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Web Dev

You’ve probably encountered a time when a service you want to use is unavailable, and it’s frustrating. In fact, just the other day I wanted to get in a little bit of Minecraft, but with their login servers down, it was impossible. Similar downtimes have crippled a number of popular services, making the most headlines when it’s something involving email. With generic failure messages, it’s difficult for the end user to diagnose: is it a problem on my end, or is it something I’m unable to solve?

Enter the status website. Lots of services have them, including Twitter, Google and Apple. They act as a destination for troubled users to head to in order to diagnose a problem, or check whether maintenance is in progress. While it’s something you can probably knock off yourself, OffsiteStatus is a simple, but useful, web app that generates a site status page to send your users to. Let’s see how it can make your life simpler by giving you a separate hosted service for letting your users know how your website’s working. (more…)

Creating websites can be fun, but web development can easily scare beginners away. Last week we reviewed Weebly, a web app that makes developing a web site dead simple even for absolute beginners. Even being the great service that it is, though, most developers frown upon it for one simple reason: it does not speak their language.

More often than not, you’ll find the developers and the rest of your team at loggerheads for the same reason: the devs want geeky tools, and everyone else wants a solution that’s simple to use without touching code. Is there a solution that can be used by both developers and content managers at the same time without frustrating either group? That’s what Spinto is all about: an app that brings developers and the rest of your team together.

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At this time of age, web presence is really critical for your business. Whether you are a florist or running a pet store, nothing sets your apart more than a beautifully crafted website. You’ll be able to reach customers far outside of your normal customer base, and better engage your existing customers.

But web development involves a steep learning curve, and could easily scare beginners away. You can hire a professional developer to do the chores, but that can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses. Is there any simple yet inexpensive way that makes it easy? That’s exactly where Weebly comes in.
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Website creation nowadays can be a slightly gruelling task, especially given the demands on web designers and creators to produce high-quality, professional-looking and intuitive websites. Often with these kind of sites there is a steep learning curve as CSS, HTML5, and even Flash in some ways play huge roles in modern websites and I’m sure everyone knows that learning these coding scripts isn’t an easy task.

There are plenty of programs that will help you design a site without too much input (or too many hours poring over HTML and CSS for Dummies). Now, you can even design a website without having to leave your browser. One of these apps is called Breezi and it couldn’t be any easier to use.

Let’s delve straight into it.

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If you manage websites, you know how important it is to keep your content fresh and up-to-date. It’s also crucial to guide your users towards your new content, without marring the site design and experience you’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating. Pop-ups and banners are distracting and so 2003. Is there a way to grab your users’ attention while being subtle about it?

Consider Digital Telepathy‘s Hello Bar. It’s a customizable bar that positions itself at the top of your website and displays messages, links or even data from RSS feeds. You can use it to promote new products or services in your online store, announce the launch of a new section on your blog, display tweets from a live event or anything else you want your users to see. Will it work for your site? Let’s deploy our own bar and find out.

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When’s the last time you read a technical book that didn’t make your head spin? One that you actually learned something from, and didn’t fall asleep while reading it? One that inspired you to get up and create something better?

Book reviews aren’t exactly what you’ve come to expect from AppStorm. There’s not lots of books about web apps, though Steven Levy’s In the Plex is a great example of an excellent book about web apps: the whole Google ecosystem. But, if you’re wanting to build your own web apps or sites, you’d do well to start with reading books. Seriously. Good books can be invaluable resources, no matter how experienced you are. It’s even better when the books are actually interesting and make it easy to learn.

That’s exactly what the books from A Book Apart are.

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Many tools and packages exist online to help people create websites with minimal effort and involvement. Of course, each one has their own strengths and weaknesses. Some are more aimed at creating blogs, while others are better for single-page info sites.

Moonfruit is another competitor in this market. It looks stylish, promises to be simple, and … you do want to create a new site, right? So what does it have to offer, and what are it’s pros and cons? Lets take a look…
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Web development can be a sole or group task. For the former, it’s pretty simple to organise your workflow, having everything within your own hardware and your own software. However, if you’re working as part of a development group, it’s a little more difficult to organise and collaborate.

Introducing Squad, a collaborative code editor inside your browser. By opening a local file or connecting to a server with S/FTP, you can edit code in the Squad web app alongisde others and even chat with them in a dedicated discussion area. (more…)

With so much of our information being pushed to the Web, not knowing the basics of web coding is going to become more and more of a hindrance. If you don’t know what a h1, h2, or blockquote is you’re going to find yourself at a severe disadvantage in the future.

While there are plenty of ways to learn the basics of coding, one interesting solution that has just come into the scene is Treehouse. With videos, tests, and badges, will Treehouse allow you to finally learn what you need to be learning?

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Launching a new product or service via the web is no easy task in today’s fast-paced market. There’s plenty of competition and many variables involved in determining whether yours will be a success or failure. One of the metrics marketers use to determine how well their promotional web pages are doing is called bounce rate – the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which a user left your site from the landing page (the higher the rate, the less effective your page is).

Unbounce is an app built to tackle these challenges and then some. With Unbounce, you can create great-looking landing pages with ease, test them for effectiveness in lead generation and publish them to kickstart your business too. There are a lot of great ideas behind this app and they’re well-implemented too – but will they help you turn out a winner of a landing page? Let’s build one ourselves and find out.

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