FMScout: Twitter Spotlight is another project for i recently finished. The purpose of the plugin is to show status updates from multiple twitter users in a quick and fancy way. The plugin is built to work with the new Twitter Api1.1 rate limits and with the proper configuration it's possible to actually show tweets from a big number of accounts without worrying about getting banned from twitter. Currently is only fetching data from ~15 accounts with ~40 to be the ultimate goal but going tripple digits is possible with longer Cache TTL policy.

tweets0.png tweets1.png

It involved a lot of javascript code, and the js plugin is based on JQuery and JsRender to render all the on the fly html code. The tweets appear in multiple tiles which get flipped randomly every x seconds. All tiles and twitter accounts get the same "spotlight" by shuffling them like a deck of cards instead of randomly picking one every time. My javascript was a little rusty and this project was a lot of fun to build and see in action.

Tweets: Twitter Spotlight

  • PHP: Cotonti Plugin
  • Javascript: JQuery Plugin
  • Site:
  • Finished in 4 days after the work request

When i started komposta CMF two months ago i focused mainly on backend development and i gladly accepted twitter bootstrap benefits. It is so easy to capitalize on how complete it is and apparently i wasn't the only one who thought so. But there is a huge catch, designers are getting lazy, and so many sites look alike, it's like brainwash, hence the title of this post. 

With Joomla 3.0 and the new bootstrap facelift things are going to get worse. There are at least a couple more open source projects, as far as i know, undergoing the same UI surgery. Until B.B (before Boostrap) you could unmistakably guess what cms/blog sytem a site was using which is bad but the huge variety of apps out there balanced things out.  A.B (after Boostrap) things are looking grim for internet unique looks.

I had decided i would do something about boostrap as soon as komposta would reach a satisfying level of features. In the beginning as i was mesmerized by bootstrap awesomeness i decided to build on it. That unfortunately doesn't work, you end up with a bad camouflaged look which doesn't really give a unique look, and you still have to use html mark-up that you might not even like.

The solution for me was to pick the most important components of Bootstrap or any other CSS Framework you choose and start from there. Writing on top of the full package is impossible because firstly bootstrap is already huge. With all the components it's about 0.20MB with the custom css to camouflage it you will end up with 300Kb just for CSS not including images or other 3d party JavaScript libraries. Secondly you have to live with the suggested mark-up like it or not. The number one thing you must not use are the Buttons+Navigation components, it's the number one identity give away clue. The complete list of components i used from bootsrap:

  1. Normalize (not really bootstrap's)
  2. Typography (with 13px/18px font-size/line-height)
  3. Tooltips
  4. Breadcrumbs
  5. Alerts
  6. Form bits

It's not like i couldn't live without them but for me that's the minimum setup. For the form bits i used only the absolute necessary styling from BT and i changed the HTML Markup to Definition Lists (<dl>) which i think is more appropriate. 

Now some of the downfalls. You will probably end-up with quite a huge list of bugs and serious issues with older browsers for a less pleasing look at least in the beginning. But i promise you won't regret it and you will be able to use components and stuff from various sources, making your creation unique at least in the eyes of your none designers visitors ;p

 kompostaPhrasesAB.png kompostaOptionsAB.png kompostaLogsAB.png


What do you think ?

Btw i added a much needed contact form at the top if you need to reach me.