subCHILD

Archive for the design category

Slideshowify Gets a Project Homepage, Demos, Documentation

posted by admin in Code, CSS, design, HTML, JavaScript, jQuery, jQuery

After just sitting there collecting dust for a while, Slideshowify is back and better than ever.

New updates include CSS3 support (provided via @rstacruz‘s excellent jquery.transit.js plugin), animation as well as zooming in both directions and better browser support – it works and looks great on tablets and other touch devices.

In addition, the project now has a legitimate project homepage which provides documentation and a couple of live demos. 

Check it out now at: http://subchild.com/slideshowify

The "MS Shell Dlg" Mystery (Solved)

posted by admin in browsers, CSS, design, fonts, HTML

If you haven’t noticed (and are using a PC), the headlines on this blog should now be rendered using the MS Shell Dlg font [I've since changed this and have been experimenting with custom fonts via @font-face, but all information in this post still applies otherwise.] I learned about this font just now after trying to figure out why tadalist.com‘s input fields were rendering using it instead of the fonts specified in the CSS rule. I’m still unsure why the computed style lists MS Shell Dlg as the font since its never explicitly specified nor is the the default, but it is. (If you know why this is, drop a comment below.)

Anyhow, I really like the way this font looks at 20+ pixels and bolded, so its the new style for the (H2) headers. If you’re on a Mac, you should see Helvetica and since that font carries mad clout complaints will be appropriately ignored.

OK, I’m off to read more about this, starting here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/282187

Update #1

Just read it.  A very intriguing quote from that page: “It is not a font but a face name for a nonexistent font.”  What?  Its definitely a font and after testing all of the usual suspects, I’m still unsure which one. Bizarre.

Update #2

I found the answer on this page: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd374112%28VS.85%29.aspx.  The font that MS Shell Dlg maps to on all versions of Windows since Windows 2000 is “Microsoft Sans Serif”.  But I’m guessing that using MS Shell Dlg in the CSS rule instead makes more sense since it will map properly on other versions of Windows, and since its a shorter rule.  Though, specifying “Microsoft Sans Serif” explicitly, followed by more common fonts would make for a better rule and ensure no further surprises.

All this said, I’m still not sure why tadalist.com’s input fields are rendering in this font.

Update #3

Since writing this post, I’m noticing this font substitution taking place more often.  For example, Twitter‘s login input fields behave the same way, as does the h2 tag on Dictionary.com.  What all of these have in common is that they specify the first font name in quotes (presumably since it contains multiple words) and it happens to be a font that I don’t have installed.  While quotes should be permitted in such cases and are even encouraged by some, I find that its not necessary and here appears to not have the intended effect.

Choosing a (WordPress) Blog Theme (and customizing it)

posted by admin in Code, design

It seems appropriate to me that the first blog post should be about picking the blog theme since I’ve done this a few times recently (both for myself and others’ blogs) and I always come across the same problems. First of all, the official WordPress themes site offers possibly the lamest selection of themes, which is further degraded by their volume. If you’re looking for a WordPress theme that’s more stylish or unique, I recommend looking elsewhere.

A few sources I came across:

After picking a few themes I liked, I tested them out and also checked the code for each.  I am sad to say that I am yet to see a theme that has code I would consider even decent. Generally, they vary from usable to just plain embarrassing. I’m not sure who writes this stuff, but the theme which I initially chose (Modicus Remix by Art Culture) was simple and slick, but was nothing close to being packaged for distribution. The year in the copyright was hard-coded to “2007″, the feeds were still hard-coded to Art Culture’s feeds, it had its own subscription form, and its own Google Ad Syndication module. Considering that it took a few minutes to remove all this stuff its surprising that they would leave it in.

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Subchild is a blog about web development. It's author is Aleksandar Kolundzija, himself a web developer for 10++ years, presently a Hacker-in-Residence at betaworks. Prior to betaworks, Alex worked at Google, Meebo, MLB Advanced Media (MLB.com), Razorfish, and elsewhere.

Some of Alex's side projects include Gallerama.com, Slideshowify, LiveXmlEdit, and other blogs like Dopevector and blog.gallerama.com. When he's not working on any of those, Alex is probably playing guitar, producing music, mixing records, taking photos, playing with his kid, or watching documentaries about particle physics, the monetary system, etc.

Let him know what's up: ak @ subchild.com