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13 JavaScript Libraries to Create Interactive & Customized Maps

hongkiat.com - do, 05/03/2015 - 14:01

We previously featured Google Map Maker and 10 other tools to help you build maps. However, if you prefer using Javascript libraries instead, have we got the post for you. Here are the JS libraries you can use to show special map markers, draw custom route lines or even show a dialog when you hover or click on certain points of the map.

Personalize your maps in the style that you want — some of them can be styled with CSS — or customize your map to be as interactive as you like. The source of the map data, dependencies and licenses of each library has been included for your convenience.

More on Hongkiat:

GMaps

GMaps makes adding and customizing Google Maps a breeze. Aside of adding a map, you can also a couple of things into the map, such as polylines which may be useful for drawing a route, a special menu control, and even HTML elements.

GMaps is compatible with JSON formatted data which you can utilize to integrate your map with a particular app, like Foursquare.

  • Map Data Source: Google Maps
  • Dependencies: none
  • License: MIT License

jHere

At 5KB, jHERE shows you that size doesn’t matter; you can still build a powerful interactive map with a handful of customization options. jHERE derives map visualization from HERE map, which is one of the most popular map providers for Windows Phone.

The library can be extended with new functionality, and there are a couple of extensions developed for this library including one for adding shapes, routes, and custom markers.

  • Map Data Source: HERE Maps
  • Dependencies: jQuery or ZeptoJS
  • License: MIT License

Kartograph

Kartograph comprises of two files, Kartograph.ph to generate the map in SVG format, and Kartograph.js to add interactive elements on top of the map. Since Kartograph.js is built on top of Raphael.js the map would work nicely down to IE7. You can have a look at the interactive map demos to discover what Kartograph can do.

  • Map Data Source: Kartograph
  • Dependencies: Kartograph.py, Raphael, and jQuery
  • License: AGPL and LGPL

Mapael

jQuery Mapael allows you to create maps with elegant data visualization as well as interactivity. You can, for example, create a map and designate each region on the map with different colors based on region. You can also add tooltip on the region, as well as event handlers like click or hover.

The map is built with SEO in mind by providing alternate content for search engine robots that are not capable of crawling JavaScript-generated content.

  • Map Data Source: Raphael.js
  • Dependencies: jQuery
  • License: MIT License

D3js

D3.js is a comprehensive JavaScript library that will bring your data to life through HTML, SVG and CSS. D3 use is quite varied including for building a highly interactive map. See this map of World Bank Global Development and you will see the possibilities of what you can build with D3.js.

  • Map Data Source: D3.js
  • Dependencies: none
  • License: Undefined

DataMaps

If building a map with D3.js is overwhelming, you can use DataMaps. DataMaps is essentially a D3.js plugin that is developed specially to build maps. It inherits many of the capability of D3.js, hence you can build simple or very customized maps with it. Did I mention that the map is responsive?

  • Map Data Source: D3.js
  • Dependencies: D3.js and TopoJSON
  • License: MIT License

GeoChart

GeoChart is a simplified Google Map that renders region, markers, and text, instead of a full-fledged map with tiny details. The map is generated in SVG, and can be customized in many ways including changing the region colors, adding popup, and custom map markers.

  • Map Data Source: Google Maps
  • Dependencies: none
  • License: Read Google Maps TOS

Maplace

Maplace, a jQuery plugin for generating map through the Google Maps API v3. Maplace works in all browsers, including IE6. So this is another great plugin worth of your attention if you want to build map in the easiest way possible.

  • Map Data Source: Google Maps
  • Dependencies: jQuery
  • License: MIT License

Stately

Stately is JavaScript library that is developed to generate US maps. The library is comparably lightweight considering that you can add interactive elements on top of your generated maps.

  • Map Data Source: Stately / SVG
  • Dependencies: none
  • License: MIT License

GeoComplete

GeoComplete is a distinct JavaScript library on its own. The library will add an input field along with the map, which will show suggestions of cities, countries or states as you type.

  • Map Data Source: Google Maps
  • Dependencies: jQuery
  • License: MIT License

Map Tools

Map Tools provides intuitive API to add Google Maps. It supports loading of geo-formatted JSON data such as TopoJSON and GeoJSON to render the map. On top of that, you can add animated markers that I think will make the map more lively, insert HTML content with variables or placeholders ala Handlebars.

  • Map Data Source: Google Maps
  • Dependencies: GeoJSON / TopoJSON
  • License: MIT License

OpenLayers

OpenLayers is a high performance open source JavaScript framework to build interactive maps using various mapping services. You can choose the map layer source using tiled layer or vector layer from a number of map services.

OpenLayer come mobile ready out of the box, suitable for building maps across devices and browsers. You can use CSS for a different look of your map. To implement the map in your web using OpenLayers, here’s a tutorial that will help.

  • Map Data Source: OpenStreetMap
  • Dependencies: none
  • License: Undefined

Leaflet

Developers gave Leaflet basic functions to work perfectly, keeping its size small, perfect for mobile devices. For specific functions, just extend Leaflet using plugins. Leaflet has most online map features you need: tile layers, popup, markers, and free vector layers like polylines, polygons, circles or rectangles. It comes with nice default designs although you can customize the style using CSS3 with ease.

Leaflet has the most usage interaction features both for mobile and desktop browsers.

  • Map Data Source: OpenStreetMap
  • Dependencies: none
  • License: Undefined

Related posts:

  1. 15 Useful AngularJS Tools For Developers
  2. 8 JavaScript Libraries to Animate SVG
  3. How To Use Grunt To Automate Your Workflow [Tutorials]
  4. PNotify – A Highly Customizable Notification Plugin








7 Best Sites To Check DNS Propagation

hongkiat.com - do, 05/03/2015 - 11:03

Whenever changes are made to DNS or Domain Name Server records, DNS propagation kicks in. This could take several hours, or even days to complete, and during this time your DNS IP will fluctuate. Your visitors may end up at your new website or the old website.

If you want to check the current state of your DNS records during DNS propagation, we have a list of seven useful online tools you can use to do this. The tools are free and pretty straightforward to use. I hope you find them useful.

1. App Synthetic Monitor

This tool has 4 great features, including being able to ping your DNS from 90 locations. You can also check the health of your website, analyse DNS and check the traceroute of your IP.

2. DNS Checker

Run a DNS propagation check from 22 locations worldwide. Record types supported by this tool include A, AAAA, CNAME, MX, NS, PTR, SOA and TXT.

3. ceipam.eu DNS Lookup

Here is another tool that checks from from 17 locations. Record type supported include: A, MX, NS, SPF, TXT. The site also provides other free email and website tools as well as testing services.

4. ViewDNS.info

ViewDNS.info checks DNS propagation from 20 locations. It also carries various useful tools such as IP location finder, IP traceroute, MAC address lookup and more.

5. Nexcess

Here’s one that does DNS checks from 22 locations and you can check the following record types: A, AAAA, CNAME, NS, MX, TXT, SOA.

6. WhatsMyDNS.net

Check DNS propagation from 21 locations. Record type supported includes: A, AAAA, CNAME, MX, NS, PTR, SOA, TXT.

7. Site24x7

This tool supports DNS propagation checks from more than 50 locations, allows users to customize location checking, and provides detail information including DNS resolve time, connecting time, first and last byte and more.

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How To Install WordPress Locally With Vagrant

hongkiat.com - wo, 04/03/2015 - 14:01

Developing locally is one of the best things that can happen to you. Not only does it let you dispense with upload/download times, you can create as many projects as you want, work with real domains locally and generally speed up everything you do.

