Sunday, August 22, 2010

AutoSprites – A jQuery Menu Plugin

Add Facebook Like Box to Your Site

Facebook pages are becoming more and more popular with brands, bands, organisations and celebrities who want to boost their social exposure on the web. Facebook’s social plugins and widgets are a great way to link your Facebook page with your website. Let’s look at how to not only insert the popular Like Box code onto your website, but also how to customize it to fit with your design, and make sure the code correctly validates.

View the Facebook Like Box demo

View the Facebook Like Box demo

Setting up the Like Box widget

First things first, let’s get the basic Like Box widget set up. Log into your Facebook account and click the ‘Edit page’ link on the left side of your page’s profile. Over on the right you’ll see the link ‘Promote with a Like Box‘.

The first thing you’ll need is the ID of your Facebook page. You can find this by checking the URL of most of the links on your page profile.

Enter the size and configure the options of your page, then hit the ‘Get Code’ button. Getting the full potential out of a Like Box takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re looking for a quick solution the iFrame code quickly and easily inserts a box onto your webpage, but don’t expect to be able to customize it too much. If you have an hour or two to spare, copy the XFBML code.

In order to use the FBML code, you’ll need some fancy Javascript SDK. Luckily for those of us who aren’t Javascript Wizards, you can find the code already written out from tutorials on the web. Note: The code here uses the old code rather than the new code, so remember to change that in your snippet.

To get the Javascript method working you’ll also need an API key. To get one, head over to and set up a new application. You can leave most of the details blank, as long as you end up with a key of some sort to insert into the SDK code.

Give the page a test. You should see the box load and display correctly, despite being in the boring default Facebook colours. It’s time to start customizing!

Customizing the Facebook Like Box


Link your CSS stylesheet by adding a new attribute to the code. The ?1 at the end is a requirement and needs changing every time you make changes to the your CSS file, otherwise the old styling will be used from Facebook’s cache. So basically if you make a change and reupload the CSS file, don’t forget to also change the index file to ?2 and so on.

If you’re adding the Facebook Like Box to a WordPress theme, you could use WordPress tags to render out the stylesheet URL.

The Firebug plugin for Firefox makes it easy to edit and customize your Like Box in the browser. This saves plenty of time not having to change the stylesheet identifier and re-upload all the files. Just configure the styling how you wish, then replicate the CSS in your stylesheet.

.fan_box .full_widget {
background: none; border: none;
.fan_box .connections_grid .grid_item {
padding: 0 8px 10px 8px;
.fan_box .connections_grid .grid_item a img {
box-shadow: 0px 0px 10px #333; -moz-box-shadow: 0px 0px 10px #333; -webkit-box-shadow: 0px 0px 10px #333;
.fan_box .connections_grid .grid_item a:hover img {
box-shadow: 0px 3px 10px #333; -moz-box-shadow: 0px 3px 10px #333; -webkit-box-shadow: 0px 3px 10px #333;
.fan_box .full_widget .connect_top {
background: url(;
border-radius: 6px; -moz-border-radius: 6px; -webkit-border-radius: 6px;
.fan_box .connections .connections_grid {
.fan_box .connections {
border-top: none;
padding:15px 0 0;
color: #ccc;
font: italic 21px Georgia;
text-align: center;
text-shadow: 0px 1px 4px #000;
.fan_box .connections {
color: #fff;

.fan_box .connections_grid .grid_item .name {
color: #ccc;
font-size: 11px;
.fan_box .profileimage {
margin: 0;

Here’s the CSS I’ve edited and added to generate the styling used in the demo. Most of the CSS rules clear out the default styling, for example: border: none;, but there’s also some fancy additions such as the CSS3 text-shadow styling.

It’s up to you how far you go with the customization. You could simply remove or change the background and border colours, or completely rearrange the elements into something completely unique.

Fixing the validation errors

The Facebook Like Box now looks great, but the FBML code doesn’t do your webpage validation any favours. Don’t worry, there’s a quick and easy fix for that…

Download the handy Javascript file from The author’s blog is in German, but you can figure out how it’s implemented pretty easily. Basically you need to reference the Facebook Validation Javascript file underneath the FBML code, then wrap the tags with comments. The Javascript will then magically fix those validation errors!

View the Facebook Like Box demo

View the Facebook Like Box demo

Social Light Icon Set

Download for free

These icons are absolutely free to download. Feel free to use them for personal or commercial projects. They come in 2 sizes PNG format with two different sizes – 48 x 48px and 128 x 128px. No re-distribution allowed! If you’d like to share this set of icons, help us spread the word by linking back to this original page.

