Designing websites has traditionally been an expensive and laboured experience. Many hours have been spent pouring over information architecture, deliberating interactions, elaborating upon wireframes and creating pixel-perfect Photoshop and Illustrator compositions, only for those design artefacts to be archived neatly away, on a server, never to be seen again. Read more – ‘Prototyping towards a better user experience’.
With many competing business models, technologies and systems, a perennial topic of conversation is which approach is better for mobile: websites and webapps, written in HTML5 and related Web technologies, housed on the Web and run across multiple platforms, devices and browsers; or native apps, downloaded to devices and built upon and designed specifically for iOS, Android and other mobile platforms. Read more – ‘Building a presence on mobile? Here are your options’.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others. Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature. Life is an exciting business and most exciting when it is lived for others. You cannot do much about the length of your life, but you can do a lot about its depth and width. Read more – ‘Imagination, creativity and knowledge’.
Back in 2007, Scott Berkun wrote a really interesting essay on Creative Thinking Hacks. In the article he suggested all of us possess everything necessary to be more creative. The problem is we’ve been trained away from our creative instincts by schools, parents, movies, workplaces and now the unerring distraction of the World Wide Web. Read more – ‘Creative Thinking Hacks’.
Research from Gartner says that this year will see more than $171.5 billion in mobile payment transactions — a rise of over 60 percent on 2011′s $105.9 billion — with 212.2 million people (up 32 percent from 160.5 million in 2011) using some form of mobile payment service. And what’s fueling the rise? Despite the rise of smartphones, it’s legacy-based services like SMS and web-based transactions. Read more – ‘Mobile Payment Users on the Rise Says Gartner’.
Mobile payment is being adopted all over the world in different ways. Combined market for all types of mobile payments is expected to reach more than $600 billion globally by 2013, which would be double the figure as of February, 2011, while mobile payment market for goods and services, excluding contactless NFC transactions and money transfers, is expected to exceed $300 billion globally by 2013. Read more – ‘What is a Mobile Payment?’.
People appreciate mobile apps that feel as though they were designed expressly for the device. For example, when an app fits well on the device screen and responds to the gestures that people know, it provides much of the experience people are looking for. And, although people might not be aware of human interface design principles, such as direct manipulation or consistency, they can tell when apps follow them and when they don't. Read more – ‘Apple’s 27 Guidelines for Mobile User Experience Design’.
The Twelve Basic Principles of Animation is a set of principles of animation introduced by the Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas in their 1981 book The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation. Johnston and Thomas in turn based their book on the work of the leading Disney animators from the 1930s onwards and their effort to produce more realistic animations. The main purpose of the principles was to produce an illusion of characters adhering to the basic laws of physics, but they also dealt with more abstract issues, such as emotional timing and character appeal. Read more – ‘Disney’s Twelve Basic Principles of Animation’.
Software can be designed to simplify tasks and to create a positive overall experience for users. Thoroughly understanding the goals of users and stakeholders and designing software with those goals in mind are the best approaches to successfully delivering products that will delight customers. Read more – ‘IBM’s Design Principles’.
I had lunch with my father the other day, and I explained this series as well as I could to someone who didn't start programming when he was 11. His immediate reaction was, "Why are there so many different formats? Why can't everybody just agree on a single format? It is political, or technical, or both?" The short answer is, it's both. The history of video in any medium — and especially since the explosion of amateur digital video — has been marred by a string of companies who wanted to use container formats and video codecs as tools to lock content producers and content consumers into their little fiefdoms. Own the format, own the future. And when I say "history" — well, it's still going on. Read more – ‘Mark Pilgrim – A Gentle Introduction to Video Encoding: Constraints’.
The first thing you need to know about captions and subtitles is that captions and subtitles are different. The second thing you need to know about captions and subtitles is that you can safely ignore the differences unless you're creating your own from scratch. I'm going to use the terms interchangeably throughout this article, which will probably drive you crazy if you happen to know and care about the difference. Read more – ‘Mark Pilgrim – A Gentle Introduction to Video Encoding: Captioning’.
Unless you're going to stick to films made before 1927 or so, you're going to want an audio track. A future article will talk about how to pick the audio codec that's right for you, but for now I just want to introduce the concept and describe the playing field. (This information is likely to go out of date quickly; future readers, be aware that this was written in December 2008.) Read more – ‘Mark Pilgrim – A Gentle Introduction to Video Encoding: Lossy Audio Codecs’.
