Quick website prototyping

on December 12, 2011
(2 minute read)

This is a little compilation I’ve made of my most used code snippets every time I build a prototype, website or theme. By following these steps you can save 80% of coding time for any HTML/CSS website or WordPress theme. For some of my projects I use the Zen Coding plugin to develop the HTML. Most of the CSS itself is optimized already using short names and what some people call OOCSS (Object Oriented CSS).

1. CSS Reset and Minimal Grid

Yahoo CSS Reset

/* Copyright (c) 2011, Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Code licensed under the BSD License:
version: 2.9.0 */

960px Grid (12 cols, 60px width, 20px gutter)

/* Minimal Grid */
.g1{width:60px;}.g2{width:140px;}.g3{width:220px;}.g4{width:300px;}.g5{width:380px;}.g6{width:460px;}.g7{width:540px;}.g8{width:620px;}.g9{width:700px;}.g10{width:780px;}.g11{width:860px;}.g12{width:940px;}.g1,.g2,.g3,.g4,.g5,.g6,.g7,.g8,.g9,.g10,.g11,.g12{overflow:hidden;float:left;display:inline;margin:0 10px;}.r{width:960px;overflow:hidden;margin:0 auto;}.r .r{width:auto;display:inline-block;margin:0 -10px;}

CSS 100% box model

Padding, borders, margins and width equals 100%:

* {-webkit-box-sizing:border-box;-moz-box-sizing:border-box;box-sizing: border-box;}

Common CSS

/* Common CSS */
html {}body {font-family:Arial,sans-serif;font-size:14px;}
h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6 {}
strong,.strong {font-weight:900}em,.em {font-style:italic}
.right{text-align:right}.center {text-align:center}

Sprite map

/* Sprite */
.sprite{background:transparent url('images/sprite.jpg') no-repeat;}
.ico {display:inline-block;height:16px;width:16px}
.ico.aa {background-position:-px -px}

Forms and buttons

.button{background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;cursor:pointer;font-weight:900;padding:5px 10px;text-decoration:none}

CSS for the coming HTML template

/* Main structure */
#wrap {}
#header {}
 #logo {}
  #logo span {display:none}
 #s {}
#topnav {}
 #nav {}
  #nav li {display:inline}
#container {}
 #container a {text-decoration:underline}
 #container li {display:list-item}
 .main {}
 .main h1 {}
 .main h2 {}
 .main p {}

 .side {}
  .side h4 {}
  .side h5 {}
  .side p {}

#footer {}
 #footer p {}
 #footer p a {}

Overlap design watermark for pixel perfect CSS

        #watermark {position:fixed;top:0;left:0;width:100%;background:url(images/watermark.jpg) top center;height:5px;opacity:0.2}
        #watermark:hover {height:1000px;opacity:0.5}
    <div id="watermark"></div>

2. HTML Zen Coding shortcuts

Typical HTML website structure

With the power of Zen Coding, I can code a full HTML website in one line of code, then press the shortcut (Ctrl+, in Dreamweaver) and voila, there you have all the HTML ready:


Here’s the fragmented HTML:


Forms and tables




3. WordPress theme

  1. Download the Starter Theme
  2. Add TimThumb
  3. Then grab snippets from WP Snippets
  4. Start coding and customizing

4. WordPress customization

In the functions.php


TimThumb shortcut

function timthumb($src, $w, $h, $q=90, $zc=1) {
    return get_bloginfo('template_url').'/thumb.php?src='.$src.'&amp;w='.$w.'&amp;h='.$h.'&amp;q='.$q.'&amp;zc='.$zc;

Custom field shortcut

function customfield($name, $id="") {
    $value = get_post_custom_values($name, $id);
    return $value[0];

Extract images of a post

function catch_that_image() {
    global $post, $posts;
    $first_img = '';
    $output = preg_match_all('/<img.+src=[\'"]([^\'"]+)[\'"].*>/i', $post->post_content, $matches);
    $first_img = $matches [1] [0];

    if(empty($first_img)){ $first_img = "/images/default.jpg"; }
    return $first_img;

Nice excerpts

/* This function will trim text without
cutting it in the middle of the word and
adding … if longer
function trimtext($text, $length) {
    $words = explode(" ", strip_tags($text));
    $newtext = "";
    $addhellip = "";
    foreach ($words as $word) {
        if (strlen($newtext." ".$word) < $length) {
            $newtext .= " ".$word;
            $addhellip = 1;
    if ($addhellip) {$newtext .= "…";}
    return $newtext;

Get exact current page URL

function curPageURL() {
 $pageURL = 'http';
 if ($_SERVER["HTTPS"] == "on") {$pageURL .= "s";}
 $pageURL .= "://";
 if ($_SERVER["SERVER_PORT"] != "80") {
 } else {
 return $pageURL;

Optimize WYSIWYG editor for SEO

if (isset($wp_version)) {
    add_filter("mce_buttons", "extended_editor_mce_buttons", 0);
    add_filter("mce_buttons_2", "extended_editor_mce_buttons_2", 0);
    add_filter('tiny_mce_before_init', 'extended_editor_change_mce_buttons', 0);

function extended_editor_mce_buttons($buttons) {
    return array(
        "formatselect", "separator",
        "bold", "italic", "separator",
        "bullist", "numlist", "blockquote", "separator",
        "link", "unlink", "separator",
        "charmap", "separator",
        "pasteword", "separator",
        "fullscreen", "separator",

function extended_editor_mce_buttons_2($buttons) {
// the second toolbar line
return array();

function extended_editor_change_mce_buttons( $initArray ) {
    $initArray['theme_advanced_blockformats'] = 'p,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6,pre';
    return $initArray;

In the wp-config.php

Simple Cloud Hosting Built for Developers

Disable/limit revisions

# Maximum 5 revisions
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5);
# Disable revisions
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', false);

 5. WordPress must-have plugins

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One comment

  • Some Mike says:

    Thank you Xavi, this is great.

    I am with you on this, everyone is free to block ads, and as content creators we are free to block them. Period. I spend a lot of hours working on my blog with thousands of people every day benefiting from it and it is a shame I can’t even pay for the server expenses

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