CSS Menus Just Got A Lot Easier

Read more

My CSS Menu

My CSS Menu is one of the coolest websites I've been to in a while. If you are in need of a nice looking CSS menu but don't know where or how to get started, or maybe just don't want to start from scratch then you are in luck; My CSS Menu is your answer.

You can currently choose from 22 different already designed for you CSS menus (I'm sure there are more on the way). They have very basic menus and very advanced menus and everything in between to meet all your needs. While all of these options are great to have it is not by far the best part of the site though. Once you decide on a menu type you have the ability to customize it to meet your exact needs including size, colors, animation effects, and more. This customization turns 22 options into an almost endless amount of different menus.

The CSS editor (see screenshot above) is very fast and easy to use. The GUI is well designed and intuitive. You can preview your changes, save changes, and import saved menus. You can use a designer mode, CSS mode, and HTML mode which feel and look a lot like Adobe Dreamweaver for those of you that are familiar with the product.

Free Interactive Graphs With Open Flash Chart

Read more

Open Flash Chart 2 Screenshot

Open Flash Chart is a free project that allows you to integrate flash graphs in you website. There is support for all of the commonly used graphs like bar charts, line charts, area charts, and scatter plots. The flash component allows the user to hover over points of the graph and view labels explaining the point (see screenshot above). This feature is what sets Open Flash Chart apart from other chart/graph apps. Check out the website for tutorials and examples. There are other static graphing libraries like Google Charts that are clean and useful but static.

You can download Open Flash Chart and use it under the GNU General Public License. If you need help with implementing it or customizing or using the different libraries you can check the forums.

MySQL Field Types Cheatsheet

Read more

If you have been using MySQL for your database choice, you'll probably find this cheatsheet to be pretty useful. Whether you are new to MySQL or advanced, this is pretty handy to have around. A help page on help.scibit.com offers a great breakdown of the different datatypes that are available for use in MySQL. They cheatsheet lists the data type, the reasons for use, and the size of the data type. This is a quick and easy reference that will hopefully help out.

MySQL Field Types [via dzone]

PHP Date Tips & Tricks

Read more

For those of you using PHP to develop your web pages, I'm sure that you have used the date function at some point. There are so many cases that I have used this to show a date on a page, like using date("Y") in the copyright section of the footer to always reflect the current year. Here are a few tips & tricks to help you save some time.

Formatting

Predefined Constants

This is a trick that I really wish I had known about earlier. PHP 5.1.1 and forward offers date formatting constants. So when I was looking for examples on how to get the date in the correct format when creating my RSS feed, I could have simply used the DATE_RSS constant.

Example

Use:

<? echo date(DATE_RSS); ?>
Output: Thu, 24 Nov 2008 12:29:09 -0500

Instead of:

<? echo date('D, d M Y G:i:s O'); ?>
Output: Thu, 24 Nov 2008 12:29:09 -0500

There are eleven total predefined constants available including DATE_RSS, DATE_ATOM, DATE_COOKIE, and DATE_W3C.

User Defined Constants

Building on this same idea of constants, you could easily create your own date format constants to use. All you would need to do is define a constant with the string value of the date format and then call it within the date function. I have included a simple example below.

Example

<? define(DATE_SCOTT,'m/d/Y'); ?>
<? echo date(DATE_SCOTT); ?>
Output: 11/24/2008

Relative Dates

This trick is one I use when I need to get a date like tomorrow or the day after tomorrow or yesterday. The function strtotime allows you to easily calculate dates like tomorrow and yesterday. You can turn any GNU formatted date string into a PHP date. I have included a couplt of examples below that are based on a publish date of 11-24-2008.

Example

<? echo date('m-d-Y',strtotime('yesterday')); ?>
Output: 11-23-2008

<? echo date('m-d-Y',strtotime('+4 days')); ?>
Output: 11-28-2008

Calculate Age

This trick is a fairly simple and straight forward one. All it does is find an age in years. Simply pass the year(s) you want to compare and it will return the age in year. This could easily be made into a function like getAge($yr1,$yr2);

<? echo floor(abs(strtotime('Y') - strtotime('1985'))/31536000
/*1 year in seconds*/); ?>
Output: 23

phpMyAdmin 3.1.0 Relesased

Read more

For those of you that are as hooked on phpMyAdmin as I am, you will be happy to know that there is a new version available. phpMyAdmin 3.1.0 includes a number of improvements and fixes.

The list of improvements includes security updates, language updates, export fixes, and general patches. The release notes highlight a few specific improvements: "this version has a new setup mechanism and supports BLOBstreaming and the Swekey hardware authentication" (release notes).

You can view the release notes for full details concerning the new release and download the new version from sourceforge.