You may think of video files as “AVI files” or “MP4 files.” In reality, “AVI” and “MP4″ are just container formats. Just like a ZIP file can contain any sort of file within it, video container formats only define how to store things within them, not what kinds of data are stored. (It’s a little more complicated than that, because not all video streams are compatible with all container formats, but never mind that for now.) A video file usually contains multiple tracks — a video track (without audio), one or more audio tracks (without video), one or more subtitle/caption tracks, and so forth. Tracks are usually interrelated; an audio track contains markers within it to help synchronize the audio with the video, and a subtitle track contains time codes marking when each phrase should be displayed. Individual tracks can have metadata, such as the aspect ratio of a video track, or the language of an audio or subtitle track. Containers can also have metadata, such as the title of the video itself, cover art for the video, episode numbers (for television shows), and so on. Read more – ‘Mark Pilgrim – A Gentle Introduction to Video Encoding: Container Formats’.
As content on the Web grows exponentially, our ability to make sense of it is inversely proportional. In other words, we are fast sinking under the sheer amount of content pouring onto the Web every day. The Social Web hasn’t made life any easier on managing content production either – in fact its lowered the barrier to entry. Read more – ‘Tools to Help You Manage Your Websites and Blogs’.
The demand for timely, relevant content that is specific to our unique interests and perspectives has given rise to a new generation of tools that aim to help individuals and companies create content and deliver it in a meaningful way. Read more – ‘Content Creation and Integration Tools’.
For some of the online world’s compulsions, we have only ourselves to blame. Think about email: In the past few years, we’ve arrived at an equilibrium point where everyone expects everyone else to be on email all the time. For most people, this isn’t a good thing. One of my friends, the business analytics expert […] Read more – ‘Dan Ariely on How We’re Gaming Ourselves’.
Do you want to get serious about using Twitter to market your services? Do you need to measure how much impact a topic has on Twitter? Or are you just just curious about your Twitter “performance” or perhaps someone elses? Well, here’s the good news: there are lots of analytics tools you can use to measure topics, followers, retweets and more. Some of them even provide you with free useful tools and widgets to integrate into your website or blog. Read more – ‘Twitter Monitoring and Analytics Tools’.
You, like many people, aren’t stupid, but it’s an unfortunate fact of life that you can be fooled. Since the dawn of time, the best salespeople, rightly or wrongly, have been known to exploit vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the human mind to their own gain. Read more – ‘You’re Being Gamed’.
WordPress has a nice little feature of saving revisions of your posts whilst you're editing them. This is great if you need to roll back to a previous revision. However, after you've published a post, it's unlikely you'll need the old revisions. Read more – ‘How to Delete WordPress Post Revisions’.
Design elements, laws and principles, garnered over centuries of observation, describe fundamental ideas about the practice of good visual design that are assumed to be the basis of all intentional visual design strategies. The elements form the 'vocabulary' of the design, while the laws and principles constitute the broader structural aspects of its composition. David Hume described these as "the constant and universal principles of human nature." Awareness of the elements, laws and principles in design is the first step in creating successful visual compositions. While these universal design elements, laws and principles may not always be absolutes, understanding them can help you achieve success in a multitude of fields including graphic, industrial design and experience design, architecture and fine art. Read more – ‘11 Laws and Principles to Use in Design’.
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type, which involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading (line spacing), adjusting the spaces between groups of letters (tracking) and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning). Read more – ‘A Guide to Typography’.
Social media monitoring helps with branding and marketing and can help identify quality control or customer care problems that may have gone unnoticed. Monitoring is only one piece of the puzzle, however. It’s important to find out who is saying what, and where the conversation is happening so you can respond appropriately. Read more – ‘Tools to Help You Manage Multiple Social Channels’.
In behavioural economics, gamification is the use of game dynamics for non-game applications, particularly consumer-oriented web and mobile sites, in order to encourage people to adopt the applications. It also strives to encourage users to engage in desired behaviours in connection with the applications. Gamification works by making technology more engaging, encouraging desired behaviours and by taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping or reading web sites. Read more – ‘Game Dynamics, or Gamification to You and Me’.
Inclusive design is well established in architecture and industrial design and the principles that apply to these disciplines are equally relevant on the web. It’s people that your website engages with, not technologies, so a user-centered approach is fundamental. Read more – ‘The Ten Principles of Inclusive Web Design’.
