Wink

Development Toolset 2016

9Somebody asked what I use for my development toolchain because   I’m a heavy mac user.  I work mostly in HTML5, CSS3, and PHP5. There is a lot of Yii2 and jQuery in the mix to up the ante for what works for me.  MariaDb is the database of choice.

Over the last six months or so I’ve been moving away from the Adobe table because my old CS6 tools have been more and more difficult to get working on the recent OS X releases.  I haven’t been upgrading my CS6 toolset because I’m not willing to buy into the Adobe “Creative Cloud” dream.

For code slinging my editor is now Coda2, a real eye-opener.  In the same UI you have a file browser (think Cyberduck) , a MySQL client, a SSH client and to top that off, it integrates well with  source control (SVG and GIT.)   That coupled with a fantastic customer support that’s willing to hold hands with an old demented programmer and the ability to easily integrate custom modules makes it an almost magical product.

For Image manipulation, I’m vacillating between sketch and affinity designer. I love sketch because it does everything that fireworks does in a easier and cleaner interface.  I’d plunk the cash down except for one minor problem.  It doesn’t handle anything above 72dpi. Why does that give this  webslinger heartburn?  Because on occasion I have to send artwork to the printers who insist on 300dpi artwork.  I’ll probably end up buying both.

I also use inkscape to vectorize images into SVG to import into the other editors.  The problem with inkscape is that it is sooooo, sooooo slow.  SVG’s time has arrived, and it a open source standard that is being adopted by most of the current generation of vector editing programs.

When I put on my DB admin hat, MySQLWorkbench for making pretty database diagrams and then turn into mysql scripts. Sequal pro for the heavy lifting that Coda2 can’t deal with.

Finally SourceTree for the Git support that Coda2 can’t handle.

 

Switching over to Yii2

My PwwwHP framework of choice for several years was CodeIgniter.  My problem with it was that  hasn’t been maintained over the years since EllisLab distanced themselves from their child.  The new generation displayed a rather strong “Not invented here” attitude that stifled development.  It was time for a new framework.

In my searches I discovered Yii and who had just released their Alpha for version 2.  What proper programmer could resist?  I played with it for a bit and discovered that all the pieces that CodeIgniter was resisting were present and I decided that I’d switch over when I had the opportunity.

Some companies have a “Summer of Coding,” I on the other hand have the “Holidays of Coding.”  I shutter my main website on December 25th until the middle of January.  Each year I work on a specific project just for the shear joy of slinging code until all hours of the night.  No Phone, No Texts, No Social Media, and only a few visitors.

One of my administrative backends had grown long in the tooth, originally created in 2005 or so.  It had been the first full project that used MVC and AJAX.  The project went together smoothly and performed well over the years.  However, as what often happens, I learned a lot about what needed to happen to make operations smoother.

So this year my project was to update that interface and made to the decision to switch frameworks.  As Sulu would say: “Oh My!”  The first thing that became apparent was that this framework was designed to be updatable.  Their were actual release notes that told you how to do it.  The framework itself is lighter, faster, and easier to work with.  In two words: “Yii rocks.”

 

Using Sass in a WordPress Theme

I’ve been having more fun that a puppy with a chew toy.  I needed to create a new WordPress theme which I haven’t done in a few years so I did my normal wander around the internet to find out what the current technology is like.

My explorations ended up at the Underscores  which is a impressive starter theme that I immediately fell in love with. Equally impressive was Morten Rand-Hendriksens “WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch  with Underscores” online course, which I devoured over the course of a few days.

You create a Underscores starter kit by going to their website and entering a theme name and clicking “Generate.”  However, it get’s much more interesting when you click “Advanced Options” and find out that you can enter most of your themes meta-data and  one mysterious checkbox: “

It turns out that checkbox does a bit of magic.  It adds a “Sass” directory tree with a sassified version of style.css which gives you a more organized method of dealing the your theme styles.  For a peek at the magic of Sass you’ll want to visit over the their website.

Sass takes “style.scss” and turns it into “style.css,” the only problem is it’s rather recalcitrant in putting the css file in the same directory or in the “../css” directory which WordPress really doesn’t care for.  Or does it? Continue reading

What do you need to run a successful website?

True Innovations Dib/Tall High-Back ChairYesterday, I was asked: “What do you need to run a successful web site?” and my first two answers were:

  • The best extended use office chair  you can afford.
  • The biggest computer monitor you can afford.

If your want to be one of the best, your going to be spending a lot time in that chair. The better the chair the longer it’ll take before your rump, hips, and lower back start complaining.

There are chairs available for 24×7 use but if your like me you can probably get away with one that’s rated for 5+ hours.  You really should be getting up and taking a stretch every few hours.

Likewise, your going almost always have a lot of windows open, and when it’s late at night and your eyes are ready to go to bed and your not;  The ability to zoom the display will be a much needed relief for tired eyes.

Switching over to WordPress

Talk about the Cobbler’s kids going barefoot!  I’m finally in the process of moving this website over to WordPress. Version 3.4 is about to hit the bricks and it’s has some very nice APIs implemented that should make theme writers either jump with joy; or groan with dispair.

The only disappointment is that it would appear that the “twenty twelve” theme has been pushed off and I was hoping to use it with the new WinkWink site.

First Look: Apple iBook Author

Apple released their iBook Author program and I’ve been putting it through it’s paces by updating my “Hardening Snow Leopard” which I’m calling “OS X Lion Server Checklist.”

I have to admit that Author is a bit puzzling for me. Somehow it’s easier to write in than it’s big brother “Pages” but the interface is the same. I’m actually very pleased with the way the new format is working. In about a month, I should have a rough draft to put up.

 

First Look: Fujitsu S1500M Scanner and Mariner Paperless

For Christmas I got myself a Fujitsu 1500M scanner.  All I can say is: “What an improvement” scanners have made in the last decade.

It’s fast, It’s easy, I went through one of my file drawers in an evening.

I used Paperless for Mac OS X to Scan, Convert, and Organize the resulting searchable PDFs.

Very few jams (it really won’t take a paper clip) and the accuracy rate of the text conversion was suburb.  We talking about decade old paper with faded ink and it was able to handle it.  I am impressed with both products.

If your like me with dozen boxes of old business paper;  This is how to regain some valuable office space.  I’m going to be spending most of my Holidays getting rid of paper!

HTML5 & CSS 3.2 Class


I’m teaching a HTML5 class once a week, which of course means that I’m getting a better handle on it. Now that IE9 is out, HTML5 is ready to rock and roll! The new enities simplify the document structure greatly and we have all sorts of new toys to play with.

We’re redoing the Seattle Storyteller Guild to embrace the new standard, and move them over to WordPress. Still a work in progress however, I think it’s starting to look really good.

I’ve playing with WordPress for several small projects that I’m doing. That’s led me to some old yet new technology for Websites. First the concept of a grid layout which has been used for centuries in newspapers and consistent typography which again has been used for centuries.

I’m actually considering moving my website over to WordPress, it has been decidedly easy to work with and I’ve been modifying plugins down deep in the guts. Needless to say I’m happier than a cat with a big bowl of cream.

First Look: OS X Lion & Xcode4

I’ve been playing with Lion and new Xcode4 and I have to admit that I’m liking what I see. To use it effectively you really need one of the larger monitors. The integration between the Code editor and Interface Builder is much tighter. I’m still figuring out what went where.

Starting an “Health Journal” iPad Project

I’ve started a new iPad project: “Health Journal” allows users to tailor the sections to record in a easy to understand format. I believe that using cocos2d is the way to implement the features I want with the added bonus that it’ll probably be fun.