Monthly Archives: May 2010

Adobe Strikes Back

Don’t you know competition is from the devil??

Speaking of, Adobe launched an overdue ad campaign today targeting the recent attacks Apple has made on their products. I’ve taken a keen interest in the battle between the two companies because as a long-time Flash developer, this affects me dramatically. I’m also interested anytime distortion of the truth is involved, and since Apple can offer no real facts to backup their attacks, it’s no stretch to conclude that Adobe is really being blocked in favor of proprietary Apple software. Since Apple chose to block ad analytics at the same time, it’s hard to draw any conclusion other than that a big player is throwing their weight around to establish a monopoly. But the quickest way to change anyone’s mind is with your wallet, and the news that Android has surpassed the iPhone among smartphones in the US can only be attributed to their open development/open web approach and the accompanying marketing. Maybe it will take a long-term dive for the impact of the iPhone and iPad’s lack of Flash support to have an impact on the development choices of some creative agencies, who tend to be Mac-based and therefore also tend to over-emphasize the significance of Apple’s share of the market. But this dip could easily be a long-term trend, especially if there’s enough bad press. No one looks good when they’re accused of trying to control the internet.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter

Joomla Defaults to Stupid

I just completed my first Joomla site this week – I’m normally a WordPress developer but I’ve been wanting to branch out. Here are the three biggest obstacles I overcame:

1. When your Joomla site suddenly starts displaying blank pages where completed pages used to be, you need to increase your PHP memory allocation.

I had to find this one out by visiting multiple Joomla threads, until someone gave the helpful advice that Joomla is by default set to NOT show error messages. Obviously error messages would be helpful, so they explained how to find this setting in the Global Configuration. Once on, I could clearly see an error message in place of the blank pages showing that those pages were exceeding a memory allocation. I googled the error message and found more threads giving suggestions about where to change it. The first suggestion was that I change my php.ini file – I was a little hesitant about getting into something of type “ini” but it turned out to be a red herring: although there was a line in it clearly limiting my PHP memory to 8 bytes, changing it did nothing. I took the next piece of advice that told me to rename my htaccess.txt file to .htaccess and add a line about increasing the memory (they provided the code). That did the trick.

2. Just because it’s a position option in your drop down doesn’t mean it’s on the template.

This was one of my first roadblocks and it really confused me. Why was it giving me the option of placing a module in “user11” yet nothing was showing up? After finding the way to preview the template’s position presets, I discovered there was no position “user11” on the page. I had to go into the template code and add it. Pop! Up it came.

3. TinyMCE is the name of your admin image editor, and it needs to be set to ‘Advanced.’

I couldn’t figure out why, when working inside an article, I couldn’t add padding to an image. Nothing would work. The image editor had fields for adding alignment and padding, but when the article was published these disappeared. Inline styles were immediately stripped. I took some forum suggestions and attempted a fix in the main CSS, but that was equally ignored. Finally I found a thread where a respondent explained that the image editor was controlled by a plugin named TinyMCE, and by default it’s set with an option checked called “Clean up my code on save.” I can’t think of a scenario in which I would want Joomla altering my code to its own whims, so I went right to the plugin settings, turning on its advanced options at the same time. This not only solved my problem, but opened up a ton of useful options that I have no idea why someone would assume I wouldn’t want.

In conclusion: Joomla has some advantages and I feel very comfortable with it now, but it has asinine default settings. I’ll be keeping all of this in mind for my next project and I hope this saves some time for someone else out there.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter

Symptoms

It wasn’t much of a weekend – Scott was racing against a deadline and I wasn’t feeling well. I think it’s ok at this point to make the general announcement for anyone that hasn’t heard already that we’re having our first baby this year. The due date is not until Oct-Nov so there’s a long summer ahead, but I frequently don’t feel very well. We haven’t let it interrupt the strip, I still write as much as ever and I’m still getting the strips online, but I’ve been a lot less inclined to get on Twitter and Facebook. I don’t mean to fall out of touch with anyone, it’s just that the headaches, the fatigue and the nausea sometimes put me off sitting at the computer. I do that all day for a living and half the time when I get home I just want to lie on the couch. Don’t worry if I haven’t gotten back to you yet, I will in my best time. Today is Scott’s birthday BTW, so don’t forget to give him a shout!

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter