A fix for outbound & download links not working in Yoast’s Google Analytics for WordPress

The Problem

I just noticed on one of my sites that some download links to PDF, zip, and other assets had an almost total drop in download events in Google Analytics after a recent Yoast Google Analytics for WordPress plugin update.  So I began to troubleshoot …

Track outbound clicks and downloads is enabled in the Yoast plugin settings
Track outbound clicks and downloads is enabled in the Yoast plugin settings.

The firing of trackEvent() is handled by the popular Yoast Google Analytics plugin, which automatically adds onClick() javascript handlers to fire the correct event for <a /> tags, and uses the GA Event Category of “download”, and the domain or full URL to the file (determined by your plugin settings) as the Event Action.  It had worked for over a year, and is working normally on our other web properties, all of which use the same latest version of the plugin Google Analytics for WordPress plugin.

I enabled Debug Mode with the Yoast Google Analytics plugin and set the option to log all users. I typically prefer not to skew my reporting with administrator traffic, but in order to see the Debug Mode output in your browser’s javascript console, you must select the “Ignore no-one” option on the settings page.

Set ignore users option to "Ignore no-one".
Set ignore users option to “Ignore no-one”.
Enable debug mode for browsers with Javascript consoles, or alternatively, you can use the Firebug Lite feature.
Enable debug mode for browsers with Javascript consoles, or alternatively, you can use the Firebug Lite feature.

I was then able to monitor the console and see the Google Analytics pageview event fire, however, I did not see the “download” event fire.  I was stuck.

The Solution

It was a partner of mine, Colin Alsheimer from Weber Shandwick (@colinize on Twitter) that figured out the root cause:  relative URLs in the download links.

The tracking beacon finally fires successfully when using fully qualified URLs, not relative URLs.
The tracking beacon finally fires successfully when using fully qualified URLs, not relative URLs.

When I viewed the source code of my site, I could see that only the download & outbound links with fully-qualified URLs had onclick handlers attached in order to properly fire _trackEvent() attached, and not the links with relative URLs. After updating my page to use the full URLs, those download links immediately began working again, and I was able to see the event fire in the debug console as well as show up in my GA real-time event tracking.

Success!  The root cause of this seems to be a bug in the Yoast plugin as GA should allow any text string – relative URL or not – as an event action, and I’ve reported the issue to them in the WordPress forums.  It seems that the “link sanitization” feature that rewrites relative URLs with full URLs was added to the plugin in v4.0.2, however since then it has stopped adding the click event handlers to links with relative URLs.

The moral of the story is that relative links rarely come back and bite you, and they are so convenient when moving content and code between environments.  But the cost of that convenience is a very small chance that not using a full URL will break something, and it may or may not fit your individual tolerance for risk.

Have a comment about using relative links in Google Analytics event tracking?  Help others out by posting below!

Googlebot can’t access your site (Scary, right?)

Yesterday, many Google Webmaster Tools users received unpleasant notifications that their websites were suddenly inaccessible to Google.  After 2 hours of aggressive troubleshooting last night, and another couple hours spent this morning, it seems that this may be an issue on Google’s side.  Search Engine Roundtable just posted an article confirming more reports of problems with Google accessing robots.txt.

In my own case, the naked msdf.org/robots.txt URL is accessible from every other browser, device, and third-party tool in my arsenal, yet Google has about a 80% error rate in accessing my robots.txt file.  While the www version is working perfectly with no crawl errors or problems fetching as Googlebot, the non-www version is having much less success.  (Please note, you may also receive duplicate “Googlebot can’t access your site” errors for both www and non-www versions.)

Attempting to use the Fetch as Google tool within Webmaster Tools was helpful in understanding the problem, but ultimately the problem seems to be with Google, and your site’s index status is likely just fine. (Whew!)  But use caution in writing off warnings from Google, you could very well be receiving these email warnings for good reason, especially if you received them before yesterday (on or before April 25, 2013).

Matt Cutts commented on the Google forum discussion earlier, acknowledging this could be an issue with Google, so I recommend you check that forum thread out.  I’ll keep an eye on this until a resolution comes around, but if you’ve already tested your site in the Fetch as Google tool and all other bots are working normally, you may actually be able to do something you almost never (ever) want to do – ignore a Google Webmaster Tools alert.

