Swift: Webkit-based browser for Windows

swift_logo.png

Saw something about this browser called Swift at CSS Insider and so, being the browser nut that I am, I downloaded it and tried it. That thing is pretty much instantaneous. There is absolutely no waiting to load a web page. Well, it’s fast, but I did a little, unscientific comparison with Firefox and it’s not that much better. It does, however feel very light and robust. Probably because it is. It’s in alpha and there’s probably not a whole lot to it yet. It crashed on me twice already in 4 times using it. I also noticed I couldn’t input a password on any password sites. It’s obvisouly not ready for prime time yet, but it has potential and it’s something to keep an eye on.

The site’s own tagline says: “A web browser for Windows based on the Apple Webkit rendering engine”

Web designers and developers take note. There could soon be a new browser for you to watch out for. I truly hope it will be fully standards-compliant.

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Published in: on August 10, 2006 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Programmer meet designer

I came across this great site where designers and programmers can find each other. Often designers aren’t that great at programming and vice versa. That makes it tough for freelance web developers to build decent sites. They might look great, but function poorly or function great, but look horrendous. This site puts programmers in touch with people who can actually make a nice-looking design and designers in touch with the people who can put their designs into practice. You have the option of posting listings asking for a one-time or multi-job collaborator or for someone to work with on a long-term basis.

At one point earlier this year, I was considering setting up a site exactly like this. I just never got a round tuit.
This site was obviously designed by a programmer, without the help of a designer.

Here’s the site’s own description of itself:

This site was created to unite programmers and designers because rarely is a person good at both programming and designing. PMD helps programmers and designers partner up to make websites and web applications that look and work great. It also lets entrepreneurs and writers find people to work with.

http://programmermeetdesigner.com/

UPDATE: I just read on this blog that the person who created the site is just 13 years old.

Published in: on August 9, 2006 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Review: Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook

Web Standards Solutions:
The Markup and Style Handbook
by Dan Cederholm

I finished this a few weeks ago, sorry it took so long for a review.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. It was written well. Very easy to read and very clear explanations about everything he discussed. I would recommend it to anyone who has an excellent knowledge of HTML and XHTML and who has used CSS a little.
I learned a lot from this book.
Essentially, Dan Cederholm takes real world problems and shows you several ways to solve them.
I have two negative comments, but I want to make clear that overall this book was excellent!
Negative comments

  • The example images were in black and white, but he ocasionally referred to colors. Of course, it wasn’t hard to figure out what he was talking about, but it was a little annoying.
  • I found some of the examples were just a little simplistic and sometimes it seemed he was grasping, so that he could have several examples to fill a chapter. In chapter 1 “lists” for example, he said there were several ways to create a list using HTML including this:

apples <br />
spaghetti <br />
green beans <br />
milk <br />

and this

<li>apples <br />
<li>spaghetti <br />
<li>green beans <br />
<li> milk <br />

I’ve never seen anyone use the second example. If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t a <li> usually cause a line break anyway. And why would anyone use the first, when there’s a perfectly good set of tags with the <ul>’s and <li>’s that would work just fine.

Although, now that I’m re-reading what I wrote, if you didn’t know any CSS, you’d be hard pressed if you didn’t want any bullets or indentation.

In any case, it’s a good read, with a few minor things I didn’t like. Those few minor things however did not take away from the enjoyment of the book and the things I learned from it.

I recommend it.

Published in: on July 25, 2006 at 6:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Refresh06

Sadly, I won’t be able to attend (or afford) this, but Paul Boag will be speaking and I wish I could go.

Published in: on July 25, 2006 at 1:33 am  Leave a Comment  

iStockPhoto

I guess lots of people have heard of this before, but I haven’t: iStockphoto.com. It’s stock photography at really, REALLY cheap prices. Like $1, $2, $3 dollars. No, there are no zeros after those numbers. I had only ever seen fotosearch.com where the prices are $100 or more. This is really great and I want to spread the word. You can also sell your own photos there and do other things to earn credits for buying photos.

Published in: on July 18, 2006 at 2:47 am  Leave a Comment  

tinyMCE and iBrowser

I just managed to get tinyMCE and iBrowser to work nicely together. They should, after all, iBrowser is a plugin for tinyMCE. tinyMCE is a WYSIWYG editor for textareas. It essentially turns a textarea in a web form into something more like MS Word. The picture below is VOX’s WYSIWYG editor, but it gives you an idea of what I’m talking about.

TinyMCE-shotBuilding Error

Now, it wasn’t all that easy to get it working. tinyMCE worked fine, but integrating iBrowser was a little harder. For the longest time, after setting it up, I was able to open the iBrowser window through tinyMCE, but I kept getting the error “error building image list!” I did everything I was supposed to do in the configuration file, but I still got that error. Well, just for fun I tried to make a change and see what happened. Here’s what I changed:

$cfg[‘ilibs’] = array ( // image library path with slashes; absolute to root directory – please make sure that the directories have write permissions array

(
‘value’ => ‘/home/stuff/thingy/site/upload/’

‘text’ => ‘Site Pictures’, ) );

TO ..

