Author: James Mathias

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  • Template Routes for Single Entry / Permalink URLs

    12/10/2016 in: Tips, Tutorials, Templating

    Single entry permalink URLs are common on the web. We’re going to apply it to a blog here, as that’s readily understood, but the pattern will work for everything else as well.

    By default ExpressionEngine’s URLs work like this https://example.com/blog/entry/url-title, where “blog” is a template group, and “entry” is a template, which is fine. But nicer would be something like https://example.com/blog/url-title, cause who needs that extra entry segment anyway? You could handle all of this in the blog template group’s index, but that’s inelegant, full of conditionals, hard to read, and hard to maintain.

    Template Routes give us an easy to create and maintain implementation. What you’ll need is the following. A blog template group with the templates index and single-entry.

    Inside of index you’ll put your blog listing, this will cover paginated archives, and categorized listings as well—URLs like https://example.com/blog/P15 and https://example.com/blog/category/cat-url-title.

    Index might look something like this:

    {exp:channel:entries channel='blog' limit='25'}
    	<div class="blog-entry">
    		<h2><a href="{route='blog/single-entry' url_title='james-mathias'}">{title}</a></h2>
    		<p>{entry_date format='%n/%j/%Y'}</p>
    		{if has_categories}
    			<p><b>in</b>: {categories backspace='2'}<a href="{path='blog'}" title="View more in {category_name}">{category_name}</a>, {/categories}</p>
    		{/if}
    		<p>by: {author}</p>
    	</div>
    
    	{if no_results}
    		{redirect='404'}
    	{/if}
    {/exp:channel:entries}

    See that route= variable above? It’ll come into play in a moment. Next you’ll need a single-entry template that will cover your, well, single entries. And will be reached with URLs like https://example.com/blog/url-title.

    Single Entry will look something like this:

    {exp:channel:entries channel='blog' limit='1' require_entry='yes'}
    	<h1>{title}</h1>
    	<p>{entry_date format='%n/%j/%Y'}</p>
    	{if has_categories}
    		<p><b>in</b>: {categories backspace='2'}<a href="{path='blog'}" title="View more in {category_name}">{category_name}</a>, {/categories}</p>
    	{/if}
    	<p>by: {author}</p>
    
    	{blog_content}
    
    	{if no_results}
    		{redirect='404'}
    	{/if}
    {/exp:channel:entries}

    Now that you have those set up, you need to add your route. Go to Developer > Template Manager > Template Routes and set up a route for the template single-entry Give it a Route of /blog/{url_title:regex[(((?!(P\d+|category\/)).)+?)]} select “no” for “Segments Required?” then save. The regex may look a little complex, so let’s break it down. (((?!(P\d+|category\/)).)+?) uses a negative lookahead assertion, so the route does not match if the second URL segment is either pagination (P\d+) or category/. We want those URL patterns to still use the ExpressionEngine default routing to the blog/index template.

    Now in your templates replace any path variables to your single-entry URLs to use the route= variable in the first code sample. This will make sure that when clicked the visitor is sent to the right place!

    That’s it! Now go forth and clean up your ExpressionEngine URLs today!

    | Read in 3 minutes
  • Image Grid

    12/10/2016 in: Front-end Development, Tips

    Here’s a quick tip for creating a equal sized image grid in HTML and CSS. There are two legit ways to accomplish this pattern, and both ways use the same HTML. I’ve limited the output to eight items for example purposes, but this technique will theoretically work for infinity items.

    <div class="collection">
    	<ul class="img-grid">
    		<li>
    			<figure>
    				<img src="https://expressionengine.com/asset/img/learn/example.png">
    			</figure>
    		</li>
    		<li>
    			<figure>
    				<img src="https://expressionengine.com/asset/img/learn/example.png">
    			</figure>
    		</li>
    		<li>
    			<figure>
    				<img src="https://expressionengine.com/asset/img/learn/example.png">
    			</figure>
    		</li>
    		<li>
    			<figure>
    				<img src="https://expressionengine.com/asset/img/learn/example.png">
    			</figure>
    		</li>
    		<li>
    			<figure>
    				<img src="https://expressionengine.com/asset/img/learn/example.png">
    			</figure>
    		</li>
    		<li>
    			<figure>
    				<img src="https://expressionengine.com/asset/img/learn/example.png">
    			</figure>
    		</li>
    		<li>
    			<figure>
    				<img src="https://expressionengine.com/asset/img/learn/example.png">
    			</figure>
    		</li>
    		<li>
    			<figure>
    				<img src="https://expressionengine.com/asset/img/learn/example.png">
    			</figure>
    		</li>
    	</ul>
    </div>

