.NET and Open Source: better together

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Laying out nested DIVs with CSS

Tell me what you want, but CSS is twisted. Some simple basic tasks that should be no-brainer sometimes make you throw things and say words you later deeply regret. Usually people use IE6 as lightning rod, sadly even if you don't care about IE6 anymore CSS still will find ways to hurt you. Consider this simple scenario - I want DIV with some text and 3 little ones inside it alined right. More...

Porting WordPress theme to BlogEngine

Cool thing about open source is sharing. You give some - you get some. When it comes to themes, there are tons of great free designs out there on the web for applications like blogs. Some of them are generic CSS templates, others specifically designed for popular open source projects like WordPress. This tutorial is about converting WordPress theme to BlogEngine, but most of it very much applied to almost any web template in the universe. More...

Fixed vs. fluid CSS layout

People are arguing about which layout is better since web exists. Some like it fixed, others prefer it fluid (or elastic). I always used fluid layouts, mostly because I really hate to see narrow column with unreadable small text on the screen with large resolution - and I used to see it a lot. Naturally - large companies going after broad audience don't want to alienate even tiny portion of potential customers and always go with [W:lowest common denominator]. Lately, though, I start noticing these ugly sites disappear. To confirm my guess, I went to [W:Google analytics] for my blog and looked at screen resolution for clients that access this site. Wow... you guys! More...

Throwing a punch

Just read a great article at coding horror on becoming a good blogger. It says that it takes at least a year to even get noticed and main peace of advice is to keep punching and feel good about it. Well, it sounds… hmmm… encouraging. Thanks God I’m not aiming that high. Anyways, I decided to follow advice and throw a punch – even though my new shiny theme for BlogEngine is not quite ready yet and I was hoping this will be my next subject. Funny how it goes – takes about an hour to convert any CSS template into BlogEngine theme, this is how simple it is and how good ASP.NET overall and BlogEngine in particular implemented skinning. Almost too good to be true – and it isn’t. Dirty little secret is that it takes ten times more to polish it to the dissent “production” state, when it looks good in all major browsers and scales fine for reasonable range of screen resolutions. I’ve heard that there are about ten testers for every developer in Microsoft – totally makes sense! More...

CSS survival guide, part 2

There are two important things to understand when dealing with CSS - how to address element you are styling and why in the world it does not picking the style you are trying to assign it. For the first part you might consider to install add-in to your browser, there are many for FireFox and IE alike, so that it will actually show element address for you.  For example, Developer Toolbar for FF can show you full path to tag cloud link in the browser panel like shown in the picture. The second important thing to remember is that CSS called "cascading" for a reason: all styles down the road will cancel those on top. Which is a good thing - this way you can style all anchors first and then be able to override style for the second layer anchors canceling some attributes, keeping others and yet adding some on top.  And this is what we generally doing here: first level menu buttons have it's own style, sub-menus keep some of the attributes and cancel others so that sub-menus look different.  To overcome browser incompatibility we will add conditional block to the header of the page: More...

CSS survival guide (developer addition)

When you are a developer working with CSS on “as needed” bases, you have to be prepared for some pain and frustration. Don’t get me wrong, I love CSS – and what not to love? It makes your HTML code clean and light-weight, pages load faster and all formatting logic neatly separated from presentation markup. Beautiful! But I hate it, too. There are two major problems with CSS: it is not intuitive and every browser has its own parser doing job “better” (differently) than others. Practically, it means that when working on CSS you have to fire up 3-4 different browsers and test every line as you go. More...

Transforming unsorted list into CSS horizontal menu

Lately I’ve been working on the new cool theme for BlogEngine that I’m going to share with community. One of the tasks is to let it be more content oriented, which is a bit different then other themes. Basically, it comes down to having good navigation menu that will allow you to utilize stand-alone pages in BlogEngine to its full potential. Currently, you have a choice to make page a “child” of the other page so that pages do have hierarchy and can be nested into the tree-like structure. It just not rendered by BlogEngine this way, at least not right now. To make it happen I used code published on the BlogEngine forum, just making a few changes to fit my needs. This is a simple control that looks inside core library and renders all BlogEngine pages into unsorted list. Then, you can just add it to your theme and here you have it: More...