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Using Images as Backgrounds with CSS

As a new web designer, one very skill you'll need to master is using background images.

Depending on the design, you may need to completely fill a CSS container with an image, or sometimes the image will just partially fill the container.

In this post, we’ll show you three examples, using the CSS property background-size.

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joomla3e

Today, we're delighted to launch Joomla 3 Explained.

This is a completely updated version of the best-selling and best-reviewed Joomla 3 book.

The book covers all the new features in Joomla 3.7, including custom fields.

Using Joomla 3 Explained, you can master Joomla 3 by using step-by-step examples. 

The book walks you through a complete site-build, using a city called "Joomlaville". You start by planning the site, then you build out content and fields, before moving on to templates, extensions and site management.

Joomla 3 Explained has been used by 10,000's of readers, from individuals learning on their on, to students in university courses and Joomla Day classes. 

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| Drupal
Using the Drupal Theme Developer Module

There is one module that makes designing for Drupal 7 much, much easier: Theme Developer.

You can think of Theme Developer as a Drupal-specific version of Firebug or Chrome Developer Tools. Using Theme developer you can click on any element of your Drupal site and get a breakdown of how it was built.

Theme Developer has some downsides: it's not been updated in a while, and (like anything related to the Devel module) shouldn't be used on live sites. But, it can still be a useful tool for Drupal 7 themers.

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| WordPress
gator forms logoUnlike Joomla or Drupal, WordPress doesn't have a default contact form. However, there are many good options to choose from. We recommend a plugin called Gator Forms.

The Gator Forms plugin allows you to embed forms of all types in your WordPress site.

It has a lot of configuration options to build and display highly customizable forms and a great variety of styles to adapt each form to the look of your website.

In this tutorial, we’re going to cover the installation and basic usage of this plugin.

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| WordPress
A Guided Tour of WordPress's wp-config.php File

The single most important file in your entire WordPress Installation is wp-config.php.

Your WordPress website is made up of two elements: a WordPress database, and your WordPress files.

wp-config.php is the one element that links the database and files together.

In this tutorial, we're going to cover:

  • Where you can locate your wp-config.php file.
  • What each line affects and common settings.
  • How you can use wp-config.php to improve your website security.

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How to Use Ecwid for eCommerce Sites

If you want to set up an online store, and don't want to set up a new website, then Ecwid is a great solution. Ecwid has everything you need to set up an e-commerce store, from products and categories to payments and shipping.

Once your store is created, you can embed Ecwid products (or your whole store) as simply as you would embed a YouTube video. This enables you to easily use Ecwid with Drupal, Joomla or WordPress.

This week we released a big expansion to our Ecwid class. There are now 13 new videos in "How to Use Ecwid for eCommerce Sites". Watch this videos and you'll be able to rapidly set up your store with Ecwid.

What's in the Ecwid class?

Introduction

  • Introduction to Ecwid

Products

  • How to Set Up Your First Ecwid Product
  • How to Set Up Ecwid Categories
  • How to Use Ecwid Product Types
  • How to Use Ecwid Product Options
  • How to Set up Related Products in Ecwid

Sales

  • How to Process Orders in Ecwid
  • How to Edit Orders in Ecwid
  • How to Manage Unfinished Sales in Ecwid
  • How to Understand Ecwid Customer Groups

Payments

  • How to Add a Payment Gateway in Ecwid
  • Ecwid and Square for Point-of-Sale

Shipping

  • Introduction to Shipping With Ecwid
  • How to Set Up Ecwid Shipping Zones
  • How to Set up Ecwid Shipping Methods
  • How to Customize Ecwid Shipping Per Product

Integration

  • WordPress Integration with Ecwid, Part 1
  • WordPress Integration with Ecwid, Part 2
  • Facebook Integration with Ecwid
  • Integrating Ecwid with a Custom Site

Customization

  • Branding Your Invoices and Emails
  • CSS and Ecwid
  • Making Style Changes in Ecwid
  • Customizing Ecwid with CSS

Advanced Payments

  • Configuring Taxes in Ecwid
  • Creating Coupons and Discounts

Marketing

  • Search Engine Optimization for Ecwid
  • The Ecwid App Marketplace
  • Adding Your Store to Other Marketplaces

| Drupal
Creating Printer-friendly Versions of Drupal Articles

In this tutorial, we'll show you how to add a "Printer-friendly version" button to your Drupal articles. This produces a super-clean version of your article, with any of the site design.