Vagrant is a great piece of software that creates reproducable and portable virtual machines which you can use as local web server environments. In this article I’ll show you why Vagrant is so awesome and how you can get up and running with awesome WordPress testing environments pretty quickly.

You may also be interested in the following posts:

What Is Vagrant?

In Vagrant’s own words, it can be used to “create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable development environments”. Let’s find out what each of those terms mean, with regards to your local environment.

Configurable:

Your virtual machine is easy to create, easy to configure and more importantly: it can be extensively configured. Default setups are just fine for most projects and casual testing ,so you don’t have to fiddle around with it but if you need the power, it’s there.

You can set things up just like you would in a real server environment; from configuring the IP to automatically installing git and other software, it’s all possible and up to you.

Lightweight:

I run multiple virtual machines on my computer, each one has two configuration files with a combined size of no more than 4KB — that’s right, 2 files, 4KB in total. To be honest, my setups are all pretty basic but even if you have something extremely elaborate it would amount to 10-100KB at the very most.

Portable:

Portability comes with the fact that the files have a tight waistline. One file is a special Vagrantfile, the other is a bash file; each contain simple text, nothing special. As a result you can email them back and forth, save them on Evernote, Google Drive or Dropbox.

Reproducable:

This is one of the best features of Vagrant. Due to the size and portability of the files required, specific server configurations can be replicated with ease. Suppose you create an application which requires a highly tuned server. Create the Vagrantfile and the installation bash file for it and get it up and running.

You can now email the configuration to your team members and they will be running the exact same server within a few minutes.

Installation

Generally speaking there are three parts to getting started with a development environment using Vagrant.

  • Install Vagrant & Virtualbox
  • Create a server configuration
  • Create your web environment (eg: install WordPress)
Installing Vagrant

Vagrant can be installed by visiting the download page, selecting your OS and running the downloaded package. Since Vagrant relies on virtualization, you’ll virtualization software. Vagrant has built-in support for VirtualBox but can be made to work with others, but for the sake of this example, we’ll go with VirtualBox. Grab it here.

Creating A Server Configuration

You can use ready-made scripts to do everything for you. Jeffrey Way has put together a great tutorial about ditching MAMP and going with Vagrant instead. Take a look and make sure to note down the code at the top:

curl -L -o 'install.sh' http://bit.ly/1hBfq57 && curl -L -o 'Vagrantfile' http://bit.ly/1mE3Qt9 && vagrant up

If you create a folder, navigate to it using your terminal or command prompt and paste the code above, you will have created a local environment in one quick move. Let’s dissect this though, and see what is happening.

It consists of 3 parts:

curl -L -o 'install.sh' http://bit.ly/1hBfq57

This command downloads a pre-made installation file: the install.sh file responsible for installing and configuring software once the virtual machine is running. PHP, Apache, MySQL and other similar things are taken care of here.

curl -L -o 'Vagrantfile' http://bit.ly/1mE3Qt9

This will download the Vagrantfile which contains information about the server configuration and other basic installation instructions. This determines the operating system the server uses, the IP the network is mapped to; it can be used to control file permissions and ownerships and more.

vagrant up

This command boots up the server.

When you do this for the first time it will take anywhere between 5-20 minutes. The so-called “box” needs to be downloaded (this contains the OS for example), which may be around 700+ MB. The server is then provisioned (installed and configured) and will be up and running.

If you restart your computer or shut down the virtual machine (VM), you will need to run the command again. This time it will only take a couple of seconds to get it running.

In a nutshell this is very much like installing your OS and environment on a computer. The Vagrantfile takes on the responsibilities of the Windows/Linux/Mac installation disk; it has everything needed to get the basic system working. The install.sh file automates the initial software needs. For your computer this would be like installing the newest video driver, Photoshop, your favourite text editor, browsers and so on.

The vagrant up command is akin to turning on your computer. When you do this for the first time it takes quite some time because you’ll need to install the OS and the software. After that it takes 10-20 seconds to get things up and running.

Installing WordPress

If you’ve followed the instructions here you should now have a server up and running, but what can you do with it, how can you use it?

Here are a few things to know:

  • You can reach the local environment via http://192.168.33.21
  • The html folder within the installation directory is your root directory
  • Access to your MySQL database is as follows: Username: root, Password: root and Host: localhost.

The first thing we should do is use SSH to gain access to our server so we can set our database up, getting it ready for WordPress.

Use the terminal to go to the folder you’ve installed your virtual machine in and type vagrant ssh.

Once you’re in, you can type mysql -uroot -p to gain access to MySQL, type root when prompted for the password.

All we need is a simple empty database for WordPress which we’ll create with the following command: CREATE DATABASE wordpress

Next, go to the WordPress download page and grab the latest version. Extract it into the html directory (the root directory) and make sure to move all the files from the created wordpress sub-directory a level up.

In the end you should see the two WordPress directories (wp-admin, wp-includes) and the default WordPress files right inside your html directory.

Detour: Troubleshooting

If you follow these instructions you’ll find that you may not be able to upload files via the WordPress interface. This has to do with user and group issues which can be easily fixed.

SSH into the server and type the following sudo vi /etc/apache2/apache.conf. This will open a VI editor you can use to edit this file.

Type /User. This searches the document for occurrences of “User”. You should see the section where you can define the user and the group.

Press “i” to go into Edit mode. Use the arrow keys to navigate with the cursor and edit the user and the group to be “vagrant”, like this:

User vagrant Group vagrant

Once done, press escape, then type the following command: :wq. This saves the file and quits the vi editor.

You should now type vagrant halt to stop the virtual machine, followed by vagrant up to restart it.

That’s it, file operations will now work in WordPress.

At this point you can visit http://192.168.33.21 and install WordPress as usual. Make sure to use the database access credentials above and the database name you created. You can install plugins, themes, create your own code and do anything else you normally would do on a real server.

Changing The Hostname

http://192.168.33.21 is not exactly the most friendly way of opening up a project. Luckily it’s easy to change this to something easier to remember such as http://wordpress.local.

SSH into the server and navigate to the site configurations folder by typing cd /etc/apache2/sites-available.

Type ls to list the contents of the folder. You should see a file named 000-default.conf. Let’s edit this file to see what it contains by typing sudo vi 000-default.conf.

Press “i” to enter Insert mode and navigate down to line 8 which should say #ServerName www.example.com. Using the ServerName directive you can create a named route to website.

Uncomment the line by removing the hash at the beginning and change the server name to whatever you’d like. It is customary to use something like wordpress.dev, wordpress.local, or perhaps even just wordpress — it’s up to you. In fact, you could even use facebook.com!

Save the file by pressing escape and typing the :wq command and restart the server by typing sudo service apache2 restart.

Finally, outside of your virtual machine (make sure you are not SSH-d in) edit your hosts file using the sudo vi command. On Windows this can be found at C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts, on linux based systems it can be found at /etc/hosts

Add the following line to the file anywhere:

192.168.33.21 wordpress.local

Make sure to use the host name you defined in the config file and save the hosts file. This file essentially tells our computer where to load a server name from, and how to resolve it. By default your computer will look to the Internet. If you type in facebook.com it will load it from the web.

However, if you’ve bound facebook.com to the virtual machine IP and defined it as the ServerName, it will load it locally.

You should now be able to type wordpress.local and see the same result as when you typed 192.168.33.21.

