Availability as of 29 March 2013

Currently available for projects large and small.

WordPress for iOSThe other weekend I noticed in my Twitter stream that someone I follow, an experienced blogger, was having trouble updating their website using their iPad. This was until another friendly soul told them about the dedicated WordPress app that is available for that purpose. Suddenly they became much more productive.

I’ve learnt a few tricks and tips about blogging on the go using such devices but, based on that insight, I thought it would be useful to write about the basic steps that you can take.

Posting new articles to a WordPress website using the web browser on your iPhone or iPad can be difficult. While you can manage many aspects of your site by logging into the admin as usual the user interface isn’t really designed for use with a touch screen and you will find some tasks difficult to do.

A far better alternative is to download the dedicated WordPress app for iPad and iPhone and use that to access your site. Within this app you can edit and add new posts. You can also add and edit pages as well as moderate comments.

When creating new posts I tend to use other writing apps to compose my text and then paste that into the WordPress app to upload and publish it. But you can write posts directly into the WordPress app if you want.

To get started download the app from the Apple App Store. When you’ve opened it select “Add a Blog” from the settings and choose “Add Self-Hosted Blog”. Add the full web address of your site, your username, and your password. Then save. You should now be able to access the content of your site from within the app.

The WordPress app is free – but if you are prepared to spend a little money – there are a number of other blogging apps which should also be able to connect to your WordPress site. One popular one that I have used is Blogsy which is available for £2.99 from the App Store.

Not an Apple devotee? My apologies that this post is Apple centric. That is what I have experience of using. But I know that users of Android devices can also update their WordPress site on the go by using the android version of the WordPress app.

Note that if you have previously tried to use the WordPress or similar app to edit your site and had difficulties because of “XML–RPC support” this should no longer be an issue. You used to have to go and make sure that this was switched on in your settings. However, since WordPress 3.5 this support has been enabled as standard.

Over the last few days I’ve been making some changes and improvements to this website. The most significant being a major change to the use of typography.

The Grit & Oyster website as it currently stands is a work in progress. I didn’t want to spend ages getting it ‘perfect’ and not getting it ‘out there’. So I had always intended to come back and make adjustments. However, I received some ‘friendly feedback’ that suggested I had got the typography wrong and probably needed to pay some attention to that aspect sooner rather than later. Which was fair comment.

My original choice of using EB Garamond with Junction had made the text seem too ‘busy’ and I hadn’t taken enough care with the layout and spacing of the text. The pages were not as comfortable to read as they should be, the overall effect was not the simple elegance I was aiming for, and there seemed to be some some problems with display on some device and browser combinations. So I decided I needed to make some changes.

I wanted to keep with using a Garamond as my signature serif font but I decided I needed to pair it with a simpler sans serif. I also decided that I would switch their roles. The sans serif would become the main heading font and the Garamond would be used for the body text.

In order to improve legibility in the body text I’ve moved to declaring just ‘Garamond’ for the body text in the CSS. I’m still using EB Garamond in various places for branding and ornamentation. The sans serif I’ve chosen is Droid Sans.

I’ve set the base font size for the content area at 18px. This has a line height, calculated using the golden mean, of 29px.

This means that all text, and other elements within the flow of a page, should fit within a grid of 29px.

This has resulted in a font scheme as follows (all measurements are in pixels):

Font Weight Size Line Height Bottom Margin
P Garamond Regular 18 29 29
H6 Garamond Bold 18 29 0
H5 EB Garamond Italic Regular 18 29 0
H4 EB Garamond Small Caps Regular 18 29 0
H3 Droid Sans Bold 29 29 0
H2 Droid Sans Regular 36.5 36.5 7.5
H1 Droid Sans Regular 44 44 14

A few weeks ago I was looking for a new solution to the problem of getting a web page footer to stick to the bottom of the page using CSS. This needed to be something that keeps the footer aligned with the bottom of the browser even when the page is light on content.

The most elegant solution I found was this one:

Availability on 22 February 2013

Currently busy until the beginning of March.

Availability on 13 February 2013

Currently available for projects large and small.

Ideally what I want to provide to clients is a customised solution where we have taken the time to work out their requirements in detail and then I have built them a website with functionality that is tailored to meet those requirements.  However, it is often the case that I am talking to people who aren’t ready to make the level of commitment necessary for such a project. They want me to answer the question; “Can’t you just set up a simple website for me?” The problem with this is that, given that I want to do the job properly, the answer has usually been “no”.

To solve this problem what I’ve needed is a way to get a basic website on-line quickly — but with all the configurations, customisations and essential plugins I feel are necessary, and a quality theme, so that the finished result is of a quality I am comfortable with. One of the things I have been working on over the last few weeks is developing a way to do this. The result is what I have called my Managed WordPress Hosting service.

The idea is to make this as hassle-free for the client as possible. Making use of WordPress multi-site, a range of plugins and themes that I have chosen, a few customisations of my own, and some templates I can set people up with a basic website. I will also take on the responsibility for maintenance and backups and so on. Inevitably, what the client can do with this website will be limited. This is not a custom solution and they won’t have admin access to the website. What they can focus on is keeping their content up-to-date. I hope it will be an ideal way for individuals, bloggers, small organisations and small businesses to get on-line quickly and cheaply.

Although it will take a little longer for me to get the infrastructure of this Managed WordPress hosting service fully operational — I think I have developed it sufficiently to start offering it to people. If you think this is something that might be useful for you please do get in touch.