Categories
Lynda.com

Start with a Theme: Video Blogs in WordPress – new lynda.com course

Want to build a video blog in WordPress but don’t know where to start? Look no further than my new lynda.com course Start with a Theme: Video Blogs in WordPress. The course looks at best practices around adding videos to and creating a video blog with WordPress and features three themes that make your videos shine: Twenty Twelve, Origami, and Sundance. The course is just under one hour long and gives you a complete runthrough of all the features of the three themes as well as tips on how to use them for the best results possible when posting videos from sites like YouTube and Vimeo.

The SWAT (Start With A Theme) series is an ongoing project to showcase different themes and the way you can use them to create cool WordPress sites the easy way. Other courses in the series include

Categories
Lynda.com

Installing and Running WordPress: BitNami – New lynda.com course

The last (for now) course in the Installing and Running WordPress series in the lynda.com Online Training Library was just released: Installing and Running WordPress: BitNami.

The course is a detailed walk-through of how to use BitNami to install and run WordPress on any Windows PC or Mac. Topics covered include how to install BitNami and WordPress and make them work together, how to access and work with WordPress and its files while running under BitNami, and how to back up your content from BitNami so you can uninstall it without losing all your work in the process.

Having WordPress installed natively on your computer makes experimenting with and building things for WordPress much easier and is an important tool in your WordPress toolkit. Installing and Running WordPress: BitNami is now available, so go check it out and let me know what you think!

This course is part of the Installing and Running WordPress course series. Other courses available include:

Categories
Lynda.com

Installing and Running WordPress: WebMatrix – New lynda.com course

Part three of my new Installing and Running WordPress series is now out. The new course, called Installing and Running WordPress: WebMatrix is now available in the lynda.com Online Training Library and focuses on how to use Microsoft’s free WebMatrix 2 application to install and run WordPress on any Windows computer. WebMatrix is more than just a server environment for WordPress to run in: It’s also a code editor that makes it easy to write code for WordPress, so if you want to try something new, it is worth a look.

Having WordPress installed natively on your computer makes experimenting with and building things for WordPress much easier and is an important tool in your WordPress toolkit. Installing and Running WordPress: WebMatrix is now available, so go check it out and let me know what you think!

This course is part of the Installing and Running WordPress course series. Other courses available include:

Categories
Lynda.com

Installing and Running WordPress: MAMP – New lynda.com course

Hot on the heels of Installing and Running WordPress: WAMP comes my new course Installing and Running WordPress: MAMP in the lynda.com Online Training Library. I think you can see a pattern here. The WAMP and MAMP courses are two of a series of four different courses outlining four different methods for installing and running WordPress on Windows and Mac computers. The courses were created to provide you with options when it comes to creating your own custom development environment.

The course is a detailed walk-through of how to use MAMP to install and run WordPress on any Mac. Topics covered include how to install MAMP and WordPress and make them work together, how to access and work with WordPress and its files while running under MAMP, and how to back up your content from MAMP so you can uninstall it without losing all your work in the process.

Having WordPress installed natively on your computer makes experimenting with and building things for WordPress much easier and is an important tool in your WordPress toolkit. Installing and Running WordPress: MAMP is now available, so go check it out and let me know what you think!

This course is part of the Installing and Running WordPress course series. Other courses available include:

Categories
Lynda.com

Installing and Running WordPress: WAMP – New lynda.com course

It’s been on the books for quite some time and now it’s finally out. We have just released the new course Installing and Running WordPress: WAMP in the lynda.com Online Training Library. The course is a detailed walk-through of how to use WAMPServer to install and run WordPress on any Windows computer. Topics covered include how to install WAMP and WordPress and make them work together, how to access and work with WordPress and its files while running under WAMP, and how to back up your content from WAMP so you can uninstall it without losing all your work in the process.

Having WordPress installed natively on your computer makes experimenting with and building things for WordPress much easier and is an important tool in your WordPress toolkit. Installing and Running WordPress: WAMP is now available, so go check it out and let me know what you think!