We’ve all played games as children. Today, millions of people ‘lose’ themselves in massively multiplayer games (MMPG) like World of Warcraft, strategy games like League of Legends and social media games like FarmVille. Games satisfy our need to interact, compete, and exercise our imagination. And they’re fun. Read more – ‘43 Things That Customers Think Are Fun’.
In an economy where the only certainty is uncertainty, the one source of lasting competitive advantage is knowledge. When markets shift, technologies proliferate and products become obsolete almost overnight, successful companies are those that consistently create new knowledge, disseminate it widely throughout the organisation and quickly embody it in new technologies and products. Read more – ‘The Certainties of Knowledge’.
People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying 'no' to 1,000 things. Read more – ‘Steve Jobs: Get Rid of the Crappy Stuff’.
The Cathedral and the Bazaar is an essay by Eric S. Raymond on software engineering methods, based on his observations of the Linux kernel development process and his experiences managing an open source project, fetchmail. It examines the struggle between top-down and bottom-up design. Read more – ‘The Cathedral and the Bizarre’.
The human mind is an intriguing thing, capable of the most complex thought processes and ideas. Yet the brain is on automatic pilot for many situations. That allows the conscious mind to focus on other tasks. One potential drawback is that it is possible take advantage of our conscious inattention. Read more – ‘Robert Cialdini’s Six Universal Types of Influence’.
The myth of creative genius is resilient: We believe that great ideas pop fully formed out of brilliant minds, in feats of imagination well beyond the abilities of mere mortals. But Design Thinking is neither a sudden breakthrough nor the lightning strike of genius; it is the result of hard work augmented by a creative human-centered discovery process, followed by iterative cycles of prototyping, testing, and refinement. Read more – ‘How to Make Design Thinking Part of the Innovation Drill’.
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need weird shoes or a black turtleneck to be a design thinker. Nor are design thinkers necessarily created only by design schools, even though most professionals have had some kind of design training. Many people outside professional design have a natural aptitude for design thinking, which the right development and experiences can unlock. Read more – ‘A Design Thinker’s Personality Profile’.
The visual principles of harmony, unity, contrast, emphasis, variety, balance, proportion, pattern and direction (and others) are widely recognised and practiced, even when they aren’t formally articulated. But creating a good design doesn’t automatically mean creating a good experience. In order for us to cultivate positive experiences for our users, we need to establish a set of guiding principles for experience design. Read more – ‘Design Principles: The Philosophy of UX’.
Good designs are useful, usable and desirable. But what is a good experience? While crafting the experience of her own startup, Foodspotting, Alexa Andrzejewski found answers in urban design. Asking the same question about urban experiences, Kevin Lynch, author of Good City Form, extracted a set of dimensions for evaluating experiences. By applying these principles to interactive experiences, you can identify what kind of experience you’re creating for users: Is it adaptable? Does it tell a story? Are there signs of life? You’ll leave with a set of guidelines that, unlike traditional heuristics, will enable you to evaluate the experiential qualities of your designs. Read more – ‘The Dimensions of a Good Experience’.
Back in April last year, Google announced that it would take page download speeds into account when indexing web pages; officially linking a website’s performance to search engine marketing. Google’s fixation with page speed took an addition last Thursday with the launch of Page Speed to Google Labs. Read more – ‘Google Launches Page Speed Analyzer In Labs’.
The ‘feel’ of an interactive system can be compared to the impressions generated by a piece of music. Both can only be experienced over a period of time. With either, the user must abstract the structure of the system from a sequence of details. Each may have a quality of ‘naturalness’ because successive actions follow a logically self-consistent pattern. A good composer can write a new pattern which will seem, after a few listenings, to be so natural the observer wonders why it was never done before. Read more – ‘Hansen’s User Engineering Principles for Interactive Systems’.
At first glance, the way the Apache mod_rewrite module handles query strings can be a little intimidating. mod_rewrite works by sitting on your server in a file called htaccess, and “catching” requests for URL‘s. It then checks these URL request against a series of rules and conditions you have set. If the request meets any of the rules and conditions, it applies then necessary changes to the URL, then reprocesses the request with the changes you have directed. Read more – ‘Apache RewriteRule and query strings’.
