Insites ConfShop

Whilst at Responsive Day Out earlier this year I briefly spoke with Kier Whitaker and we discussed the recent Insites: Xmas Special which he helped to organise – a small intimate gathering of colleagues and peers openly discussing successes and failures along with the highs and lows of the web industry – and in-so-doing informed me that there will be a similar event this summer – Insites: ConfShop.

Insites: ConfShop was attended by 100 or-so people from all corners of the web industry, some of whom organise the most inspirational events and others that have yet to write a line of code professionally.

Each of the 4 sessions were hosted by curators in order to stimulate and choreograph the conversation, the topics were lead around these four topics.

  • Side projects
  • Working in the industry – work/life balance
  • Client work and products
  • Business issues

In my eyes this format of event is fantastic and brings us closer together as a community. It helps to erode the speaker/audience divide, we are all in the same boat. This event is small enough to allow for everyone to mix, chat and hang out. We are a passionate lot and this was reinforced in many different ways.

Personally I learnt a lot from this event, I was surprised and relieved to find out that I am not alone or as old-hat as I first thought. Most of the issues discussed and deliberated are very familiar to me. And there’s me thinking that somewhere someone has this website thing totally nailed but sadly not. Somehow, that’s actually bizarrely comforting. I guess it’s somewhat synonymous with the ever changing and evolving industry we work in.

Thanks to all involved, it really makes a difference.

Responsive Day Out

This Friday is Responsive Day Out in sunny Brighton. I’ll be attending and attempting to absorb all the information that will no doubt be pumped from the stage and chatting to all the highly talented attendees.

I’ve looked back at my sparse blog and notice that my first attempt into this responsive web design trend was back in November 2010 and It’s only just recently that I’ve been involved in building a responsive design as a contractor. The trend appears to be taking it’s time to take off but it’s well and truly here right now and it’s fantastic!

Have a quick look at my blog post Bare bones responsive theme if you feel so inclined. I’ve been running this theme on my blog since then, it’s a bit embarrassing that I’ve not created any design for this theme but hopefully I’ll get a nice dose of inspiration at Responsive Day Out.

Let’s see what’s happenin’ in Tech City.

What a roller-coaster the last few months have been!

Recently I’ve moved to the happenin’ area of East London in an attempt to get involved with the people who make up ‘Tech City’ or ‘The Silicon Roundabout’ as it’s been known. My first challenge was to find somewhere to live, I found a couple of great guys at an event hosted by www.spareroom.co.uk at the end of March and together we moved into our new flat in the middle of May.

After completing a couple of awesome projects earlier in the year whilst contracting at Javelin Group – designing and building the user interfaces for the mobile websites for both www.lakeland.co.uk and www.mothercare.com (check them on your mobile) I thought it would be great to move to the area to find out what else is going on and get involved!

The first two weeks in London I attended the Digital Shoreditch conference (excluding the days I’ve spent sorting out my house to rent) it has been great, I’ve loved meeting new people and discussing all manor of different topics.

If I met you at one of the events, please do get in contact as it’d be great to catch up. I’ll do my best to fish out that business card of yours or the scrawly-written email address and contact you.

Bare bones responsive theme

Check out this WordPress theme, written in HTML5, CSS3 and spiced up with a bunch of @media queries.

As I described in my previous post, I’m experimenting with a number of new technologies. I have started to build this framework for a WordPress theme which will showcase the power of CSS3 @media queries. So, while you’re here, scale your browser to see the different @media queries in action, and why not take a peek using your smartphone, or if you have one, your iPad. When you’re there, give it a twist and see what it looks like in portrait and landscape.

Funky EH! Right, I’m off to do a little more coding before going to visit my nephew, who’s celebrating his first birthday.

Experimenting – mwaaa haaha

Recently I’ve taken to thinking along the lines of many other web designers and developers who are embracing the new technologies. Ranging from the funkiest mobile devices and latest browser technologies.

Using a raft of the latest tech plenty of testing and experimentation has been creeping it’s way into my daily routine. Armed with a laptop with two external screens, a couple of ‘standard (single screen)’ laptops and PCs accompanied with a small handful of smartphones and a tablet:

  • Lenovo T500 – 1680×1050 – Windows 7
    • Dell P2210H 1080×1920 (portrait)
    • Dell P2210H 1920×1080 (landscape)
  • Toshiba Tecra – 1024×768 – Ubuntu 10.04
  • Dell Optiplex GX520 – 1280×1024 – Windows XP
  • Apple iPad – 1024×768 – iOS 3.2.2
  • Apple iPhone 3G – 320×480 – iOS 3.1.3
  • HTC Desire HD – 480×800 – Andriod 2.2

These tools of the trade allow me to see my projects on many different devices, so, as a result I’m going to be using this blog as a testing area for a ground-up build of a wordpress blog incorporating a bunch of ideas. Many of which may fail, so if it’s spannered at any time you’ll know why.

So, first up is Elliot Jay StocksStarkers WordPress theme, this awesome bad-boy of a theme is right up my street as a web designer, it provides me with the bare-bones ‘naked’ theme for me to apply a bespoke design from scratch.

Couple that with the baddass HTML5 Boilerplate code, giving me access to the most top-notch tricks to get a full-on HTML5 website started off on the right foot.

Then….. An even awesomer revelation!! Aaron T. Grogg has got his shizzle out and performed an amalgamation of Starkers and Boilerplate in the form of a WordPress theme called Boilerplate: Starkers WordPress theme!.

I can hardly believe my eyes.. So much help and assistance out there on the interweb these days.. – love you guys -

THEN…. (Yup, it’s not over yet…) I scoot on over to Less Framework 3 and shave the CSS from here with all it’s @media queries. Providing me with a foundation for tailoring the theme to a number of different width layouts. I strip out the reset stuff as that exists in the Boilerplate theme by default. Rock on over to WordPress.org Child Themes and use this info to create myself a child theme of Boilerplate.

As a result, I end up with this wonderful baseline of a theme, all ready and waiting for me to apply my limited knowledge to. I’m certain that I’ll learn plenty from this process and expect to be able to apply this new found wealth to my lucky customers.

So, far, so good.. I’ll now evolve this theme steadily as I learn how to utilise all this wonderment.