In late 2005 Chris Pavlicek (of Varsis Studio) and I started talking about collaborating on RapidWeaver themes. We both had something to offer the other; Chris with his unmistakable design style and willingness crack any code and me with my promotional skills and desire to make clean organized and effective code. By mid 2006 we were putting out some pretty revolutionary stuff.
After 3 years and many themes later, Chris and I are talking again. This time it’s about me taking over his theme library, the one he has (or used to have) at Varsis Studio. Chris is really focusing hard on his RapidWeaver plugins which as any software developer will tell is very demanding on his time. Before the new seyDesign.com was done we were talking about this and working out the small details.
Today we’re starting to see the results of all that talking. I was able to release Varsis Studio Fade on seyDesign.com. Fade is a RapidWeaver theme that Chris did up for a pro developer bundle back in January of 2007. I’ve spent a few weeks on it, gutting from the inside out and filling it full of new features.
The rest will follow over time, interspersed with a few seyDesign originals, and who knows, maybe even another Varsis/seyDoggy collaboration.
Designers have talked about it for years, while some big names in the industry have already taken action, even the little guys are taking a stand… the message has never been more clear; it’s time to stop supporting IE6.
So that’s when I come across IE Death March, a site calling for action against the support of Internet Explorer 6, a 7 year old browser. In this post, site creator, M. Dave Auayan urges web designers and developers to cease support for IE6 by March 2009.
In that time, we will be taking a long hard look at browser stats to see if the numbers support this action. The last thing we want to do is alienate a large section of people, but we also don’t want to be continually held back in our design visions simply because a nearly decade old browser can’t keep up. I know one thing for sure, IE6 support will become a billed-for feature.
As a small web design outfit in Kitchener I have to be particular about my development workflow and the tools I use. I can’t afford to continually invest in new wonder apps that do a bit of this and a bit of that, and do this thing well but not that thing, but this other app does that thing but not… well, you get the point. So I have to really focus on what makes me money and will continue to make me money going forward. So I have compiled a list of apps that make web design and development on the Mac possible for me.
If you are already a pro web designer you are already aware of the need for a live server environment to test out whatever systems you happen to be developing at the time. You also no that uploading to a remote location is time consuming and working SFTP, SSH or WEBDAV can be unstable. You best bet is to have a local server, but if that is not within your means (or know-how) then you need to look at MAMP. MAMP is a nicely bundled package of MySQL, Apache and PHP that allows you to run a web server safely on your own computer. Though Apache and PHP are already included on you Mac, they tend not be as current as those found in MAMP. MAMP also allows you to quickly change your servers from one project to another to keep your perceived root URL common across all your local web work. The best part is, the only version of MAMP you really need to get this done is free.
What is web design without the design? There are a ton of free options out there, but lets be honest, there is no substitute for the real thing when it comes to mocking up proposed web layouts. I agree PhotoShop is outrageously priced but in the grand scheme of things, if you are getting paid for your work then the cost of this app is nothing more than a tax write-off at the end of the year.
You can dispute me on this choice because I honestly have no experience with anything else. The work involved in getting 3 valid VM’s working for the purpose of testing 3 related and equally crappy browsers, IE6, IE7 and IE8, leaves me with no interesting in going through anything remotely similar in the near future. But my point is this, you need to have a way of testing Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, version 6, 7 and 8 and whether you do this via Parallels or VMware is of little consequence to me. It needs to get done all the same. The cost of each is comparable to the other.
If the above list is all you ever invest in for your web design and development career then you are in excellent shape.
As a web designer and fairly huge Mac geek I am one of those guys who gets rather passionate about certain apps and workflows, etc… Those of you who have read one or more entries on nutMac.com, a Mac workflow blog I write for on occasion, you’ll know that I am a big fan of Path Finder, Quicksilver and TextMate, three apps that rule my world. Recently, suspecting I wasn’t tapping into TextMates full potential, I purchased TextMate – Power Editing for the Mac by James Edward Gray II. Well I was correct in my suspicions, since by chapter 3 I had already learned so many more tricks that I couldn’t wait to get back into coding just to put what I had learned to the test.
One trick I had always been vaguely aware of, and apparently by name only, was the “Edit in TextMate” feature. I had looked at activating this at one time but had decided it was terribly complex for something I could just set of a Quicksilver trigger for (which I did, or so I thought). Having just skimmed over what this “Edit in TextMate” feature was, I figured this was just some short hand trick for forcing various files types and folders to open in TextMate as opposed to their default application. In fact, this is a power user feature that allows TextMate to hijack the editing fields of other apps (the search field in Google home page, or in this case, the blog post field of Blogger, my Fluid SSB app).
Here is where the little light bulb went off in my head… Could this be used in RapidWeaver? Now let me start by saying I LOVE RapidWeaver, I really do, but when it comes to HTML code editing, which I do on a continual basis, I can’t stand not having my TextMate features and functions handy. I have always found myself writing code in a dummy TextMate file, then copying and pasting it into RapidWeaver. And when I would have to make a change I would copy the code into the dummy TextMate file and so on until I was satisfied with the results.
