Online Shopping Tips

Christmas and New Year’s Eve is getting close and if you are anything like me, you are probably going to spend some time shopping for gifts online. Here are some tips to make your online shopping spree smooth and safe.
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Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Essential Web Development Apps on Mac OS X

Like every trade needs its set of tools, so do we web developers. In this article I’ll present you – what in my experience are – the best web development applications available on Mac OS X.

Graphics Manipulation

The king of all graphic manipulation apps is Adobe Photoshop ($699 or $49/month). Its performance and features are simply way above anything else, but so is its price. If you can afford to buy it, definitely go for it, else there are some alternatives – much less powerful – but way easier on your wallet:

Also if you have Photoshop and you don’t do a lot of line art, you might probably do without Adobe Illustrator. I rarely use it by itself, but sometimes I use it for more complex vector art and conversion in conjunction with Photoshop.

File Transfer

Transmit ($34) – Probably the best commercial FTP application on the Mac.
Cyberduck (free) – A great alternative to Transmit, featuring a single-pane interface.

Text Editing

If Photoshop is the king of graphics manipulation, then Macromates’ TextMate is the king of text editing. Once you start using it, all other text editors look like toys. The features of this editor are simply to many to list here, so feel free to browse the product’s web site for more info.

Database Access And Manipulation

If you need to access (mysql) databases, you need a good tool to manage it. Navicat is just that. It is however, a bit expensive, and there are other free tools that do the job quite as well:

  • Sequel Pro (free) – a fast and easy-to-use Mac database management application for working with MySQL databases.
  • Querious ($29) – a native OS X application supporting viewing, searching, editing, importing, exporting, and structuring your MySQL databases.

Browsers & Plugins

My main development browser is Mozilla Firefox with the following plugins:

For your IE debugging needs, you should probably go for a virtual machine that runs a version of windows with IE. I recommend spending your money on VMware Fusion ($79.99 – $99.99) or Parallels Desktop and install Windows XP, which comes preloaded with internet explorer version 6. You can then have separate installations with various other browser versions and run them as needed.

Controlling width with CSS3 box-sizing

“An incredibly useful CSS3 feature when you’re creating columns with floats is box-sizing. It lets you choose which box sizing model to use – whether or not an element’s width and height include padding and border or not.”

Very useful indeed. Too bad IE7 does not support it natively.

More about this technique at Controlling width with CSS3 box-sizing | 456 Berea Street.

Make All Columns of Equal Height With jQuery

I must have needed this function a gazillion times and here it is. Basically you give it a number of objects and it sets them all as tall as the tallest one between them. Simple and effective, and it also takes into consideration any paddings, borders and margins your columns may have.

// make all columns equally high
$.fn.equalHeightColumns = function() {
	var tallest = 0;
	
	$(this).each(function() {
		if ($(this).outerHeight(true) > tallest) {
			tallest = $(this).outerHeight(true);
		}
	});
	
	$(this).each(function() {
		var diff = 0;
		diff = tallest - $(this).outerHeight(true);
		$(this).height($(this).height() + diff);
	});
};

// call it like this:
$(".columns").equalHeightColumns();

Google is going Fontalicious!

Google is jumping into the web fonts business with Google Font API and it appears to be really easy to use too, so I am excited to see how this develops.

Google Font API – Google Code.

Also, Typekit and Google Announce Open Source Collaboration. This is another thing to keep an eye on.

Flash, iPad, Standards – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report

This is the right time to jump into the HTML5 bandwagon if you haven’t done so already.

Flash, iPad, Standards – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report.

Forgotten CSS selectors | 456 Berea Street

Now that IE6 is practically dead and gone, we can embrace the power that comes with CSS 2.1 selectors. Hurray! Forgotten CSS selectors | 456 Berea Street.

Log in or sign up? – Leah Culvers Blog

How about putting both log-in and register forms into one? A nice informative read.

Log in or sign up? – Leah Culvers Blog.

CSS Differences in Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 « Smashing Magazine

If you haven’t decided to drop IE6 support, this might be the right time to do it. The article CSS Differences in Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 over at Smashing Magazine is a great reference to CSS differences between various IE versions when handling advanced CSS rules. Looks like versions 7 and up already support the vast majority of rules you throw at them, so if you want to take advantage of advanced CSS selectors to ease styles development, go on, I don’t believe many will be hurt in the process.