This course is part of the Installing and Running WordPress course series. Other courses available include:

Categories
AMA

My Wooden Monkey – answering a question from a viewer

I get a lot of interesting questions from viewers of my lynda.com courses, and I’m going to start using some of them as material for articles and tutorials posted here on Design is Philosophy. Today I got a question from Pete that I thought is a good place to start. And no, it has nothing to do with web design, development, or anything like that. It’s about my wooden monkey:

I recently took your Intro to WordPress course at lynda.com. The course was very helpful and I have developed a website for a local RC club that I am a member of.

I do a little woodworking as a hobby and was trying to find a little more about your wooden monkey. Is there a link to where the monkey was purchased? It looks like his joints have the ability to move and his feet and hands look like they give him the ability to hang on to something. Finally how big is he?

Thank you,
Pete

Mor10 and his Kaj Bojesen wooden monkey
The Kaj Boyesen monkey with my head as a size reference

The monkey in question, pictured here next to my head, is a gift I got from my parents for my birthday a couple of years ago. It’s a wooden toy designed for children that has become a staple of Danish design. Designed by Danish silversmith Kay Bojesen in 1951 it is made of teak and limba and you can move the head, arms, and legs around (they are connected with an elastic band). The monkey is the most famous of his wooden toy designs which also include an elephant that can stand on its trunk, a bear, a dachshund, a parrot and some other animals. You can’t tell from photos, but the wood is not varnished. Instead it is oiled with a natural oil so you can safely hand the monkey to a baby without worrying about it being chewed on. To keep the monkey healthy it needs to be treated with oil every now and then.

You can see the monkey and his buddies at the official Kay Bojesen website but I have no idea where you would get a hold of one in North America.

Categories
lynda.com blog posts

Why WordPress? New post on the lynda.com blog

As I slowly ease myself into my new role as a staff author at lynda.com I’ll be blogging regularly on the lynda.com blog. To keep you in the loop I’ll post excerpts of those articles here on Design is Philosophy with links to the full articles.

What makes WordPress a good solution? Why is it so popular? Regardless of the question, the answer is the same, and it can be boiled down to three simple words:

Because WordPress works.

Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that. Let me put it into context from the perspective of the three main users of WordPress: the end user, the site owner, and the designer/developer.

Read the full article at the lynda.com blog.

Categories
Expression Web

Microsoft Abandons Expression Web and Front End Web Development

Today something major happened at Microsoft that will likely not be noted in the general tech media but will have a major impact on Microsoft’s influence over the web and web development. Microsoft is abandoning Expression Web – their only true front end web design and development application (IDE) – in favour of a Visual Studio / Blend hybrid. While this is no surprise, it is disheartening to see Microsoft write off front end developers in their misguided quest to make the web obsolete and replace it with Windows 8 apps. While the company is painting this as a move to consolidate and refine their web and app development toolkit, the message is loud and clear to anyone working as front end web developers: If you don’t make .NET and Windows 8 apps we have no interest in you.

Considering web publishers are moving aggressively towards more agile platforms, open standards, and content-centric solutions powered by Open Source languages, (1) this is a colossal step backwards and quite likely one Microsoft will never be able to recover from.

To put it in plain English: As of right now Microsoft no longer has a stake in the front end web development game.

Though Expression Web will live on as a “community supported” free application, no major updates will be released and it will die a sad and lonely death on the computers of fans like myself.

Expression Web and what could have been

If you’ve been following me for a while you may know that I have been using Expression Web to build websites and applications, and to build WordPress themes and plugins since the first beta of the application came out. I’ve also published four books, a video course, and countless tutorials on the use of Expression Web and its interaction with WordPress and other open source solutions.

What made Expression Web the best kept secret of the front end web development world was that the application put web standards front and center and was largely platform- and solution agnostic. Here was a true front end web design and development solution that handled PHP as well as it handled .NET, provided extensive coding support for everything from CSS3 to HTML5 to jQuery, and allowed you to do pretty much whatever you wanted regardless of whether what you wanted to do was based on a Microsoft coding language or not.

