “meh!” (see partials).  I thought I’d list some <blink>WORKING</blink> examples of real-world mustache usages:

Example 1 : Binding a primitive variable (No JSON structure)

This one isn’t particularly “real world”, but it’s a great place to start.. you have a variable.. jsut one.. and you want to bind it to a template. As your variable won’t have a name, you need to say “just bind the data”… that is what {{.}} does.

Try the example

Example 2 : Binding an Array of primitive variables (Array structure)

This one is a real world example.  Your web service returns you a complex object, but all you are interested in is binding to one array inside that object.  Rather than pass the whole structure in.. you just pass in the array.. but the array has no name.. how do you reference it?  with the {{#.}}{{/.}} loop command.

Try the example

Example 3 : Binding an Array of Name/Value Objects with named Properties

Moving onto our most realistic example so far.  Building a <select> with objects that are bound to a data object.  In this case, we emit our one-time select tag and then inside it, loop through our named “data” property and bind it’s properties by their names of “value” and “text”.

Try the example

Example 4 : Binding a data object and a localization (L10n) data object joined in a wrapper object

This is a simplistic example of a real world problem we were solving with templates.  Our page labels all had to be localized, and the label text was stored on the server and delivered to our web pages as a javascript object.  This l10n object would then get wrapped in a data object with a sibling object that would contain the user data.

The template would render both the label as well as the data at the same time.

Try the example

Example 5 : Binding a data array to an anonymous (lambda) function

The reason I like Mustache over, say, Underscore is because it doesn’t allow for any embedding of code in your template. It forces you to have a nice clean View. Sometimes, however you do need to process data, or perform a lookup based on a key.

In the Real World, I have used this functionality to lookup a localization string in a dictionary, based on a key, and if the data is missing, then show a “missing data” flag for that label.

Try the example

Example 6 : Binding a data array recursively to a template

It took me hours to get this one working originally, then I lost it, and had to re-write it. It then only took me about 15 mins, and most of that was making the data structure! Once you understand how ti works, it’s very easy.

When you are planning on rendering data recursively, you need two templates (or the same template twice), the first is your master wrapper template, and then when you call Mustache.render, you provide a third parameter, which is a JSON object of all your sub-templates you will be referring to by name.

When you want to call you sub-template, you use the {{>subtemplate}} syntax, and it will render. To get recursiveness, your sub template must also then refer to itself inside it.

Try the example


Mustache has an OK document called mustache(5) , but this document which is specifically for javascript is both more detailed, and doesn’t have syntax errors.

Signs you Work in UX

As I was reading through this article, I couldn’t believe how much I related to some of these points. Reposted and highlighted with the signs that I have personally experienced 😀

15 Signs you Work in UX

  1. You’re totally comfortable around one-way mirrors
  2. Redesigning a call center application sounds like fun to you
  3. Your spice rack is organized by frequency of use and is within arms-reach of the stovetop (and re-organized on a bi-weekly basis)
  4. You enjoy responding to questions with questions
  5. You wear a point-of-view camera when you go to the supermarket
  6. You take time to explain signage and labeling shortcomings to store clerks and airport attendants
  7. You rage at ambiguously designed traffic signals
  8. You actually read the manuals of things you buy, but only to look for errors and mistakes
  9. You can’t use any interactive device without analyzing its interface
  10. You still cannot explain your job in one sentence to your grandma (I got close.. I described it as “the psychology of User Interfaces and Interaction”, but then she didn’t know what a User Interface was!)
  11. To you, card sorting is not a poker trick
  12. You are immediately tempted to write an expert review whenever confronted with a weird check-out process
  13. Your mom is a persona
  14. A horrible user experience causes you physical pain
  15. You encounter online surveys while browsing the web and automatically start making screenshots


CSS border-box FTW!! Now with Sass and Compass!

From Paul Irish’s blog entry…:

One of my least favorite parts about layout with CSS is the relationship of width and padding. … If I say the width is 200px, gosh darn it, it’s gonna be a 200px wide box even if I have 20px of padding. … Anyway, I have a recommendation for your CSS going forward:

*, *:before, *:after { 
    -moz-box-sizing: border-box; 
    -webkit-box-sizing: border-box; 
    box-sizing: border-box; 

This gives you the box model you want. Applies it to all elements.

Now you can take this FTW layout moment and make it even more amazing by using Compass (with Sass) and making it a one-liner with no-need-to-type vendor prefixes!

*, *:before, *:after { @include box-sizing(border-box); }


From reading the comments, there appears to be an issue with doing this for images if the image also has a border.  If you use a 100×100 pixel image with a 1px border, the image will actually be scaled down to 98×98 pixels.  This could be a problem with some sites, so i would probably recommend adding another line like:

img { @include box-sizing(content-box); }

Anyway, if I hit any more problems with this, I’ll come back and talk about them.