Give your Apache file Index a face lift with h5ai

Are you running an Apache server?

If you are then you would have been greeted by that horrible directory page more than once. Isn’t it time to get rid of the old to make way for the new? Give your Index pages a face lift with h5ai.

h5ai makes browsing directories on HTTP web servers more pleasant

h5ai is a modern replacement for the built in Index view for folder listings and it boast plenty of neat features. It is build with HTML5 Boilerplace, jQuery + Modernizr and can be implemented with just a few steps (2 in my case). It has been created by Lars Jung (@lrsjng) and he has a number of other useful libraries and tools, go check him out.

The design of h5ai is nice and minimal and uses CSS3 and sprinkles of JS to get things working. If you have JS turned off though it degrades nicely. There is a built in colorbox that enables you to view images on the fly and to top it all off there is a code syntax view so you can easily read things like JS and XML.

This definitely makes your index views easier to digest and easier to navigate around as there is a built in search and tree view.

There are plenty of optional features and extensions you can enable with h5ai as seen above where you can enable QR Codes on file hover. The whole install sits in one folder at the root of your site and all you need to do is get your server to add its index file to the index file list. Basically just add this line to your .htaccess

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DirectoryIndex index.html index.php /_h5ai/server/php/index.php

Here are just some of the optional features that are available

  • breadcrumb for the current directory, linked to all parent directories
  • auto refresh
  • custom header and/or footer for each directory
  • select and download multiple files and folders at once, either as tar or zip archive
  • filter function for the displayed files and folders
  • folder sizes
  • localization with a lot of languages already included
  • link hover states between main view, breadcrumb and tree view
  • display HTTP web server details
  • image preview with keyboard support
  • text file preview with Markdown rendering and keyboard support
  • QR codes on hovering files
  • sort files and folders
  • status bar with additional information about files and folders
  • thumbnails for images, pdfs and movies
  • directory tree view
  • display breadcrumb in the browser title

If your not convinced yet then why not head on over to the official page or check out the Github repo.

h5ai demo

Know of any other cool scripts like this? Let me know so I can get them installed and featured on here.

CSS Off 2011

I finally got around to uploading my submission for CSSOff 2011 (http://www.unmatchedstyle.com/cssoff/).

I gotta say I’m not happy with it though. It started off really good, but then I got lazy and started putting it off. Next thing I knew I was coding away while Andrew was playing the Rocky theme tune on his phone. The design was really good and everything was meant to be responsive but the bottom half of the site just went wrong. Not through lack of skill, but lack of time.

Have a look for yourself here http://www.validatethis.co.uk/cssoff-2011/

I don’t think the submissions have been marked yet so I don’t know where I came but I will update this when I find out. I’m also going to enter into any other competitions like this so if you know of any then post them in the comments 😉

Sneak Peak

A sneak peak of what I’m working on here at work. I’m having to animate everything but as you can see this has rotations, which are always fun to try and implement into older browsers.



Luckily I found some great plugins for jQuery that make the job a lot easier.

jQuery Transform
https://github.com/heygrady/transform/
This plugin uses CSS3 transforms if they are supported and if not then relies on the matrix filter for IE8 and below meaning it allows you to transform layers all the way down to IE6 and gives you loads of options like


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// Go Crazydd
$('#example').transform({
    matrix: [1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0], //applies a matrix
    reflect: true, //same as rotate(180deg)
    reflectX: true, //mirrored upside down
    reflectXY: true, //same as reflectX + rotate(-90deg)
    reflectY: true, //mirrored
    rotate: '45deg', //rotates 45 degrees
    skew: ['10deg', '10deg'], //skews 10 degrees on the x and y axis
    skewX: '10deg', //skews 10 degrees on the x axis
    skewY: '10deg', //skews 10 degrees on the y axis
    scale: [1.5, 1.5], //scales by 1.5 on the x and y axis
    scaleX: 1.5, //scales by 1.5 on the x axis
    scaleY: 1.5, //scales by 1.5 on the y axis
    translate: ['20px', '20px'], //moves the transformation 20px on the x and y axis
    translateX: '20px', //moves the transformation 20px on the x axis
    translateY: '20px', //moves the transformation 20px on the y axis
    origin: ['20%', '20%'] //changes the transformation origin
});

jQuery Easing
http://gsgd.co.uk/sandbox/jquery/easing/
When animating things its always nice to have more easing options that the standard ‘linear’ or ‘swing’. jQuery Easing gives you around 32 extra easing’s to make your job easier. It also allows you to setup your own custom easings.

HTML5 Boilerplate updates and the build script

Woah, the HTML5 Boilerplate has been updated already and its just got a whole lot more Awesome-er!!

H5BP is brought to us by Paul Irish, Divya Manian, Sichuan and many other people in the open-source community. It has many features and snippets of code that I use myself every time I start a new website so this tool is invaluable to me. If you havn’t checked it out yet then go and have a look at http://html5boilerplate.com

The reason H5BP has just got a whole lot better is because of this

The Boilerplate build script is ready for prime time. You know all those site optimization tricks that Steve Souders tells you is a good idea? You’re four keystrokes away from nailing a 100% on them. Now you can:

  • Combines and minifies javascript (via yui compressor)
  • Combines and minifies CSS
  • Optimizes JPGs and PNGs (with jpegtran & optipng), saving 15-50% of page weight
  • Removes development only code (any remaining console.log files, profiling, test suite)
  • Basic to aggressive html minification (via htmlcompressor)
  • Revises the file names of your assets so that you can use heavy caching (1 year expires) without cache conflicts.
  • Upgrades the .htaccess to use heavier caching
  • Updates your HTML to reference these new hyper-optimized CSS + JS files
  • Updates your HTML to use the minified jQuery instead of the development version
  • Remove unneeded references from HTML (like a root folder favicon)
  • build according to what environment you want: production, test or development

Together with the server configurations (like the .htaccess), we’ve seen reductions of total page weight from 120k to 30k. We guarantee A-level performance with YSlow and Google PageSpeed when using the build script along with the server configs. (Okay, maybe not “guarantee”, but your parents will be really proud of you. 🙂

So have any of you had a play around with this yet? What are your experiences with it?