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Great web design requires every bit as much imagination and creativity as graphic design. But while graphic designers get a (relatively) easy ride with the drag-and-drop tools of Photoshop, web designers, essentially, still have to do it the hard way with from-scratch coding. Hard to believe, I know, given that it’s now 2013, but this archaic method of design still reigns supreme.
Code, for the time being, at least, is still a necessity when designing a website. Wouldn’t it make things easier, though, if code-based styling were a little more intuitive.
That is the aim of bluePen, a live CSS editor, which has simple styling controls for each element on your site. But does this site add-on really save time, or is it yet another failed attempt to streamline web design?
If you run a site of any size — from a successful eCommerce business to a small blog that your friends read — you likely want to know how many people visit your site. Call it an ego boost or business intelligence, but it’s fun and potentially rewarding to check out your site’s stats. You can see what’s popular, how people find your site, and know if what you’re doing is working to bring people in.
And for most of us, there’s only one analytics service we’d even think of using Google Analytics. It’s powerful, free, and simple to use. It’s not so simple to get info out of, though, since its web interface is rather complex and slow.
Handsome Stats is a new simple web app from folks at Batch Goods that simplifies Google Analytics while making it more stylish. It’ll help you get your ego boost — err, business intelligence — in a nicer yet more data-filled interface.
Posterous is getting shut down in just a couple weeks, so if your blog is still on Posterous, it’s time to find it a new home. The good thing is, there’s lots of options today. WordPress is one obvious solution, since you can import Posterous sites directly into both WordPress.com blogs or WordPress on your own server. Many other blogging tools have import tools, too, including Tumblr, Squarespace, and my personal favorite, Kirby.
The most Posterous-like option, though, might be Posthaven, a brand new blogging service started by Posterous co-founder Garry Tan. We interviewed Garry about Posthaven last month, and now that the service is open to the public, let’s take it for a spin and see if it’s the perfect new home for your old Posterous blog — or perhaps for a brand-new blog.
It would be fair to say that eCommerce is in a boom right now. The likes of Ebay and Amazon turn over more revenue than any high street chain you’d care to mention, and the number of independent online shops is growing hourly – the market-leading system Shopify, alone, is powering 50,000 online stores, and counting.
Despite this ever-expanding market, the range and variety of the eCommerce management software available is still relatively limited, and many services are fairly expensive from the viewpoint of a small retailer. Other than going down the Shopify route, most shopkeepers have to resort to WordPress plug-ins like WooCommerce, but neither option allows the non-coder to style their site easily.
It is, perhaps, because of this problem that Hiidef Inc. – maker of the fine, homepage creator Flavors – has produced Goodsie, a design-oriented hosted eCommerce platform. With Goodsie’s Standard package costing $14/month, this service is one of the more affordable eCommerce options available, but is Goodsie more luxury aisle or bargain bin? Time to find out.
By now, most web users will have seen a promotional message on a bar at the top of some sites that you frequent — they’re a great way to draw your attention to new content, special offers, events and announcements. It doesn’t hurt that they’re easy to implement and update whenever necessary, and that’s what has made this bar a tool of choice for modern webmasters.
We’ve already looked at a very popular option for this called Hello Bar, and today we’re going to check out what the competition has to offer. ThreeBar is another app that lets you create promotion bars, analyze the impact of your messages and engage your site visitors — but is it the best option for you? Let’s create a bar of our own to find out. (more…)
In an era where the web has invaded into all dimensions of life, understanding the language of the web has become important for people to actively participate in shaping the digital world, to change from passive viewers to “webmakers”. This idea led Mozilla to develop three different tools, The Popcorn Maker to “supercharge web video” (read our review), Thimble to “Make and share your own web page” and X-Ray Goggles to “Explore and remix any web page”.
Of these the tools, Thimble and X – Ray Goggles were developed with the purpose of helping aspiring “webmakers” familiarize themselves with the language of the web. Let’s take a look
Dominder is a very specific app that does one thing: manage your domains. Website owners often own more than one domain, and some of us own or have to keep track of twenty or more. While domain registrars will notify you of renewal time, they don’t check for downtime or make sure your domain hasn’t been blacklisted.
That is where Dominder comes in. Let’s see if Dominder is the “all-in-one solution to manage websites” it claims to be.
Most sites these days are powered by a CMS, and hand-coding a site from plain HTML files would seem terribly archaic. And yet, for most sites, the average CMS is a huge overkill. There’s so much to them, it’s sometimes hard to change the tiniest thing. And rich editing … well, for the most part, the world would be better off without it.
There’s been a recent rise of simple CMSes, ones that use just plain text files with Markdown files to make a full website. As a writer who writes in Markdown, those are terribly interesting to me. One in particular stood out to me as a simple yet powerful flat-file option, and it was so nice that instead of just trying it out, I switched my entire site to it, and still use it months later.
Over the past few years as a Software Engineer, I’ve worked on several Enterprise grade projects. That means tight, ridiculous deadlines on our part. When that happens, no one, QA leads included, cares about quality as long as your code is in the code base on time. No, the regret comes later when all hell break loose.
Once I worked with a guy who checked in some half-cooked code just to close the issue for then before it sets the alarm bell ringing within. However, that particular piece of code completely went on to run for hours and blew up in our face when the app went live. By then a slew of modules were built over this, and we (cough I cough) had to revisit it later on, make numerous changes to the design before that flow was usable. In this process we wasted several thousand dollars which could have been avoided if we had some sort of process in place. Sadly, most of the software world works the same way.
Big Deal! Hire a performance guy and optimize the DB performance, some might suggest. As valid as the idea is, not all bottlenecks are I/O related, though traditionally this is where most applications fail. It could be due to a poor coding as well or lack of sufficient hardware power. NewRelic is a service which analyses these issues and help you optimize your product. Does it work? Join me after the jump to find out.