If you do this after you install WordPress you may see things such as styles and scripts broken. The reason is that WordPress stores the installation target location in the database and it will be set to the IP.

To make sure this doesn’t happen you should create your named server first and install WordPress by going to wordpress.local (or whichever other name you chose) instead of using the IP.

Using Virtual Servers

We’re now doing well but as it stands we’ll have to run a virtual machine for each project which is a waste. By using virtual servers you can run as many independent websites as you’d like from the same virtual machine.

The key to this lies in the site configuration file, the same file we used to change the ServerName. Let’s create two virtual hosts now.

First, go to the directory you created the virtual machine in and create two sub-directories: blog and store. Your original html directory should still be there as well.

Next, SSH into the server and navigate to the /etc/apache2/sites-available directory.

Create two new files by copying the default config file:

cp 000-default.conf blog.conf; cp 000-default.conf store.conf

Edit the shop.conf file using the method we discussed previously. Make sure the ServerName is set to shop.dev and set the DocumentRoot directive to /var/www/shop — this is the directory we created just now.

Do the same with the blog.conf file, using the correct values.

Use the sudo a2ensite blog and sudo a2ensite shop commands to enable these sites and use the sudo service apache2 restart command to restart the server and quit the SSH connection by using the exit command.

Now edit the hosts file to make sure our computer knows how to resolve the virtual hosts:

192.168.33.21 blog.dev 192.168.33.21 shop.dev

Now you have two more sites to work with: one can be reached by typing blog.dev in the URL bar and the root directory of this site will be the blog directory. The other is the shop.dev site which uses the shop directory as its root.

This is a lot easier than creating multiple virtual machines and will require less resource usage from your computer.

Conclusion

We went through a lot in this article: we installed Vagrant, learned how to create a local environment and installed WordPress. We also learned a few tricks such as using server names and virtual hosts.

This should get you started on the path to local development. Don’t forget that you can easily recreate your environment anywhere, all you need is the Vagrantfile and the install.sh file.

Do More!

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what Vagrant can do. You can find custom boxes to work with at Vagrantcloud or you can even look up boxes which will mimic your actual online host environment.

A lot of tasks can be automated and/or customized and you can use automation tools such as WP-CLI to install WordPress and related plugins/themes using a few commands.

Finally, take a look at some WordPress-specific Vagrant environments such as VCCW, Vagrantpress and the 13 Vagrant Resources from WPTavern.

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Onbedwingbare ambitie – 1 –

Carl decaluwé - wo, 04/03/2015 - 10:23

Beste lezer,

Ambitie staat symbool voor kracht, vooruitgang en succes; ambitieuze studenten, werknemers en landen hebben de toekomst. Anderzijds blijkt ambitie wel erg veel van ons te vragen. Niet alleen door de frustratie die hard werken en het uitblijven van het gewenste succes met zich meebrengen, maar ook omdat tomeloze ambitie een keerzijde heeft: de hebberigheid in de financiële sector heeft bijvoorbeeld veel ellende gebracht. De filosofische oorsprong van ambitie ligt in het door Plato beschreven derde deel van de ziel: thymos., het strijdbare zielsdeel dat volgens de Griekse wijsgeer naast de rede en de emotie bestond. Thymos is ‘geestrijkheid, de menselijke behoefte aan erkenning of trots. De trots die ons marathons doet lopen tegen beter weten in, de ambitie om een held te worden, of gewoner: een uniek, onvervangbaar individu te zijn: de moed die daarmee gepaard gaat, het eergevoel, de begeestering, maar ook de woede die ons voortdrijft; de verbetenheid van sporters, maar ook de verontwaardiging omdat ons onrecht is aangedaan’. Dat schrijft filosoof Peter Venmans (‘Ambitieus maar dan anders’ in Filosofie Magazine, januari 2015)

Bezoek Engels fregat HMS SOMERSET

Carl decaluwé - wo, 04/03/2015 - 10:22

Het Engelse fregat HMS SOMERSET bezocht Antwerpen. Op uitnodiging van de Britse Defensie Attaché kapitein Nigel Amphlett en commandant Michael Wood woonden o.m. admiraal Michel Hofman en de gouverneur de bijeenkomst aan boord van het schip bij. De herdenkingsplechtigheden 2018 in Zeebrugge en de deelname van de Britse Royal Navy werden er besproken. (2/3/2015)

Voorstelling boek Jonathan Holslag

Carl decaluwé - wo, 04/03/2015 - 10:15

In Brussel woonde de gouverneur de voorstelling van het nieuwe Engelstalig boek “China”s Coming War with Asia” van Professor Jonathan Holslag bij. Geert Noels, CEO Econopolis, leidde de boekvoorstelling in. Ambassadeur Xu Qing, professor Zhang Yunling en professor Jonathan Holslag namen aansluitend deel aan een panelgesprek. Vice Eerste Minister Didier Reynders formuleerde de conclusies. (2/03/2015)

Verkeersveilige week

Carl decaluwé - wo, 04/03/2015 - 10:14

Op vrijdag 27 februari werd in de provincies West-Vlaanderen en Oost-Vlaanderen voor de 19e keer de kettingbotsing op de E17 ter hoogte van Nazareth herdacht. Op die dag in 1996 vonden tien mensen de dood en vielen er 56 zwaargewonden. Bij de botsing waren meer dan 200 wagens betrokken. Op initiatief van de gouverneur werd ter nagedachtenis van deze ramp in West-Vlaanderen van zaterdag 21 tot en met vrijdag 27 februari de ‘Verkeersveilige Week’ georganiseerd. Niettegenstaande de terreurdreiging op niveau 3, voerden West-Vlaamse politiediensten op aangepaste wijze verkeerscontroles uit. Hiermee bleef West-Vlaanderen onder impuls van de gouverneur in deze moeilijke periode toch verder inzetten op de verkeersveiligheid. De resultaten staan op de site van de provincie West-Vlaanderen.

9 WordPress Plugins To Do More With Your Fonts

hongkiat.com - di, 03/03/2015 - 14:01

There are many elements in web design that require your full attention. Typography is one major element although we usually don’t place its importance high up the priority list. However, use the wrong type face or fonts that are too small and you will leave a bad impression amongst your readers.

On that thought, I have put together 9 WordPress plugins that can help you do more with your fonts, such as change their color, size, appearance. On top of that, these plugins also help you better manage, highlight and display fonts on your site, make instant pull quotes and tweets, disable auto-formatting on the backend and more.

1. Use Any Font

With this plugin you can literally use any font you have (in TTF, OTF, EOT, WOFF, SVG, dfont formats) so you don’t have to depend on font embed services that usually come with a limited number of fonts. Just upload the font to your WordPress and use it.

2. Font-resizer

The font-resizer will give your visitors the option to resize font sizes on any page of your website. It uses jQuery to save the setting in a cookie which means that the font size will be the same when this particular visitor comes back to visit your site.

3. Typekit for WordPress

This plugin gives you an ability to integrate the Typekit font service into your site in no time. Just pick a font from hundreds available on Typekit and use it on your site with proper licence and access.

4. Google Typography

There are several hundreds of Google Fonts you can put to good use via this Google Typography. And you don’t even have to write a single line of code to utilize this. Just add then customize the fonts you want to use in the Appearance > Typography settings page, then apply it with an HTML tag or via CSS selector.

