Switching to Font Awesome 5

Do you use Font Awesome? I have used Font Awesome on my development projects. When you depend on a library, framework or font, you eventually need to upgrade to the latest version. Upgrades don’t always go smoothly. Font Awesome recently released their 5.0 version.

Switching to Font Awesome

How do you switch to the new version?

Before beginning, I looked at their getting started page. By looking at their documentation, I saw that they have different options for using Font Awesome 5.0. I chose the option that worked best for my project.

Updating my project with 5.0

Originally, my Bootstrap template used it as a web font. For the update, I chose to use the same method. They recommend to use their free CDN.

Font Awesome CDN Screenshot

I picked out a Bootstrap template that used an older version of Font Awesome to upgrade. The template had icons for web applications and a few brand icons into. The update show the web application icons and not the brand icons. Font Awesome changed their naming convention for the icons.

Screenshot with missing icons

Without the new names, the icons don’t show. I got a little box with text in it. Once I changed to the new naming convention, fab, my social media brand icons displayed.

Screenshot with icons

After fixing the social media icons, I switched the other icons to match their new naming convention.

With 5.0, Font Awesome has a free and pro version. I’m using the free version. In this version, the icons are a bit different from the previous version. I didn’t like one of the icons and found out that I didn’t have a choice. If I wanted a better one, I had to upgrade to the pro version. The quicker option was to pick a different icon for this project. I picked a different one. It works fine for this project.

Summary

Switching to 5.0 was easy. Not all upgrades you smoothly. Sometimes you spend hours trying to figure out what went wrong. Not this time. A few quick switches and my template look good.

TOP 5 Reasons for Switching to TypeScript

If you write front-end code, you have built a website using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. JavaScript is popular because it is easy to code and flexible. As your website add more features, you may noticed that your JavaScript gets more difficult to add new code. JavaScript doesn’t scale very well. To deal with this, you may have switched to another framework like Node or Angular JS.

Top 5 Reasons for Switching to TypeScript

TypeScript by Microsoft helps you to write JavaScript that scales. With TypeScript, you can write it and compile it into JavaScript. Your compiled code will run on any browser or JavaScript framework that supports ECMAScript 3 or greater. When you write valid TypeScript, it compiles into valid JavaScript.

Top 5 Reasons for switching to TypeScript

At the Milwaukee .Net Users Group, David Pine explained the 5 reasons why you should switch to TypeScript.

5. Compatibility

TypeScript is compatible to ECMSScript 3 and newer.

4. Tools

You can write TypeScript using popular coding tools like Visual Studio products also support TypeScript.

3. Open Source

TypeScript is open source. It is being developed on GitHub. You can look at the specification on GitHub. You can download the source code and post issues right on GitHub.

2. Type System

You can use types that you use in other programming languages like:

  • Classes
  • Interfaces
  • Abstract Classes
  • Namespaces

1. Compilation

“If it compiles, it is one step closer to working code.” – David Pine

TypeScript compiles into simple, clean JavaScript. Valid TypeScript is also valid JavaScript. With the compiled code, you can run it in any browser.

Want to see TypeScript Compiled into JavaScript?

You can go to Playland and see the TypeScript compiled into JavaScript.

TypeScript Playland Screenshot

JavaScript is every where on the web. As a developer, you have probably used and supported it in your projects. TypeScript helps you to write code using programming features that developers in other languages are used to. It creates compatible, clean JavaScript while allowing you to use the tools that your already have.

Building with a Headless CMS

Have you considered using a headless or decoupled CMS? Most websites are build using a traditional CMS. A traditional CMS gives you a way to store data, a UI to input the data and ways to display the data. You may have used a traditional CMS like Drupal or WordPress to build your website.

Building With A Headless CMS

What is a headless or decoupled CMS? The front end and content management system are separate from each other. Headless and Decoupled as similar but they are not the same. A Headless CMS manages the content and waits for the front end to do something with the content. With a Decoupled CMS, it prepares the content for delivery and figures out how it will present your content to a specific device or environment.

Why use a Headless CMS?

