It’s probably quite obvious about how busy I’ve been recently when you consider it’s taken me well over two months to get the time to write up this blog post on a little side project I launched way back at the start of April called 12cakes.com.
The concept behind the site is a simple one. I bake one cake every month for a year and post the photos, recipe, ingredients and cooking method on the 1st day of each month. Sounds simple, but when it’s combined with having multiple freelance projects on top of a full-time design job and trying to fit it all around having a social life it can be quite a challenge to fit everything in!
I’ve been meaning to get this ‘making of’ post finished though as apart from a great chance to shamelessly self-promote my side-project, I also discovered quite a few very handy things during the making process which I’d like to share with others.
I like lists, so that’s how I’m going to divide up some of the things I discovered
320 and up – new build
First up, there’s a new 320 an up. If you’ve not heard of 320 and up before, it’s a ‘tiny screen first’ responsive web design boilerplate from Andy Clark that I’ve used to some extent on nearly all the web projects I’ve worked on in the last year. I’ll use Andy’s own words to describe what makes it special “320 and Up doesn’t try to do too much. It isn’t a development framework and it doesn’t include grids. It’s simply the files and styles I need when I’m starting a responsive web design.”
It now also comes with support for ‘Less’ and ‘Sass’ which are both very handy/similar so you can pick whichever one you prefer to use, if any. Personally I used to be a big fan of ‘Less’ but have been giving ‘Sass’ a try and have noticed it has a few nice little touches that ‘Less’ is lacking. For a better overview of the two, I recommend this great comparison article that Chris Coyier made.
Seo by Yoast
For about as long as I can remember I’ve always used the ‘All in One SEO Plugin’ for WordPress as it always seemed to do exactly what I needed it to, so I couldn’t imagine needing anything else. That was until I stumbled upon this ‘WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast’. Not only does it do everything that the ‘All in One SEO Plugin’ does, but it also has an amazing snippet preview feature that let’s you preview how your SEO extracy will look in search engines, as well as page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your page content to be more SEO frinedly, advanced titles, meta descriptions and it even gives you the option to generate and manage XML sitemaps which I previously had to achieve via multiple plugins. Seriously if you use WordPress then give this a try, it even lets you import all your old SEO stuff from most existing plugins, so there’s nothing to loose!
Show WordPress blog posts in reverse date order
If you’ve used it before then I’m sure you’ll already know that WordPress by default shows posts in reverse chronological order (newest at top). For returning visitors, this is very convenient since they can see the latest posts without having to wade down through page after page of old stuff that they have already read.
That said, there are some types of content where chronological order makes more sense, as is the case with 12cakes.com but there is no setting to change that.
Instead the solution is to add the following line of code into which ever page you’re using to display your blog feed (index.php in my case):
<?php query_posts($query_string . "year=$current_year&order=ASC" ); ?>
What this code does is to get the posts for the current year only, and list them so that the oldest displays first which is exactually what I needed for displaying 12 months of cake baking. Simple!
I follow a guy called Gerren Lamson on dribbble as I love his style of illustration, so I was excited when he launched his first typeface called Prova. I instantly made a mental note to use it on a future project as soon as I got the chance. He’s since released quite a few quality typefaces, so I’d recommend checking out his store, but for me there’s something about Prova that struck a cord and I decided it was the perfect sort of typeface to go with my design for the 12cakes website as it has a handmade and slightly rough-around-the edges quality which perfectly sums up my baking too!