Web Development

StumbleUpon Contest – Build Traffic

Thursday, August 16th, 2012 | Business | 1 Comment

StumbleUponThis is a simple contest.  Submit links to your sites (or any sites you like), and I will take a quick look.  If I like them, I will stumble them.

There really aren’t any rules, but you’re more likely to get a stumble if your site is related to web development.

Since I’ve never run this before, I don’t know how long it will be up (my bet is until 9/1).  When the contest is over I’ll post links and quick reviews to the Top 10 sites that I stumbled (if we get that many).

Why do this?  It’s a good way to generate traffic for me too, and I get to see whats out there that I wouldn’t otherwise see.  Finally I can share the better sites on this blog with the readers.

So … post your sites in the comments … go!

PS – Why not Stumble this page?  The more people who see this, will see your links too!

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Web development with the iPhone and iPad in Mind

Friday, July 30th, 2010 | Business | 1 Comment

In the very near future, I will be posting a series of posts on what you should/shouldn’t be doing to develop a website where the iPhone and iPad are a target demographic.  jQuery will figure prominently in the series, as I’ve seen almost all websites now require work with jQuery (or anther AJAX platform).

Let me know if you have any specific questions / concerns, and I’ll be glad to answer them.

Some interesting things to think about:

  • How are mouse clicks triggered? (It’s not as straightforward as you’d think)
  • How are hover states triggered? (Hint: the iPad has a hover state, but it’s not what you think — remember you only have a single touch, no arrow following your finger)
  • What types of gestures can we use?
  • What special considerations must we make for CSS?
  • What are the ideal screen dimensions? (this is easy, but remember we have multiple devices, and multiple orientations)
  • What types of video can we play? (iPad, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPhone 2G and the original iPhone all have different specifications, it’s not that easy)

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Synergy: Multiple Computers and One Keyboard/Mouse

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 | Business | No Comments

 About a week ago I posted about useful tools for web development.  Today I wanted to make sure everyone knew about a great application for almost every web developer.

If you’re like me, you have multiple systems set up.  My workspace includes a Windows XP (laptop), Windows Vista, and a Mac running OS X.  When doing web development, we all have to test our web pages with every platform out there.  This is why I have this many computers.  

The annoying part is that to use the Mac, I have to either hook up my extra keyboard to it, or move my USB key for my Logitech diNovo keyboard (I love it by the way).

Synergy, is a great app for that.  Synergy allows you to install a client or server on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista (I have tested this myself, even though it isn’t listed on the site), Mac OS X 10.2 or higher, and Unix (X Windows version 11 rev 4 or higher — or XTEST extension).

Basically Synergy sets up your mouse and keyboard on the “server” machine, and lets clients connect.  The server requires you to configure it, telling the server where each clients resides in relation to your server monitor.  

I found the setup very easy.  It isn’t as intuitive as you would like, requiring you to say things like “Computer X is to the left of Computer Y”.  I like the multiple monitor configuration in windows, where I can drag windows to where I want them.

To use it, you just run the client / server — and move your mouse.  Move it off the screen to another machine.  

It works.

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Favorite Software for Web Development

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 | Business | 1 Comment

Sometimes when you start out doing something on computers, it seems so hard until you get the tools that everyone else uses.

In this post I’m asking everyone else for feedback, what do you like to use?  Go ahead and comment it in there, I’ll add it to the article as I see em.

Below are some of my favorite pieces of software for web development, some will be very obvious (Flash, Photoshop, etc.) … some maybe not so much:

TextPad
I love textpad for basic text changes from everything PHP, to HTML, to writing notes.   It’s great to have multiple documents, line numbers, quick global / file / local search and replaces etc.  I use this when I’m working with source files, XML definition files, CSS files, to CFM or other formats.  I love it.  

HomeSite
Those of you who know homesite, will know it’s pretty much gone nowadays.   The heyday was many years ago.  The direct FTP editing was amazingly useful.  It has some features that I still go back to now and then.  Mostly search and replace functionality, FTP based editing (right on ther server … mostly), document formatting (code sweeper), and other utilitarian functions.  