5. Font Squirrel (unofficial)

Font Squirrel is one of the best resources to get free high-quality fonts for commercial and personal use. This plugin allows you to choose any font from the site, download it and use on your site with ease.

6. Simple Pull Quote

Pull quotes help break down hefty textual offerings, so that readers don’t engage in the TL;DR mode and totally skip your whole post. Simple Pull Quote allows you to insert pull quotes into your blog posts fast and easy – basically just click the pullquote button. You can also change the fonts, colors and backgrounds of each pull quote in your theme’s CSS file.

7. Initial Letter

Besides the tabbed spacing to initiate a new paragraph, you can apply a larger font to the first letter of the first paragraph for each of your post. Initially used in larger books (heavyduty reading) and newspapers, you can now apply this to your online magazine with this plugin.

8. Styles

The Styles plugin lets you attai higher customization on literally everything that can possibly be typographically customized on your site. You can change fonts, colors, and sizes to enhance the typography of your WordPress site.

9. PS Disable Auto Formatting

If you don’t like the automatic formatting in WordPress, get this plugin. It stops the automatic formatting and the HTML tag removal in the HTML mode of WordPress and generates a natural paragraph and changing line. In short, it helps you modify the html source generated by the visual editor.

More about Typography:

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5 Designers’ Secrets To Launching Your Career Right

hongkiat.com - ma, 02/03/2015 - 16:01

Freelancing is a journey for each of us and we learn and grow from the mistakes and errors that we make on the job. Learning from our mistakes is a crucial step in the journey to success.

Take my experience for instance. I do freelance work on the side, only seeking out projects when I need some extra cash. On one such instance, a client reached out to me for my help with a project. I threw myself in – without doing any research. A few hours into the project, I realized I had severely underestimated the scope of work. If I was lucky, I’d end up making pennies per hour on that flat-rate job.

By not thinking of my freelance work as a career, I was frittering away my time and skills. If I was going to do this freelance thing, I should do it right. The experience also made me wonder about what other freelancers did wrong when they were starting out so I interviewed various web designers and developers (who were super generous with their tips and insight) to get some much needed career advice. And, boy, did they deliver!

Paul Boag

Paul Boag (find him on Twitter) is a digital consultant and user experience designer. His first job was at IBM where he developed multimedia titles for their first ever multimedia PC (a PC with a sound card and CD-ROM drive). It was also when he was first introduced to the Web – web design was incredibly limited and creative work that’s available are given to the most junior staff member, which was Paul.

Paul shares three major mistakes he committed why launching his career.

I expected respect

"When I started out, I used to get frustrated when clients wouldn’t trust me to do my job. After all, I was the one that had studied design for three years. Why didn’t they just respect my opinion and implement my ideas?

As the years went by, I began to realize that respect has to be earned. I had to prove to my clients that my approach was the right one. I could not expect them to immediately accept everything I said before that trust had been built."

I thought I had all the answers

Another problem I had in the early days was the belief that I had the answers. I used to think my training and experience in the field ensured that I always knew the right approach to take. As I’ve got older and more experienced, I’ve come to realize there is very little I know for sure.

Instead, I tend to test the ideas I have and be much more open to hearing other people’s suggestions. I have learned that even a non-designer can have great ideas – the kind which I would have never thought of. I’ve also learned that no amount of experience replaces good usability testing.

I focused too much on creativity and originality

When I started out, I was obsessed with creating innovative, original design solutions. I didn’t want to blindly follow the crowd. Instead, I wanted to be a designer who was always producing original work and pushing the boundaries.

In some ways, there is nothing wrong with this approach. We cannot blindly follow what has gone before or presume that what other people are doing is correct. But change for change’s sake is bad, especially in interactive design.

Users like familiarity. This means conventions and best practices emerge over time and we are wise to conform to them. When a user expects to find navigation at the top or left of a website, it is not a good idea to put it at the bottom just to be original!

Casey Ark

Casey Ark, CEO of Plato Web Design started his career at the ripe ol’ age of 13 when a local gym owner asked Casey to design the business’s website. Casey barely knew what he was doing. The full extent of his knowledge consisted of two HTML tapes he’d borrowed from the library – and he was terrified. Somehow, he completed the site. The gym owner mentioned his services to other local businesses and things spread from there.

A lot of things happened between his teenage career launch and his current success and Casey reflects on three eye-opening experiences from his days as a design newbie.

I went to college

I was a bored, nerdy kid who discovered HTML in the 5th grade and never looked back. I went to college at Penn State’s Harrisburg, PA campus, but this did very little to prepare me for my current job. I’ve always felt that web designers need real on-the-job experience in order to succeed, and college just didn’t cut it.

I learned nothing about design or programming in school, and I wasted 4 years that I could’ve been growing my business. Instead, I taught myself (through the aid of some wonderful online resources like W3Schools.org, etc.).

If you’re looking to be a web designer, formal training can be costly and time-consuming. When there are so much great tutorials on the web, why bother?

Freelancing Made Me Fear Starting my own company

When I finally founded my company and started my team, I realized that it was far easier to gain quality clients. My advice to freelancers here: as someone who has both freelanced and run a design firm, starting a full-fledged design company is the way to go.

Freelancing is fun, hassle-free, and relatively easy, but you’ll always hit one major roadblock: it’s really difficult to find work. When you’re on your own, big companies tend not to take you seriously.

I would never correct a client when they were wrong

This is a critical mistake. Most business owners are coming to you to be their web expert. Your job is to tell them how the web really works, and offer gentle suggestions to match. You don’t need to shove anything down their throats, of course, but being a limp fish when it comes to freelancing will only serve to make your client think you know nothing.

Cory Simmons

Cory Simmons (find him on Twitter) had been working at fast food places, telemarketing centers and other less-than-desirable jobs for a while (even a short stint in the army) before asking his welfare worker to get him a job making websites. He secured a job at a local community college but still had to face eviction and homelessness and before the development of Jeet.

TutsPlus discovered his work and asked Cory to write a course for their readers. After completing his first assignment, he asked for more – and that’s where he is today. Here’s three mistakes he made, but you should not.

I had a big ego

The first big mistake I made was having an ego. I don’t care how good you are in your particular field, if you have ego, you’ll find out how expendable you are quickly. It doesn’t matter what your portfolio looks like or what awards you’ve won. No employer I’ve encountered put up with ego for very long.

I signed horrible contracts

At one point, I created a company and teamed up with a local developer and started sending out handwritten letters to local businesses. We didn’t see any response from these letters, but a local competitor noticed our business and hired both of us.

Shortly after being hired, we heard back from a few of those letters and had to hand over these new/huge clients as part of our non-compete. A few months later I was fired (because of my ego).

Always, always, read your contract and never think you’re desperate enough to sign a contract that says you can’t do design work within a 100-mile radius if you’re ever terminated. Always ask potential employers or clients to modify their contract or refuse to work with them.

I never got psychological help

The third and by far the biggest mistake I ever made was not getting real psychological help. I’ve had depression, bi-polar, and ADHD almost my entire life, and I feel like it’s always held me back. In high school, I was admitted to a psychiatric ward for depression because my teachers were so worried about my apathy.

I hated high school. A "horrible student" – I didn’t know if it was ADHD or just laziness – I never learned anything in a structured environment. I spent those years staying up all night learning how to program role-playing games – then sleeping throughout my classes. Never did homework. I dropped out of high school, and community college too after a few semesters.

I have problems finding the motivation to get out of bed, much less work 40 hours a week. I have problems learning how to be better at my job because I can’t retain information even if I read the same page four or five times.

