Web Page Annotation and Markup on Live Web Pages

Teaching web publishing with HTML, CSS, WordPress, etc., and working with clients, I long for the ability to just look at a web page or PDF and draw on it. Point out what works, what doesn’t, editing notes, and somehow share it or preserve it. Or make notes. To scribble a note that says “I need to remember this” or “this is cool!”

Well you can.

HongKait offers “Top Web Annotation and Markup Tools,” a huge list of tools that allow you to annotate – write on – web pages. You can highlight sections, draw on them, doodle, whatever.

You can instantly share or save your annotations.

Think of the possibilities. You are working on a WordPress Theme with a client. They can scribble on the page making notes while you are chatting about it on the page at the same time.

Developing a WordPress Plugin? Imagine running tests with this with this level of collaboration. “What if I over it over here? How does this look to you?”

Layers is a tool that allows you to have a conversation on a web page with annotations and image shows the conversation and graphics.In one example, Layers, the tool allows you to add sticky notes, tweets, maps, videos, and images on web pages. Comments can be public or private. You can invite others to participate in an ongoing discussion of the web page to make it highly collaborative. Oh, this so is going to work out nice for students and clients.

Some of these are online apps, some are downloadable programs, and others are web browser extensions and add-ons. There are tons to choose from.

I’m going to use some of these in future classes to markup homework assignments, labs, etc. And what until my clients see these. Wow!

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How to Choose a WordPress Theme

When it comes to choosing the right WordPress Theme, there is a right way and a wrong way. And both may be right for you.

First, let’s look at what people look for and what influences them in the decision process with a WordPress Theme, and the myths of their reasoning.

Comparing the same 2011 WordPress Theme - the light and the dark version - totally different.

The default WordPress 2011 Theme has two versions, dark and light. By changing the background image, these two sites on the same Theme are completely different.

How much does it cost?

First of all, the majority of WordPress Themes in the WordPress Theme Directory are free. Before you start investing in a WordPress Theme, stick with free Themes so you can test drive them.

If you fall in love with one and lack the web design experience or time to modify it, contact the author and hire them to fix this to your liking.

A paid or premium WordPress Theme is no better or worse than a free Theme. Don’t believe the hype. You are usually paying for support or additional features you may or may not need. Price does not dictate quality. Continue reading

Public Domain, Free Photography and Images for Your Blog

Originally published on Lorelle on WordPress and used here with permission. This list is for my classes and workshops needing public domain, royalty free images for their projects.

Colorful brain scan of a mouse - US Science Departments, public domain photographs

Colorful brain scan of a mouse.

I’ve been collecting a variety of resources for free photographs to use on your website and blog. These images are, for the most part, free to use, but may have copyright and usage restrictions. Some may require registration, use only on non-commercial sites, and/or a link back to the source. Others may require more. Check thoroughly for the specific usage rights before using any of these images.

Just because you select a filter for public domain and royalty free images on a Google Image search does not mean these images are actually public domain and royalty free. Check. Ask first, they might say yes.

is a major resource for images, but many of these have restricted use. Not every image on Flickr or the web is free to use. Check thoroughly for usage rights, and if in doubt, get permission or don’t use the image. Check out Flickr’s Public Domain Photos’ Photostream for images specifically marked as public domain.

Autumn Leaves - Morgue Files - public domain free photographs.The images featured range from people, places, wildlife, and space, as well as textures, patterns, and artistic graphic images. These free photos sites listed may have nude or violent images, though I did my best to exclude image sites which specialize in those.

One of the best, kept up-to-date lists for images and graphics in the public domain for free use is Wikipedia:Public domain image resources. I usually start my search from their list, which includes government collections and resources, special subject-based collections, and more.

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Lorem Ipsum: Resources for Dummy Content

The traditional Lorem Ipsum site front page.The granddaddy of all Lorem Ipsum services is Lorem Ipsum – Lipsum generator. Lorem ipsum has been used for hundreds of years to generate dummy content for prototypes, wireframes, and galleys. Created originally for print material, it has evolved online beyond the original Latin to a variety of forms, formats, and “languages” for web use.

Selection of Lorem Ipsum types can be tricky. If you are working on a project for fun, you can use anything that tickles your fancy. If you are building a wireframe or prototype for a client, while Lorem Ipsum might be appropriate and professional, choosing dummy content that matches the intent and purpose of the site might be wiser, such as using the Cupcake Ipsum for a food site, a Lorem Ipsum alternative that features names of deserts with Latin, Pasta Ipsum – for all your macaroni product lorem ipsum needs for pasta lovers, or Veggie Ipsum – the vegetarian lorem ipsum generator for an organic restaurant or farmers market seller.

Mustard salsify welsh onion cucumber earthnut pea okra brussels sprout. Yarrow green bean gumbo garlic welsh onion wakame pumpkin wattle seed yarrow sierra leone bologi taro gram. Catsear amaranth celery wattle seed sorrel shallot pumpkin.

Onion wattle seed quandong parsley fava bean rutabaga courgette cucumber. Celery potato melon bok choy epazote zucchini artichoke fava bean beetroot groundnut desert raisin onion black-eyed pea jícama coriander celery. Lotus root spring onion endive arugula tomatillo sorrel pea dulse chickweed turnip gourd plantain cauliflower tatsoi bush tomato komatsuna rutabaga. Water chestnut endive pea sprouts gram lentil spinach chicory lettuce soybean melon turnip greens celery parsnip artichoke okra swiss chard eggplant aubergine. Water spinach garlic tomatillo tigernut catsear peanut amaranth melon garlic.

Consider Bacon Ipsum for carnivores or Cheese Ipsum for cheese lovers.