The 5 Most Popular Posts of the Month – November 2008

Read more

The 5 most popular Posts of the month in November were:

  1. Print Specific Parts of a Page With jPrintArea
    "If you have ever wanted/needed to be able to print just part of a page before, now you can. jPrintArea will allow you to print only the contents of a specific element (Ex: div). There aren't a lot of extra bells & whistles that go along with this jQuery plugin, but it works great. It does exactly what is need with only a few lines of code so there is little extra overhead added to your page load time."
  2. Hangin’ Around the PatternCooler
    "If you are in need of a background pattern for your website, PatternCooler is likely to have what you want. There are thousands of backgrounds available for download and are freely available for your use: "All artworks on this site can be used freely on blogs, MySpace profiles, Twitter, mobile phone wallpapers, and non-commercial web projects" (PatternCooler)."
  3. Book Review: Sams Teach Yourself Ajax, JavaScript, and PHP All in One
    "Sams Teach Yourself books are great resources in a large array of topics. They have released Sams Teach Yourself Ajax, JavaScript, and PHP All in One in paperback version on July 12, 2008. This book is great for webmasters because it includes three of the most popular technologies used on the web."
  4. Simple and Free Flash MP3 Players for Your Website
    "There are many cases that require a streaming music solution for your website. If you are in need of a free and simple flash mp3 player for your website then you should check out flash-mp3-player.net. This website offers multiple flash mp3 players that may provide you with just what you need. The available players have very few bells and whistles, but they are easy to use, customize, and set up."
  5. How In-Demand Are Your Skills?
    "Have you ever wondered if your skills are in demand? With so many different possibilities available for web development, it is tough to know if you should keep mastering a specific technology or start learning a new one. After reading an article about how PHP programming jobs are in high demand, I asked myself the follow-up question: what other skills do I have that are in high demand, and which skills do I have that are not?"

What was your favorite post this month? Let us know in the comments.

Style Your Table With Tablecloth

Read more

Tablecloth is a small (6 KB) and simple JavaScript file that lets you add some styling and actions to your tables. As you see in the screenshot above, you can highlight the row and column you are looking at. As you hover over the table cells, the rows and columns are highlighted that correspond to the cell you are hovering over. Once you click a cell, Tablecloth will highlight, and keep highlighted, the row and column that make the intersection at the cell selected.

The script is fully customizable through a CSS file (1 KB). There is a default theme, or skin, that comes with the download but can be changed to match your website color scheme. The CSS and JavaScript file together are small and fast loading, adding very little overhead to your page load time.

I did not see any license information available; however, the website does list how to modify the code. This script is written by Alen Grakalic from Css Globe. You can see additional features, view demos, view usage examples, and download Tablecloth from the website.

How In-Demand Are Your Skills?

Read more

Have you ever wondered if your skills are in demand? With so many different possibilities available for web development, it is tough to know if you should keep mastering a specific technology or start learning a new one. After reading an article about how PHP programming jobs are in high demand, I asked myself the follow-up question: what other skills do I have that are in high demand, and which skills do I have that are not?

The article linked to a great resource from oDesk that lists the current (monthly) trends for many of the development and design skills used for web development. There are 84 different trends with a wealth of useful information about the skill's demand including graphs, stats, and recent job postings. Although these stats are pulled from information specifically on oDesk, it represents demand from all around the world. I have listed links to some of the most in-demand skills right now.

As a side note, this site is a fantastic example of how great the Google Chart API is.

Print Specific Parts of a Page With jPrintArea

Read more

If you have ever wanted/needed to be able to print just part of a page before, now you can. jPrintArea will allow you to print only the contents of a specific element (Ex: div). There aren't a lot of extra bells & whistles that go along with this jQuery plugin, but it works great. It does exactly what is need with only a few lines of code so there is little extra overhead added to your page load time.

There is a sample usage, a demo, and source code (download and view) available from the website. I have included a sample demo below as well.

Demo

User ID Username Email
1 test1 test1@test.com
2 test2 test2@test.com
3 test3 test3@test.com
4 test4 test4@test.com
5 test5 test5@test.com

Print Table

Simple and Free Flash MP3 Players for Your Website

Read more

There are many cases that require a streaming music solution for your website. If you are in need of a free and simple flash mp3 player for your website then you should check out flash-mp3-player.net. This website offers multiple flash mp3 players that may provide you with just what you need. The available players have very few bells and whistles, but they are easy to use, customize, and set up.

There are a total of five different players to choose from: mini, normal, maxi, multi, and js. They all provide customization options like colors and auto play. One of the my favorite features is the built in keyboard shortcuts for controlling playback. You can preview the players, read the documentation, use a generator to create your player, download the player, and view the license agreement for each of the five players. The website states that "[t]he player is under the Creative Commons BY SA and MPL 1.1 license. You can use the player without citing the author" (flash-mp3-player.net).