    I’ve used a div.collection as a wrapper which is unnecessary for this example, but is a good practice. Allowing you to have multiple grids in a single HTML document that can be targeted individually.

    I’m a big proponent of ITCSS, and an object oriented approach to CSS. Here is the object LESS for this grid.

    .img-grid{
    	list-style-type: none;
    	margin: 0;
    
    		li{
    			margin-bottom: 20px;
    		}
    
    		figure{
    			margin: 0;
    
    				img{
    					max-width: 100%;
    				}
    		}
    }
    
    // responsibility
    @media screen and (min-width: 414px){
    	.img-grid{
    		margin: 0 -10px;
    		overflow: hidden;
    
    			li{
    				box-sizing: border-box;
    				float: left;
    				padding: 0 10px;
    				width: 50%;
    			}
    	}
    }
    
    @media screen and (min-width: 750px){
    	.img-grid{
    		li{
    			width: 33.33%;
    		}
    	}
    }
    
    @media screen and (min-width: 1200px){
    	.img-grid{
    		li{
    			width: 25%;
    		}
    	}
    }

    This gives us a single column stack, that expands to two columns, then three and finally four columns at max width. You can adjust the math to work however you like, but I’ve found this to be pretty universally useful, and visually pleasing at all breakpoints.

    You can demo and play with this code here: https://jsfiddle.net/jmathias/6kbjw0ft/

    But this is old school code I hear you cry! Well, sure, I suppose. If you prefer cutting edge you can accomplish the same exact grid with this flex-box code instead.

    .img-grid-flex{
    	display: flex;
    	flex-wrap: wrap;
    	list-style-type: none;
    	margin: 0;
    
    		li{
    			box-sizing: border-box;
    			// grow shrink basis
    			flex: 0 1 100%;
    			// allows incomplete rows to grow as needed.
    			// flex: 1 0 100%;
    			margin-bottom: 20px;
    		}
    
    		figure{
    			margin: 0;
    
    				img{
    					max-width: 100%;
    				}
    		}
    }
    
    // responsibility
    @media screen and (min-width: 414px){
    	.img-grid-flex{
    		margin: 0 -10px;
    
    			li{
    				flex-basis: 50%;
    				padding: 0 10px;
    			}
    	}
    }
    
    @media screen and (min-width: 750px){
    	.img-grid-flex{
    		li{
    			flex-basis: 33.33%;
    		}
    	}
    }
    
    @media screen and (min-width: 1200px){
    	.img-grid-flex{
    		li{
    			flex-basis: 25%;
    		}
    	}
    }

    As you can see the code isn’t much different, just another way to accomplish it. The upside of display: flex is that you don’t need to use floats, or float clearing methods. Additionally, you can have flex box do the math for you and display incomplete rows with larger images. You just need to change flex: 0 1 100%; to flex: 1 0 100%;.

    You can demo and play with this code here: https://jsfiddle.net/jmathias/ox70d053/

    So there you have it. A nice simple Image grid you can use on your ExpressionEngine CMS site today!

    | Read in 4 minutes
  • Content Tabs

    12/10/2016 in: Front-end Development, Tutorials

    A tabbed UI can help save space, and better organize a content heavy page, or site section. Today I’m going to walk you through a simple way to create tabbed content in your ExpressionEngine site.

    First we need some HTML to tab!