Expression Web has too many useful features to count, chief amongst them the seamless integration of advanced CSS tools that made it easy for novices and seasoned pros alike to build, dissect, troubleshoot, and publish standards based, future proof, and forward thinking CSS in a snap. I’ve made many a crowd gape in awe as I redesigned the CSS on the CNN.com website on the fly at conferences, and I’ve found that Expression Web has been by far the best learning tool for design minded and oriented people who wanted to make sense of the complexities of HTML and CSS.

It’s personal

For me this is more than just the sad death of software that should have been at the top of the priority list for Microsoft. It is also the end of an era. As I said before, my involvement with Expression Web started in the very beginning while the application was still in Beta. In fact this blog, Design is Philosophy, was started to document my experiences using Expression Web. Because of my aggressive bug reporting and commenting I was contacted by the Expression Web development team soon thereafter and I became a beta tester for the application. Eventually I was given a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award for my efforts and to date I have received that award four years running. My involvement with the Expression Web development team landed me a book deal, speaking engagements, and got me to the MIX conference in Las Vegas on two occasions. It also opened a whole new world of opportunity for me, so much so that I can honestly say that I owe much of my success to Expression Web and it’s chief creator Steven Guttman.

Through the years I have been heavily involved in beta testing of the many versions of Expression Web and there are features in the current application that could have my name on them. I used my influence to push the open source agenda and made every effort to help Microsoft understand they were sitting on a goldmine they refused to explore and the open source community understand what a useful application this really is. Now it turns out all those efforts were for naught.

End of an era

However much I feel this is a personal loss, it is nothing compared to what the crack team of designers and developers that made Expression Web what it was only to have it discarded by the mothership for political reasons must be feeling right now. The decision to scrap Expression Web is clearly one made by management with their heads buried deep in the river bed. The application was a shining light of what Microsoft could be – an open application focussed on real life work regardless of platform or product affinity. Sadly that path has now been closed in favour of laser sharp focus on pushing internal product even though the community is not interested. I would laugh at the lack of insight these corporate pencil pushers have, but that would trivialise what is endemic of a corporate culture of detachment and ideological dogma.

The writing has been on the door, in blood, for a year now and when confronted with the question of what Microsoft was envisioning for the future of web development in early 2012 the answer was loud and clear: For Microsoft, the web is dying and the future lies in Windows 8 apps. When asked what we web developers should be doing the answer was the same: Make Windows 8 apps. Which is about as useful as telling a contractor to start erecting tents instead of houses because houses are no longer relevant. Anyone outside the reach of whatever reality distorting force field they have running at the Redmond campus can see how idiotic this is, but that hasn’t stopped the people in charge for pulling the plug on one of the few applications from the company that had something new to offer.

I could be subtle about this, but seriously, you all know me too well for that. This is idiocy. Pure and simple.

RIP Expression Web. Your master never understood your value.

Maybe the Mayans got it right after all.

(1) In the original version of the article I stated somewhat vaguely that “.NET is seeing a sharp decline”. Thanks to some commenters I realize this statement was unclear and somewhat confusing. The sentence has been edited to reflect the original intended message, that a large majority of sites and content published on the web is being published using open source languages and platforms leaving closed solutions like Microsoft Stack applications languishing in the dust. See here for stats on Content Management Systems as an example. I realize I used the term “.NET” too loosely, thus the correction.

Categories
News

Join Morten for a Live Q&A on Facebook this Wednesday

I’m doing a live Q&A session with lynda.com on Facebook this coming Wednesday December 12 from 11am to 1pm Pacific Time. It’ll be an Ask Me Anything of sorts (as long as it’s vaguely related to WordPress) and it is a bit of an experiment so we’ll see how it goes. You can either submit your questions ahead of time through the lynda.com Facebook page or through Twitter @lyndadotcom or you can show up on the day and partake in the festivities.

Categories
WordCamp WordPress

WordCamp Vancouver 2012: You Must Attend

If you are one of the thousands of people in Vancouver that use, work with, or interact with WordPress in your work life or private life, you need to attend WordCamp Vancouver coming up on October 13th, 2012. The event, hosted at BCIT’s campus in Burnaby, has speakers, workshops, and presentations that will blow you away and give you a whole new understanding of WordPress and what it can do.

