Links work again

OOPS! With some minor tweaking to the CSS that determines how my site looks when viewed in a web browser I managed to completely kill all clickable links. The good news is that I’ve since spotted the mistake and have implemented a fix. The issue was with the “view in mobile” text at the very bottom of every page. In effect my changes had made this item be the entire height of the document and overlaid on top of everything else. (Z-order or Z-index – think of the Z axis being depth coming out of your monitor towards your face, and items with a higher z-index are closer to your face and appear on top of those items with lower values.)

Essentially I had set the “view in mobile” text to be above all the rest of my content and the height of the content. The reason that this killed my links is that the web browser interpreted “click” events to be targeted at the “view in mobile” element instead of the link that the user wanted. Think of a sheet of paper coving a printed document; you can’t do anything with the printout until you first move the blank sheet away. My fix was to specify a height attribute in my CSS, making my overlay much shorter than originally, and therefore it no longer covered anything important such as clickies.

FriendConnect & Comments

I’ve just updated the version of “FriendConnect” available on IND-Web.com’s Free Blogs service. This is only a small version number change, but the actual differences are quite sweeping. You should have already noticed the new FriendConnect bar at the top of my site, which allows you to submit comments and join my “community”. Also the wordpress inbuilt commenting system is circumvented in favour of the google-powered comments.

Unfortunately, this means that all pre-existing comments are hidden from view until I find a way of re-enabling the display but not submittal of them. The new system doesn’t allow for importing of old comments, alas, so I can’t get around it that way. The FriendConnect admin console does allow for export, but doesn’t let you re-import again at a later date (that I can discern).

Edit: fixed the plugin for domain-mapped blogs. Also fixed sexy-bookmarks for domain-mapped blogs. (A domain-mapped blog is one which uses the user’s own domain rather than being <something>.ind-web.com.)

Adobe vs Apple

Sigh. Unfortunately it would seem that the Apple and Adobe war is getting more heated. Recently Apple released in beta form their latest version of the iPhone Software Developer’s Kit, which has been a requirement for developing for the iPhone thus far. Just two days prior to this SDK release Adobe launched their Creative Suite 5 applications which includes the facility to use Adobe Flash to create native iPhone applications without the SDK, even on Windows platforms.

Two days later and along came the Apple announcement. However, not all was good in Apple-land as the new SDK also included a new License Agreement that all developers must agree to before they can list their applications on the iTunes App Store. This new agreement has had a lot of press recently covering clauses 8.2.2 and 8.2.3 which effectively blocked any use of the new Flash-based tech that Adobe was so excited about just days earlier.

So with this kick in the gahoolies by Apple to Adobe, the gloves had come off and the cold war had very much become hot. Now the next salvo in the battle has been fired, this time by Adobe: A new campaign with the poster with the phrase “We [heart] Apple” has been launched. You can see the Adobe support site at http://www.adobe.com/choice/. The site claims to be about “choice” and “freedoms”, but the subtext is clear to see, especially when you look at the posters:

Themes and Things

So, it would seem that Deadpan110 (Martin) is fiddling around with a new theme for the IND-Web.com Free Blog service that will hopefully replace all the current themes with one super theme.

The idea is that we utilise a single base theme that isn’t enabled for any user to select in their control panel. Then we create a sub-theme of this which includes all our custom functionality, but only the custom functionality. The sub theme then delegates most of the display to it’s parent which includes 13 widget areas such as you would normally get in a sidebar in lesser themes.

These 13 areas include before and after the page content as well as four sidebars. Combine this with the newly enabled Custom CSS functionality that we support and you have yourself a very customisable environment for our users. I shall be switching my own blog over to the new theme framework as soon as it seems plausible that I can achieve the same, or similar, design to that I have now.

I actually really like my current design, which happens to be a stock theme rather than one that I’ve coded up myself. Which means that I’m not focussing much attention on ThemeDeFrem at the moment. I might still finish up, or rather start in ernest, my Adobe Flash-based theme that uses the ASTRID HTML renderer and framework.

iPhone Development

I’m currently investigating development tools for the iPhone that will also allow me to re-target the same “code-base” that makes the application to Android mobile phones like the Motorola Droid, Google Nexus One or HTC Magic (e.g.).

To that end, I tried out phonegap by nitobi (I think that’s a real company :-/), but didn’t like that the end product is essentially just html with a few extras. One thing that is good about phonegap, though, is that you (by which I mean “I”) can add functionality easily as it is “open-source” and can be modified without fear of repercussions from copyright folk.

I also tried the native Objective-C “SDK” as designed by Apple, but found that it was too steep a learning curve trying to figure out the incantations to do certain things (such as displaying a date picker) along with a language that I’ve never before played with.

So in the end I’ve settled upon a framework by a company founded in 2006 called Appcelerator. Their framework is called Titanium, and can also be targeted at normal PC applications as well as iPhone and Android. Soon the same code will also be able to be targeted to Blackberry handsets, too, in the to-be-released latest version of Titanium. (Titanium is claimed to be open-source like phonegap, released under the Apache License, but I can’t seem to find the source-code download on the Appcelerator website.) Titanium allows me to program my application(s) in the language of the “Web” called JavaScript, and hides alot of the detail required in the Objective-C/Java world of the native iPhone/Android (respectively) development tools.

And what am I developing for the iPhone, Android, and possibly Blackberry cellphones? Well that I will leave for another day, instead leaving you with the tantalising codename I’m using for it: FoF. Some select people have already seen screen-shots of early prototypes, and I’m hoping that they will keep quiet until I’m ready to reveal the project to the world at large.

Yet Another Theme Change

I was getting depressed with my site being SO black. Because of this, I decided to browse through some of the stock themes on IND-Web.com’s Blogging Platform. In the end I settled on one called Ocean Wide. I had to tweak it a little bit due to the author’s use of his own version of the jQuery JavaScript library instead of the version that everyone else uses that comes with easy invocation and dependency tracking by WordPress itself. Once I’d made the theme call the correct version of jQuery everything else started working again, such as the sexy bookmarks. I’ve also made the theme use my own header image (this is utilising the custom header image setting within the admin screen of any blog that uses the theme). All in all, I quite like this theme for my site as it’s wider than my Theme De Frem, and much lighter and easier on the eye; I tend to think of black backgrounds as arty but often bad for typography.

Title Image

While I’m awake in the small hours again, I have been looking over my site and realised that I’ve not posted any details about the image I’m using for my header. That is, the sunset you see at the top of this very page. Well, it was taken on a Sony Ericsson Mobile Telephone (I forget the model). I took the photo myself at the top of a hill just outside Kingsclere in the north of Hampshire on the border of Berkshire (or maybe it’s just inside Berkshire, I’m not sure). The view itself is looking out across the famous piece of land that was immortalised in book-form by Richard Adams. That piece of land? Watership Down, the home of many a real rabbit, and one or two fictional ones.

I edited the image in a little-known piece of software for the Apple OS X platform called Pixelmator.