    <div class="tabs-wrap">
    	<ul class="tabs">
    		<li><a class="act" href="" rel="t-0">Tab 1</a></li>
    		<li><a href="" rel="t-1">Tab 2</a></li>
    		<li><a href="" rel="t-2">Tab 3</a></li>
    	</ul>
    	<div class="tab-content t-0 tab-open">
    		<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</p>
    	</div>
    	<div class="tab-content t-1">
    		<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</p>
    		<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</p>
    	</div>
    	<div class="tab-content t-2">
    		<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.</p>
    	</div>
    </div>

    We use an array indexing numbering scheme, so the first tab is t-0, then t-1 and so on. tab-open indicates the default, open tab. You can move this to any tab-content, but only one tab-content may be chosen at a time. As you can see in the tabs each is assigned a rel= that matches the tab-content it should open and close.

    Now we’re going to need some light styles to give this a tabbed look. First we need a tab CSS object.

    .tabs{
    	list-style-type: none;
    	margin: 0;
    	overflow: hidden;
    	padding: 0;
    
    		li{
    			float: left;
    		}
    }
    
    .tab-content{
    	display: none;
    
    		p, ul, ol{
    			&:last-child{
    				margin-bottom: 0;
    			}
    		}
    }
    
    .tab-open{
    	display: block;
    }

    And for visuals the tab component CSS.

    .tabs{
    	margin-top: 20px;
    
    		a{
    			background-color: #F9F9F9;
    			display: inline-block;
    			line-height: 1;
    			padding: 10px;
    
    				&.act,
    				&:hover{
    					background-color: #EEEEEE;
    				}
    		}
    }
    
    .tab-content{
    	background-color: #EEEEEE;
    	margin-bottom: 20px;
    	padding: 1px 20px 20px;
    
    		.tab-content{
    			background-color: #FFFFFF;
    			margin-bottom: 0;
    		}
    
    		.tabs{
    			a{
    				&.act,
    				&:hover{
    					background-color: #FFFFFF;
    				}
    			}
    		}
    }

    And last but most !important we’ll need some javascript to make the tabs function as expected.

    ('.tabs-wrap > .tabs a').on('click',function(){
    	var tabClassIs = $(this).attr('rel');
    
    	$('.tb-act').removeClass('tb-act');
    
    	$(this)
    		.closest('ul')
    		.closest('.tabs-wrap')
    		.addClass('tb-act');
    
    	// close OTHER .tab(s), ignores the currently open tab
    	$('.tb-act > .tabs a')
    		.not(this)
    		.removeClass('act');
    
    	// removes the .tab-open class from any open tabs, and hides them
    	$('.tb-act > .tab-content')
    		.not('.tab-content.'+tabClassIs+'.tab-open')
    		.removeClass('tab-open');
    
    	$(this).addClass('act');
    
    	$('.tb-act > .tab-content.'+tabClassIs).addClass('tab-open');
    
    	// stop THIS from reloading
    	// the source window and appending to the URI
    	// and stop propagation up to document
    	return false;
    });

    You can demo and play with this code here: https://jsfiddle.net/jmathias/spktuvff/

    You can also nest tab-wrap inside a tab-content and have multiple tab-wraps per HTML document.

    That’s that, a quick and simple way to add tabbed content to your next ExpressionEngine site!

    | Read in 4 minutes
  • DRY Pagination

    12/10/2016 in: Tips, Templating

    If you want quick, easy to maintain, and consistent pagination across your site or application, DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) is a great way to accomplish this. in ExpressionEngine you can create DRY pagination in a few simple steps.

    First you’ll need a Template Partial. I like to name this par-paginate-links.

    {paginate}
    	{pagination_links page_padding='1'}
    		<div class="pagination">
    			<ul>
    				{first_page}
    					<li class="pg-first"><a href="{pagination_url}"><span>first</span></a></li>
    				{/first_page}
    				{previous_page}
    					<li class="pg-prev"><a href="{pagination_url}"><span>prev</span></a></li>
    				{/previous_page}
    				{page}
    					<li><a href="{pagination_url}"{if current_page} class="act"{/if}>{pagination_page_number}</a></li>
    				{/page}
    				{next_page}
    					<li class="pg-next"><a href="{pagination_url}"><span>next</span></a></li>
    				{/next_page}
    				{last_page}
    					<li class="pg-last"><a href="{pagination_url}"><span>last</span></a></li>
    				{/last_page}
    			</ul>
    		</div>
    	{/pagination_links}
    {/paginate}

    This partial covers paginated links, you can adjust the output to your personal needs, but this is your basic “first, previous, 1, 2, 3, next, last” pattern.

