COTW: GeoJSON vs FusionTables with Google Maps API

A Coders of the West Internship Program Update

My name is Tyler DeFeyter and I am a freshman at Sheridan Community College in the Computer Science program as well as a member of the Coders of the West program.

The main project we are working on is the WDECE Career Explorer, which is a program designed to help high school students map out potential careers that they are interested in.

A few weeks ago while working on the WDECE project, we looked into different ways to display county lines onto a Google map. The two main ways we found to do this was either loading GeoJson or importing a Google FusionTable. Continue Reading →

5 Simple WordPress Security Best Practices

Here’s a compilation of some of our best practices for WordPress security. These are good measures you can take as an average user without either coding expertise or server administration experience. We believe they drastically decrease the odds of a Wordpress site getting hacked, and we’ve been able to observe them effectively protecting our own websites and some of our customers’.

You’ll see me recommend the free plugin All-in-One WordPress Security several times in this post. In addition to many, many things this plugin can do, All-in-One WordPress Security makes all of the following suggestions very easy. I personally don’t turn on all of its features, because there are a lot, and some cover the same bases as other features, but in addition to using its login lockdown, database prefix, and failed login records features, it can help with everything below. However, this plugin is not at all required for any of these suggestions, and much of what it does is above and beyond these top-five suggestions.

Let me tell you, learning to keep your WordPress site secure because it’s already been hacked is not the way you want to do it. Once hackers get in, you have to take drastic measures to get them out and keep them out. We’ve scrubbed a few hacked client sites lately and it’s tedious, grubby work. The minor inconvenience of applying security measures in advance is vastly preferable to the major inconvenience of cleaning up a hacked WordPress site–and most of these suggestions are easy. Continue Reading →

How to Code Math in HTML / CSS

A Labor of Love

Seeing HTML was developed by some nerds at CERN, it’s kinda weird that there’s no obvious and simple way to make pretty math with it, right? In developing math learning games for our project Study Putty (“Where the Cool Kids Go to Scrape by on Tests”), I found myself face-to-face with this issue: just how does one code complex math in html?

Math in HTML--Test shot at Study Putty

First, a little background. For those who don’t know, HTML stands for “hat and taco markup language,” because of all the ‘<‘ and ‘>’ you need to use, being that they look like pointy hats or taco shells getting folded. Hence the technical name for this language.

While many fine publishers of Internet content opt to use images to represent expressions, it was my belief that with a little creative HTMLing/CSSing, I could do it in less time than if I had produced static images of the math formulas I needed. Plus, this way the formulas would be guaranteed to match the font and general styling of the page in which they would be displayed, even if that styling should subsequently change. But what about LaTeX, you say? MathJax? Man, ain’t nobody got time to learn that. I’m a web designer, not some nerd or something. Oh, wait. Wait. Yes, I am being informed being a web designer qualifies me.

And also that it is highly suspicious that I know to pronounce LaTeX like LAY-TECH. Continue Reading →