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Life is a Prayer - Looking great on your smartphone!

For the first time ever, I decided to make one of my personal sites look good on mobile phones by incorporating 'responsive' design. Basically, I use some spiffy CSS to say "when you're viewing Life is a Prayer.com on an iPhone, or Android phone, or a window smaller than x pixels, change the layout of the site so it's a LOT easier to read.

Lifeisaprayer.com - Responsive design on iPhone 4s

So, if you have a mobile phone that runs iOS or Android, whip it out really quick, head over to Life is a Prayer.com, and tell me what you think (even the comment form works great now!).

If you don't have a smartphone, but you use a modern web browser, try making the browser skinnier until you see how the content on the site re-flows (and images resize) so they fit the window a bit nicer!

Building a Theme for Drupal 7

After having built out many themes for Drupal 6 (and a couple for Drupal 5), I'm going to start from scratch on a couple designs and build a theme in Drupal 7, which will be released sometime in 2010. I'll take you along my journey in this article.

Please note, this article is a work in progress, and I'll be updating it as I go. Hopefully, within a couple weeks, I'll have the article complete, and a nice new theme to release on Drupal.org (maybe), only for Drupal 7.

To get things kicked off, here are a few articles that have good background information on Drupal 7 theming:

From OSC: Caching a Page; Saving a Server

I posted a story over on Open Source Catholic today concerning page caching and its importance for saving a server under a heavy load (read: the slashdot effect). You can save a lot of resources on your server by not only using built-in page caching on your favorite CMS, but also exploring further options (for Drupal, there's Boost (read our case study on Boost); for WordPress, there's WP Super Cache). From OSC:

A couple months ago, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis announced that a new Archbishop had been chosen (then-Archbishop-elect Robert J. Carlson). For the announcement, the Archdiocese streamed the press conference online, then posted pictures on the St. Louis Review website of the day's events (updated every hour or two).

Using Boost with Drupal - Making a McWebsite

Boost Module for Drupal - Make Your Site a McSiteTo the uninitiated, Boost is a module for Drupal which has the potential to make your Drupal-based website run many times faster than it's currently running. Boost basically converts pages on a Drupal site into static html files, and allows your website to direct anonymous (non-logged-in) users to the cached html pages.

Doing so speeds your site up quite a bit, because instead of your web server having to run some PHP scripts and connect to your website's database, the server can simply send the complete html file, which requires no extra processor cycles or memory to compile. If your website has a lot of anonymous traffic, the potential speedup is very large. Instead of serving hundreds of users per minute, you could serve thousands.

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