Upgrading to PHP 7 on CentOS 6

Upgrading to PHP 7 on CentOS 6

After only recently realising we were running PHP 5.3, a release that came out a good seven years ago, we thought it a good time for an upgrade. Unfortunately due to CentOS’ stance on long term support, rather than the bleeding edge, this task at first proved quite difficult. As of now for CentOS 6, and I believe CentOS 7, there is no readily available package for upgrading to PHP 7.

Much to our luck we eventually came across an article going over the details of setting up PHP 7 on a CentOS Virtual Private Server (VPS), I’ve included a link to said article at the bottom of this post.

Installing PHP 7

Installing PHP 7 went surprisingly smoothly. The first requirement was to remove what was the currently installed PHP Apache module. To do this we entered the following command:

yum remove php*

Upgrading to PHP 7 on CentOS 6

The above command removes all installed packages beginning with PHP, before you do this we do very much recommend you take a backup of everything first just in case anything goes terribly wrong.

The next step involves downloading the latest version of PHP 7, which at the time of writing this article is PHP 7.0.2. The following command downloads the latest PHP repository to your current directory:

rpm -Uvh https://mirror.webtatic.com/yum/el6/latest.rpm

The final step assumes you will be using PHP for a standard WordPress installation:

yum install php70w php70w-opcache php70w-mysql

If everything has gone as expected a simple restart of your Apache server should result in a working PHP installation. To check whether PHP 7 has installed correctly we’d recommend running the phpinfo(); function.

Conclusion

As we use Cloudflare to aggressively cache our blog’s pages, upgrading to PHP 7 had very little impact on our frontend performance. Those of you who aren’t currently using a CDN or some form caching should see their page loading times half.

Having said the above, our WordPress admin is certainly much more responsive.

Links

https://webtatic.com/packages/php70/

Star Wars

Star Wars Battlefront

Many of us will have fond memories of growing up with Star Wars: Battlefront on the good old PS2 – and now, with a new generation of Star Wars on the horizon, the legacy (finally) continues. The new first-person-shooter from EA is expected to go on sale around the same time as the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but a new trailer hints at a full reveal of the game at Star Wars Celebration, in April 2015.

Here’s the trailer everyone’s been talking about:

As you may notice, this is exactly the same trailer as the one which was released last year – so don’t get too excited. The only difference is that this latest trailer mentions the reveal date for the new Star Wars: Battlefront, in April 2015.

The game is expected to be available on all major platforms, including PC, Xbox One and PS4.

Here’s another video released by EA, which shows some behind the scenes footage:

This video is a bit more interesting, as it shows the incredible attention to detail which has gone into making the new version of Battlefront. The team has scanned the models used in the original Star Wars films and even visited the locations in order to make the game as realistic and accurate as possible. Judging by the early in-engine footage seen in the video above, the quality looks amazing.

 

“Above all, it is our passion for Star Wars which will bring this legacy to life, like never before.”

Star Wars

As the quote from the team suggests, the passion they have for Star Wars should really help ensure this title is of good quality – hopefully this will make them put in a lot of effort and care to ensure the latest version of Star Wars: Battlefront is a game to remember.

The video ends with a rather fitting quote from Yoda – you guessed it – “Do or do not. There is no try”.

We can’t wait to find out more about this game in April – hopefully our patience will be rewarded.

7 Web Design Ireland Trends for 2020

7 Web Design Ireland Trends for 2020

2019 has been a jam packed year with many ups and downs, we had Brexit, the rise of Donald Trump and the loss of Carrie Fisher from Star Wars. However, since it is only a couple of days until we spring into 2020. Here are seven of the top web design trends I expect to see in the next year.

Here are the top web design trends that we can accept in the year 2020.

1. Greater emphasis on UX frameworks

User experience plays a huge part in how we use the web on a day to day basis. This experience needs to seamlessly transfer across devices, be it a laptop or a smartphone. With smartphones pretty much reaching parity with desktops for page views, the checkout experience needs to be just as polished as its desktop counterpart, Web designers Ireland is giving more emphasis on UX frameworks.

2. Rise of Material Design

One of the biggest web design trends of 2019 was flat design. I expect this trend to continue into 2020, albeit with a twist. Design guidelines such as Google’s Material Design will become mainstay. In my own opinion, having a consistent design ethos across our sites is a great way of giving visitors a good experience. learn more about Google’s Material Design at https://www.templatemonster.com/blog/google-material-design/

7 Web Design Ireland Trends for 2020

3. SVG Animations

As smartphones and other mobile devices become more capable thanks to faster and more efficient CPUs, web designer Ireland will have more options when it comes to animations. It will be possible to make animations more complex and more elegant.

An advantage of SVG is that it doesn’t make any HTTP requests, this results in faster rendering times – a factor most important on mobiles.

4. Flex will show some muscle

Flex has been around for awhile now, however, it hasn’t as of yet fully taken off. This has mostly been because of cross browser compatibility, rather than lack of interest. In 2017 I would expect this to change, since flex makes it so much nicer and easier for designers to create simple and lightweight grid systems in CSS.

For those new to flex it may take a little while to get used to, but I can assure you that you’ll love it once you get to know it. You’ll soon be wondering why you ever used anything else.

Yet to try flex? Here’s a great tutorial.