 

UPDATE  (2013-Apr-27)

Google’s John Mueller has indicated that this issue should now be resolved.  https://productforums.google.com/d/msg/webmasters/mY75bBb3c3c/ARQqAWOf_6YJ

 

Using CSS to create list-items with differently colored bullets and text

The new design for a website I’m working on calls for the ability to style bullets and the following list-item text with different colors, which isn’t an easy task for your plain-Jane CSS unless you use images for your bullets.  This is not desirable because each section of the site has a different theme color, so I’d have to create and manage bullet images for every color used.  Not to mention the extra HTTP requests which slow pages down.  But there’s a better way, and it even degrades gracefully with older browsers!

This image shows what the end result should look like.  This special bullet styling should only be applied to the user-generated content (UGC), like pages and posts.  Nav items, and other cases where <ul>‘s are used for semantic purposes, should not use this styling.

To make this happen, I added a .ugc CSS class to the container element for the post and page text, and then added the appropriate stylesheet rules to any list-item elements within.

You’ll see that I first remove list-style from all <ul>‘s within a .ugc container by setting it to “none”.  Adding the “position: relative;” style to the <li>‘s allows for me to use it as an origin for some absolute positioning with other elements.  The trick to using different colors with bullets and text is to create pseudo-elements for the bullets using the “:before” pseudo-selector.  The .ugc li:before selector shown above defines a new element created right from CSS, absolutely positioned from the <li> element, with a width and height of 5px, a purple background and a border radius relative to the size so as to make the element appear circular.  Cool, huh?

(Note:  Ignore the “@purple” color and what looks like incorrect border-radius syntax, this is LESS syntax which gets compiled correctly to the correct CSS, including browser-specific prefixes.)

You’ll also see some fallback code for IE browsers before IE8, which is fairly self-explanatory.  I conditionally add CSS classes to IE browsers a la Paul Irish’s elegant solution, and so older, crappy browsers can also enjoy the separately colored bullets.

Of course, I realized that those cool styles apply to all of the targeted list-item elements within my user-generated content, and sometimes they shouldn’t.  If you drop some extra page navigation within the element having the .ugc class, or perhaps paste a code snippet to show off your own cool coding tricks, you’ll need to remove your cool bullets.  For example, if I have some Twitter Bootstrap tabs that get mixed up with my content via a WordPress shortcode or something, here’s how I’d remove the bullets that will show up (and not be easy to track down with Firebug):

Just use those same :before pseudo-selectors and set their display property to “none”.  Done and done!

When you can’t log into WordPress because your “Cookies are blocked”

But your cookies are turned on, you’ve cleared them along with the rest of your cache, and the problem exists in every browser!

A typical scenario is when you’ve copied your website from it’s test URL to production, or maybe you’re even just syncing down your prod data to your dev environment, as I do every once in a while to make sure I’m writing code against realistic data sets. After restoring the copied site files and importing your MySQL database dumb into your dev db, you innocently try to navigate to your /wp-admin page and log in. And you can’t log in because of some weird errors like “Cookies are blocked” on your system … frustrating.

But your cookies are turned on, you’ve cleared them along with the rest of your cache, and the problem exists in every browser!

A typical scenario is when you’ve copied your website from it’s test URL to production, or maybe you’re even just syncing down your prod data to your dev environment, as I do every once in a while to make sure I’m writing code against realistic data sets.  After restoring the copied site files and importing your MySQL database dump into your dev db, you innocently try to navigate to your /wp-admin page and log in.

And you can’t log in because of some weird errors like “Cookies are blocked” on your system … frustrating.

Checklist

When you find yourself unable to log into WordPress, don’t panic.  Just go through the first few logical steps to make sure:

  1. Make sure you’re really at the right URL. No kidding, we all work on a million websites, just make sure your browser didn’t auto-fill your address bar with the wrong URL – it happens, admit it and let your coworkers make fun of you, then go on about your day.You might even be at the correct URL, but your hosts file is redirecting you to a server you’re not expecting.  (Touched your hosts file lately?)
  2. Reset your password.  The forgot password route is super easy, and with as many passwords as we all tend to juggle, it’s probably faster to just reset to something you’ll remember instead of spending an hour trying every combination of letters/numbers/symbols you’ve ever tried to memorize throughout your computing life.
  3. Check for error messages. But beware, error messages can be deceitful.  For example, if you’ve moved or copied your blog to another location with a different URL, you may need to do some blog triage (described further below!).  Also, you might want to try turning WP_DEBUG on in your wp-config.php file, as it may reveal more info that is helpful in troubleshooting.  Remember not to leave this on in production, though!  Read more about debugging WordPress.
  4. Disable your plugins by renaming the plugins folder.  Doing so has minimal impact, and is an attempt to remove any other non-WordPress-Core code from loading and further get to the bottom of your login issues.  Also, try renaming your active theme folder (the folder under the /wp-content/themes directory) to get WP to fall back to the default Twentyeleven theme.You’ll need to go back in and reactivate each plugin later, but is a good troubleshooting step!

