Archive for 2009

Appending Style Nodes with Javascript

Appending Style Nodes with Javascript

In Javascript it often makes sense to attach a stylesheet rather than style a bunch of individual attributes. Appending a stylesheet to the DOM has a number of advantages:

  • Stylesheets can be easier to work with than Javascript—it’s just more natural to use CSS syntax for styling.
  • It’s nice to avoid the cross-browser headaches associated with Javascript styling. Compare CSS’s simple float: left to Javascript’s style.styleFloat = ‘left’ and style.cssFloat = ‘left’.
  • Appending a stylesheet is better for performance when styling 15 or more elements.
  • CSS allows you to leverage pseudo-classes and define styles with the simple a:hover selector instead of both onmouseover and onmouseout event listeners.

There are a couple ways to append a stylesheet. Although it’s usually best to attach an external stylesheet, there are times when you need to build a stylesheet on the fly with Javascript. Let’s walk through the code we’ll need to append … Read more…


TranslateThis – A Javascript Translation Widget for Noobs and Nerds Alike

TranslateThis – A Javascript Translation Widget for Noobs and Nerds Alike

TranslateThis is a new Javascript widget that provides 52 languages of translation by leveraging the Google Language API.

Installing TranslateThis couldn’t be easier—simply copy and paste the widget code anywhere on your website, you don’t have to upload any files or change any settings.

Besides being easy to use, TranslateThis also provides many attractive features for developers. First off, requests to the Language API run in Javascript, so the translation is pretty fast. Additionally, the script is lightweight, weighing in at just over 11kb with another 7kb of imagery. And since it doesn’t depend on any Javascript library, TranslateThis can be implemented on any website without additional overhead. Finally, TranslateThis has been tested in all modern browsers and its user interface is designed to be straightforward and seamless.

Get your own TranslateThis Widget

Read the TranslateThis Documentation

What can you customize in TranslateThis?


10 Advanced jQuery Performance Tuning Tips from Paul Irish

10 Advanced jQuery Performance Tuning Tips from Paul Irish

There were a lot of good speakers at today’s jQuery Summit, but Paul Irish‘s talk on jQuery Anti-Patterns for Performance & Compression was my stand-out favorite. Covering a number of advanced jQuery performance optimization techniques, this speech put my knowledge of jQuery optimization to shame.

Before Paul’s talk my understanding of jQuery performance tuning was fairly simplistic:

  1. Optimize selectors to descend from an id if possible.
  2. Use tag names when selecting classes and don’t use an excessive number of selectors.
  3. Define variables instead of selecting the same object repeatedly.
  4. Optimize your code replacing repetition with object oriented functions.

But the information Paul presented blew all that out of the water. Here are 10 jQuery performance rules I gathered from his presentation:

1. Optimize selectors for Sizzle’s ‘right to left’ model

As of version 1.3, jQuery has been using the Sizzle Javascript Selector Library which works a bit differently from the … Read more…


Yet Another Featured Posts Plugin for WordPress (YAFPP)

Yet Another Featured Posts Plugin for WordPress (YAFPP)

Yet Another Featured Posts Plugin provides an easy-to-use interface for featuring specific posts in a WordPress blog. After installing the plugin, you can feature and unfeature posts by clicking on each post’s ‘featured star’ in the WordPress edit posts page.

Yet Another Featured Posts Plugin has a variety configuration options, allowing you to control a number of display options as well as which users can feature posts. For developers YAFPP allows several output options besides the default: it can return a data array, modify the next query for WordPress’ the_loop(), and or return formatted data (which can be easily formatted through the admin panel).

Download Yet Another Featured Posts Plugin (YAFPP)

YAFPP Screenshots

Read the documentation

How to use YAFPP

To start, download YAFPP and upload it to your site’s wp-content/plugins/ directory. Activate the plugin and go to the posts listing in your WordPress admin … Read more…


Book Review : Learning jQuery 1.3

Book Review : Learning jQuery 1.3

For the past couple years jQuery has been gaining in popularity, from a hot script with easy CSS selectors released by John Resig in 2006, all the way to jQuery 1.3.2, probably the most widely used Javascript library today. The jQuery core has been constantly expanding, offering new methods and performance tuning with every release, in addition to the wide variety of jQuery plugins that are released almost daily.

