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First Pull Request →

I came across this site and it says my first pull request was four years ago to the Fuel PHP framework. As far as I remember this isn’t my real first pull request. Just the first on GitHub.

Back then I was big into CodeIgniter and they either used HG or Git, but the project was on Bitbucket. So I’m sure my true first would have been around a year or so earlier.

It is interesting thinking back and seeing how much has changed in the PHP landscape since then. Four years ago composer didn’t exist, Laravel didn’t exist, as well as many of the packages we rely on today.

Imagine all the changes that will happen over the next four.

Minimal Genesis WordPress Theme

I’m happy to announce my first ever WordPress theme which is modeled after this site. It’s simple, clean, with a focus on typography and includes several post formats to make your site unique.

Theme Example

Theme Example

The theme came to life earlier this year when I wanted to rebuild this site. I am constantly changing the design and finally decided that I had spent way to much time looking for a perfect theme. All the theme markets focus on designs with lots of images and complexity. I wanted to go back to basics and have something that would look nice without images.

Minimal Genesis Theme Features

This is a child theme for the popular Genesis framework. The parent theme is a requirement and it is commercial. Genesis is widely used and has tons of nice features for your site.

This theme features everything included with Genesis as well as:

  • Post formats – Linked, Quote, Image, and Standard
  • All WordPress common features
  • Search Engine Friendly
  • Clean and Minimal

Post Formats

I view personal blogging as a journal. As such your theme should have the ability to support long form posts, quotes, and links.

Link Post

Link Post

Link Post

I believe a link post should have the title linked to the actual site you are writing about. You can set this style up by selecting the “link format” in the post sidebar and then adding an extra field named “link” with the value of the url. Here is a screen shot of the custom field setting:

Quote Post

Quote Post

Quote Post

This is an example quote style post format. To set this up select the quote format in the post edit sidebar. Then have the quote as the first part of the content. To style the author name set the name to bold or em.

Featured Image

Featured Image

Featured Image

Featured images are supported and will appear above the title and be the full size of the post box.

Buy It Now

If you like this theme you can buy it now at Creative Market. If you’d like to give it a test drive check out the theme demo.

As a special intro offer if you purchase before the end of the year the price is $20. After January 1st the price will increase.

Stay informed

Signup for the special theme email list below and I’ll update you with any theme changes and other special offers.



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Twitter Cards for One-Click Newsletter Signups

Last week I moved my Laravel Newsletter off a self hosted newsletter application and over to Campaign Monitor. While I was working on the move I remembered a post by Ryan Battles on how to integrate one-click Twitter signup and decided to set it up.

Integration was super easy and in fact it would even work with the self hosted app Sendy if you have an SSL. I didn’t.

To get started I filled out all the instructions and downloaded Ryan’s free psd template. A few minutes of customizing and I was up and running.

laravel-newsletter

I pushed the Twitter card live on November 28th and have already seen good results. In five days, around a holiday, I added over 100 new subscribers from just the card. I assume that is a decent number.

I am curious to see how it works over a longer time frame or if this is just a short term gimmick.

30 Day Blogging Challenge

Last month I took a 30 day blogging challenge. The goal was simple, write a new post every weekday for a month. Sounds easy right.

November had 20 weekdays and I managed to publish 16 posts. Which I honestly consider a succcess considering we had a holiday and I attended a conference. It’s the most posts in one month I’ve ever done on this site.

What I found most interesting is how much social media has token over blogging. Instead of really thinking about an idea and putting into a long form post, I write quick 140 character summary and after 10 minutes its forever lost in the abyss.

Going forward from this I do want to get into a better blogging routine, not daily but at least two posts a week. I believe this will help me improve my writing and get better at longer form.

Have you ever tried a challenge like this? If so what was your results? Would you be interested in doing it?

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11 Tips To Better Phone Photos →

I’m still very much a beginner photographer but looking to improve. This post on creating better phone photos has a lot of inspiration:

Behind the emergence of a these incredible mobile photos are countless amazing photographers who – everyday – redefine and push the limits of this new art. And so – we asked the world’s best mobile photographers just how exactly they create art with their phones.