If you have similar problems, it very well could be linked to a psychological defect and you might need some real help.

Jacob Cass

After graduating college, Jacob Cass packed up his Australian life and pursued a career opportunity in New York City. He currently maintains a very active freelance career while working full-time. Jacob maintains a blog and design studio, Just Creative, which is where he gets the majority of his clients via search and social media (Facebook and Twitter). He also provides daily logo design inspiration at Logo Of The Day.

While his current freelance career is flourishing, Jacob is aware of a couple of things that have made the journey more challenging.

I didn’t learn to code

In the context of web design, I think a big mistake was not learning to code. I still don’t know how to code properly. Sure, I can read and understand it but I can’t write it. I just don’t enjoy it, but those who can code have a leg up on me for sure.

I had to learn by trial and error

As far as business goes, being a designer requires you to wear many hats and this is something you can only learn with experience. Handling clients, writing proposals, winning business, selling your work all takes finessing and you have to make mistakes along the way to learn the best way to work your own business.

Jarrod Wright

During college, Jarrod Wright worked as a production artist at a screen printing shop. After graduating, he tried to sell the idea of expanding the design portion of the business to the print shop owner, hoping he would be hired full time for it. The owner passed on the idea. Jarrod took it as a personal challenge. His career, in many ways, was launched by his desire to prove the print shop owner had made a mistake.

Essentially, Jarrod started Subtle Network when he walked out of the print shop door. Now, a graphic artist and online marketing consultant, Jarrod is the owner of Subtle Network Design & Marketing. You can follow him on Twitter.

Jarrod admits to three things that challenged him while launching his career.

I was too cheap

I think this is something a lot of designers struggle with. Asking $75-100 per hour seems like a lot at first. I made the mistake of quickly multiplying my hourly rate by the 40 hours in an average work week. It took me a long time to understand the concept of billable hours. I still occasionally doubt myself when sending invoices.

The thing is, however, that being cheap actually hurts you. The good clients will assume you don’t do quality work. You end up working twice as hard for difficult and ungrateful clients who don’t grant you an ounce of respect. Why should they? You are cheap.

I tried to do too much

It’s hard for most designers, myself included, to turn away work that doesn’t fall within our core competencies. I would accept jobs I had no idea how to complete based solely on my confidence that I could figure it out. I’ve heard the lie, “Sure, I can do that,” pass my lips more times than I can count.

Most times, I was able to work a miracle, but never for a profit. I think a smarter approach would have been to specialize and find partners with skillsets to complement my own.

I took things personally

It’s hard not to take rejection personally. Good designers put a lot of thought and effort into their design. It’s hard not to feel scorned when our creativity gets discarded. It’s been a challenge, but over the years I’ve worked hard at not giving a crap. The truth is that customers hate working with designers that fight with them about designs. At the end of the day, you’ll be a lot happier if you just do what clients ask.

Making Your Own Mistakes

Are you letting other freelancers make mistakes, become superior and get all the good clients while you hesitate and dwell on your inferiority? It’s time to make your own mistakes. These designers have made plenty of blunders – but they’ve all come out on top. You can too.

What’s the biggest struggle you’re dealing with right now? Let’s talk it out in the comment section.

Editor’s note: This post is written by Jessica Velasco for Hongkiat.com. Jessica loves unearthing the strangest, most outrageous tech ideas. You can follow her on Twitter.

Related posts:

  1. 7 Successful Entrepreneurs Who Began As Freelancers
  2. Freelancers Vs Entrepreneurs – The Jedi Edition
  3. How You Are Getting Your Work Seen (Or Not) By The Right Clients
  4. Designers: Why Flat Rates Can Raise Your Value








Fresh Resources for Web Developers – March 2015

hongkiat.com - ma, 02/03/2015 - 14:01

Time for another round of fresh resources, for the month of March. In this round of series, we have a budding browser, mockups for a device of the wearable kind, a collection of icons that can morph, and a handful of other cool stuff.

For more fresh resources for web developers, follow the series.

CodePad

CodePad is a web app you can use to save and share codes. It supports multiple programming languages ranging from CSS to XSLT. You can set your code snippets to private access so only you can see it, or leave it publicly accessible, which also allows search engines to pick it up.

UINames

If picking a username when opening an account for any service online is hard for you, think of how hard it is for designers to come up with fake names as a content filler or placeholder in prototypes. UINames allows you to generate some random names – like Lorem Ipsum, but for people names instead. You can choose a name based on gender or even on countries (e.g. Japanese, Chinese, Vietnam).

DevTools App

The DevTools App is an application that allows you to debug your website. It works like the DevTools we can find in Chrome. This app is an experimental project to separate the DevTools from Chrome, which is a pretty rational idea since the majority of Chrome users won’t need or use DevTools – only Developers will.

Is.js

Is.js is a handy tiny JavaScript library that allows you to run evaluation intuitively using the is method. You can test almost any data types including String, Array, Time, RegEx (Regular Expression), and even Environment.

The following code example will evaluate whether we are in Internet Explorer 6:

var IE6 = is.ie(6) if ( IE6 ) { // run function here }

TheatrJS

TheatrJS is a JavaScript library for creating typing effect, only unlike similar libraries, TheatrJS mimics how real humans type e.g. with a little delay, with typos, and correction.

TintUI

TintUI is a collection of color palettes derived from multiple sources. Here you can find the colors that were used in iOS, Android Material Design or in Microsoft Windows. This tool makes it easy to pick the color, simply click on any color tile to copy the Hex format of that color.

Transformicons

Transformicons is a collection of common toggle buttons that will transform into something different when clicked. You can find the popular “hamburger” icons that will change into a cross mark icon or an arrow. Transformicons also provides the Build tool which you can use to generate HTML, CSS, and JavaScript only for the selected icons.

Vivaldi

Vivaldi is a new browser built by the same team who built the early version of Opera with the Presto engine. Although Vivaldi is still in its infancy, it already ships with handy features like "Quick Commands" to customize navigational shortcuts, and Tab Stacks that group multiple tabs in a single tab. The development in ongoing, with more features to come like Mail and Extension support.

Apple Watch Mockup

We already have mockups for desktops, tablets and smartphones, so it is only a matter of time before there are mockups for smartwatches. If you need mockups for the Apple Watch, this is the site to bookmark. You will also find mockups for iOS icons and the iPhone 6.

Slot Font

Slot Font is a uniquely designed font. It’s a rounded font with a half-circle ornament within. The font comes in OTF format, and it’s good to use as a poster heading. It’s free for use in both personal and commercial projects.

Related posts:

  1. Fresh Resources for Web Developers – February 2015
  2. Fresh Resources for Designers and Developers – April 2014
  3. Fresh Resources for Designers and Developers – August 2014
  4. Fresh Resource for Web Developers – October 2014








Bezoek Falck Safety Services

Carl decaluwé - vr, 27/02/2015 - 17:40

Samen met directeur Hans Desmyttere, WFIV, bezocht de gouverneur Falck Safety Services in Oostende. Falck biedt veiligheidsopleidingen aan aan personeel uit de mariene sector, aardolie-  en aardgasindustrie, rederijen, hernieuwbare energiesector, …. Daarnaast verleent het bedrijf ook traditionele offshorediensten zoals human resources, verkoop/verhuur van veiligheidsuitrusting, … (27/2/2015)

45 Unusual Artwork Made From Cigarette Boxes You Need To See

hongkiat.com - vr, 27/02/2015 - 14:01

There are various material that can result in beautiful and interesting creations. Upcycling is a great way to not only get creative but it also helps out the environment as one doesn’t use new items. One doesn’t normally associate smoking with art but you’d be surprised at what a couple of recycled cigarette packs can be turned into.

