A little work for Sugar Shoes

A recently got to do a small bit of work with an old friend from university. We both did the Surf Science & Technology course at Plymouth Uni and have since independent got into the world of building websites.

Made By Richard had a client, Sugar Shoes, using Tradingeye e-commerce platform. I’d never used Tradingeye before and found the documentation a bit sparse .

I only had to implement functionality to change the text on the homepage as well as upload new images for an image slider on the homepage and with a bit of poking around I got my head around how the system work.

It was great to work with Richard and I really like his design style. He’s an easy going guy and I’d like to recommend him for your web design needs. Check out his new look portfolio at www.madebyrichard.me/

I’ve got an Arduino kit

I recently found out about Arduino an open-source electronics prototyping platform – as described on the website.

It’s basically a circuit board which can have components connected to it and then “sketches” can be uploaded to the board to control how it operates. The basics, which I am working through this Christmas, are controlling LEDs but if you have a Google or YouTube there are some really impressive projects.

I’ve never really dabbled with electronics before but this looks a lot of fun. There is a project to control your garage door with iOS. There are also numerous examples of connecting to the board over a network so I’d love to combine some web work or iOS work with Arduino.

Starter kits can be found online pretty cheap and there are plenty of good tutorials around as well.

Marine Biological Association website relaunched

I recently redesigned and coded the website for the Marine Biological Association. I designed the site mobile first as I feel this makes sense to start with the linear nature of a webpage and it’s elements and then see where these elements can best be focused as the screen size increases.

The site also uses responsive design techniques with a fluid grid. I found Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte had some useful techniques in it and also the templates from the 978 Grid System to calculate layout widths.

As the site is primarily for presenting static page content and adding news posts I chose WordPress for the back end. There are a few custom plugins that I have written in there to deal with membership forms and other bespoke areas of the site.

You can see the site at http://www.mba.ac.uk

CodeIgniter Instagram API Library Released

After using Instagram for a while I began looking at their API and then saw that there is no CodeIgniter library for it so I began making one.

You can download it from https://github.com/ianckc/CodeIgniter-Instagram-Library

And see a sample demonstration at http://ianluckraft.co.uk/demonstrations/instagram-library/welcome

Use and enjoy.

I’d love to see any projects that use the library.

Tom Frankham Imagery

Tom is a talented young photographer and designer form Plymouth. Lately he has been working for Prime Delux, who’s online store I developed, taking photos for them and also dealing with the admin side of the store.

The images he has added to the site have really improved the overall look and feel as well as giving the user a better view of the products.

You can check out his improved portfolio site at http://www.tomfrankhamimagery.co.uk/

Typekit now installed

I’ve now signed up for a Typekit account and have used Ligurino on this site for it’s clean lines.

The interface for choosing and adding fonts is fantastic and very very user friendly.

The fonts look great on a Mac although there does seem to be a few rendering issues on Windows.

I’d be especially keen to use this for logos or headings as the larger font sizes seem to display the best.

I got my hands on a Mac

I’ve done work on Macs before and always enjoyed it but I’ve managed to get my hands on a MacBook Pro which I’ll be doing lots of my work with.

Having read a couple of iPhone developer books I’m very keen to get stuck into a bit of app development and see what I can come up with.

The first evening was pretty much spent installing programs and typing into Google “mac short cut for ……” but after a few days of working on it I can highly recommend it. It’s lightning fast and opening up new programs is almost seamless. This really helps my workflow as I’m not getting distracted whilst the new program opens up.

Not to mention the excellent battery life, it’s really nice to have a laptop that can be used as one and not have to look for a power supply before even thinking about getting into some work.

Drupal 6 num_rows

I’ve been working on a site powered by Drupal and needed to find the number of rows a database query returned. Simple enough and quite common procedure. But, the Drupal database API no longer offers the db_num_rows() function.

I had a quick Google around and the answered seemed to be to run the query twice but the second time using a count query. Two calls to the database when only one is necessary? Not on my watch. The piece of code is to appear on the home page so it will be called upon frequently.

My solution was too loop through the results set and add the formatted HTML to an array. Then check if there are any items in the array, if so loop through it an output them if not display the message that there are currently no results.

I know it’s still doubling up but I think it is a slightly more elegant solution than the double database call.