Slides from My Style & Class Presentation

Kicking off 2015 with even more public speaking…last night I gave a short talk at the Style & Class meet-up about Pattern Lab and the benefit of building interactive HTML prototypes.

The theme for the evening was “design storytelling” and the angle of my presentation was how Pattern Lab helped me fill in some crucial gaps on a current project where the traditional design comps we had contracted out fell short.

Feel free to grab the slides here:

Posted in: Design

Slides from My “App-ifying WordPress” Talk

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at WordCamp Vancouver 2014. The talk that I gave—which was a 30,000 ft. view of using WordPress as an application platform—was basically the culmination of a half-hearted promise I made to myself after leaving the same WordCamp last year that I would take a stab at pitching a presentation for the 2014 event.

Little did I realize I’d actually make good on that promise-to-self, or that what I had pitched back in June would actually be picked. Nerves aside, I had a great time—that’s one WordCamp organizing committee that really knows how to take care of its speakers and volunteers.

Feel free to check out or download my slide deck below. Also, while preparing my presentation I compiled a gigantic list of related resources, which you can check out on Github.

Posted in: WordPress

By Popular Request, v2 of Isotope Posts

Just over a year ago I posted my Isotope Posts plugin on Github. I originally built the plugin for a personal project where I wanted to display a loop of WordPress posts using Metafizzy’s Isotope plugin, and then allow snazzy filtering of the posts based on a custom taxonomy.

Apparently I was not alone in wanting to do such a thing—since I posted Isotope Posts I’ve received a lot of great feedback from people who have downloaded the plugin. However, time and time again the same two feature requests popped up. The first was to allow users to save multiple Isotope Posts shortcodes in the settings area so that Isotope could be used for different post loops throughout a site. The second feature request was to add pagination, as the plugin was initially designed to show all posts from a post type at once (understandably problematic for many use cases).

So after a few months of plugging away at this (wherever I could eke out some free time…) I’ve finally posted a completely refactored version of Isotope Posts on Github that adds supports for saving multiple Isotope Posts shortcodes as well as a pagination option using infinite scroll. It also uses the most recent release of Metafizzy’s Isotope plugin.

We’ll call this a soft-launch of v2 because there may still be a few bugs to sort with the new features that have been added, so if you stumble on any weirdness please report it in the Issues section of the Github repo.


Posted in: WordPress

Two New Flickr Plugins for Your Enjoyment

Flickr ain’t what it used to be, but it still holds a special place in my heart. Before I pick up any new-t0-me film camera my purchase is still usually preceded by hours of stalking groups and photo streams related to said camera on Flickr.

The Recently on Flickr Widget evolved from the widget I originally built for this iteration of my site—you can see its predecessor currently in operation below in the footer.

Flickr by Sets Albums was a quick fix that I needed for a client project so they could display an album of photos from an event in a blog post, but I decided to add a little more polish to it afterward and release it as a plugin.

And bonus! Both plugins will work with Flickr’s SSL-only API (the non-SSL version will be deprecated in a couple weeks).

You download both plugins over on Github. One of these days, I’ll get around to posting them on the WP plugin directory…

Slides from My “Get More Out of Gravity Forms” Talk

I finally got around to summarizing all the ways I bent Gravity Forms to my will while working on the Small Business BC Awards website last year, and tonight I shared some some of what I learned throughout that process in a talk at the Vancouver WordPress Meet-up.

During the presentation I mentioned that I would share my slides afterward so anyone who was interested could grab the links to the code snippets I talked about. So without further adieu…

High Fidelity Version

For the best experience viewing the slides, you’ll want to check out the original HTML version here.

(And for anyone who’s curious, I built this slide deck using the a-mazing reveal.js code library.)

More Portable Version

Alternatively, you can jump over to SlideShare and download the PDF-ified version:

Enjoy! And thanks again to everyone who came out to the meet-up tonight.

Posted in: WordPress

The Cockroach (Good or Bad)

HTML is the cockroach that will survive a nuclear winter.
—Jeffery Zeldman, The Art of Web Design (on PBS)

Posted in: Technology

A Little Author List Widget for WordPress

As is so often the case with my self-inflicted WordPress projects, a straightforward idea quickly snowballed into something that took ten times longer to code than expected. Luckily, I had some free time to obsess over the finer details of my latest inspiration last week, so without further ironic adieu I present to you A Very Simple Author List Widget.

Sure, there are dozens of other author list widgets out there, but rather than overwhelm you with endless options this one strives to make your life easier by extracting the fuss and muss out of a simple task such as listing all of the authors of your multi-author blog in its sidebar (or other widget-ized area).

The (selectively) minimal feature set:

  • You add a heading for your author list, decide whether to display Gravatars next to the author names (with three sizes available), and also remove specific users the list (say, the site admins perhaps?).
  • Author biographical info displays below the names provided something exists in that field in user profiles on the WP admin side.
  • Author names and Gravatar images automatically link to respective archive pages.

You can learn more about the widget, or download/fork it on Github.


Our world of rampant over-sharing could use a little more self-editing.

Self-editing isn’t about censoring yourself, or reducing yourself or your work to some narrow, unrepresentative slice. Self-editing is about only sharing the best of what you have to put out there.

Yet our approach is all too often one of spray and pray. There’s plenty of space on the internet for you throw whatever your want out there in whatever volume you want throw it. It’s also very fast and very easy to do—whether we’re talking about status updates or a scantily curated portfolio site. Any why not take this approach? From a personal perspective, it’s great to feel like people are paying attention to you and care about what you have to say (come on, we’re all human right?), and from a professional perspective, how do you begin to guess what piece of work may sway a future employer or client to hire you? Look at how prolific you are! Let the people decide for themselves!

If only. For obvious reasons, self-editing is essential and luckily comes down basic questions. Is whatever you’re putting out there the best representation of a smaller piece of a more cohesive you? Will your audience be moved or delighted or spurred to action by what they see? Does it have value given its (current) context?

Answering these questions is the hard part, and the answers are invariably audience-dependent. Self-editing can be particularly tricky because of the closeness of the subject matter to you—it may all seem relevant and important. It’s not. I went through this process recently as I culled 50% of the content on this blog. Blasphemous in some web content-makers’ circles? Yes. Is that of any consequence to me? Not really. Any argument that failure to immortalize every shred of anything ever published here (or anywhere) is somehow “inauthentic” doesn’t hold water for me. Further, and perhaps more importantly, I don’t think anyone will desperately miss the stale content I retired.

In the end, cohesiveness and timeliness will always tell a more compelling story than comprehensiveness.

Into Nothing One Could Hold or See

How different everything is for the craftsman who transforms a part of the world with his own hands, who can see his work as emanating from his being and can step back at the end of a day or lifetime and point to an object – whether a square of canvas, a chair or a clay jug – and see it as a stable repository of his skills and an accurate record of his years, and hence feel collected together in one place, rather than strung out across projects which long ago evaporated into nothing one could hold or see. —Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work