Open in Firefox

I currently use Safari as my primary browser on OS X systems. Oftentimes I find that I either want to dissect a web page in Firebug or even just see what it looks like in Firefox. This is kind of a pain because it takes several steps:

  1. Open Firefox (one step with Quicksilver)
  2. Activate Safari
  3. Copy URL from desired website
  4. Activate Firefox
  5. Paste URL into Firefox.

I could probably consolidate these steps a little bit (by dragging and dropping the URL perhaps), but the point remains, this is an annoying process to go through every time I want to quickly check something out in Firefox.

Last week I put together a nifty little script in Automator to streamline this process. Basically, the script copies the URL from the active tab in Safari, opens Firefox and loads the page. I saved the script as an application and with Quicksilver it’s now just one step to activate the script.

For the most part, the script was pretty easy to set up. There is a built-in action to Get Current Webpage from Safari. There aren’t any scriptable actions for Firefox from Automator, but opening it is simple enough using a terminal command:

open -a

The only slightly tricky part about the script was getting the copied URL to automatically load when Firefox opens. After a little research I found that this could be simply passed as a parameter to the open command:

open -a $@

Perhaps some other Safari-lovers will find this useful. Enjoy.

Creating An Archives Page In WordPress

In my most recent blog design I’ve created a single page for all of my post archives. Previously, I had links to my monthly archive pages in the sidebar. After blogging for about 14 months, this list became a little bit unwieldy. My solution was to move the entire archives section out of the sidebar, and into its own page. The archives page is now more prominently linked from the main navigation bar.

Unfortunately, doing all of this in WordPress is not quite as straightforward as one might hope. Now that I have mine all set up, I figured I’d post a walkthrough of how to set up something like my archive index page.

Get A Plugin To Do the Dirty Work

Unless you’re interested in writing the PHP code and MYSQL queries to retrieve all of your archives in an organized fashion, a plugin is the way to go. After a quick Google search, I found the SRG Clean Archives plugin. This plugin is quite nice I’ve found. It’s realatively easy to implement and also (and importantly), it’s also very easy to modify to fit your site design.

The plugin will give you a list of all your post titles, organized by month. There is also the nice feature where the post titles begin with a post date. Check out the clean archives demo page for an example.

Simply install the plugin like any other normal plugin and then activate it.

Set Up the Archive Page In WordPress

The next step is to set up the actual archive page in WordPress. There is a tutorial in the WordPress codex about how to do this called Creating An Archive Index. I’m just going to briefly outline the steps here.


Open your archives.php file. If you’re using a basic template, then this file probably already exists. If you’re using the default Kubric theme, your archives.php file will look like this:

Template Name: Archives

<?php get_header(); ?>

<div id="content" class="widecolumn">

<?php include (TEMPLATEPATH . '/searchform.php'); ?>

<h2>Archives by Month:</h2>
        <?php wp_get_archives('type=monthly'); ?>

<h2>Archives by Subject:</h2>
         <?php wp_list_categories(); ?>


<?php get_footer(); ?>

As always, I would suggest making a backup of this file before changing anything. Now modify the archives.php file to look like this:

Template Name: Archives

<?php get_header(); ?>

<div id="content" class="widecolumn">


<?php get_footer(); ?>

If you’re using your own template (like I am), then you may need to either update or create the archives.php file to make sure it is consistant with your blog design. A good starting place for this is to simply copy your single.php file to your archives.php. Now, delete the entire “loop”.

Note on Page Templates You can create any kind of page template you want. All you need to do is insert the following code at the very top of your PHP file.

Template Name: template-name

Make sure your archives.php file starts with these lines, or else you’ll be banging you head against the monitor trying to figure out while ‘Archives’ isn’t listed as an option in the Page Template dropdown menu. Believe me, I speak from experience.

Create A Page In WordPress

Now have to set up a plain old page in WordPress.

  1. Login to the WordPress Admin area
  2. Go to Manage -> Pages
  3. Click Create a new page
  4. Enter an appropriate title. This will be the title of your archive index page.
  5. Leave the content area blank
  6. In the Page Template box, select Archives.
  7. In the Page Slug box. Type something suitable as this will be the permalink for your archives page (
  8. Click Save.

Now obviously, you have to create a link to your new archives page. We already set it up, complete with the URL. Yours should be in the form of Just make a link to it somewhere on your site.

Call the Plugin

As you’ll notice, our fancy Archive Index is empty. In order to get all of our archives in there, we have to use a simple PHP function to call the SRG Clean Archives plugin.

Open your archives.php file again. Find this section of the page:

<div id="content" class="widecolumn">


Now add the following PHP function to call the plugin:

<div id="content" class="widecolumn">
    <?php srg_clean_archives(); ?>

Save the archives.php file and refresh your browser. You should now see a nice list of all of your archives.


As I noted earlier, the SRG Clean Archives plugin is nice because it’s easy to modify if you want to. The Clean Archives website is well documented and the plugin contains a readme file explaining this as well.

The default style for SRG Clean Archives is to output the month and year, surrounded by <strong> tags. You might want something else, like a list or header tags.

To change this, open the srg_clean_archives.php file in your plugins folder and find the following line:

 echo get_archives_link($url, $text, '','<strong>','</strong>');

Modify the strong tags to suit your needs. For example, mine now looks like this:

 echo get_archives_link($url, $text, '','<h2 class="archivemonth">','</h2>');

You can find more information about this on the SRG Clean Archives plugin website.

SRG Clean Archives also provides you with class names so that you can style list however you want in your CSS. I’ve added the following styles to mine:

/* For Archive page */
h2.archivemonth {margin:30px 0 0 0;padding:0;}
    h2.archivemonth a:visited {color:#9db550;}
ul.archivelist {border-bottom:1px #ddd solid;list-style:none;margin:0;padding:0;}
    ul.archivelist li {border-top:1px #ddd solid;}
        ul.archivelist li a {display:block;padding:2px 0 0 20px;}
        ul.archivelist li a:link, ul.archivelist li a:visited, ul.archivelist li a:active {color:#000;}
        ul.archivelist li a:hover {background-color:#eee;color:#000;text-decoration:none;}


Note: I changed SRG’s default class name from ‘postpermonth’ to ‘archivelist’.

That’s All

Well, that’s pretty much it. I hope you guys find this useful. Feedback and corrections are always appreciated.

Update 2/25/09: This method was tested and works on SRG Clean Archives version 2.1. This version is old! Please check out all of the feature upgrades for the plugin from it’s home page. If you still want to proceed with my method, you can download the plugin here:

70 Expert Ideas For Better CSS Coding

Smashing Magazine has just posted a very nice list of useful CSS techniques and tips. Each tip is also complete with a reference source. This is a great jumping point for learning and refreshing oneself on all the persnickety details of CSS.

Walking for a Living

Yesterday I blogged about my St. Patrick’s Day Weekend celebrations. I got to thinking about it and realized that I walked an awful lot last weekend. Just for kicks I decided to map it out on Gmaps Pedometer. As it turns out, between Saturday and Sunday, I walked about nine miles just around Boston. I guess that makes up for not going running during the snowstorm.

CSS Techniques

Monday By Noon has a good list of CSS techniques to help you save your sanity:

The list is good, but I’d have to say I disagree with the first item:

* { margin:0; padding:0; border:0; }

This is meant to set all of the properties to 0 to make sure the browsers aren’t adding any weird spacing. I did this for a time, but later decided to just work with the defaults that the browser gives you.

I find that when I reset everything to 0, I just end up adding a lot more styles and styling things that I wouldn’t have otherwise styled.