    Now that you have this, all you need to do is call it into the exp:channel:entries tags you want to paginate.

    Something like this,

    {exp:channel:entries channel='blog' limit='10'}
    	HTML Output...
    	{if no_results}
    		{redirect='404'}
    	{/if}
    	{par-paginate-links}
    {/exp:channel:entries}

    And there you have, a clean, fast and simple way to make your websites more maintainable with ExpressionEngine.

    | Read in 2 minutes
  • Responsive Videos

    12/10/2016 in: Front-end Development, Tips

    We all LOVE videos! But they can be a real difficult thing to do responsively. So here is some code to help you make videos responsive in your next ExpressionEngine CMS site.

    The HTML

    <figure class="video">
    	<div class="video-player">
    		<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/39394380?color=f0a400" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
    	</div>
    	<figcaption><a href="http://leihu.com">James Mathias</a> &mdash; Made By Few</figcaption>
    </figure>

    I use a figure, so that I can add a caption, the important part is the div.video-player around the iframe. Here I use a class of .video on the figure as a best practice for potential CSS targeting.

    Speaking of CSS, here is the LESS object.

    .video-player{
    	height: 0;
    	overflow: hidden;
    	padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16/9 ratio */
    	padding-top: 30px; /* IE6 workaround */
    	position: relative;
    
    		// set dimensions and position of elements inside .video-player
    		embed, iframe, img, object, video{
    			height: 100%;
    			left: 0;
    			position: absolute;
    			top: 0;
    			width: 100%;
    		}
    }

    That’s all you need. Remember don’t put a width or height attribute on the iframe, the browser will do this math for you!

    You can demo and play with this code here: https://jsfiddle.net/jmathias/g7mwrmxw/

    Now go fill your ExpressionEngine CMS sites with videos, to the brim!

    | Read in 2 minutes
  • Toggling Content

    12/10/2016 in: Front-end Development, Tips

    Occasionally you have some information that is needed, but not the most important, and you may want to hide it away, and let the visitor decide when they want to see it. So you toggle that content! Here’s a simple and fast way to add this functionality to your website, it’s reusable and can appear multiple times in a single HTML document.

    Let’s start with the JavaScript. I used jQuery.

    $(function(){
    
    	$('.toggle-link').on('click',function(e){
    		var txtIs = $(this).attr('data-open');
    		var hideIs = $(this).attr('data-close');
    		var objIs = $(this).attr('data-rel');
    		var toggleObj = $('[data-rev='+objIs+']');
    
    		if($.trim($(this).text()) === txtIs){
    			$(this).text(hideIs);
    		}
    		else{
    			$(this).text(txtIs);
    		}
    
    		toggleObj.toggleClass('toggle-open');
    
    		// stop THIS href from loading
    		// in the source window
    		e.preventDefault();
    	});
    
    }); // close (document).ready

    This will listen for .toggle-link clicks and then open and close (toggle) the proper .toggle-content for you.

    Here is the HTML

    <h1>Content Header <a href="#" class="toggle-link" data-rel="toggle-test" data-close="Hide" data-open="Show">Show</a></h1>
    <div class="toggle-content" data-rev="toggle-test">
    	<p>This content is hidden, until the toggle-link is clicked.</p>
    </div>

    The important bit to remember here is that the values of data-rel and data-rev need to match, and need to be unique from any other pairs in the same HTML document.

    The value of data-close determines what the link’s text will be when the content is visible. And the value of data-open determines the text when the content is hidden. The text in the link should match the value of data-open.

    And lastly, just a little CSS to get our open and closed states.

    .toggle-content{
    	display: none;
    }
    
    .toggle-open{
    	display: block;
    }

    You can demo and play with this code here: https://jsfiddle.net/jmathias/bqf3ht3y/

    So there you have it another tool for your next ExpressionEngine CMS site.

    | Read in 2 minutes

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