JavaScript Helper for Triggering Stripe Failures

Lately I’ve had to integrate Stripe a few times and I keep having to visit their test card page over and over to copy and paste failed cards. Today I finally had enough and threw together a little helper that you can add to a Laravel blade file.

With this when you view the credit card form you can open console and type stripeData. and have autocomplete of whatever failed message you want to test for.

I know this is super simple but it helped me so I think it’s worth sharing.

The Simplest Way To Use Laravel Blade And AngularJS Together

By default AngularJS and Blade conflict with the way variables are called. Both use a double curly bracket {{ var }} syntax. There are a few workarounds such as changing Angular’s or Blade’s delimiters but an easier method is available.

Inside blade prefix Angular echo variables with the at “@“ symbol. Here is an example:

This will prevent blade from parsing it but will be correct when sent to the browser.

Nice and simple!

Ulysses III Themes

In my post yesterday about Ulysses III I posted a screenshot of my customized theme. Since then I’ve had a few requests for me to release the theme and I’m happy to oblige, you can now find and another one I created on their styles exchange.

Here they are in all their glory.

Peacock Ulysses III Theme

Peacock Ulysses III Theme

Peacock – Inspired by Dayle Rees

Simplex Ulysses III Theme

Simplex Ulysses III Theme

Simplex Theme

Most of my focus was on the dark styles but the beauty of Ulysses is that customizing them is super easy.

To get your theme to look just like mine I used the following Ulysses settings:

  • Font: Anonymous Pro
  • Line Height: 1.4
  • Paragraph Spacing: 0.2
  • First Line Indent: 0
  • Page Width: 70
  • Insertion Point: iOS

I hope you enjoy these and if you have any questions just ask in the comments below.

Ulysses III – An IDE for your writing

I’m fascinated by writing apps. So much in fact that I believe I have purchased every one that has ever been made. I’ve even tried using development apps like Sublime and PhpEdit but nothing ever felt just right. I can’t explain it but it was always some little issue that drove me crazy.

This all changed when I found an app called Ulysses III. At the core it’s a nice markdown writing app much like some of the others on the market. But that is where the similarities end. It is minimal yet extremely powerful.

What I enjoy most is the sidebar and the library of all your files, sheets as they call them. I’ve seen a few apps do this but something about having everything together in one app makes me feel good.

All files are backed up to iCloud and are available on the Mac and iOS via their free companion app Daedalus Touch. I do most of my writing on the Mac but having the iOS app is great for jotting down quick notes while on the go.

Where the app shines is in those little features that are out of the way unless you need them. They have mastered making a simple app.

A simple app isn’t simple by virtue of having fewer options, a simple app is simple because of usability. — Ben Brooks

From the folder level you can set goals, see statistics, and add custom/smart folders. These same things can be done on a sheet level, as well as custom tags.

The writing environment is also nice. It supports markdown with some added features such as comments, notes, and annotations. You can really do some series writing in it. In fact you can even split a sheet which would come in handy when writing your next novel.

The export is another great thing. You can export as markdown to your clipboard, send to marked app, export a PDF, email, or iBooks. They even have a styles exchange where you can install different themes for both exporting and the writing environment. Here is my current customized theme:

ulyssesIII-theme

Along with all these it even has a quick open (command + o) which is similar to Sublimes command + p or PhpStorm’s recent files. Fully searchable.

Ulysses III is an IDE for all your writing.

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So far I’ve only used it for blogging but I am planning on releasing the next volume of the Artisan Files e-book with it. I feel like with the export templates and the feature set it has, I can generate a nice looking e-book. Not only that but save me the headache of using iBooks. I never could fully figure that app out. :)

The only downside is the export doesn’t appear to support mobi files. I am hoping an app like Calibre can help here. Only time will tell.

I’m very pleased with this app and on my list it’s a must have.