- Home of vSlider » Way of the web I've seen things you people wouldn't believe Thu, 18 Sep 2008 01:39:44 +0000 en Third time’s the charm - vSlider 3 is out! Sat, 23 Jun 2007 21:12:19 +0000 Rui Finally, after a few months in the making, here is the new 3 series! Yes, it look a very long time, more than I thought at the beginning, but a lot of stuff happened in the meantime, and one can only go so far without proper sleep :)
What’s available now? New and improved cool stuff for latest & greatest versions out there:

  • vSlider 3 for WordPress 2.2
  • vSlider 3 for Gallery2 2.2.1 (using WPG2 2.x and 3.0 beta)
  • KBurnalizer 3 javascript library
  • KBurnalizerG2 module for Gallery2 2.2.1

See? Can’t be more up-to-date than this!
You see it running on this website, so I guess its working…

So, what’s new? Tons of things. For a complete list, check the specific download pages on Cool Stuff, but here are the highlights:

  • New and expanded Theme Administration page
  • Full pixel-precise control of the width of theme
  • Option for fluid layout! Fills your entire browser, whatever the dimensions. Everything resizes automatically (this one was tough… :) )
  • Complete control over colors without coding. You can use one of the provided color schemes, or create your own. You can create as many as you like, and select individual colors for every visual element.
  • Place the sidebar on left or the right of the page.
  • Administration page for all the nice little icons - sliders, RSS feeds, quote symbols, etc…
  • Several options for the header, including auto-rounded border. Yes, that’s for all the people that kept asking for the Header template :) Now you can just use normal rectangular images and the theme will create a nice round border for you
  • The Gallery2 theme has been redesigned with a more consistent look and LightBox support.
  • Everything done using CSS and Javascript - no images used for either layout or graphical backgrounds. Not even for the rounded borders. This gives you the most flexibility for customizations without coding.
  • Aahh… just check the download page for the full list….

I tested as much as I could, but there were so many changes and new features, a few bugs are bound to appear. If they do, please let me know and I’ll try to fix them ASAP.
Also there were a couple of other features suggested by some of you that I thought would be cool, but didn’t make into this version (you have to draw the line somewhere). They might make it into version 3.1 later on…

I also take this opportunity to present another side project I started with my wife - No, it’s another WP theme or another nifty tool. It’s kind of a “life project” - a plan to travel around the world and see *everything* worth seeing. The website is a blog about this plan and the passion for exploring in general. I invite you all to become members and even post your own texts about travel experiences.
It is also a way to finance it, since we decided to “sell” the world in order to see it - you’ll understand once you see it :)

All the stuff I’ve been making here in is free and will continue to be. I used to have a donation page and even an Amazon wish list, but that’s all gone now. Instead, if you feel compelled to show your appreciation and help us in process, hop over to and see how you can contribute.

Have fun with vSlider 3!

Just upgraded to WordPress 2.1 Wed, 24 Jan 2007 01:23:02 +0000 Rui Hurrah! First post written on the new WP 2.1, code named Ella. It has some pretty cool improvements and as you can see, vSlider 2.1 is still working perfectly :)
Had a bit of a trouble with some of the plugins though… word of advice - check carefully if the plugins you are using are compatible with this new release before upgrading.

And don’t forget the previous post! The vSlider RFI is still ongoing…

vSlider RFI Sun, 21 Jan 2007 21:40:06 +0000 Rui In case you are wondering, RFI is Request For Improvements. I just made it up :) Well, maybe it exists, who knows.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about whether or not I should make a new version of vSlider. Quite a few people ask me “when the next release will be”, but to be honest, the main reason why there hasn’t been one (apart from time, of course) is that for my own needs the last version is enough.
So, I’m asking you, the users of vSlider, what features or improvements would you like to have? What is it that you are missing or that would make your life easier while using vSlider?
If I don’t get any comments, then, well, then I’m going to assume that the current version is still good enough ;)
So if you want a new version, drop a comment with your suggestion for improvements.

BTW, I’ve added a CAPTCHA for entering comments. I know it’s a little more pain for you, the good people out there, but I just can’t get rid of all the evil spammers, even using Akismet. So I’m going to try this for a while to see if I have more success.