CuteFTP Pro
Working on the web, we all are in constant use of FTP (more so than we should be).  Cute FTP has always been a staple of my software toolbox.  It’s so easy to launch connections to all the FTP servers you use throughout the day, keep them open for jumping between projects.  The number of protocols it supports is flexible (FTP, FTP w/ SSL, SFTP, HTTP, HTTPS, etc.), and it always seem to be able to connect.  The speeds and setting are highly configurable.  It’s nice having 50 simultaneous downloads going at a time.

Tortoise SVN
Whoever isn’t using SVN, should be using SVN (or CVS or whatever other version control system you can think of).  Tortoise SVN is an essential windows interface enhancement to integrate SVN into the file browser.  For those of you who use CVS, there’s a Tortoise CVS as well.  It is easy to look at version histories, compare files based on modification dates, and to pull down new updates.  

Subversion
Source control is underutilized in my experience.   So many sites aren’t run with source control.  Think of the advantages: automatic source control, automatic offsite backup (if you use an external host — which I would love to recommend svnrepository.com, a very cheap hosted SVN repository).  Read about it, get used to it, it will save a project.

Eclipse
You were waiting for me to say it weren’t you?   An open source IDE.  Technically it started as a Java IDE (most Java developers should be intimately familiar with this).  Thanks to add-ons developed by the community, it supports, quite adeptly, PHP and other web development technologies.  It has built in SVN support, supports deployment scripts… its amazing.  Try it, explore the community around it.  Check out the Subclipse add-on, as well as the Web Developer Tools, and Eclipse XML Editors and Tools.

Adobe Flash (Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium)
Pretty much a no brainer, you need Adobe Flash to develop flash.  It’s a great tool, worth every penny.

Adobe Photoshop (Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium)
Another obvious one.  Photoshop is a requirements for all web development.  No, you shouldn’t be doing web design work as a developer.  However, there is always the need to look at colors, size things, cut up images, process original artwork, the list goes on forever.  I really recommend the Adobe Creative Suite, we use almost all of the software anyway.  

Microsoft Word (Microsoft Office)
You will always need this (or another decent word processor).  Yes, you can get by without it.  However the sheer amount of things Word can handle: Estimates, Proposals, Letterheads, Envelopes, Labels, the list goes on and on.. you will wish you had it someday.

Microsoft Excel (Microsoft Office)
Another one that you don’t always think about, but excel makes writing estimates so much easier.  You can update your entire estimate based upon a new discount, manage hours, track changes.  I’ve used Google’s online spreadsheets before – they are great.  But they aren’t fully able to replace excel yet. 

Microsoft PowerPoint (Microsoft Office)
Those proposals are much better with an accompanying presentation. Tell your clients what you do, what they need, in a way that can impact people in a conference room.  Everyone yawns when it comes to yet ANOTHER powerpoint presentation, but you look unprofessional without one in most cases. 

MySQL
Normally this is on a hosted platform, but you need a database to do the cooler web development projects.  MySQL is cheap, but if you want you can substitute in Microsoft SQL Server, or even Oracle.  In my experience if you know why you want MS or Oracle, you can pay for them.  If you don’t know why you want either of those, just go with MySQL.  

PHP MY Admin
Administration software is just as important as the backend engine, at least for development.  It lets you manage a database online, easily, and export simply.  If you haven’t used it, try it. 

SQL Server Management Studio
Another tool for development on SQL servers.  Same as PHP My Admin, arguably much more helpful, but it is a client app.  If you’re working with Oracle, or prefer these desktop applications to the PHPMyAdmin web interface — check out Aqua Data Studio

There are really dozens more tools I consider very useful.  Not exluding:

– Versions of all browsers
– VPN Connectivity software
– Remote Desktop
– VNC Client
– pcAnywhere (not so much anymore)
– Outlook / Email Client

Last but not least, is Google.  It is the best tool you will have when working in web development.

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