This won’t solve every problem out there, but it’s a good start.  In fact, it was when my normal checklist failed and I found a more unique fix for W3 Total Cache issues that I decided to write this post.

W3 Total Cache

If you have W3 Total Cache installed, this could be causing your login problem – especially if you’ve recently moved your blog or otherwise updated it’s URL.  Admittedly, this just sucked 30 mins of life away, so this was one I wanted to share specifically.

W3TC adds and modifies some files which can be problematic, so you probably just want to triage your html_docs folder when moving your blog and using that plugin.  If you’re unable to log into your website, often seeing a “Cookies are blocked” error message as a symptom, you may need to disable and remove the plugin before you can get into the site.  (You don’t need or want a caching plugin in your dev environment, anyway!)

To disable and remove the W3 Total Cache plugin manually:

  1. Navigate to your /wp-content/plugins folder and delete the w3-total-cache folder.
  2. Also, delete the w3-total-cache-config.php file from /wp-content.
  3. Open your wp-config.php file and look for a line of code to comment out or remove:[sourcecode language=”php”]define(‘COOKIE_DOMAIN’, ‘www.your-website.com’); // Added by W3 Total Cache[/sourcecode]This is the line that causes those confusing cookie errors!
  4. You will still have your settings in your database, and should you choose to re-install the plugin, your settings should still be there.  You could also choose to manually go in and prune the W3TC options from the wp_options table in the database, but it’s not a requirement.
  5. Additionally, I like to go to the Settings > Permalinks options page and just click save again to force WordPress to rewrite the .htaccess file.

If you have further problems, feel free to leave a comment below!  Find another special case of a plugin causing login issues?  Leave a comment and help prevent somebody else’s hair loss  🙂

Or, check out one of the following pages where more discussion on the topic has taken place:

I’m really looking forward to SXSW 2012!

Today is the last day to vote for proposals for next year’s SXSW Interactive Festival (though if history precedes itself, it could be extended), and I’ve spent a good amount of time promoting what I think should be a killer topic for attendees.  “Deploying WordPress:  From Zero to Ninja” will cover business-oriented subjects like developing in multiple environments, the have-to-have plugins, and best practices from the community’s experts for running your enterprise-class application on the WordPress platform.

But I’d like to spend the remaining voting time promoting some other topics I’m really looking forward to, and I’ll update this list over time as I find new panels that catch my eye:

Be sure to check out all of the great WordPress-related panels and give them your vote!  More than 3200 proposals are competing for about 350 slots, and only 8 relate to WordPress!  A little surprising, but that will translate to far greater expectations from the WP-related topics that are picked  🙂

Do you upload zip files to your WordPress site? Your Windows and IE users may be downloading corrupted files.

This issue has been floating around for a while, but I only ran up against it a couple of weeks ago.  The short of it is that if you have Internet Explorer users complaining that they are unable to download usable zip files from your WordPress or otherwise LAMP website, this may be the fix you’re looking for.  I might also add that in my own testing of this, downloading zip files from one of my WordPress sites with gzip and deflate compression enabled were also corrupted in Firefox on a Windows 7 computer, so it’s not just constrained to IE7 and IE8 users.  However, the issue is indeed resolved on computers with IE9 installed.

Microsoft has posted the description of the bug in urlmon.dll in their “Internet Explorer May Lose the First 2,048 Bytes of Data That Are Sent Back from a Web Server That Uses HTTP Compression” article, but abhorrently they’ve also listed the fix as encouraging developers and/or users (think about your mom, now) to go in and modify the registry.  Now I love to help my parents with their email password reset or their wireless printing, but I don’t want to walk my mother through modifying the registry over the phone.  Since we care about our IE and Windows users even when their operating system or browser doesn’t, we can’t just leave them out on their own.