The main reason you'd want to do this is a courtesy for your readers. Many still print things they read online and you don't want them to waste that expensive printer ink just to print your logo and theme as well as the article.

Without this solution, you'd likely need to create a separate CSS file with styles specifically for the printed page.  Fortunately, the "Printer, email and PDF versions" Drupal community module makes this much easier. It will automatically create a printer-friendly version of each article

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| Drupal

How to Use Tokens in Drupal FieldsToken is one of the 3 most popular modules in Drupal.

It allows you to use small placeholders to automatically complete tasks.

To take a simple example, if you put [site:name] on your site, it will be replaced by the actual name of your site. To take a more complicated example, you can use Token together with the Pathauto module to automatically create URL patterns for your whole site.

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| Drupal
prepopulate

One of our members wanted to automatically fill in Drupal fields from another node.

It took a little experimentation, but we managed to make it work using the Token, Token Filter and Entity Reference modules.

This technique works for nodes, but it should allow you to automatically popular field using data from users, comment or any other entity.

Before you begin, follow these steps to enable tokens in Drupal fields. You must allow tokens inside fields before this tutorial will work.

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| WordPress
Using WordPress as a Static Website

We teach many different types of software. No matter what we teach, students often arrive with ideas about the sofware.

Our job is to convince them they're wrong. Some people believe Drupal is too difficult. Many people believe WordPress is just for blogs.

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you that WordPress can be used to build an ordinary website with static pages.

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| WordPress
Creating Printer-friendly Versions of Wordpress Posts

In this tutorial, we'll show you how to place Print This Post buttons into WordPress posts and pages. The main reason you'd want to do this is to extend a courtesy to your readers. Many of them still print things they read online and you don't want them to waste that expensive printer ink just to print your logo and theme as well as the post.

Without this solution, you'd likely need to create a separate CSS file with styles specifically for the printed page. Fortunately, the WP-Print plugin makes this much easier. It will automatically create a printer-friendly version of each post or page.

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5 Reasons Not to Require Composer in Your CMS

Some people love Composer. 

They use it to build their PHP projects and manage all the external libraries and dependencies. They love it so much they say things like this: "Composer should be the only way to build a Drupal code base."

That approach is misguided, and I'm going to give you 5 reasons why.

Composer is a great tool, but it's far more limited than some people realize.

I'm going to mostly write about Drupal in this blog post, because it is further down the Composer path than any other CMS. But, some platforms like Magento and Typo3 are headed that way too. 

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Drupal 8 Composer and Configuration Management

Drupal development is changing fast, and with Drupal 8 there are lots of new tools to explore.

This week's new class is called "Drupal 8 Composer and Configuration Management" and covers the modern tools and techniques available to Drupal 8 site-builders. These have largely replaced the old standards like FTP and even Drush Make.

We'll use tools like Composer, Drush, Git, and Configuration Management and see how they all work together to make your Drupal 8 site development and management process faster, more efficient, and less error-prone.

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| WordPress
How to Block Spam Comments in WordPress with Akismet

Have you heard people complain that Windows computers get more viruses than Apple computers? There are many reasons for that. One of the most common is that there are just so many more Windows computers out there. That's why they make a much more inviting target.

The same is true with WordPress sites. More than 25% of all websites run on WordPress. Hence, they are a very attractive target for malicious users. It's common for WordPress beginners to end up with hundreds of spam comments on their posts.

The solution? Akismet.com. They provide a great spam-blocking service. You'll need it because around 83% of all comments are spam. 

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| WordPress
How to Add a Sitemap to Your WordPress Site

Every website needs a sitemap, but it might not be for the reasons you expect.

Sitemaps do not improve your ranking in search engines. However, they do make sure more of your site's pages get indexed. They also make sure those pages get indexed more quickly. This article presents evidence that the difference is astounding:

  • Google with a sitemap: 14 minutes
  • Google without a sitemap: 1375 minutes
  • Yahoo with a sitemap: 245 minutes
  • Yahoo without a sitemap: 1773 minutes

I'm going to show you how to add a dynamic sitemap to your WordPress website.

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| Web Design
Dark Sidebar Menus with White Icons and Text

This week a friend commented to me that too many user interfaces look like WordPress.

That's crazy talk, I thought, until I started Googling around. Almost every open source project I looked at seemed to use a dark sidebar menu with white icons and text. WordPress didn't start this design pattern, but they certainly popularized it.

Here are some of the admin area design for about 20 non-WordPress open source projects.

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