WordCamp Vancouver is for everyone and you will find something for you whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro. More importantly WordCamp Vancouver is an excellent opportunity to meet and interact with other WordPress enthusiasts, designers, developers, bloggers etc.

This is especially true for beginners: If you are just starting out with WordPress, attending WordCamp Vancouver will be the best decision you made (after deciding to use WordPress of course). I’m not saying that because I’m an organizer, I am saying it because it’s true. Ask anyone.

Tickets for WordCamp Vancouver 2012 are $25 per person and include coffee, lunch, snacks, and the conference itself of course.

Check out the schedule for all the talks and workshops and check out the speaker list to learn about the great local and international speakers we have on our roster.

What are you waiting for? Got get your tickets now and prepare for a day of WordPress awesomeness.

Categories
Lynda.com

No longer ‘just’ an author

For the past 3 years I’ve been moonlighting as an author for online video training library lynda.com making instructional courses about WordPress and web design and development. Working with the staff at lynda.com and interacting with my viewers has given me a whole new understanding of the work I do on the web and also an avenue to help others make sense of the web and use it to take control of their online presence and create great things. So far I’ve created 9 courses and many of these have already seen several updates. And that’s just the beginning.

From ‘Author’ to ‘Staff Author’

As of today, October 1st, 2012, my title changes from lynda.com “Author” to “Staff Author”. What does that mean? First and most importantly it means I will be making more courses on web design, development, WordPress, and other topics so I can share more of my knowledge with you and do my part to educate the users of the web. Secondly it means I will now be able to dedicate my time primarily to the development and production of courses with lynda.com. Though the exact roadmap for the future has yet to be laid out what I can say is there will be more WordPress, more web design and development, and more cool stuff.

What does that mean for Pink & Yellow Media and Design is Philosophy?

This change of title begs one important question about the future of Pink & Yellow Media and this blog. The good news is nothing will change – at least not on the surface. Pink & Yellow Media will continue to take on clients and creating great websites for individuals, small businesses and large corporations. And I will continue blogging about web design, WordPress, and whatever else seems topical right here on Design is Philosophy. In fact I hope I’ll be able to publish more content here. Behind the scenes I will take on more of a consulting role in the company allowing for others to take on some of the more labour intensive challenges. To be able to deliver the best and most up-to-date educational material through lynda.com I still have to have a foot firmly planted in the real-life day to day of web design and development. That is the only way to keep up to snuff of what’s going on. But rather than doing all the work myself my plan is to bring on a select group of designers and developers and grow the company. This will be a huge learning opportunity for me and the new members of the team and will ensure that both present and future Pink & Yellow Media clients get the best the web has to offer from us.

More to come…

These are exciting times for Angela and myself. We are in the process of building the new Pink & Yellow Media studio in Burnaby and my new role at lynda.com opens new opportunities for us as well as our company. And most of all I am very excited about adding my name to the list of amazing people already working for lynda.com and being able to keep making training materials for the users and builders of the web. Exciting times indeed. Stay tuned. More to come…

Categories
Lynda.com

Updated 404 template for Anaximander

One of the templates that is often overlooked when creating a WordPress theme is the 404 template. The 404 template creates the 404 page that appears when a viewer follows a broken link or enters a garbage link in the address field in their browser. You can see an example by following this link which obviously goes nowhere: http://mor10.com/lskdjlfkjowihev

In the rush to release Anaximander and my most recent lynda.com course WordPress: Building Responsive Themes the 404 template in the starter theme got a bit mangled. I was made aware of this by one of my viewers and we are updating the lesson files as we speak. If you’ve already started on the course or are using Anaximander for your site, I’m providing the fixed file here for you to download and install directly.

Click here to download the zip archive with the 404.php file.

To install the new 404 template unzip the archive and place the new 404.php file inside your Anaximander-Static folder replacing the old one.

The new 404 template is similar to the search template: It provides a simple message saying something went wrong and then offers up the 12 most recent posts as an option to the visitor.