Cheese slices lancashire jarlsberg. Monterey jack fromage say cheese pepper jack fondue cheese strings blue castello cheese triangles. Cheesecake squirty cheese cheesecake fromage frais mascarpone cheese and wine edam cheesecake. Stinking bishop stinking bishop.

Manchego rubber cheese cheesy grin. Fromage frais port-salut camembert de normandie port-salut port-salut manchego camembert de normandie cheese triangles. Bocconcini bocconcini cheesy feet cheese triangles macaroni cheese cheese slices paneer cut the cheese. Edam.

Cheese on toast who moved my cheese the big cheese. Queso cheddar pecorino fromage frais parmesan mozzarella brie lancashire. Jarlsberg smelly cheese lancashire cheddar stinking bishop roquefort port-salut cheesecake. Cheese and wine fondue blue castello smelly cheese emmental pecorino parmesan.

For serious sites and clients, the traditional Lorem Ipsum is a wise choice, but like the food versions of Lorem Ipsum, there are more content specific alternatives such as Corporate Ipsum for corporate speak, and Not Lorem Ipsum for industry based Lorem Ipsum generator. These create dummy content based upon the specific industry of the company such as app development, advertising, banking, cafes, restaurants, accounting, car sales, dentists, and more.

Check out this dentist version of Lorem Ipsum.

We are a friendly team of dentists, hygienists and receptionists who work together to ensure that you receive the best treatment that you require at a time that suits you. All of our dentists are accredited by The British Dental Association Good Practice Scheme, so you can rest assured that your smile really is in good hands.

We offer NHS dental treatment to children and have a very easy private payment scheme for our adult patients. We encourage everyone to visit the dentist regularly so that we can prevent any problems from occurring and the more you visit the less likely it is that we will have to do anything “scary!”

If you are working on a static HTML site, <html>ipsum is Lorem Ipsum set within HTML tags for paragraphs, lists, forms, tables, and more. Several alternative Lorem Ipsum generators offer the option for HTML including One-Click Lorem Ipsum Generator and Loripsum.net.

Web 2.0 Ipsumr is a popular alternative Lorem Ipsum generator using nonsensical Web 2.0 startup names in keeping with the naming of things like Google, Woopra, Orkut, Zynga, Squidoo, Meebo, etc. Hipster Ipsum is for the younger generation with lines such as:

Sriracha tofu ethical, cardigan wayfarers bushwick butcher kale chips scenester mcsweeney’s sustainable jean shorts Austin. Gastropub VHS farm-to-table, lomo whatever authentic thundercats street art. Iphone gentrify pour-over street art, small batch food truck keffiyeh DIY american apparel artisan high life cray twee fingerstache. Forage mumblecore readymade next level, single-origin coffee keytar swag cliche mcsweeney’s american apparel squid chambray. Occupy vice whatever forage, brooklyn next level direct trade messenger bag pitchfork.

Why stop with clever nonsense Web 2.0 names. Use Twipsum to generate your own Twitterverse originals in Lorem Ipsum fashion.

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HTML and CSS Resourses List

The following was compiled specifically for the Clark College HTML Fundamentals Class but can be useful to WordPress and web design in general.

The following are helpful HTML and CSS references and resources.

W3C Guidelines and Standards

Basic HTML and CSS Resources and References

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Have WordPress on a Stick Installed

Aside

This week we are working on WordPress Themes. Make sure you have WordPress installed on a USB or portable hard drive. As the machines in the class are Windows, use Instant WordPress. For information on other alternatives for your laptop or home computer, see How to Install WordPress on Your Computer or USB.

How to Convert a Photoshop Wireframe to a WordPress Theme

WordPress Design Wordle graphicMany use Photoshop to create their WordPress wireframe as part of designing their WordPress site. Converting the Photoshop graphic to a WordPress Theme is fairly easy if you have some basic HTML, CSS, and web design familiarity.

Simply described, each core design element such as the header, background, and design details are segmented into graphics and then used as background images or direct images where appropriate on a WordPress frameworks, a WordPress Theme with the core design elements you need to flesh the site out with a strong stylesheet.

A Photoshop (PSD) Plugin, Divine, is very popular and available for a thirty day trial. Add it to Photoshop and it will automatically help you export the graphic elements for a WordPress site. Familiarity with WordPress functions, features, and Theme structures and styles are required to complete the process, but it does help with the export of the graphics for the Theme. It works with Windows XP, Vista, and 7. Currently, there are no free programs for the Mac, but some alternatives are available with free, limited trials. [NOTE: Since 2009, all marketing about the Divine Photoshop Plugin explicitly says it is “absolutely free.” I just learned it has a thirty day trial and then it is expensive to purchase. While it might seem to be the ideal thing to try, unless you are making a living as a web designer, it’s not worth the cost.]

In general, while the Divine Photoshop Plugin is helpful, you can generate the graphics yourself. For more information on how to take a wireframe Photoshop image and convert it to a WordPress Theme, try these resources.

How to Create a WordPress Theme Wireframe

WordPress Design Wordle graphicWireframes are website mockups, prototypes, layouts, and doodles. For many, wireframes begin with with pen and paper, others use sticky posts and crayons. More technically inclined folks turn to graphic and design software and web apps to layout the look and feel of a site for themselves or a client.

Wireframes are essential in the process of getting ideas down and the site design fleshed out. They are also critical for working with clients to ensure the designer/developer and the client are on the same page.

However you make your wireframes, make sure they are flexible and easily altered as your site evolves.

A Google search for WordPress and wireframe images turns up some excellent examples.

Here are some articles featuring wireframe tips and resources.