Friday, June 17, 2011

GiantDropdown jQuery Plugin for Styling Large Select Lists

A few months ago, I was working on a performance management application for the Centers for Disease Control. They wanted a select box that contained a list of competencies from which they could compose a template. The problem was some of the items in the list were hundreds of characters long and, at the time of writing, most browsers would behave very badly with drop down boxes of that size.

I was sitting at home that night and decided I could probably come up with a jQuery plugin that would use the select list as the backing field and present a prettier display. I did and we ended up using it at the CDC. I decided I'd share in case anyone else runs into the same issue.

Here's an example of what one of the select boxes would look like:

It's not very pretty and it behaves unpredictably with other DOM elements. With the GiantDropdown plugin, we can style it any way we choose and still preserve all of the original behavior of the select list (meaning, it even works with multi-selects and option groups).

Here are some samples of the giant-ified dropdowns:

If you'd like to get the giant dropdown jquery plugin, the can check out the Giant Dropdown jQuery Plugin Git Repository. Feel free to make improvements.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Autopilot Consulting has a Logo!

Autopilot Consulting Logo
At long last, Autopilot Consulting has an official logo! It's exciting to see this dream of mine coming together and now there's a face to the name.

I know it seems slow going. After all, I posted the announcement of Autopilot at the end of May and here we are in the middle of June and I'm just getting my logo together.

Well, it's true. I'm trying to get all of my ducks in a row in my spare time while most of my efforts are still spent trying to do a great job here at the Centers for Disease Control. We're not doing the same mainframe migration project anymore (but I still intend to finish that series someday). We've actually started doing some pretty interesting projects. I usually prefer, but they focus on very rich user experience which is a good experience for a nuts-and-bolts kind of guy like me.

I noticed that not only are my blog posts becoming fewer and further between, they're also pretty non-technical. I promise to spend a little more time writing about the things I'm learning out there in the thick of it (and maybe I'll have a little advice from time to time for those who are thinking about going independent).