January 12, 2018
Eschewing a further hiatus here’s issue 7 of my Weekly Miscellany featuring the worlds biggest plane, a startup in three hours and the gripes of restaurant critics
January 09, 2018
I recently added a simple “you might also like” list to the bottom of my Weekly Miscellany layout file and thought it might be worth sharing the code for other Jekyll users to use/make better.
My goal was to provide up to five links to the most recent “Weekly Miscellany” categorised posts but also ensure that if the currently viewed post was in that it wasn’t included. As with many scenarios in Liquid you have to change your way of tackling the problem, especially if you come regularly developing with server-side languages.
January 05, 2018
Work-related travel and the holidays got the better of my intended publishing schedule in December but I’m back with the first Miscellany of 2018.
December 08, 2017
I’m back from my travels and a little late with this despatch. This week we look at a tasty travel adapter, a free Sketch library, and the reinvention of an automotive classic.
November 30, 2017
This week’s edition is guest curated by Gavin Ballard and features our mutual appreciation of fine leather wallets, advice on building a software consultancy and a familiar names lifestyle magazine.
November 23, 2017
This week’s edition features a short film on hand-crafted knives, a look at an upcoming Ferrari exhibition, another bag, and a mini-series recommendation for those intrigued by the Cold War.
November 17, 2017
This weeks edition features an epic coat, a new podcast for developers, travel tips from frequent flyers and possibly the best addition to your carry-on luggage kit.
November 09, 2017
The return of an old friend. Weekly Miscellany is a round up of links, images, recommendations, and to be honest anything that takes my fancy. I hope you find it interesting.
November 04, 2017
Recently I spent some time researching countdown timers. I’ll be the first to admit this isn’t the most exciting project I have ever undertaken but nevertheless, it was very worthwhile.
Since September I’ve been involved in the “A Day with Shopify” series of events and for this reason, wanted to ensure we had a solid countdown timer on the stage for the presenters to use.
I consulted good friend Marc and received a couple of app recommendations and eventually settled on using Presentime for both the New York and Vancouver legs of the series. It’s a great app and well worth the small fee. The ability to view the remaining time from a secondary device as well as reset the timer remotely without wi-fi are both great features. The only downside is that you need an iPad, preferably a big one, to make use of it.
It got me thinking — surely it would be pretty straightforward to make use of Keynote and create a countdown timer that we could have displayed on a laptop or piped to a comfort monitor (nice and big) on the stage.
A couple of hours later I ended up with a countdown timer that:
Displays a second-by-second 30-minute countdown timer
Turns orange at the ten-minute mark
Turns red at the five-minute mark
Calls “Times Up”
Alerts overrun by 1,2,3,4, and 5 minutes
October 23, 2017
Over the last few months I’ve been making some minor adjustments to this site, and the Back to Front Show site, both of which run on Jekyll. One thing I have found really useful is having the ability to chain multiple
config files together — especially when developing locally.
I currently use Cloudinary to serve blog post images. I plan on writing a bit more on the “why and how” of using Cloudinary in another post but essentially when developing locally the Cloudinary based URLs will only work if the original image has been made available online. Cloudinary uses an origin-pull method to add images to it’s own network and therefore has no knowledge of new images that aren’t available via a public URL.
When adding a new post I create images locally and add them to a folder within my Jekyll site — which are then available locally for preview. Once the post is complete I push the images and markdown file to GitHub which regenerates the site. However, given that my
figure element include file (below) references Cloudinary I am unable to preview the images during a local preview as Cloudinary has no concept of the image stored on my local machine. Previewing locally only results in a 404 error on any image referencing the Cloudinary URL.
After some head scratching I came across the option of chaining multiple
config files together. This option allowed me to make use of a single
config variable that is loaded in for local development and can be used to change the logic within the templates to load the images locally.
September 19, 2017
In this episode we catch up on what’s happened in our lives since the last recording, discuss the latest goings on at Medium, ponder why the Guardian doesn’t write listicles and end on probably the best API in the world!
You can find the full show notes on Back to Front Show web site.
September 09, 2017
Last week I headed to Birmingham for the first edition of the Shopify Partners 2017 A Day with Shopify event series. While being the first in 2017 it’s actually an iteration of the event Cat and I put together in Bristol last year. We learnt a lot from our “trial” event and have added some new features for this year’s series.
The day was a great opportunity for Partners to come together and chat through the challenges they face, share lessons they have learned, and build new friendships and business relationships. One of the main pieces of feedback we get after these events is that they represent a great touchpoint for people to meet and bring their online relationships into the real world.
July 15, 2017
Recently I’ve been looking into some new Shopify and Liquid features that were recently announced.
One thing that caught my eye, and quietly slipped into the platform is the
request object. If you are using the same theme over multiple storefronts then this might come in very handy.
request.path allow you to access both the domain and the full path being requested. Fair enough but why is this useful?
Often store owners will prefer a local domain for their store — this may be due to using different currencies or offering different stock. In effect everything but the theme files are different. Each theme might also require subtle differences — for example, different shipping notifications or regional offers.
While there were ways to achieve this prior to the introduction of the request object this now makes it much simpler. Here’s an example:
This simple switch means it’s not possible to include domain specific logic and only maintain one theme for use across multiple storefronts.
I haven’t come up with the perfect use case for
request.path yet but potentially it could be used to do an absolute check for a particular product in a particular context — i.e.
as opposed to:
You can find out more about these new features in the Shopify docs.
July 14, 2017
Earlier this year I was asked if I would be willing to be the “tech reviewer” on an upcoming Apress publication on Shopify themes. Given that Louise was at the helm and Gavin was the author I jumped at the chance.
Despite being involved with content for many years it’s the first time I’ve worked with a “traditional” publisher. It’s amazing to see how much goes into a book, especially a book of this nature. Many times Gavin had to revisit completed chapters as new features, and a whole new look and feel to the Shopify admin, were announced and launched.
Gavin’s done an amazing job of guiding the reader through building a theme from concept to launch and, while I am biased, I think this book will be a fantastic addition to anyone working in the Shopify ecosystem. The book also will be accompanied by all the source code examples.
June 28, 2017
At the tail end of 2016, I was invited to appear on a soon to be released podcast called The Remarkable Business Show hosted by Jon Moss. Jon and I met many years ago through a mutual friend so it was a very quick yes from me.
Jon’s been working on a bunch of episodes and I am delighted to say that the show we recorded is now live on the show’s site and below.
During the episode we discuss:
I think it turned out pretty well, but I am biased.