Known for publishing resources for the latest development trends, Packt Publishing has recently released an updated version their jQuery book: Learning jQuery 1.3, by Jonathan Chaffer and Karl Swedberg of Learning jQuery (the website). This new resource provides an excellent introduction to jQuery as well as going into detail on some of its finer topics. I’d highly recommend it for anyone who is fairly new to jQuery—it will give you a great head start in … Read more…


10 Things Every Good Web Developer Should Know (A Checklist)

10 Things Every Good Web Developer Should Know (A Checklist)

My favorite thing about web development is the wide variety of skills it uses. Being a good developer means staying on your toes and always learning, because there are so many important skills and these are constantly changing.

Here’s a checklist of 10 skills that are some of the most important for good web developers to have. These focus a bit on front-end skills, but they apply to all developers:

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QuickFlip 2: The jQuery Flipping Plugin Made Faster and Simpler

QuickFlip 2: The jQuery Flipping Plugin Made Faster and Simpler

I’m happy to announce the release of QuickFlip 2, a major reworking of the jQuery plugin that flips any piece of HTML markup over like a card. The new version is faster and even easier to use—simply call the flip animation through a jQuery selector and the QuickFlip will flip the front panel to show its back. The flip effect is similar to the UI animation on the iPhone

Download QuickFlip 2 for jQuery

Read the QuickFlip documentation

QuickFlip works by using an animation shortcut that is barely noticeable when flipped quickly (hence the name). This shortcut improves performance while allowing the flip effect to work smoothly with any piece of markup regardless of images, backgrounds or CSS.

It provides an attractive alternative to other slower and more resource heavy Flash and jQuery flip animations. However if you want a smoother option with … Read more…


YouTubin’ Plugin for jQuery

YouTubin’ Plugin for jQuery

YouTubin’ is a jQuery plugin that makes embedding YouTube videos clean, easy and unobtrusive. In its simplest form, YouTubin’ grabs any links that point to a YouTube page and replaces them with an embedded video. To do so, YouTubin’ leverages SwfObject 2 if available, but otherwise just embeds the video through standard markup.

Advanced options include flagging specific video elements using a jQuery selector and setting a variety of swf properties such as dimensions, flash version, flashvars and params. Youtubin’ can even be used to cause the video to embed once a link is clicked rather than when the page loads.

Download YouTubin’ jQuery Plugin


Scrolling Parallax: A jQuery Plugin

Scrolling Parallax: A jQuery Plugin

Scrolling Parallax is a new jQuery plugin that binds a parallax effect to the scrollbars and mouse wheel. This allows a background image or anything else to scroll at a different pace than the web page when a user scrolls around. The parallax effect that results is an easy way to create an illusion of depth on your website.

Basic use of the Scrolling Parallax plugin is extremely easy. Simply pass the path to an image, and the plugin takes the image and stretches it to the window width and 150% of the height. The extra 50% of the height is scrolled down along with the document, smoothly reaching the end at the same time as the page.

The Scrolling Parallax plugin is also very versatile. There are a wide variety of options including scrolling faster, slower, looping and reversing the animation and tiling the … Read more…


Contact-Pop: Contact Form Overlays with a Simple jQuery Plugin

Contact-Pop jQuery Plugin

Contact-Pop is a jQuery plugin that makes contact forms with grayed out overlays incredibly easy. The basic script grabs any links that point to your contact page and flags them for the Contact-Pop popup. When these links are clicked, Contact-Pop grays out the page and pulls in the contact form using AJAX. That means that with just a few lines of code, you can convert your site to use Contact-Pop’s form and overlay rather than your current contact page.

While there are a lot of options for producing grayed out overlays in jQuery, Contact-Pop provides a more robust and specialized solution for in-page contact forms. The main advantage is ease of use: simply flag any links to your current contact page by href or jQuery selector, and ContactPop does the rest. Combining this simplicity with a plethora of customizable options, Contact-Pop is a useful plugin for … Read more…