WordPress Helper Functions for Detecting IE

The other day I was working on a problem where I wanted to check if a website was using a specific browser (in this case IE) and version (in this case 9 or below). I came up with 2 functions that would serve an a nice, reusable check for both. These can also be extended to check for other browsers or versions, or even accept custom regular expressions.

Add IE Conditionals to wp_enqueue_style

When creating a WordPress theme, it’s best practice to use wp_enqueue_style for adding all stylesheets, including style.css. At first glance, this can pose a challenge if you want to conditionally include CSS based on the browser (like IE-only styles, for example). Luckily, there is a quick way to do this in WordPress using $wp-styles:

global $wp_styles;
wp_enqueue_style( 'jlc_ie_styles',get_template_directory_uri() . 'css/ie-style.css', array(), '1.0.0' );
$wp_styles->add_data( 'jlc_ie_styles', 'conditional', 'IE' );

The code above calls on the $wp-styles class to associate our IE-only stylesheet (by tag/name/slug) with a condition, the condition being “IE.” If you wanted IE 9 and below, you could do this:

$wp_styles->add_data( 'jlc_ie_styles', 'conditional', 'lte IE 9' );

This is a great (and best practice) way to conditionally call styles. You can see more examples with comments over in this gist by wpscholar.

Quick Tip: Check to See if a Slug Exists in WordPress

Recently I was doing some work where I was importing RSS entries into a Custom Post Type in WordPress. Since there were no common IDs between the feed and WordPress, to prevent duplicate entries I tried comparing titles. This also proved to be an issue as titles aren’t always unique, and they weren’t in this case. I settled on comparing slugs; WordPress creates a unique slug for each post from the title, and there’s a way to know what that slug is going to be before the post is added.

Don’t be Afraid to Relearn

Just the other day I picked up a new book called PHP: The Good Parts. I’ve been programming PHP for over 10 years, and the book covers a lot of beginner topics like control structures, variables, etc. However, there is some stuff towards the end that will be of great value. I plan on reading the (short) book cover-to-cover. Why you ask? I feel like I have to; after so many years, there are some things I should relearn the right way.

Good Books for Web Development

I’m teaching a couple of web development classes this semester and have been receiving a lot of questions as to what books would serve as good resources. Here’s a short list, starting with the ones I’ve chosen for my classes.

  1. HTML and CSS: Design and Build WebsitesThis is possibly the best book I’ve used for HTML and CSS. It is visual, puts things in simple terms, and it’s up-to-date. I would strongly recommend this for beginners. I am using it for my E-Commerce 251 (Intro to E-Commerce) course.
  2. Web Database Applications with PHP and MySQL: This book (by O’Reilly Media) takes a good look at PHP and MySQL. It covers a range of topics from beginner PHP and an intro to Databases to a look at bigger topics, like security. I’m using it for my Media Info Tech 315 (Web Applications and Databases) course.
  3. Bulletproof Web Design: Improving flexibility and protecting against worst-case scenarios with HTML5 and CSS3: This book taught me everything I know about the right want to develop websites. Dan Cederholm is a pro and a great teacher who will take you through doing things, and making them bulletproof.
  4. Web Designer’s Guide to WordPress: Plan, Theme, Build, Launch: Once you’re comfortable with HTML, CSS, and PHP, you might want to get into WordPress. This book is an excellent starting point.
  5. Implementing Responsive Design: Building sites for an anywhere, everywhere web: Responsive Design is all the rage now, and for good reason. This book will tell you the principles of RWD and how to implement it in your site.
  6. The A Book Apart Books: Honestly I would recommend all of them, but the specifically web development ones are: HTML5 for Web Designers, CSS3 for Web Designers, Responsive Web Design, and Mobile First

As you probably know, I also have a book, Building WordPress Themes from Scratch. However, there have been some changes the publisher has been doing lately and I am working with them to get the book in my hands. More on that here.

Finally, I have another book coming out in December called Responsive Design with WordPress. I think this would work really well after books 4 and 5 on the above list. Keep an eye out for it; maybe I’ll even do a giveaway or two.

What are your must-read web development books? Let me know in the comments!

Web Development Resources, Summer 2013

I have a ton of bookmark folders to help keep myself organized, though to be honest I usually bookmark something and then forget about it. So, while looking through some of my folders, I can across a good amount of web development resources I’ve been keeping. I’ve decided to share them.

My Slides from PABUG 2012

Here you go! My slides from my talk, “Using PHP to Create a Web-­Based Mobile Banner Application” from @PA_BUG are available for download (links to my Public Dropbox folder). There is also a link to our current mobile app.  Thanks to everyone who came out, and to PABUG for having me!

If you have any questions or comments/please email me at