With a little creativity, imagination and artistic flair, those little boxes can be transformed into beautiful pieces of art. Here, we’ve put together a collection of 45 cool creations made from recycled cigarette packs. From sculptures to functional wallets, take a look for yourself. If you know of any that we’ve missed, let us know in the comments.

More on Hongkiat.com:

p.entry-image { margin-bottom: 40px; }

Bugatti Veyron car made up of 10,280 empty cigarette packets. (Image Source: China Pictorial)

Dress. (Image Source: Coroflot)

Bracelet. (Image Source: Weebly)

Colorful Lunchbox. (Image Source: Weebly)

Mini Air Jordans made from cigarette packs. (Image Source: Campus Mercante)

Blue elephant. (Image Source: Weebly)

Red and white chair made up of 400 cigarette packs. (Image Source: Environment Team)

Colorful batman symbol. (Image Source: Weebly)

Blue and white mushroom. (Image Source: Weebly)

Red and white Egyptian pyramid. (Image Source: Beach Packaging Design)

Red starfish. (Image Source: Weebly)

Wallet. (Image Source: Pinterest)

Green and white turtle. (Image Source: Weebly)

Folding photo frame. (Image Source: Etsy)

Penguin. (Image Source: Weebly)

Lamborghini Reventon. (Image Source: Trend hunter)

Perching blue parrot. (Image Source: Weebly)

Green and white box. (Image Source: William Eric Gallery)

Gold and green trippy glasses. (Image Source: Weebly)

Vintage handbag. (Image Source: Modern 50)

Blue and maroon frog sitting on a green box. (Image Source: Weebly)

Colorful mushrooms on a triangle. (Image Source: Weebly)

White and gold robot. (Image Source: Pinterest)

Giraffe. (Image Source: Weebly)

Red and white heart decoration. (Image Source: Ladies Of The Grove)

Wall decor. (Image Source: Weebly)

Jet plane. (Image Source: Xcite Fun)

Colorful iguana. (Image Source: Weebly)

Circle with chevron design. (Image Source: Etsy)

Colorful fishes. (Image Source: Weebly)

Cigarette pack sketchbooks. (Image Source: Great Green Goods)

Butterfly. (Image Source: Weebly)

Blue dinosaur. (Image Source: Weebly)

Set of photo frames. (Image Source: Live Auctioneers)

Bunnicula – The vampire rabbit. (Image Source: Weebly)

Retro robots. (Image Source: Pinterest)

Little dog. (Image Source: Cigarette Packet Dog)

Camel. (Image Source: Weebly)

Japenese umbrella. (Image Source: Mingei Arts)

Monster owl. (Image Source: Weebly)

Miniature football kit. (Image Source: Who Ate All The Pies)

Case for mini accordian. (Image Source: Scrappando)

Typography. (Image Source: Colossal)

Crazy eyed panda. (Image Source: Erica’s Cigarette Pack Art)

Little flowers. (Image Source: Weebly)

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The Dead Simple Guide To Basic Logo Design

hongkiat.com - vr, 27/02/2015 - 11:01

When you think logo what comes to mind? A golden arched M, a bunch of lines and circles, or maybe just a cute small shape? Then why must "logo design" be a task restricted to only a highly professional computer geek with knowledge of all sorts of fancy programs? To be honest, I never understood this myself.

Through my own experience as a logo designer, I can safely concur, that a logo design can be made by anyone with imagination and using any kind of software – even Microsoft Words (no kidding!). To prove my point, we will be looking into some basic steps to design a simple logo using three different commonly used software:

  1. Ms Words (for level 1 "designers")
  2. Ms Paint (for intermediate level)
  3. Photoshop (a little more advanced)
1. Using Microsoft Word

If you want to avoid using fancy and perplexing software for your design, MsWords might just do the job for you. However, keep in mind that you certainly can’t make anything even slightly complicated in this program. Your target must be a simple looking logo. Here’s an example.

Open Microsoft Words and select the Insert tab at the top menu. Click on shapes and choose the shape you want. I chose this parallelogram and skewed it using the yellow handle.

Now I repeated this process by copying and pasting the shape above and filling it in with black color in Shape Fill then a shadow effect to make this logo for the made-up company, Aryan:

Alright, I know. It’s not my best design, but you can experiment around with a lot of other shapes. Using the Format tab (in drawing tools) you can mess around with a lot of options such as colors, size, shadow effects, outlines, shape fills, etc. Was that too difficult, or very different from the one below?

2. Using Paint

If you are looking for a more intermediate level of logo design, Ms. Paint can do the job. For all of you Paint lovers, Microsoft’s No. 1 drawing application, Paint, has everything you need for an easy-to-make logo design. Here’s another one I made.

After opening Microsoft Paint, first I wrote down a make-believe company name in the font I liked most. Next, I used the Rectangle Shape to make a red square next to the name. I filled in the square again with smaller white star and made something like this:

That wasn’t too difficult either. Again, compare it to a very simple yet professional-looking logo.

 

3. Using Adobe Photoshop

If you are going the few steps further into your logo design, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are the type of programs you’d want to use. These ones are sure tricky, but once you get the hang of it, the immense number of options in these programs will allow you to make literally ANY shape, design, or logo you want. I roll with Photoshop CS6, but these techniques will work on any not-too-ancient Photoshop software.

Photoshop not only has Custom shapes to choose from similar to the Words and Paint, you are free to design your own shapes using the Marquee tool, Lasso tool, or Pen Tool.

Using the Marquee or Lasso tool, you can make a selection then fill it in with the color of your choice to turn it into a shape.

Always remember to create a new Layer (Layer tab in the menu > New Layer) every time you make something new or any changes in your project. This will allow you to easily edit and delete those changes without using the "undo" option. This is one of the most useful way to edit your designs easily.

The marquee tool or polygonal lasso tool lets you make simpler custom shapes, which are just a little more advanced than the ones above. For something completely customized and unique, you’ll have to use the Pen tool. This is definitely more advanced and you’ll need a separate tutorial (like this one) to learn the Pen tool and how to manage those anchor points.

Using the Pen tool, custom shapes, and several Blending options (in the Layers Panel at the bottom right corner), I managed to make my first ever logo: lady in purple!

I used the pen tool to make the lady’s hands, face, neck and body (all in separate layers). I decided to use a few inbuilt custom shapes such as the circle and tear drop to make her pearl jewelry but I went with a ready-made hair image to draw the hair using the Brush tool on a separate white layer. I have used several Blending Effects such as Stroke, Outer Glow, and Drop Shadow to finish off the look. You can experiment with tons of Blending Effects/ Options or Filters in the top menu to add some final touches.

With the addition of Text Type Tool, some fancy font, along with a few more custom shapes (swirls made by the Pen tool), I finished off the logo and gave it a final "Logo design" feel. (Hey! This was my first!)

You Can be a Logo Designer Too

Luckily, logo designs vary from being almost anything such as simple shapes (boxes and lines) or even just a letter i.e. the golden arched M, to more complex custom shapes. Just a little bit of practice and a lot of imagination can go a long way to make your perfect logo design.