We will continue to release more freebies for our readers, stay tuned!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Really Useful Tutorials You Should Have Read in June 2010

This update covers really useful tutorials, tips and techniques that you should have read in June 2010. Featured publications include: Justin Tadlock, Nettuts+, David Walsh Blog, Smashing Magazine, Tutorialzine, A List Apart, Perishable Press, Carsonified, Marcofolio, Nicolas Gallagher, Codrops, Onextrapixel, Digging into WordPress, Six Revisions, Line25, 1stWebDesigner, Alex Marandon, and Voosh Themes.

Featured authors include: Justin Tadlock, David Walsh, Martin Angelov, Nicolas Gallagher, Jeff Starr, Marco Kuiper, Faruk Ates, Chris Coyier, Chris Spooner, Richard Fink, Dan Wellman, Rafael Soto, Lorna Jane Mitchell, Divyang Patel, John Cox, Mary Lou, Irina Borozan, Jonathan Phillips, Paras Chopra, Alex Marandon, Darren, and Chris Creed.

So which tutorials you found most useful. Also fee

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A jQuery-powered social dropdown menu

View the demo

Features @ a glance

  • Flexibility for you to add as many items as you wish (although how many social networks could you possibly be registered with? Wait...don't answer that).
  • The menu remains locked to the top-right of your page as you vertically scroll, for added accessibility (although this feature it does not work in IE6).
  • A dash of CSS3 dropshadow effect adds a little extra dimension to the display (not visible in IE).
  • Amaze your dog, your cat or your neighbor's goldfish with yet another menu script you probably don't need.
I've tested it across browsers but, as mentioned, there are some positioning issues with IE6

jQuery Plugin

jQuery Plugin - imgBox

So, a couple of weeks ago I started working on challenging project - imgBox. imgBox is a jQuery plugin that implements a smooth zoom effect on images. Download it, try it, let me know what you think.

You can see the demo at this page, and you can download the complete source code with examples from here.

What’s So Great About this Plugin?

  • Elegant looking, Mac-like effect
  • Popup blockers are no problem. The content opens within the active browser window
  • Multiple images can be opened at the same time
  • Can be customized with settings and CSS
  • It’s just 7KB (packed)
  • All modern browsers supported, including IE6

jQuery Plugin - Feature List

I love the simplicity of using (and more important re-using) jQuery plugins. So I decided to release a plugin that came from my personal need - Feature List. This jQuery plugin enables simple and easy creation of an interactive "Featured Items" widget.

You can see the demo at this page, and you can download the complete source code with examples from here.

What’s So Great About this Plugin?

  • Slick effect, no Flash needed
  • It’s just 2K
  • Reusable on multiple containers
  • Cycles items via slideshow
  • Can be styled with custom HTML/CSS

jQuery show/hide list information


This version of show / hide information uses jQuery and an unordered list. The list items all have the same classname and can be used anywhere on your page. The first word in each list item has a classname that is the same as the id of the div to be shown or hidden. The div can contain any information and can be styled as you want.

Tested in IE6, IE7, IE8, Firefox, Opera, Safari (PC) and Google Chrome.


All the information you need for this demo is in the page source code. You will also need a copy of jQuery.

jQuery - show me some more


Yet another 'show me some more / less' routine, but this time using jQuery to add a little animation and to simplify the script.

Just click the 'more ....' to expose the extra information and the '.... less' to close it.

The jQuery is just a couple of lines long and all that is needed is to enclose the hidden information in a div with a class="hidden", then immediately after this div have an element with a classname 'show'. This demo uses an empty element into which the jQuery routine adds 'more ....' and is changed to '.... less' when displaying the extra imformation. I have used jQuery to hide the extra information and to display the 'more / less' clickable areas so that if javascript is turned off then the full text will be shown without the 'more... / .... less' text.

Tested in IE6, IE7, IE8, Firefox, Opera, Safari(PC) and Google Chrome.


All the information you need for this can be found in the source code and you will also need a copy of jQuery.

jQuery - Getting the Day from a Date


This is a jQuery/javascript routine which allows you to select the date and it will display the day of the week for this date.

The date picker routine will automatically alter the number of days depending on the month selected and the year. Leap years will automatically allow for February 29th.

If you select a date of the 31st for instance and then change the month to one with fewer days then the date will adjust to the last day of the new month.

You will need a copy of jQuery to be able to use this routine.

If you would like a copy of this demonstration then please email me and make a donation to support


Create Windows 7 start menu using CSS3 only

I am fascinated with how much you can do with so little using CSS3. Many user interface elements that require images in order to have appropriate visual appearance now can be styled only with CSS3. In order to prove that I assigned myself a task to create Windows 7 start menu only with CSS3 (and some icons).

Create Windows 7 start menu using CSS3 only