  • You are building a website or app that uses a framework like Angular JS, React or VueJS
  • You want to build a website with a Static Site Generator like Jekyll or Gatsby
  • You are creating a mobile app
  • You are creating content for use in different places

Where can I find a headless CMS for my next project? Headless CMS maintains a list of JAMStack content management systems. Or you can experiment with a static site generator.

What if you want to update your existing CMS to use as headless CMS?

If you are using WordPress, you have the option of using it as a headless CMS. You can use WordPress to store the content and display it using an API.

You are not required to use PHP you can use whatever language you want. JC Hiatt explains how to use react to create a headless WordPress site.

If you don’t want to update WordPress, you can use Cosmic JS. It lets you build your next modern web app with any programming language that you want.

When to use a headless CMS?

It depends on your needs and project. You may want to use a traditional CMS when you don’t have a development team and need a website that is easy to maintain. Use a headless or decoupled CMS when you have a development team and you want to create a custom interface for use with more than a website.

Tools to help clean up your CSS

You have created an awesome website. Over time, you add more pages, content and tweaks to the site. As your website gets larger, so can your CSS. You may add new styles for displaying a landing page, carousel or videos. Eventually, you have unused styles that no one remembers what it was used for. This unused CSS can start to slow your site down.

Tools to help clean up your CSS

Cleaning up your CSS from design changes and other additions can be a hard, time-consuming and tedious task. How do you clean up your website without breaking the site?

Steps to clean up your CSS

  1. Find and fix errors
  2. Identify unused CSS
  3. Validate with W3C Validator
  4. Test your website with the updated CSS

Find and fix errors

Errors can creep in your CSS. You may forget a semicolon, copy code from CodePen or Stack Overflow that solves a problem or another team member added custom CSS to solve a problem.

CSS Lint

CSS Lint analyzes your CSS and tells you what you are doing wrong. You can use it to help clean up your CSS and learn how to write it better.

CSS Lint

Identify unused CSS

As you develop your website, your CSS file can grow. It may contain CSS styles that are no longer used or styles that were abandoned. With a large website, it can be hard to tell which styles are still in use.

Use UnCSS to remove unused CSS

UnCSS is a Node.js powered tool that removes unused CSS from your stylesheets. It created a new CSS file with only the styles that are being used. Want on online options? UnCSS Online lets you test the tool for smaller CSS codebase.

UnCSS Online

Validate with W3C Validator

When you have fix your errors and removed unused CSS, use the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) validator to check your website. It checks to ensure the technical quality of your website. You want to make sure that you didn’t introduce new errors into your cleaned up CSS.

W3C Validator

Test your website with the updated CSS

Since CSS is not easily testable, you want to make small changes and test each change. You want to make sure that the styles you removed or updated don’t break your design.

Cleaning up your CSS code is difficult, time-consuming and tedious. These tools can help to make the task easier.

What CSS tools have you used to make the process easier?

5 Ideas for Making a Screenshot Great

You want to include a screenshot of your app on your blog post or website. How do you make it look great? You want your screenshot be apart of the design and attract the attention of visitors.
5 Ideas for Making Your Screenshot Great

What can you do?

Use a colored pattern

Put your screenshot on a solid or patterned background. The background can help to draw attention to your screenshot.Scrrenshot with blue-green background

Place it on an image of a computer or phone

Create a screenshot that shows how your app looks on a desktop, phone or tablet. With a blank template, you can size it to fit. First, resize the computer monitor image to the size you want. Then, resize your screenshot to fit inside the monitor. You may need to crop and resize to get it to fit without looking squished.
Screenshot in Monitor

Add text to the screenshot

Is there a feature or part of your app that you want to show? Take a screenshot that focuses on that area of your app. Then, use your favorite photo editor to add text that describes the features that you are showing.
Screenshot with text

Create Multiple Screenshots

One screenshot doesn’t show the uniqueness of your app. Try three. Layer them on top of each with the most important screenshot on top. Or show it on a desktop, tablet and phone.
Three Screenshots

Add a shadow behind it

Use your favorite photo editor to edit the screenshot and add a background shadow to the image. The shadow can make it look like it is hovering over the background on your page.
Screenshot with a shadow

Your screenshot is an important part of the design. You want to make it stand out. Mix and match one or more of these techniques. You can make it look great by using one or more of these additional design techniques.

What do you do to make your screenshot great?