For more logo inspiration, check out:

Editor’s note: This is written by Preston Pierce is a marketing professional and a blogger with interest in writing about freelance, designing and writing. He is currently working for a business logo design firm, Logo Ping. You can follow him on Twitter.

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An Introduction To WordPress Attachment Pages

hongkiat.com - do, 26/02/2015 - 16:01

Attachment pages are not very well known or understood in WordPress. Each item you upload through WordPress – be it image, audio, video or anything else – can have its own page with content, just like any other post. By making sure your attachment pages are well-formed, and contain relevant information, you can add some depth to your website and even increase your SEO score in the process.

In addition, attachment pages allow users to comment on images which may be great for media-related professions. In this article I’ll tell you a little bit about this relatively obscure page type and how you can add it to your theme using a bit of code.

Understanding Attachments

If you use WordPress but you aren’t into development it may surprise you that uploaded images are stored exactly the same way as posts – in fact, they are posts, just like pages.

What differentiates pages, posts, images and custom post types is the post_type attribute they have in the database. Posts have a post type of ‘post’ (hence the naming confusion), pages have a post type of ‘page’ and attachments have a post type ‘attachment’.

The reason that attachments are stored as posts is quite obvious, once you think about it. An uploaded image has a title, an author, a publication date and so on – data used by regular posts as well. In fact, the only additional bit of information is just the image location. This is conveniently stored in the post meta table.

As a result, an attachment page is nothing more than a single page for an attachment. Just like a post page shows a single post, a static page shows a single page; an attachment page shows a single attachment.

An Example Attachment Page

The upcoming beautiful Twenty Fifteen theme has a great example of an attachment page.

When I uploaded this image I filled out the title, the caption, the description and the alt text. These are all used on this page very well. Note the inclusion of the image size in the post footer, a great addition!

Does My Theme Have An Attachment Page?

The answer to this question is yes and no. First of all, let’s take a look at how you can get to an attachment page.

In any old post, add an image and make sure to select “Attachment Page” in the link to dropdown. Update or publish your post and visit it in the front end. By clicking the image in the post you’ll be taken to an attachment page. It may not look good (depending on your theme) but it is an attachment page.

To understand why this is so, let’s learn a bit about template files. WordPress uses the template hierarchy to determine which file is used when a specific page is visited. Your front page probably uses index.php if it shows a list of posts; pages use page.php; single posts use post.php and so on.

It is called a hierarchy because there is a set hierarchical order in which the correct file is chosen. For example, let’s say you visit the tag archive for your “music” tag. WordPress looks for a tag-music.php file. If it doesn’t exist it looks for tag.php. If that doesn’t exist it uses archive.php. Eventually it falls back to index.php which is a required file so it always exists.

What this boils down to is that index.php is used whenever files further up in the template aren’t defined. Theme authors are used to single pages, archives, 404 pages and such but many forget about our friend the archive page. They forget to implement it and thus index.php is used.

if this is unintentional and the index.php file is not built to handle images, well, you may get some weird-looking attachment pages. If the theme author has implemented attachment.php or has built index.php that is mindful of attachments, your attachment page will look fine.

How Do I Create An Attachment Page?

If your theme doesn’t already have an attachment.php file you’ll need to create it.

If it is a theme created just for you, go ahead and add the file now. If however, you are using a third party theme you downloaded or installed from the repository, you should create a child theme. Child themes are used to extend existing themes without editing the original files. Once you’ve added a child theme (it’s super simple), create an attachment.php file in it.

Find the single.php file in your theme, copy the whole content and paste into the attachment page file you just created. In 70% of the themes out there this should be enough.

In a large portion of the remainder, you may want to delete some single post specific things. In some other cases, due to the way your single post page works, this may still not work as expected. If this so, try using the content of page.php instead.

The Benefits Of Attachment Pages

First of all, attachment pages exist on your site whether users visit them or not. This means that they could potentially be discovered by search engines. Why not make them both search engine and user friendly, just in case? By choosing relevant images for your content, writing nice captions and image descriptions you can add that much more relevant content to your site, increasing your SEO standing while providing more for your users to do.

Since attachments are posts they also have their own comments. If you’d like your users to interact with your images, attachment pages are a great place to do this. This is especially relevant for photographers, artists or musicians.

As a WordPress developer for me the attachment page is also a way of judging whether a theme developer takes his/her theme seriously. If the attachment page shows the same care and attention to detail as other pages it is an good indicator of a decent theme.

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Overleg zonecommandanten en zonevoorzitters – hervorming civiele veiligheid

Carl decaluwé - do, 26/02/2015 - 15:40

De voorzitter en de coördinatoren van de hulpverleningszones kwamen opnieuw bijeen om met de gouverneur van gedachten te wisselen omtrent de huidige stand van zaken van de  hervorming civiele veiligheid in de verschillende zones. Sinds 1 januari 2015 is naast de start van de zones ook het administratief toezicht volledig in werking. Dat vraagt niet alleen van de diensten van de gouverneur maar ook van de zones een administratieve inspanning want het administratief toezicht is zowel aan termijnen als aan bepaalde regels gebonden. Sarah Maes, federale dienst van de gouverneur, lichtte dit toe. (25/02/2015)

7 Drag And Drop Plugins For Building WordPress Sites

hongkiat.com - do, 26/02/2015 - 14:01

The drag-and-drop has been the most appreciated approach by non-techies, when it comes to arranging web layouts. This is, perhaps, the reasons Wix, SquareSpace, and such services are so popular. Just to name a few more cool tools that let you do more with drag and drop, we have:

For designers and developers, we would love to have the drag-and-drop approach when building and organizing a page layout. In building a WordPress site, for instance, the drag-and-drop method would help save a lot of time. In this post, we have put together 7 plugins that add this functionality into the WordPress editor. If you know of more cool plugins let us know in the comments.

1. Page Builder by SiteOrigin

Page Builder is a plugin that allows you to build responsive grids by customizing the division of each column and row within the grid. The plugin also carries a handful of layout modules which allow you to add content like Gallery, Image, Video, Buttons, and even Price Boxes. The new layout modules can be added through the WordPress Widget API.

2. PixGridder

PixGridder allows you to divide your page content into grids easily. After creating the columns, you can add text to the content in each column, customize it with the WordPress default text editor, or fill it with content through shortcodes. The plugin also brings all the functions available in the WordPress default text editor for each column.

3. Aqua Page Builder

Aqua Page Builder lets you create unique variations of templates to be applied for your content. Drag one or more available blocks into the template builder, name and save the template. Use the generated shortcode to apply the template to your pages or posts.

4. WR Page Builder

With WR Page Builder, you can add layout modules such us buttons, pricing tables, progress bars, alerts, and more into your post or page. This plugin provides tons of customization options in each of the modules — you can change the colors, text or images, among others. New modules can be added easily through the WordPress Widget API.

5. Live Composer Lite

Live Composer Lite allows us to build page layouts from the frontend of the website. Once this plugin is activated, simply go to page you want to edit, and click activate editor button at the bottom right. Now, you can easily drag elements such as text, button, images, tabs, from the bottom to the page area.

6. Minimax

Minimax is a page builder tool that allows, even those who cannot code, to customize their WordPress page or post. Divide the page up by defining the number of columns you want to use with the Cols button, then add elements to each column from predefined modules including Image, Accordion, Tab, Text, and a lot more. Lastly, export your ready-made layout for use on your site.

7. Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder [demo] is another good plugin that lets you build layouts on the front-end. The plugins comes with 15 preset page templates that you can use out of the box. Basic modules such as heading, separator, a text editor along with some advanced stuff like contact form, pricing table, and slideshows are also included.

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Voorbereidende vergadering 30.000 ste Last Post

Carl decaluwé - do, 26/02/2015 - 10:35

Tijdens de editie ’15 van GoneWest willen de makers van het Lichtfront opnieuw een sterk participatief project ontwikkelen onder de titel ‘Ode aan de Ode’. Op 9 juli 2015 wordt immers de 30.000ste Last Post geblazen onder de Menenpoort in Ieper. Het is de bedoeling dat de brandweerlieden over de hele wereld deelnemen aan het evenement. Een voorbereidend overleg met de diverse ambassades, Koen Verlaeckt, secretaris-generaal, Departement internationaal Vlaanderen, Benoit Mottrie Voorzitter Last Post Association, Vivi Lombaerts projectcoördinator GoneWest en de gouverneur vond plaats in hotel Errera in Brussel.

Overleg Proper West-Vlaanderen

Carl decaluwé - do, 26/02/2015 - 10:01

De gouverneur nodigde de West-Vlaamse afvalintercommunales uit om samen met gedeputeerde Guido Decorte en de Openbare Vlaamse AfvalstoffenMaatschappij (OVAM) een handhavingsstrategie te ontwikkelen voor de zwerfvuilproblematiek. Vanuit dit overleg werd een projectvoorstel opgemaakt om als eerste Vlaamse provincie een integraal zwerfvuilbeleid te voeren, met inbegrip van een handhavingsluik.(12/2/2015)

45 Jokes Only Programmers Will Get

hongkiat.com - wo, 25/02/2015 - 16:01

It isn’t easy being a programmer. They code all day, debug all night and go through thousands of code lines trying to clear up all possible messes before going live with their code. Sometimes, it takes a fellow programmer to understand the hardships of another programmer. The same can be said of their jokes.

In this post, we have collected a handful of jokes, that have been floating around the Web, which showcase a programmer’s sense of humor. Don’t worry if you don’t get all of them — just get a programmer to explain it to you.

p.entry-image { margin-bottom:40px; } h5 { font-size:19px!important; text-transform:none!important; margin-bottom:15px!important; line-height:1.5em!important; } Some People Call It Magic

This Is Why You Should Hug Your Programmer

So That’s What It Is!

We Should Thank The Inventor Of "Hardware"


Courtesy: csl

Well, Technically It’s True


Courtesy: Claudio

Get It?


Courtesy: Robert S.

Where Programmers Usually Hang Out.

Programmers Are People Too


Courtesy: gaylard

Riiiiiight


Courtesy: CCH

The difference between nerd introvert and extrovert.

Brace For Backlash

That’s Why You See Most Programmers Bespectacular!


Courtesy: Arjan Einbu

Seriously, Try It

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How Happiness Can Help Your Business

hongkiat.com - wo, 25/02/2015 - 14:01

All business entities build their companies in foundations known as core values. These foundations are what they normally stand for, both for their clients and employees. However, these values are often sidelined into oblivion. And if you bet on money as the replacement for these values, then you are right.

Monetary gain is often considered the cornerstone for every business entity and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But a business with money as its only goal leaves very few people satisfied, especially the workforce.

Right now, entrepreneurs are buying into this new breed of business model and remarkably, these companies are succeeding in both profit and personal satisfaction. In the UK alone, startup business surged into an estimate of 460,000 partnerships.

Could it be because they have a different business model in mind? As a matter of fact, yes. And it’s called happiness.

The Ones that Actually Did It

Okay, if you’re still not convinced that the happiness business model is for real, let me present you with some proof.

Moo.com

Moo.com is a company that helps people print business cards, post cards and mini cards creatively. It was set up by Richard Moross in 2004 under the name ‘Pleasure Cards’. However, it suffered a lot of loss because of time, money, and bad branding.


(Image Source: eoffice)

In 2006, Moross came back with a new drive and revamped the business model, marketing plan and called the company Moo. He also replaced the proud “We’re the new coolest thing!” tagline into a more humble: “Hello, we’re just a little printing company. We love to print.”

After its renaissance, Moo joined with Wee World, an avatar company and made £2m! Today, Moo.com works with the likes of Etsy, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Moross changed the company’s vision and established a company culture that was built on happiness. He believed that employees that are happy make customers happy, and everything will fall into place after that.

He assured this by innovating a few things:

  • He ensured that every employee has a share in the company. This means that when all things fail, everyone will be financially secured.
  • He also emphasized work place environments where employees will work because they want to, not because they have to.
  • Moo also hired for attitude before skills (because they believe that: “It’s better to have a hole in your team than an a***hole in your team.”)
  • The crew works in an open and collaborative way.
Zappos

If you’re really want to start your own business, or you’re already looking for benchmark company cultures out there, Zappos is a pretty big inspiration.


(Image Source: Inc.)

If you haven’t heard yet, Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, makes billions of dollars annually for making people happy.

So what are they doing right?

Anything worth doing is worth doing with WOW

That is Zappos’ company core value. Doing things with WOW and ensuring that when a customer buys something, they’ll be buying a lifetime of purchases and not just one. It is in this value that Zappos goes above and beyond the customer expectation and wants to have emotional values on its clients. They often do surprise order upgrades, free next-day deliveries and VIP upgrades out of the blue.

Weirdness and Fun

Zappos. Hates. Boring. They put great effort in making work hours fun rather than dull and serious corporate prisons.

Growing and Learning

Zappos also believe that everyone should maximize their potentials. This is why the company challenges and pursues personal and professional growth. They offer classes on finance, well-being and establishing a balanced work and personal life.

Honesty and Communication

They also believe that trust is what drives business. This is my they open their doors to both clients and employees for concerns and suggestions.

Less is More

Zappos believe that success is the middle ground of casual relationships and operational excellence. This is why they constantly drive their plans towards improvement of work and fun, and this produces a few benefits to employees like cab vouchers, massage chairs, nap rooms, free food in all company canteens and more.

Tips For Adapting A Happiness Business Model Operate for People, Not for Money

The philosophy behind this business model is this. You, as a business, exists because there are people who need you. And as the main reason for your existence, you need to do everything for them to be fully satisfied.


(Image Source: The Happy Startup)

If you want to adapt a model that attracts happiness, revamp your core values and target what makes people satisfied. When in meetings, don’t ask yourself “Will this make us more money?” Try transforming it to “Will this make people happy?”

Loosen the Tie

If you will notice, the companies we mentioned have a common denominator: they make their clients happy. I’ve mentioned earlier that you operate because of people. And by that I mean customers who pay you and your employees that create the things you are paid for.

Remember to loosen the tie. Put the boring and monotonous aura aside and start redecorating your workplace. Remember that a happy crew means happy clients.

I suggest you start with a few in-office games, then maybe add a free-for-all pantry, and try and mimic the companies we have discussed.

Conclusion

The world is constantly changing. And this thought should push you to try new things. Get weird. Challenge the status quo and build your our own culture. People might see you as deviant or maybe even crazy at first but remember that people once thought the sun and stars revolved around the earth.

Every business’ cornerstone is the one that everyone lives by. More than a corporate motto, it’s a company way of life. And everybody is expected to follow it, including you. So if you want to rebuild your culture into the ‘business of happiness’ then make sure you live by your words. After all, happiness is a need everybody desires. Good luck!

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