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Personal Blog

I'm not really doing much on my website in terms of design but I am simplifying my website by removing things I no longer deem necessary. The first of those was the removal of Dark Mode (a feature of BalfBar and always will be, but not of my website any longer) since I was always in favour of the dark menu myself and will not be letting users choose the light menu any longer. I have also removed the invert colour feature of my website as of recently and will next be looking at removing the max page accessibility feature and the font size changing features. I will also look at removing other accessibility features and I'm not sure where it will end. 

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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In the last few days I've been focusing a lot of my time on software development rather than my usual web development. As a result ZPE has received more of my time than my website. This changed again today when I decided to work on it again.

Today I brought back the Facebook commenting system to my website, replacing my long lasted Disqus comment system. As a result of this, I am also including this in BalfBlog 2.1 instead of Disqus. The main benefit is now users no longer have to enter an individual post to comment on it (for the main blog mode, not introduction mode).

The DISQUS_SHORTNAME and the related settings are no longer required since Facebook does not need users to login. 

On my website side of things again, I have been focused on ensuring the OpenGraph content is up to date on my website. You should see that it is now pretty concise and works effectively every time and as a result sharing looks much better with Facebook.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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Helvetica returns! And on this occasion, I am not talking about you Calum Cormack. 

As I have been conducting feedback surveys on my website to select visitors for the last few days I have discovered that many do not like the Open Sans font since it is too light to read. I also felt like this from time to time and have considered the change to the slightly heavier Mac favourite font, Helvetica. 

Helvetica was once the default font on OS X (soon to be macOS) but Apple dropped it for the San Francisco font in both iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. I also once used Helvetica as my default font but dropped it for the sake of cross-platform support and have switched font on my website quite a lot since then. I am hoping that Helvetica will be staying, I will be running a trial run of this for four weeks from today. If I get more positive remarks about the font on the website I will retain it. 

As the result of the information from some feedback I received, Roboto has become the new site font - the third attempt at a font from Google Fonts.
Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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In the past, I have been told that my code samples are really good, but they lack one or two things. The most crucial one of those is the ability to copy the formatting. Unfortunately, this is not possible at the moment due to the fact they are written as a ordered list element. This means that each line of code is put in a new li element. When one comes to attempt to copy from the element, the formatting (e.g. the indentation, which is completely controlled by a CSS margin property) will not be retained. 

After some perseverance, I have begun the transformation of my samples. Currently in the ol element, they will now be nested within the pre element. What this also means is that it will be much easier for me to update them using my content management system. As of this second, the CSS tutorial has been partially updated, and my articles, reviews, blogs and the software section completely use this new system. 

The main theory behind doing this is to make my website more accessible and easier to use, whilst not making any real visual changes. At the current time, you may see that some of the older samples no longer appear properly. This is a known issue and will be fixed when they switch to the new style.

Please bare with me whilst I make this change, since it will take some time for me to fully implement across my tutorials. 

I have since updated my HTML and CSS tutorials with the new pre-based samples. It's taking a long time to do but I will be done with the PHP tutorial by the end of the day.
All pages on my website now use the new pre-based code samples so all code from these samples is now fully copyable. JavaScript must be enabled for the pre elements to display properly, but it will work without JavaScript anyway. 
Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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Today I am releasing the latest version of BalfBlog and using it on my website to power my articles!

The latest version of BalfBlog had the core focus of being able to manage a system like my articles system. Well now, after 3 years of development BlackCat is being replaced by a much younger (started in January 2016) content management system. 

BalfBlog is far from perfect for this and a lot of work is still needed. I say this because, at present you need a dashboard for each BalfBlog system. Also, whilst the project was only recently renamed BalfBlog, it was never to be the full time name. So please help me come up with a better name for BalfBlog that reflects this new feature.

The new system brings a lot of front end features too, such as being able to use the BalfBlog search which will search for words you enter only in that blog/section. You can do this using the search box at the top of the section, this allows you to search based on the category, keyword, title, tags or anything else you may want to search for. This gives a lot more specificity over what you are searching for compared with Google's search provided on my website.

On top of this, updates are easier to apply to these sections of my website than before and I can manage content using a more useful content management system.

So all in all, it's been a great move.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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Today I have decided I will no longer add support for Internet Explorer 8, 7, 6 and below to BalfBlog, BalfBar, BalfSlider, BalfRibbon and my own website.

Subsequently, users of these will see a very small reduction in file size. 

After many years of adding extra support to my website for older browsers, I have decided it is time to move on. I am officially ditching a percentage of users of these older browsers.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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Hello everyone, I'm posting this comment about my Disqus comment system which I have recently had to update. Since Disqus currently does not offer the ability to move comments from an old URL to a new one, I had to delete older comments to prevent them going through to the error page. I have readded all these comments using the names of the original people (note the names, not their user accounts, thus these will not take you to their accounts). I have done this since some of these comments were useful and because there are still very few comments (despite hundreds of views a month). 

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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Within the last few weeks I have been working on major improvements to the integration of what is now known as BalfBlog. Version 2.0 was released just 2 days after version 1.1 and was released due to a complete change in the way it works. This allows it to integrate well with any website and requires minimal effort to install. If you follow my blog you'll probably know that I've been posting about this quite a bit. 

One of the things about the new BalfBlog and the way in which my website works with this blogging system is the way in which it integrates with my own website. This makes it painless to install and one of the things I've noticed is how easily my website copes with this design. 

But it doesn't stop there. ClickIt is my latest website and the main site is nearly finished. One of the features I've wanted to add was a blog. I found just how easy it was to integrate BalfBlog with Bootstrap as well. One change to a file and that's it. Ready to go. By the end of June this year, I will officially announce the finished version of BalfBlog, until then feel free to get in touch with me and arrange to get a copy of BalfBlog version 2.0b.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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To help maintain a better consistency with modern browsers I have introduced a GlyphIcons font. This font adds some extra requirements to the browser that is viewing it but makes it much easier for me to develop for the future. 

I found these icons just the other day and think they are awesome. You can find them in quite a few places on my site, least of all the sidebar and site links. You'll find that they make the success and failure pages much better too. 

I have since stopped using the actual GlyphIcons font and replaced it with my own custom font that selects only the glyphs I need. I've also thrown in some other icons too.
Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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The next few months will be a difficult few for me as I have to work much harder than normal on my university course.

Now in my final semester of my final year at university, I can finally see the end of it all and feel like I have the potential to finish it.

However, over this time I will likely end up neglecting my website and it's content. I may post a blog entry every so often but there will be no major content added to the site. 

If you want to get in touch with me, feel free to contact me using the usual methods.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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