$cfg[‘ilibs’] = array ( // image library path with slashes; absolute to root directory – please make sure that the directories have write permissions array

(

‘value’ => ‘/upload/’,

‘text’ => ‘Site Pictures’, ) );

(I’m having trouble formatting the code above. The only change between the two is the path from the long one above to the shorter one below. ie: what comes after ‘value’ =>)

I removed the whole path that I thought was required and left only the actual folder I wanted to upload the images to. I think iBrowser figures out the rest of the path somewhere else in the script.

Theory of Relativity

That solved the problem of “error building image list!” I was now able to upload and download images (or I assume, any other type of file as well.) But, now when I clicked submit on my form, my next page was receiving a strange img src. Instead of pointing where I wanted it, it was sending to some strange non-existant folder somewhere three levels deep from where I was. Something was wrong. I did a little more googling and found that I had to make a change in the <script> I used to call tinyMCE in my <head>.

Here’s my current <script>

<script language=”javascript” type=”text/javascript”>
tinyMCE.init({
mode : “textareas”,
plugins : “ibrowser”,
theme : “advanced”,
theme_advanced_buttons3_add : “ibrowser”,
relative_urls : false,
remove_script_host : false,
document_base_url : “<?php echo $path_to_root ?>”
});
</script>

The bolded items are the ones I had to add.

relative_urls : false,
remove_script_host : false,
document_base_url : “<?php echo $path_to_root ?>”

For document_base_url, just add your own base path, something like http://www.mydomain.com/

That was it. It now works.

My only problem now is that my other form fields get a yellow highlight when they are in focus (in FF, since IE doesn’t support pseudo class :focus yet.) But the tinyMCE window does not highlight. Wonder if there’s any way to fix that, anyone????


This post has been crossposted on my other blog I’m testing out at Vox.

Published in: on July 18, 2006 at 12:34 am  Comments (1)  

Web Standards Solutions by Dan Cederholm

I just picked up this book this evening and I plan to start digging into it soon. I’ll have a review once I’m done! You can buy it at: Amazon or at Chapters (where I got it.)

Published in: on July 11, 2006 at 1:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Jason hits the bigtime on Boagworld podcast

Have you heard the latest Boagworld podcast, #42: Choosing the right design? I’m the guy asking the question about whether it’s ok to be “inspired” by other websites. Paul and Marcus essentially said it’s OK, to a point to get some inspiration — just don’t “copy.” Which is the answer I’d been hoping for. I realize afterwards that what I do a lot is get ideas from several sites at once — maybe a color scheme here, a cool javascript idea there and maybe a neat box or button from a third. I don’t copy those elements, but see how they could fit in with the site I’m creating. It was nice to hear from Paul that while he doesn’t actively seek out inspiration, he does find bits of other sites that could be used, in some form or another (not a copy), in his.

Finally, Paul’s advice was to get inspiration from things in the real world, signs and pictures and things — and that way you can never be accused of stealing someone else’s design.

If you’ve never heard of Boagworld and you’re a web designer or developer, then please go check out his blog and podcast.

PS: Marcus what’s my prize for being the “winning question of the year, so far.” Hey there’s a great idea guys, how about a weekly or monthly giveaway! I’d be honored to be the first.

Published in: on July 10, 2006 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Which web design book to buy?

It was my birthday the other day and I got some gift cards for a leading Canadian bookstore as presents. I’ve decided to buy one or many of the following, but I really need help deciding on a web design book.

I’m looking for a book on Web Standards and CSS. While I’m not yet a master at CSS, I do have a basic idea of how it works. Now I’d like to learn a little more, some tips and tricks and get more familiar with it all. I don’t want a book that’s too easy — I think I learned all the easy stuff with online tutorials. I want one that will help me now, and perhaps be a reference in the future.

Any suggestions?

Published in: on July 10, 2006 at 12:32 pm  Comments (1)  

Why doesn’t anyone want to buy my mouse trap? It’s better!

http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/07/07/nbc-will-buy-tribenet/

I saw this article this morning on Techcrunch.  I’m always amazed when I see websites being sold for exhorbitant amounts of money ($50M in this case, $600M in another case named in the article.)  I’m amazed because I know I can create sites like these.  I don’t have the ideas, or the time, or the money — but I do have the know-how.  It’s not that I don’t have ideas, it’s just that I don’t have the right ideas.

Although I guess it’s like the a lot of things, if you don’t try you’ll never succeed.  If you don’t buy that lottery ticket, you’ll never win.  If you don’t try inventing a better mouse trap, you never will.  Well, maybe I should set out build that better mouse trap and hope that NBC or some other huge corporation with lots of extra dough around will see it, want it and buy it. 

Anyone have any ideas?  I’ll cut you in for 10% if I hit it big.  No, wait.. make that 5%.  Wait, if it’s $100M, that would be $5M….. better make it 1%, I can’t afford to give away $5M.

Published in: on July 7, 2006 at 4:32 pm  Comments (1)