So to make a long story short, after years of using TextMate, I finally enabled the “Edit in TextMate” feature and tried to invoke it in a RapidWeaver project and POOF! It works like a charm! Now I can place my caret in any RapidWeaver field (main content, sidebar, titles, custom fields, etc…) in RapidWeaver and type ctrl-cmd-E and edit the contents of that field with the power of TextMate.
This is about as dorky as I’ll ever get… erm… well anyway, back in the day when I was about 15 or so (19 years ago *sigh*) and heavy into the budding gangsta rap scene, I went to a club in Waterloo, Ontario called The Twist (now Revolution night club) to see this guy, Chuck D and Public Enemy. Though it’s all a part of my past now I still like to break out the odd P.E. track and get down wit’ mu bad self (as bad as a 34 year old white guy from Kitchener, Ontario is going to get I guess).
To this day me and an OLD buddy of mine will, without reason, randomly email each other once or twice a year with snippets or full course lyrics to P.E. tracks we listened to in the days gone by. Today a Flavor Flav track came up in my iTunes, Can’t do nuttin’ for ya man, and I set out to get the lyrics and send them off to my buddy. That’s when I discovered on the front page of the Public Enemy website, Chuck D using a mac!
Erm… yeah… there is really no connection I am trying to make here… just that he was my hero growing up… I use a Mac… he uses a Mac… OK, shut up already, I KNOW I’m a dork. You don’t HAVE to rub it in!
You cannot begin to understand my frustration with Rogers and there recent tactics for hijacking “Server not found or DNS error” response pages (see [here](http://www.digitalhome.ca/content/view/2689/206/ “Digital Home Canada – Rogers violates net neutrality by hijacking failed DNS lookups”) and [here](http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080720-rogers-latest-isp-to-help-customers-with-dns-redirects.html “Rogers latest ISP to “help” customers with DNS redirects”)). I got so furious that I called Rogers and demanded a workaround to their little “solution”. And to my surprise, the technical representative JUMPED at the opportunity to show me how! So here’s to you Rogers and all that you mean to me:
* find the Internet Settings on your computer or router (there are plenty of web article to help you for [Windows](http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=internet+protocol+properties+windows&btnG=Search “Google”) or [Mac](http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=internet+connection+settings+Mac&btnG=Search “Google”))
* Change the “DNS server(s)” to something public, like, for instance, 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 (a US based public DNS server, not likely to ever go down)
* Boom! Buh-bye Rogers/Yahoo! search page
You see, by default, Rogers (or any other ISP) has you using their DNS server (your computer will automatically use your ISP’s DNS server unless told to do otherwise) and therefor they can track what you are doing or see what’s being served to you. So in the event that you call for a site that doesn’t exist, they can cheerily offer up a Rogers/Yahoo! search page laden with advertising and paid-for links instead of actually telling you that that server or site you actually requested might not exist or might have an error.
Here is where Rogers FAILS! Umm Rogers? People who actually know how to use a computer and who aren’t using Internet Explorer 6 actually use the address bar as a search field and not strictly a place to resolve URL and DNS calls. For instance, my local Mac reseller is Carbon Computing and I wanted to call them today. I thought I would get their phone number from their web site so into my address bar I entered “carbonation” and pressed enter, which, prior to Rogers meddling, would normally resolve to “[http://www.carbonation.com](http://www.carbonation.com/ “carbon computing”)”. If the search term were something unresolvable, like “jingle butt pants on fire” then my browser would inform me that “http://jingle%20butt%20pants%20on%20fire/” cannot be found and probably ask me if I wanted to search for the term “jingle butt pants on fire” in Google (or which ever search engine I have set as a default).
Rogers figures they are doing you a solid by removing this extra step, they’ll just perform the search for you. But in a case like mine I don’t want to SEARCH for “carbonation”, I want to RESOLVE it by slapping a .com on the end of it. And by circumventing the default server error message, don’t you think they are causing more mayhem than good?
To the bonehead at Rogers that thought this was all a good idea… you are the biggest boob of all the boobs at Rogers. And that is a fair feat my friend.
Just a quick note (from my iPhone), noting the irony of the fact that Apples own website will crash iPhone’s Safari.
Is it an AJAX thing? I have noticed a lot of AJAX heavy sites will effectively kill Safari, but you think Apple would have made sure all their ducks were in order in their own backyard before launching a product designed to flaunt their own OS prowess.
Ahhh… what I wouldn’t give for horizontal typing in the WordPress iPhone app. All else considered that is my only gripe with it.
Is it a productivity tool worthy of presious space on a blog about productivity and increased workflow on a Mac? Mmmm… Yes and no. Is it fast to blog on a phone? No. But what if you blog for a living?
That, in my opinion, is what makes then WordPress iPhone app a little gold nugget. Say you are a paid contributor to a well known blog and for whatever reason you find yourself in front of a killer story without a laptop in sight. Just whip out your iPhone and post your breaking news.
Or say you just made your draft deadline and you’re off to Grandmas’s for Sunday dinner when you suddenly realize you’ve made a terrible mistake. Whip out your iPhone and correct it on route.
The app includes all of the WordPress 2.6 goodness and is extremely intuitive to use. If you’re like me and you contribute to a number of WordPress blogs you’ll apreciate the ability to write to each one, all from a single app.