New year, new life, old bugs Mon, 02 Jan 2006 14:02:09 +0000 Rui Most people like to think of a new year like a new start. Although the 1st of January is mostly an arbitrary date set up according to our arbitrary calendar, the feeling is real, and that’s what matters. In my case, it is VERY real, since the New Year really brought me lots of changes, most of important them being the start of a new job.
Unfortunately, because of these changes, the holidays, etc, etc, I haven’t had much time for this site, and I got quite some email mostly about vSlider, that is already pilling up.
Over the coming period I will try to get things “back to normal” (although I think that “normal”never really happens to me).

But here’s a start: a lot of people have been asking me about the problem that they only get the time on their posts, and not the date, when using vSlider. That’s very true, and there are reasons and solutions for that.
First the reason: when I was designing vSlider for my site, I had the intention from the start to use a plugin called Time Since. I was having some problems with it, and it worked much better if I only used one field instead of the usual date + time duo. So, the theme went public with only one field on the PHP code (it was working fine for me! :) )
Now, possible solutions:

  1. Change the Default Time Format on the WordPress options page. For instance, I’m currently using “D j, F Y”. WP is pretty flexible with this, so you can use date and time fields combined.
  2. Edit the PHP code and add the missing information (c’mon, it’s not that difficult! ;) )
  3. Wait for the next version of vSlider :) I’m not making any promises on when is this coming out, but I will definitely make this feature better next time around.

Hope this helps.

And Happy New Year!

Yahoo buys them all Tue, 13 Dec 2005 21:01:52 +0000 Rui has tags and Yahoo bought it.
Flickr has tags and Yahoo bought it.
Hmmm… so… logic tells us that if anything has tags and alive on the Internet, Yahoo will eventually buy it.

Using quotes in vSlider Mon, 28 Nov 2005 22:28:54 +0000 Rui One very interesting debate among web design purists is how to best use CSS to represent quotes. In HTML, it is very simple to markup a block of text as a quote. Simply use the blockquote tag, like this:
<blockquote>The first step to getting the things you
want out of life is this: Decide what
you want.</blockquote>

Using CSS, we can assign a distinct look and feel to make the quote stand out from the text, like making it italic and maybe even indent it a little. A very common technique is to use an image as the quote symbol, and by setting it as the background of the block, we can have a rather nice effect, without any messy “img” tags.
I’ve created a custom quote image for the vSlider theme, and the CSS to use it, so the previous example would be rendered like this:

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.

Now, the problem is that although this looks quite ok, it would be a lot nicer if we could also have the closing quote as well. And this is where the problems begin, since in CSS there is no way we can use two different images as backgrounds for the same block. If we could, it would be rather simple: the opening quote would be defined in the top left, and the closing quote on the bottom right. Since this is not possible, again we have one of those (unfortunately common) situations where we have to mix semantics and presentation. By adding a “div” tag, we can create a nested block with its own style and that can be used as a placeholder for the closing quote.
In the case of vSlider, I have defined this as a class named blockquote-inner. So, we can slightly change our previous example to:

<div class="blockquote-inner">The first step to getting
the things you want out
of life is this: Decide what you want.</div>

And the result would be:

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.

Which looks a lot better, if I may say so. Uglier code, true… but nicer result :)
If you are using the vSlider theme, you can give it a try.

vSlider slides across the world Sat, 26 Nov 2005 19:07:16 +0000 Rui It makes me extremely happy that a lot of people have downloaded my vSlider theme and are using it on their blogs. I’ve seen it being used from South America to Japan :)
It’s a good feeling to give something back to the community from which I got so much.

Some people have asked me how to change the header image, or how to get the effect they see on of getting a different image on each page refresh. It’s really, really simple. If you look to the folder structure of the theme, you will notice that the default image is located in \vSlider\images\headers\vSlider.jpg, but there is no direct link to this image on the HTML code. That is because I’ve added a little bit of PHP code that selects randomly any image located on that same folder. That is, just dump all your header images there, and they will be immediately picked up – you don’t have to change any code. They should all be the same size as the default one, of course.

I would also like to ask for some feedback on how well the theme works in other browsers and operating systems. As I mentioned in the download page of the theme, I only know how it looks and behaves in IE, FireFox and Opera. If you can leave some comments about this, I would appreciate it.
Also, if you have suggestions for improvements, feel free to shout them out!