As WordPress developers, let’s help minimize Microsoft’s urlmon.dll problem, and fix it the right way by simply disabling gzip compression on our already-compressed files, if at least for our own sites!  You’ll need to modify your Apache configuration file, typically in either the more global httpd.conf file, or the deflate.conf mod file if you’re running an Ubuntu or Debian system by adding the following code:

This line disables compression on all files with the *.zip extension for all browsers, which is ok because the files are compressed anyway.

Microsoft also references this in another support article “An error occurs after downloading a .ZIP file with Internet Explorer“, where you can find solutions for IIS 6 and 7 servers.

Tomorrow is the last day to vote for my topic, “Deploying WordPress: From Zero to Ninja“, for the 2012 SXSW Interactive Festival.

Please check out my panel proposal and give me a thumbs up, as well as leave me any questions, or comments!

Apache HTTP Won’t Start Because Port 80 is Being Used?

Try uninstalling Web Deploy 2.0.  I’ve had IIS and Apache running smoothly for months on a new machine, and suddenly after installing SQL Server 2008 R2 and some Silverlight (yuck) tools to maintain an existing app, Apache reported that port 80 was already taken by “Microsoft HTTPAPI/2.0”.  I think it snuck in, along with an unwanted install of IIS 7.5 Express, via the Web Platform Installer.  Thanks for stealing 2 hours of my productivity from me, Microsoft.  (I don’t get why MS would install that so greedily, and I already had the full version of IIS installed, btw.  I hate that Web Platform Installer shit.)

The Web Deploy tool is not something most of us use, in fact I don’t know anybody who uses it at all.  So it’s pretty safe to get rid of.

When your app hits a snag, how do you treat your users?

Google+ site errorI really don’t mind being patient with Google+ site errors, but I really would prefer an accurate error message to being given a list of all the things it *could* be.

But let’s talk about our own websites, and how they could work better when errors pop up.  You should ensure that your users are given a direct path to fixing whatever just happened.  And for bonus points, consider providing users a simple, clickable path to recommended resolutions so that they spend as little time as possible dealing with these kinds of unfortunate interruptions when they do happen.  In my case with Google+ just a few moments ago, if I were given an error message that properly reflected the problem that I was encountering, I may have been able to resolve things myself and keep on keepin’ on.

Instead, this is what happened:

  • I was reading a good WordPress blog post and decided I’d +1 it. (Still sounds weird … but so did “like” at first.)
  • I clicked on the +1 button, and was shown a little red box with an exclamation point. No indicator of what happened, and mousing over it still did not give me an error message.
  • I clicked on it again and got a popup to their help docs with a variety of reasons for why the error could occur. Still don’t know what happened so I can take the next step to fix it.
  • I blogged about what happened.
  • I “liked” the blog post I was reading using the Facebook widget just to the right of the +1 🙂

And while this was a small, inconsequential issue that I enountered (I wasn’t submitting a resume or banking online, or anything like that), I think it’s a good reminder for designers and developers to give users a graceful experience when their websites get the hiccups. I understand that it’s often the last thing on your project’s to-do list, and might be your clients’ lowest priority, but be careful that proper error handling doesn’t fall of the radar completely.

Think about the web sites you’ve used yourself, and how your experience when that site encountered errors compares to what you expected it to be. And while you should remember that form always follows function, consider spending some extra time making your error handling a little more charming and funny! I’m a huge fan of funny 404 pages (this is a personal favorite), and you could certainly create a similar experience when your users hit a snag anywhere else on your site.

Contextual help and obvious resolutions make all the difference to a user when they encounter an error within your application, and getting those people back on track quickly will directly affect the successful adoption of your website!

Hey Designers, Tweak All You Like. Developers Have Sass and Compass.

Developers can all relate to a fast-approaching deadline, and though your plate is already full, your email dings at you and you’re faced with yet another request from the designer you’re working with to change the look and feel of your project.  Swap that background image, add some margin, adjust the kerning, maybe un-serif all of the fonts – but those CSS properties are used across an unfathomable number of UI elements throughout your entire website with 5 different page templates!  I say bring it, and I’m going to show you exactly why.  Keep reading to get the full picture, or skip directly to the code if you’re feeling antsy.

Sass is the next evolution of stylesheets, which allows the use of variables, functions, reusable chunks called mixins, and other cool features that CSS has been missing.  Compass is a related framework that adds functionality and makes working with Sass a little easier.