The official user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) guidelines from the manufacturers, links to which you can find below, are a source of inspiration for mobile web and application design. Here, you will find guidelines, samples, tips, and descriptions of common mistakes. Many of the guidelines focus on native application development, but we can apply most parts of them to mobile web design. Read more – ‘User Interface Guidelines for Mobile and Tablet Devices’.
The current economic climate means companies have been forced to rethink strategies they have relied on for a while, including those concerning email marketing; achieving a positive return on investment (ROI) on promotions is more critical than ever for growing business. Read more – ‘Send Out More Profitable Email Campaigns’.
Given the option, most people prefer to watch a video than read good old fashioned text. Therefore, it’s no surprise that video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion are increasing in populatrity, with YouTube inparticular being recently ranked the third most popular website in the world by Alexa. Anticipating the need to find video content online, the major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) have created their own video search engines. These spider the web for unique video content and publish it in their video sections. Read more – ‘Get your Website’s Video Content onto the Search Engines’.
Social media is relationship and conversation media. At its core is the art of building relationships with others, human-to-human. However, you can’t be everywhere conversing with everyone at the same time. You need to pick your battles. Where you "hang out" digitally, just like any outreach and marketing program, should be driven by where your constituency hangs out. Read more – ‘Steps to a Strong Brand’.
Sweatshop has an exciting opportunity for someone to join the E-commerce team to help drive online sales growth for Sweatshop. The key responsibilities of this role are producing and managing email marketing campaigns, creating and editing content for the website and working on website development projects in conjunction with the Head of E-commerce and external web developers. Read more – ‘Web Content Manager – Sweatshop.co.uk – Leading Specialist Running Retailer’.
The Semantic Web is a web of data. There is lots of data we all use every day, and most of it is not part of the web. I can see my bank statements on the web, and my photographs, and I can see my appointments in a calendar. But can I see my photos in a calendar to see what I was doing when I took them and on a map so I know where I took them? Can I see bank statement lines in a calendar? The answer, right now, is no. Read more – ‘An Introduction to the Semantic Web’.
The decision to utilise a sub-domain, sub-directory or even a microsite is simply an architectural decision, but one that is often compounded with a marketing decision. In general, sub-directories are used to describe what individual pages are about while sub-domains and microsites are used to describe what an entire site is about. Read more – ‘When to use Sub-domains versus Sub-directories and Microsites’.
Google Analytics describes itself as an “enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness.” However, to really leverage the power of Analytics you need to set up profiles and filters to segment your data and create more meaningful reports. You’ll then be more prepared to write better-targeted adverts, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites. Read more – ‘Segment your Google Analytics with Profiles and Filters’.
Google’s AdWords product helps connect you with potential customers in the right place, and at precisely the right time by placing relevant adverts on the right-hand-side of Google’s search results pages (SERPs) or through their content network, via AdSense. Read more – ‘13 Google AdWords Tips and Tricks’.
In early April, Twitter launched Promoted Tweets, combining paid and organic media. Brands can now advertise promoted tweets on search pages, however the community has power over which Tweets will appear measured by Twitter’s new metric called “resonance”, which factors in behaviours like the retweets, @mentions, #hashtags and avatar clicks. Brands can now purchase CPM based adverts to promote these popular tweets at the top of a Twitter search term — even in categories they aren’t well known in, influencing awareness. Read more – ‘What Twitter’s Promoted Tweets Business Model Means to the Ecosystem’.
Over time Twitter, or more accurately, Tweets have acquired a unique lexicon of their own. Some of the volcabulary has been around since the dawn of Twitter — like @username at the beginning of a Tweet — whilst others are relatively recent — such as lists — but all of them make the language of Tweets unique. Read more – ‘Tweet-specific Language’.
Google’s addition of a page speed signal to its search rankings algorithm officially links performance with search engine marketing. The loading speed of a web page affects user psychology in a number of ways, and now it can effect its rankings as well. Read more – ‘Tools to Evaluate the Speed of Your Website’.
Social media marketing has three important aspects. The first revolves around creating buzz or newsworthy events, videos, tweets, or blog entries that attract attention, and become viral in nature. Buzz is what makes social media marketing work. It replicates a message through user to user contact, rather than the traditional method of purchasing via an advert or promoting a press release. The message does not necessarily have to be about the product. Many successful viral campaigns have gathered steam through an amusing or compelling message, with the company logo or tagline included incidentally. Read more – ‘Thoughts on a Social Media Marketing Strategy’.
