Using Umbraco Dictionary Items as image alt text

I was posed with a recent request to allow my content editor to edit the alt text of all the images in Umbraco to help with SEO rankings.

Out of the box, Umbraco has no straight forward way of doing this and some quick searches on Our resulted in suggestions of adding an extra text field to the Image data type. This could be an acceptable solution for single images however there are many instances on my site where i’m using the Multiple Media Picker, in which case this approach wouldn’t work.

To add to the problem, there was a requirement to make the alt tags multi-lingual – so of course, Dictionary Items come to the rescue.

Up until now, I had been setting the alt attributes of all images to use the Name property – @image.Name

These have all now been refactored to use a Dictionary Item which is set as the Name property and fallback to the Name property when a translation is not available, as below.

alt="@Umbraco.Field('#' + @image.Name, altText: @image.Name)

Hopefully this method will be of use to others.

I’m Level 1 Certified in Umbraco

Today I passed the Umbraco Certified Developer Level 1 course.

I’ve been working with Umbraco for about 5 months now so a lot of the material covered in the course was already familiar to me but it was extremely useful learn some better practices for some of the simple tasks that I’d been fudging together up until now (mainly due to taking over code which was hacked together by another company!)

The two day course was held by Percipient Studios in Canary Wharf and I was one of 16 students. To be honest, the ten-question multiple choice test is ridiculously easy – they want you to pass, so it was just a case of paying attention to the workshop and ticking the right boxes.

Anyhow, I’m hoping to complete the Level 2 training at some point this year too. Watch this space.

Can you switch off?

When was the last time you switched your phone off?

I’m betting that due to the fact that all modern smartphones come with a ‘Airplane/Flight’ mode that most people don’t switch off even when boarding a plane.

Constant connectivity has left us all addicted to information by way of emails, social networks and instant messaging. While most phones have a silent mode, even the soft and subtle vibrating sensation in your pocket is enough to break your concentration on whatever you’re doing leaving you itching to find out what treats your phone is about to offer you (ignore it.. it’s probably just a spam email!)

Continue reading Can you switch off?

Apple: It just works

This evening my wife accidentally left her iPhone in a cab – a private cab too – which she got into from a taxi rank where several cab companies park!

She called me to see if I can track down the driver by calling all the cab companies in the area and describing the situation to the operator!

Before that though I decided to log into her account on iCloud and try and track it down using Find My iPhone.

Turns out it was now back at the train station (where she caught the cab from) suggesting it’s still in there.

I sent a message to the phone saying to call me on my number and sent a couple of requests to ‘play a sound’…

15 mins later I get a call back from the driver confirming he has the phone and arranged for him to meet me.

Problem solved!

Thank you Apple for the great feature (and thanks for your honesty me cabby)

My advice to all: leave your location services On all the time and make sure you’ve set up ‘Find My iPhone’ (or equivalent) on your device!

As Steve Jobs would say – “It just works”

Feedly Desktop – A small UI tweak suggestion

I’ve been using Feedly on iOS for quite a few months now as a client which syncs with Google Reader. Having tested out other RSS reader apps (Feeddler, MobileRSS, Flipboard and Reeder) I’ve found Feedly to be the most user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing*.

On the desktop however, I’ve always used FeedDemon as it also syncs with Google Reader and provides desktop notifications so I can keep updated throughout the day without having to constantly keep hitting refresh.

However…. The recent announcement that Google Reader will be shutting down on July 1st has left me thinking whether FeedDemon will continue to operate? We shall see.

Continue reading Feedly Desktop – A small UI tweak suggestion

Time To Dribbble

As a designer, Dribbble is one of those essential sites to both promote your own work and draw inspiration from others.

Dribbble is a closed community of designers where users need to be invited in order to post their work (either by another user or by the Dribbble team)

Well… late last night, I got drafted to become a Player (Dribbble uses a lot of basketball terminology) – Nice!

I’ve only posted up a couple of ‘Shots’ yet but its nice to finally be able to get involved with the community.

Check out my profile

Making Ideas Happen: My two pennies worth

So as part of my self development plan, I’m trying to read more (which shouldn’t be difficult as up until now I’ve hardly ever picked up a book!). I’m not entirely sure when or why – I must have subconsciously been taking in all the references while on Behance – but I decided to pick up a copy of Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky, CEO and founder of Behance.net.

Making Ideas Happen

Continue reading Making Ideas Happen: My two pennies worth