5. Greater accessibility

Responsive design is great for cross device compatibility. However, its purpose serves the device and not the consumer. In 2017 I think we will see a shift towards accessibility becoming a greater factor of design. An example of this could be providing a solution to those hard of sight. Such solutions may include greater emphasis on contrast and typography.

6. Accelerated Mobile Pages

As much as this may not be a trend for 2017, since AMP was already around in 2016, AMP will continue its rapid adoption. We may even see other non-article based pages start using it. Such a technology may prove useful for speeding up mobile browsing on commerce sites.

If you’re unfamiliar with AMP you’ve probably already come across it when looking at the news on your phone. AMP strips out all of the bulk and leaves behind a functional yet lightning fast version of the same page. This yields faster page loads and lower data costs.

7. Bigger, bolder typography

2017 will see the return of bigger, bolder typography. Websites will make a greater effort to incorporate typography within the overall design.

I hope you enjoyed reading my list as much as I enjoyed writing it. What are your favorite Ireland web design trend predictions for 2020?

Learn more about web design inspiration at http://www.webtechgadgetry.com/my-6-favourite-web-design-inspiration-sites/

SnapPower Charger

SnapPower Charger: USB Chargers Built Into Power Sockets

The latest gadget hit to make its way to Kickstarter is called SnapPower. The concept behind SnapPower is to have a USB charger built into conventional wall socket that can be used to charge any device, from your phone to your tablet and just about any other device that is powered via a USB cable. SnapPower is being created to solve an ever increasing problem, and that is our desire to own more and more gadgets and with more gadgets come more power adaptors. The issue with conventional power adaptors is that they are required for charging many of today’s devices, and are often not available to us in the most convenient fashion and can occasionally become misplaced.

The huge advantage of the SnapPower Charger is that we would be able to charge any of our USB based charging devices using a power outlet in any one room in our homes, without having to look for that ever elusive power adaptor. In itself the SnapPower Charger is hugely advantageous around the home, but its possibilities would be almost endless if it were to be mass adopted in a more commercial setting. For example, if you were going away for a bit and happened to forget your adaptor but had a spare USB cable, you could simply charge your devices from a power outlet in a hotel. Of course the added benefit of this is you wouldn’t have to carry your power adaptors around with you, but simply the USB cable.

The picture above shows just how practical this invention really is, as it doesn’t interfere with any other devices in your home as it is of course connected via its own socket, and therefore there are more free power outlets available to you should you need them. More information on the SnapPower Charger can be found on its official Kickstarter page.

Life Inside Jabba the Hutt

While you may think the huge Jabba the Hutt was computer animated, in 1983 this wasn’t possible. In order to make Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, the team had to build an incredible full size puppet which weighed in at one ton, cost almost $500,000 and was operated by three puppeteers, all of whom were crammed inside Jabba’s body.

Puppeteers David Alan Barclay (who narrates the video below), Toby Philpott and Mike Edmonds (who all worked on the Muppets) were inside the enormous puppet, each with a separate task. One of them operated Jabba’s right arm and mouth, another controlled the left arm, head and tongue – and a final puppeteer was responsible for the movement of the tail. Jabba’s eyes and facial expressions were controlled by radio control.

As you can see from the following documentary by Jamie Benning (give him a tip for his amazing work making ‘filmumentaries’: patreon.com/jamiebenning), coordinating Jabba the Hutt’s movements proved especially difficult, as all the puppeteers could see from inside was a small monitor showing a feed from a single camera outside Jabba’s body.

Of course, in the very early days of Star Wars, Jabba the Hutt was portrayed as a man. In this original cut of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, you can see Jabba being played by Declan Mulholland. If you’re familar with the newer special edit of this scene, you’ll remember that a CGI Jabba the Hutt was added in.

Here’s another video narrated by Mark Hamill, which explains in more detail the story of Jabba the Hutt.

Hopefully these videos gave you a rare insight into the interesting story behind the incredible Jabba the Hutt puppet.

The Ultimate CSS Vertical Align Tip

The Ultimate CSS Vertical Align Tip

It often seems like a lot more effort than necessary when aligning things vertically in CSS, especially when using responsive designs. This CSS vertical align tip shows you a quick solution, using just three lines of CSS (excluding vendor prefixes).

Unless using CSS tables and vertical-align: center; – aligning things centrally usually involves setting a fixed height, then using top: 50%; – then you have to give it a negative margin-top of half the fixed height. This is a lot of code to do something simple – and what happens if the thing you’re aligning vertically doesn’t have a fixed height? The answer, as usual, is a jQuery workaround – more effort.

Everything above is what I used to use for aligning text on a ‘splash screen’ if you like, and it did work well – but now I’ve updated my existing code using this new method, due to its ease of use. It even works in IE9!

The Ultimate CSS Vertical Align Tip

So, enough with the chat – here’s the code:

.element {
position: relative;
top: 50%;
-webkit-transform: translateY(-50%);
-ms-transform: translateY(-50%);
transform: translateY(-50%);
}

As with the old method, we still need top: 50%; but we no longer require a fixed height. No matter what the height of your element, even if it’s a percentage, the transform: translateY(-50%) will move the element back up by half of its height – aligning it centrally.

All of the vendor prefixes are included, so this trick should work in nearly all browsers, including IE9! It works for text, images, multiple lines of text – almost anything can now be vertically aligned easily.