Front-End Web UI Frameworks and Tools

I just completed and enjoyed the Front-End Web UI Frameworks and Tools on Coursera. It’s part of a Full Stack Framework 6 course specialization.

I’ve taken a couple of courses through Coursera, with some being great and others not so much. This course specialization has been pretty great so far. The courses are very well organized and the instructors do a pretty solid job. They even are very active in the discussions (you’d think it’d be a given, but it’s not).

I’ve been very impressed and am looking forward to the next courses in the specialization. Particularly the angular.js and PhoneGap courses coming up. Good stuff.

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Append DOM to Another Page Using YQL

Apparently there is a data limit to how much we can fit into a content field on our CMS at work. The problem was that there is an incredibly long list of donors names, and when saving the edits to a page in the CMS, it just wouldn’t save past a certain point in the list.

So, I was a bit stumped on how best to workaround. So, I created another page with a good amount of the names in an unordered list. I then used YQL to create a REST query that would output only the HTML on the page that I wanted into and XML feed.

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select * from html where url="http://www.a_web_page.com" and xpath='//*[@id="main"]/ul/li'

I’m not too sharp on my xpath selectors, but luckily it’s very easy to find an xpath using Chrome. Just right click on an element in the inspector, and the option is there. Huge timesaver!

Ok, now I had a REST query courtesy of YQL of the HTML elements that I wanted to take from that page.

Next was to load and append the data from the REST query onto the unordered list on the other page.

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$(function()
{
    $.ajax(
    {
        type: "GET",
        url: "https://query.yahooapis.com/v1/public/yql?q=select%20*%20from%20html%20where%20url%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fintraweb.stockton.edu%2Feyos%2Fpage.cfm%3FsiteID%3D221%26pageID%3D271%22%20and%0A%20%20%20%20%20%20xpath%3D'%2F%2F*%5B%40id%3D%22main%22%5D%2Ful%2Fli'&diagnostics=true",
        dataType: "text",
        cache: false,
        success: function(xml)
        {
            $(xml).find('li').each(function() { 
    			$("#main ul.append-list").append($(this));
			});
     }});
});

Using the jQuery library I was able to load view the ajax function the REST query. I had to choose the dataType of text not xml in this case. That way I was simply appending the results as they were in the REST query.

I can clean up the javascript a bit, and will work on that. However for now, I am able to add data from another page to work around the data limits of the CMS.

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FileMerge

I had to compare 2 hefty directories, and was looking for a slick Diff tool to help me out. I really was looking for something with a slick GUI to help me sort through my potential mess of code and files.

After a bit of searching I realized that I had FileMerge already on my Mac as part of Xcode.

Once I fired up FileMerge all I had to do was drab the 2 directories I wanted to compare into each side of the GUI, then run a comparison. It was exactly what I needed for this task and saved me who knows how much time.

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Drupalcamp NJ 2015

Though I’ve registered for Drupalcamp NJ for 3 years now, this was the first year that I was able to actually attend. The past 2 years were just some unfortunate luck that had me cancel my plans.

Hosted at Princeton, this was my first visit there. The ride there wasn’t too bad and I didn’t get lost. Once I arrived in Princeton it was a bit tricky as it was like a city that was a school. Plus there was snow everywhere, but I eventually found the parking lot and the building.

The keynote speaker did a great job. He talked about ways that you can manage yourself/career. It was very interesting and he was a very great speaker.

I attended the following sessions:

  • Using Media, Picture, and Focal Point modules – this was a pretty bad presentation. It just seemed to rushed and unorganized. I do look forward to checking the mentioned modules and workflow out.
  • 5 Top Drupal Innovations You Can’t Live Without – a solid presentation. Didn’t learn too much new from it, but was enjoyable though.
  • Acquia Workflows for Drupal Developers, Site Builders – I was interested to learn more about Acquia’s offerings. I was impressed by their tools offered and look forward to playing around with them a bit in the future.
  • SEO Awesome for Drupal Sites – good and useful presentation. The speaker was very well organized and pointed out some great tips.
  • View Demystified – a great presenter. While it was a bit more for beginners than I’d of hoped, it was a great presentation.

All in all it turned out to be a pretty great day. Learned a lot and explored a new place. The Drupal community continues to impress me.

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Android Display Issues with jQuery Mobile and Cordova 3.5

Wow, I’ve been having all sorts of fits with a mobile app that I had created and how it was being displayed on Android devices with a very high pixel density display. I was really stumped for a while, on iOS it wasn’t having issues like that at all.

I had built this mobile app using Cordova 3.5 and jQuery Mobile. On a Android with a very high pixel density display the text in app was appearing super, super tiny. It was a pretty big difference, and an significant inconvenience.

After much research I did find a suggestion to change a setting on the viewport meta tag. Apparently if you set the target-densitydpi to medium-dpi things will display a bit better in varying Android devices/displays.

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meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0, target-densitydpi=medium-dpi, user-scalable=0"

While this doesn’t seem to scale as pretty as on iOS, it is much better than it was displaying before changing that to medium-dpi.

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Drupaldelphia 2014

Took the PATCO again to Drupaldelphia yesterday. It’s really a great Drupal and just overall tech gathering, with a lot of higher ed folks. Which is really great to meet some peers who face similar issues as I am at work.

The trip was so much easier that it was last time around for me. I knew to bring exact change and not a $20 to the station to get my pass (change is given from the machine in $1 coins, I have no idea what to do with a $1 coin). I also knew which way to insert my ticket as well. Apparently last time was quite the disaster know that I mull it over a bit.

I got there right on time and saw Jesse from Atlantic Cape who is in the position I once held. We discussed work, shared ideas, and joked of co-workers and situations that clearly don’t change. Fun times, he’s a good guy.

I took in the following sessions:

  • Keynote – pretty interesting discussion with 4 folks. They had some very valuable ideas.
  • How to make Drupal NOT look like Drupal – this was  a solid session on theming. I’m interested to see his slides and code once posted on the site.
  • Using Git to Manage Deployents/Updates – uhhh, this one wasn’t for me. I left after a few minutes and went to …
  • Drupal Security Made Simple – though I arrived late, this one had some very useful modules to consider in securing a Drupal site. Oh and never hack the core!!!
  • Migrate Magic: An Overview – I still have to master the migrate modules. This session was helpful, but I just need more hands on practice.
  • Building Beautifully Complex Content Types – the presenter was very entertaining, but I found much of what he discussed to be bad practice. I hope nobody walked away with bad habits.

I started my first every BOF (Birds of the Feather) session. I picked up a magic marker and wrote “higher ed” in the 3:30 time slot. I had no idea if anyone else besides Jesse and myself would show up, and we were pleasantly surprised to find a table full of folks attending our BOF session!

This was probably the most useful thing of the entire day. A bunch of higher ed web folks exchanging war stories and sharing their success and pitfalls. We all went around asking the group questions, and pretty much at least on of us had been though it and had some sage like advice. It was pretty great. Very glad I picked up that marker and wrote on that board!

For lunch I met up with first ballot Honey Badger hall of famer and Atlantic Caper great Lauren. She works a few blocks from there and we dined at the Hard Rock Cafe. I’d never been to one of them, so it was a true adventure for me. Felt like old times lunching again, and it was pretty great to get caught up in person. I did smuggle a really ugly Drupaldelphia t-shirt for her for taking the time out of her busy schedule to meet me for lunch.

All in all a pretty great and useful adventure. Looking forward to more conferences and continuing to be more active when at such events.

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