China, Skype, Verso and other sins Fri, 25 Nov 2005 11:16:43 +0000 Rui Everybody loves Skype, right? Well, everybody, except large Telcos whose already dimming profits face a whole new threat with the birth of free VoIP calls. Maybe even worse than the free computer-to-computer, is the *extremely* cheap calls from computer to real phone numbers.
Now, what would happen if you mix a company that sees a way of profiting from this fear with a giant telecom company operating in a pseudo-free market, with a pseudo-democratic system? You get a Verso-China wedding.
Verso’s working bees have been busy trying to find a way to filter out all Skype network traffic from the rest, in a move to create products that can allow carriers to block this little program from working. An “unnamed” major market player in China is grabbing the idea, and bought a trial-version of Verso’s software.
This is not really new - in fact, China Telecom already prevents Skype from being used to call normal phones, claiming this is illegal.
The general excuse is that these services are a threat to the viability of their business, and their usage is putting a huge load on their network, therefore they have to right to prevent them – and of course, the Chinese law is on their side.
This sounds as ridiculous to me as if you couldn’t use your Toyota car on a highway, because the highway management company had a deal with Ford. But it might be that I’m simply not as an enlightened as the Chinese ;)

As an end note, a curious fact: Verso claims that there is a lot of “hate” for Skype, because of its business model and usage of the network, but curious enough, they “love” Vonage, and even plan to make profit from selling some of their products.
What was that word again? … ah! yes… hypocrisy.

vSlider 1.0 released! Sun, 13 Nov 2005 22:56:59 +0000 Rui Finally! After a lot of tweakin’ and fixin’, I officially made vSlider 1.0, my very own custom made WordPress theme, available for download. And, as an additional bonus, the vSlider companion theme for Gallery2 is also available. You can get 2 by the price of 1, which is actually 0, since all this stuff is for free, anyway :)

Check out my cool stuff page for details, and have fun!

Why isn’t my blog XHTML compliant anymore Sun, 13 Nov 2005 22:33:20 +0000 Rui This post is one big rant about stupid technical programming problems – feel free to ignore it if you really don’t care about this sort of thing…


I care a lot about standards. I really do. Standards are the essence of communication – both for people and machines. If it were up to me, the world would be one big standard (ok, that might be a bit exaggerated, but you get my point). Another concept I’m also particularly keen on is on the separation between content, presentation and behavior when building a web page (i.e. HTML, CSS and JavaScript). I’m on the camp of those who defend that HTML should be just semantics, and therefore putting “font” and “color” attributes, mixed with a couple of “onclick’s” all over the code is really not a good idea – it is only going to make a big mess out of your page, and make it REALLY hard to make large changes to the design (trust me, I’ve been there).

When I first started the design of the theme for this blog, which eventually became the vSlider theme, my intentions were nothing but ambitious. I was going to be relentless, tireless, aiming for web design nirvana – pure XHTML, pure CSS, not one single table for layout purposes, the works. For a moment I even considering using the XHTML Strict Doctype… imagine that!
Then the long hours came, fighting against browser inconsistencies, quirks, different box models, inheritance rules, and so on and so forth. But I wasn’t giving up… no, I would be resilient – no stupid floating div was going to mess up my immaculate CSS layout!
And it was going to be fancy too - sliding boxes, with no JavaScript on the HTML, only using behaviors, handles and all sorts of cool tricks. Oh yes, this was the piece de resistance. I was proud of my work.

But then, to my surprise, the W3C validator said my page is not XHTML compliant anymore! WHAT!? This can’t be… I’ve done everything by the book.
Well, it turns out that the XHTML standard doesn’t allow the usage of custom attributes in the tags. How the hell I’m supposed to keep my code pure, if I can’t define the properties of my object?
I found these excellent articles - JavaScript Triggers & Validating a Custom DTD - that explained exactly what was going on, and, to be honest, I became somewhat disappointed. My belief in the standards was shattered. I mean, honestly, wasn’t the X in XHTML supposed to mean “extensible”? What’s extensible about it? I can’t even “extend” it with my own attributes….
So I stopped caring – vSlider is not pure XHTML anymore, and I’m even proud of it – it’s better than if it was. I’m happy with a “nearly XHTML compliant” status.
Heck, I even turned three nested DIVs that were giving me a hard time in FireFox to a table with three rows – it took me five minutes to accomplish the same result that took almost an hour with those DIVs… there went the “tabless” design out the window :D.


(if you have absolutely no idea of what I’m talking about, just ignore this post entirely – your life is probably way happier than mine anyway. If you DO know – then “cheers, mate!”, misery loves company…)