Designers and developers alike will certainly appreciate how integrating Sass and Compass into your development workflow can make these tweaks as smooth and painless as possible by allowing you to update a style in one place, and have it propagate to all of the CSS rules where that style is used.

Where Designers are Coming From

Look, it’s our job to support designers.  Not because we’re their “code monkeys” – instead, we’re both trying to achieve the same lofty goals our new project has encouraged us to set for ourselves, and that means we need to improve our flexibility to accommodate any design changes as best we can just as they must do.  Designers aren’t making changes to core interface elements because they want to rob us of our time spent catching up on last night’s Jon Stewart or playing Words With Friends.  They make changes because it’s important to the client, or because they are working diligently at achieving a pixel-perfect product for the end-user.  But whatever their reason, we can be sure they are trying to constantly improve the deliverable with each iteration.  The problem is that this can really cost some serious dev time, and potentially risk a project’s scheduled milestone at the last minute.

What a Sassy Website Does For You

Sass is an incredible progression from the powerful (but somewhat dumb) CSS language, allowing developers to set common stylesheet properties as variables in a single place, which makes cascading changes to those properties across your site into a minimal effort.  You will still write valid CSS in your .scss files, as well as the additional features that Sass provides, and those files are then processed by a Ruby script and produce valid and compact .css files.  Setting up a “watched” folder via a few simple Ruby commands enables you to simply save your file and have your stylesheets automagically processed and exported with zero effort.

The previous versions of Sass were dependent on Haml, and had a very non-CSS syntax that is more compact and preferred among many developers.  Before version 3 Sass used the .sass file extension.  Personally, I’m sticking with my normal CSS syntax which still integrates nicely with the Sass language, and uses a file extension of .scss.  As of version 3, the Sass and Haml projects have been split into separate codebases.

Get to the Code, Already!

This article does not cover the installation of Ruby or Sass/Compass because you can find that information on the Compass Docs pages (including a nicely done video from a while back), as well as many other places out on the intertubes.

Once you have Ruby up and running, and you’ve also installed the Sass and Compass gems, it’s time to get to some code!  The following outline will give you an idea of what we’re going to cover:

  1. Create your Compass project from the command line (remember, Ruby must already be installed on your system).
  2. Add a “_base.scss” file for initializing global variables across stylesheets, or even importing a common framework such as 960gs or Blueprint.
  3. Add one or more .scss files for your application’s styles.  This is where you will write your normal CSS code in addition to your Sass code to be compiled.
  4. Now back to your regularly scheduled coding!

Simple, huh?  Let’s walk through it.

Create Your Compass Project

Once Ruby and the relevant haml (Sass) and compass gems are installed, you can create your project from the command line.

[sourcecode language=”text”]
compass create ~/example-www/styles
[/sourcecode]

I chose to put all my .scss files and resulting stylesheets in a directory called “styles” within my web root, but you can choose to put it anywhere you’d like.  You’ll see that Compass has created a directory structure for me, with a directory for my Sass source files, a few example application files for targeting IE and print/screen CSS media types, a directory where our compiled CSS files will be written, and a configuration file called config.rb where we can manage some of the project output locations and such.

Your web root might look something like this:

Additionally, run the compass watch command on the same folder to have your stylesheets automatically processed and exported each time you save your .scss file to disk.  This is a huge time-saver!

[sourcecode language=”text”]
compass watch ~/example-www/styles
[/sourcecode]

Create a Base Sass File

In the “src” folder, create a new file called “_base.scss” which we will use to set some global variables for all of our stylesheets.  Style properties used throughout the site, like branded colors, common border widths, and other values that multiple elements will use should be declared here.

[sourcecode language=”css”]
/*
_base.scss

Put your global variables, and/or any imported CSS frameworks,
in this file.
*/

$default-text-color: #333;
$default-bg-color: #fff;
$heading-text-color: #7eb5e3;
$fat-border-width: 4px;
$skinny-border-width: 1px;
[/sourcecode]

Add Your Application’s Styles

Your source code belongs in the “src” folder, and you may choose to use the default .scss files created for you when your Compass project was created, or you may delete those files and add your own.  For simplicity, we are going to stick with the existing files.  So let’s add some CSS rules to our “screen.scss” file, which will be the primary stylesheet for styles rendered to the screen media type.

