web 2.0

Thursday, May 6, 2010



Book Review + Giveaway Of Digging into WordPress (2 copies)

Posted: 06 May 2010 02:13 PM PDT

This article is the first post of our new “Book Review Series” in which we will try to review and giveaway a book each week here on 1stWD for our awesome readers.  If you are a WordPress lover like me then I am sure you have also read some books regarding WordPress. There are a plenty of books available in WordPress niche but one of the most comprehensive book I have ever seen is Digging into WordPress by Chris Coyier and Jeff Starr. Both of them are renowned authors and famous developers of WordPress Community. Today we will review the book and yes as said in title, we have 2 copies of Digging into WordPress to giveaway for our beloved 1stWD readers.

About the Authors

The book is co-authored by Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks and Jeff Starr of Perishable Press. Both of them are famous in WordPress Community because of their out of the box solutions for developing websites using WordPress.

I will suggest you to check their blogs to guess the quality of content in book. The blogs mentioned before are filled completely with awesomeness.

What’s so Special in Book??

So you want to know what’s so special in this book. The authors of book wrote it in just two lines and we think that it is 100% Correct.

There is much to learn about the World's most popular publishing platform. From your first steps of learning about WordPress all the way through maintaining a site throughout the years, this book is packed with truly practical information.

In short, the book will teach you how to create a WordPress theme from scratch. Starting from how to install WordPress securely, you will end the book learning clever tips and tricks for advanced WordPress theme development.

Why we liked the book?

There is no doubt that the whole book is filled with great content but the best thing we liked in the book is written below.

The PDF version of the book is awesome because we will be able to update and expand it indefinitely. As WordPress changes, the book will evolve with new information, techniques, and code. This is why we call the DiW PDF a "living, breathing document" – it will grow with WordPress, and will be updated and improved periodically well into the future.

Yes, you have got it right. The plan is to update this book as often as WordPress changes with new versions. When we first heard about this feature, we thought that It will be a little bit difficult as WordPress releases 3 Major versions in a single year. It’s not easy to update the book thrice a year, but the guys behind Digging into WordPress proved their selves by providing the version two just after 3 months of releasing the book to public. This means that the book will get an update after WordPress 3.0 so you will never feel that your techniques are old.

Two new chapters in DiW V2


We have 2 copies of DiW book for giveaway. We are thankful to the guys behind DIW for supporting this giveaway. Read on how to take part in giveaway.

How to enter in the giveaway?

Pretty simple, you have to leave a comment on the post and tell us what you want to see on 1stwebdesigner, or how we can make the website better. The comments should be constructive and powerful so that you can increase the chance of your win. We will select the best opinions and winners will be announced. The giveaway is open till 11:59pm GMT+5, May 11th 2010.

Grab the book right now

If you don't like waiting for the result of giveaway, you can buy the book here directly. What we can assure you that this book is definitely worth your money.

Feel free to let me know if you want us to review some specific book via comments section. Good Luck!

Be a Design Commando: Can You Make the Cut?

Posted: 06 May 2010 03:27 AM PDT

We have heard of the code ninja or samurai designer but today's article will introduce you to becoming a designer with a different perspective; the ways of the design commando. We can learn plenty from the spirit and code commandos live by. Learning to apply the best of these qualities to the lifestyle and attitudes a designer should have, you can become a design commando as well.

The Commando: A History

The term commando refers to a specific kind of individual solider or military unit. Originally, “a commando” is a type of combat unit, rather than an individual in that unit. It is an elite light infantry and/or Special Forces unit that conduct specialized attacks by means of parachuting, rappelling, or other similar techniques.

The commandos of most countries are distinctive in that they specialize in assault on conventional military targets. This is in contrast to other Special Forces units which specialize in counter-terrorism, reconnaissance, and sabotage.


Image credit: Simon Varwell

The Mission: Hone Your Talent

Not everyone is born talented. And those individuals who are still need to hone their natural talent to achieve greater heights. Designers, talented or not, have to work hard to upgrade themselves, develop their innate potential and exploit their untapped creativity. Similar to how an engineer uses raw steel in its basic form and through his ideas and concepts creates imposing and amazing mega-structures. A design commando uses his passion and drive to excel and be the best in his field by taking each design job seriously like he would on any other military mission.

Image credit: BigChief711

No one was more dedicated to their call that the commando: they would fight to their death to defend their country. "Never say die" attitude and the "Can do" spirit are just many of pointers. A commando designers applied these pointers and go out for his client.

The Ways of the Commando

Commando designers stand out from a crowd. They are leaders who are ready to head and accomplish each project that is taken on with pride and honor. They are competent individuals. However, they are equally effective and capable when working as a team. Experts at meeting tough deadlines, commando designers will do whatever it takes to get the job done and satisfy their clients' needs, often at the expense of their own social or family time.

Image credit: Official U.S. Navy Gallery

Working long hours is the norm for all designers. Being able to keep the creativity going despite frequent long hours takes lots of stamina, focus and discipline. The ability to think on one's feet is also a crucial trait a designer has to have. However, with experience and through learning from past mistakes or the mistakes of others, this is a trait each designer eventually develops. A design commando's best trait is being able to solve issues with whatever they have available to them at that moment.

Often we find a kindred spirit in like-minded designers who are willing to share their experiences and learn from each other. Design commandos have to develop skills that will sharpen their minds and be more than just competent. Only then will they be able to infiltrate deep behind competitors' lines and hit them hard.

Think On Your Feet, Go With Your Gut

"A jack of all trades but master of none", this is a phrase often heard to describe those who know a little of everything but does not specialize in any. A well-trained design commando defies that statement and will ensure that he or she can master various skills to accomplish any mission assigned, quickly and with deadly precision. With determination and a good sense of urgency, a design commando will be able to achieve a breakthrough no matter the difficulty of the mission or task ahead.

