One thing that I’ve found difficult recently is reading interesting articles outside of my usual working hours. So, I’ve been looking round for apps/websites that would make reading easier for me. That’s when I discovered Readability which is a website that makes it easy to convert any web page into a clean, distraction-free, reading view. You can also save articles for later with a browser plug-in and sync the reading list across all of your devices. It works great!
Last week I went to the Port 80 Web Design Conference (Twitter) in Newport. The conference was organised by Joel Hughes who wanted to have a web design conference in South Wales. Great credit to him for deciding to do something like this – and then doing it! Here’s my take on the conference.
Perch is a lightweight CMS that I’ve used quite a lot recently. You can build a website in the normal way and then assign areas or sections of HTML to the Perch system via templates (snippets of HTML containing Perch tags). Additionally, the admin control panel seems to be easily understood by clients. It all works great!
Even though Perch is a lightweight system, it can still be pretty powerful because you can share content areas between pages and also hide or show content quite easily. This is all explained in the Perch documentation but the ability to hide or show content areas is something that is a bit ‘underplayed’ (or perhaps I only discovered this after everybody else) so I thought I’d highlight it.
At the end of last month, I went to the March meet-up of Worthing Digital where Harry Brignull from Clearleft described the development of an iPad app for The Week magazine. Taking a print magazine’s content and designing a tablet app in ten weeks was, I think, a tough challenge, so it was great to hear the project described in some detail.
I wanted to add my most popular posts (as measured by visitor logs) to this Textpattern site and display them. After searching through the Textpattern forums, it seemed that several plug-ins were available but most of these were now defunct. Until I came across the smd_lately plug-in by Stef Dawson. You can use it in a variety of different ways but, for me, I want to show the most popular posts over the last month. A ‘rolling’ total if you like.
The plugin code I used for this is:
<txp:smd_lately by="" sort="popularity" wraptag="ul" break="li" limit="10" within="1 month" />
I’ve used the plug-in on this site. It worked great.
PS: Make sure you are using the cache_time attribute with the plug-in to avoid heavy database use; this will speed up page load times. See this forum thread for details.
Update: This plug-in is not is use on the site any more because I wanted to put something else in its place.
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