[sourcecode language=”css”]
/*
screen.scss

Your application’s style rules go here, and will be compiled to
a new file within your "stylesheets" folder with the same file
name, except that the file extension will now be ".css".
*/

@import "base";

#content {
color: $default-text-color;
background-color: $default-bg-color;
}
#content-invert-colors{
color: $default-bg-color;
background-color: $default-text-color;
}
#header img.logo {
border: $fat-border-width solid darkblue;
}
#content .tagcloud {
border: $skinny-border-width solid lightblue;
}
[/sourcecode]

Check Out Your Compiled Stylesheets

If you used the compass watch command, then your CSS files have already been compiled automatically when the .scss file(s) were saved!  Just look in the “stylesheets” folder and check out the files – they should be ready to link to directly from your HTML.  Otherwise, you’ll need to run the following command to compile the Sass ad hoc:

[sourcecode language=”text”]
compass compile ~/example-www/styles
[/sourcecode]

Using my Sass example above, the CSS result should look like this:

[sourcecode language=”css”]
/*
screen.css

This is the compiled CSS from our Sass code.
*/

/* line 11, ../src/screen.scss */
#content {
color: #333333;
background-color: white;
}

/* line 15, ../src/screen.scss */
#content-invert-colors {
color: white;
background-color: #333333;
}

/* line 19, ../src/screen.scss */
#header img.logo {
border: 4px solid darkblue;
}

/* line 22, ../src/screen.scss */
#content .tagcloud {
border: 1px solid lightblue;
}
[/sourcecode]

And that’s that!  I’ve described how the Sass/Compass frameworks can improve the workflow for managing stylesheets, and demonstrated a simple example of writing some “Sassy CSS” to create manageable styles that can be updated across multiple files and elements in a snap.  Have fun making your website a little Sass-ier, and let your design buddies know that you’re open for requests!

Further Reading

All My Children and CSS3

I know, I’m just lobbing titles over the fence these days, but it’ll make more sense in a moment.  The SXSW Interactive Festival 2011 is beginning, and I’ll be there with badge on!  Some of the other Springbox crew members will also be there, including several talented individuals who are speaking.  Check out our SXSW 2011 page to catch up on the fun stuff, and grab yourself a request to our super rad party on the balcony of the W Hotel.  Springbox has some of the brightest minds in interactive, and we’ve got an open bar, so … yeah!

While I was HTML-ifying our SXSW page a little while back, I came across the requirement for a nice semi-transparent background for a floating div.  It was to have sharp, fully opaque text, play well with our chosen TypeKit fonts, and partially reveal the cool photo behind it exactly how the designer mocked it up.  This is such a common request, and a cool effect.  But until recently, web developers have always had to work pretty hard to achieve such a simple treatment in the browser.

Opacity has been tough because the default behavior of the CSS opacity property is to not only affect the transparency of the element it is set on, but also all of it’s children.  (See?  Full circle.  Bam.)  But this isn’t the effect we want in this case, and in the past I would resort to some positioning tricks using relative positioning or negative margins to simulate that effect.

Enter CSS3 and the rgba() syntax, which allows as to set opacity using a fourth parameter after the RGB values.  This will only change the opacity of the element it is set on, and it’s children will remain fully opaque!

Only WebKit, Gecko, and Opera browsers currently support this feature, basically all but IE (as usual).  But IE does have a workaround (aka hack) that somewhat works in IE7/8.  Before I give you the code, here are the issues you should be aware of when using this hack:
  1. Requires the infamous hasLayout property in IE to be set to true.  Use “zoom:1;” to cause IE to set this value.
  2. Using the Microsoft filters disables ClearType, and so you may notice blurry text with certain fonts, weights and sizes.
  3. Uses hex code for the alpha level instead of the standard 0 to 255 value.  It’s annoying, but you can do a quick calculation to get the converted hex code.

    Thanks to Kilian Valkhof for this rgba/#ARGB converter code snippet!

Ok, and here’s the CSS code.  I keep it in my screen-ie.css file which is conditionally loaded for IE 8 and below only.

Basically, we have to use Microsoft’s gradient filter to set the same start and end colors (so effectively there is no gradient at all) along with their option for setting the opacity hex code via the first 2 characters of the color string.  IE9 will support rgba(), however.

So that’s how it was done!  Find me at SXSW in Austin this weekend, or follow me on twitter (@grantnorwood).  The weather is beautiful and I know this town is going to pull off another super rad show for developers, designers, and the other brainy and creative types swarming in.  Welcome to my hometown everybody, and be sure to catch plenty of Texas blues with your Texas booze!