Image credit: nmrton

Many people tend to be fickle minded and can't seem to make decisions even in crucial scenarios. This problem stems from the fact that they consider too many options and alternatives and worry about each of the different outcomes and responses possible. In the meantime, valuable time has passed and before one realizes, the opportunity would have slipped by. Instead of going through all this and wasting precious time, spend more time analyzing the problem carefully and if possible in advance, and then make an informed choice and sticking to it.

Sometimes over thinking may not be a good thing. Especially if you're experienced and have been in many similar situations before, working on adrenaline and going by your gut feeling may work to your benefit. Going by one's gut feeling might be seen as hasty and illogical. However, one's gut feeling doesn't involve reason, but goes by one's instincts and through learning from one's previous experiences. Our brain has stored all the pertinent information we need to survive in the environment we place ourselves in. When pushed to make a quick decision, our brain immediately pulls out all the information necessary and quickly assesses the best possible reaction for the situation. If we let our brain do the work and we go with our first instinct that the brain tells us to do, we are allowing our brain to do its job to ensure that we make the right choices. However, the brain only can serve us well if we input the right information for it to make a good assessment.

Every skill takes time to perfect, when you first learn how to fire a weapon, you are hardly a marksman. Our body has a good memory and initially during the learning process, we have to constantly check if we are in the correct position for the optimum shot to take place. Over time, with much practice, our mind connects all the practice we've had to determine which position gives us the best result and our body does the rest, ensuring that it is in the correct position to hit the bull's eye. If you think too much and refuse to let your body and brain work together to give you the correct position, you will miss aim and under perform. This is the same when dealing with design problems. The knowledge and wealth of experience you've accumulated is akin to the practice a marksman needs to undergo to obtain that title and your brain will instinctively provide the best solutions for your design problems.

In times of peace, soldiers train hard to ensure that they minimize the mistakes they make so that in times of war, their mind and body is one and will react instantaneously based on their past training experience and make the best decision in whatever situation they're in.

Indomitable Spirit of the Design Commando

The values instilled in all commandos are honor, courage, discipline, daring initiative and esprit de corps and these values are a commando's best asset. Design commandos have all these values while at work trying to ensure that the deadlines and the design brief is met. It is in their nature to push the boundaries in design or any other activities they are involved in. Whatever it is design commandos set their hearts out to do, they will achieve. The sky is the limit.

Image credit: nmrton

When design commandos set their heart on doing something, they put their best foot forward and strive for excellence. The result is phenomenal. Regardless of the type or magnitude of the project, design commandos enjoy the challenge and will push themselves physically and mentally in order to achieve the best results. The spirit of the design commando cannot be dampened by anything or anyone from the moment they step up to the plate and accept the challenge of each new project.

Endurance is a key trait a design commando has to have in abundance. Always ready to serve, putting the needs of others before themselves, a design commando goes where no one else can and does what others fail to do. Regardless of how difficult it gets or how indirect the path may be, a design commando will get the job done as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

The Design Commando: A Master Juggler

Although it is good enough to be a jack of all trades and be sufficiently skilled at everything, to be a design commando, you will have to up your game and become an expert at what you do rather than just being mediocre. Having this kind of attitude is especially advantageous to freelance designers who have to juggle so many things and wear so many hats all at once. They have to put on the designer's hat, be the businessman, accountant, and developer etcetera. If they focus all their energies only on design and neglect their other roles, their business side of things will suffer terribly. Lack of effective communication with clients can negatively affect the project on hand and sour relations. Poor financial management will also drag you to the cleaners in the long run if you don't start being smart about it. Juggling all these roles is a tough act, but it must be done. If not, the list of things that could go wrong can go on forever.

Image credit: nmrton

Although work is very important. All work and no play can't possibly be healthy for any sane individual. Creativity is a well that will run dry eventually if you only restrict yourself to one avenue of resource. Even if you can survive working on designs and enjoy it tremendously, merely surviving is not the way to life your life. Go out and socialize, exercise, travel, and devote your time to building and nurturing family relationships. Every human being needs to work hard but to play hard as well. Having various ways to recharge your energy and your creativity helps to make you a better person and a better design commando as well.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Be prepared and do not get caught with your pants down. The military prepares their men by giving them ample training outside of the war zone so that when they have to face the enemy on the front lines, they will be mentally and physically prepared to face whatever comes their way.

Image credit: mnrton

Most designers pick up a skill only when the need arises. This is not wise as that would mean that you do not have the extra time to practice and be good at the skill you have picked up only at the last minute. In order to be a good design commando, you have to be prepared ahead of time and when called upon to battle, you can step up to the challenge and do a good job because you've had ample training and practice beforehand.

Design commandos look out for opportunities to exercise the skills they've put so much effort into learning and training for. As such, they will assess the situation and analyze the current trends and hot topics so that they can get the chance to put their training to good use. This will ensure that they are one step ahead of others and can face the project without any fear.

For Honor and Glory: Are You Ready?

The points mentioned here in this article are no different to the basic teachings a soldier is taught when they first enter the military; be skillful, be determined, and be passionate. Try becoming a design commando and when it leads you to success, take some time to consider the ancient Zen saying: "The one who is good at shooting does not hit the center of the target."

In summary, here are some words of wisdom. Have a think about it and be enlightened.

  • Blending in with society is an essential basic skill of the designer.
  • Effective use of creativity outweighs any statistical disadvantages.
  • The toughest part is not about solving the problem itself but the approach you take.
  • Nothing is impossible. When you are going uphill, you can slow down your pace but keep on going.

Do you consider yourself a design commando? What aspects and correlations can you make between a designer and a commando? Please share your opinions and give us your feedback.


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