The Cluetrain Manifesto – written in 1999 by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger – is a set of 95 theses organised and put forward as a manifesto, or call to action, for all businesses operating within what was suggested to be a newly-connected marketplace. Read more – ‘The Ninety-Five Theses of Conversation’.
If you’re comfortable with installing applications on your Mac and are reasonably familiar with MySQL, installing MySQL on Snow Leopard should be relatively simple. Here are the simple steps you need to do to get MySQL up and running on your local machine. Read more – ‘Installing MySQL on Mac OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard)’.
Whether you’re keeping up with family members or growing your company’s brand, social media has become integral to many aspects of our lives. And it’s getting harder to keep up. Here are some ebooks that can get you started on your path towards social media success or help you kick things up a notch if you’re already active on the social Web. Read more – ‘15 Free eBooks about Social Media’.
Friends are an extremely important part of most people’s lives. The question Who are your friends?, is continually asked across The Web through applications that form part of the social media phenomenon. If you join Twitter or Facebook, one of the actions you are almost immediately asked is to identify your friends. But relationships in a digital world are not so absolute. Read more – ‘The Spectrum of Online Friendship’.
Human-Computer Interaction Seminar (Seminar on People, Computers, and Design) is a Stanford University course that features weekly speakers on topics related to human-computer interaction design. The seminar is organized by the Stanford HCI Group, which works across disciplines to understand the intersection between humans and computers. Read more – ‘Stanford University Human-Computer Interaction Seminars’.
Setting an Expires (or Cache-Control) header in Apache will help speed up your website. I'm running Apache 2.x, and define an expires header for all of the site's static assets (images, stylesheets, and scripts). Read more – ‘How to Set an Expires Header in Apache’.
Social media has become the new buzzword of the web. As businesses wake up to realise the power of social media and the way it can accelerate the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) process, more and more companies are venturing towards Social Media Optimisation (SMO). Read more – ‘How to Optimise Your Social Media Profile’.
In honour [sic] of International Data Privacy Day today, 28th January 2010, Google has published their own guidlines on privacy. The timing of this is quite intriguing following the recent hacking attack, supposedly orchestrated by the Chinese authorities, on Google, Yahoo, Adobe and some 20 other major international corporations; whilst there is also the ongoing concern from many quarters about Google is too dominant in many aspects of our online lives. Read more – ‘Google's 5 Privacy Principles’.
The truly worldwide reach of the Web has brought with it a new realisation among computer scientists and industry professionals of the enormous importance of usability and user interface design. In the last ten years, much has become understood about what works in user interfaces from a usability perspective, and what does not. Read more – ‘User Experience Books Free to Read Online’.
Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design. Many of Rams’ designs — coffee makers, calculators, radios, audio/visual equipment, consumer appliances and office products — have found a permanent home at many museums over the world, including MoMA in New York. Read more – ‘Dieter Rams' 10 Rules of Good Design’.
Customer wooing styles: People often ask the difference between how a public relation expert goes about wooing customers versus an ad agency, a designer, etc. In his top-selling book Zag: The No. 1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands, Marty Neumeier summarizes the differences in this tongue-in-cheek visualisation. Read more – ‘The No. 1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands’.
The tragedy of the commons refers to a dilemma described in an influential article by that name written by Garrett Hardin and first published in the journal Science in 1968. The article describes a situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently, and solely and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately destroy a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen. Read more – ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’.
IDEO's Human Centered Design Toolkit is a free innovation guide for NGOs and social enterprises. Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a process used for decades to create new solutions for companies and organisations. HCD can help you enhance the lives of people. This process has been specially-adapted for organisations like that work with people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. HCD will help you hear people’s needs in new ways, create innovative solutions to meet these needs, and deliver solutions with financial sustainability in mind. Read more – ‘IDEO's Human Centered Design Toolkit’.
Published in the "Ergonomics in Design" journal in 1997, Arnie Lund collected and created this list of 34 rules-of-thumb that were found particularly useful during the design process by colleagues working in the human-computer interaction (HCI) design field. Read more – ‘Lund's Expert Ratings of Usability Maxims’.
Emotional Design is both the title of a book by Donald Norman and of the concept it represents. The main issue is that emotions have a crucial role in the human ability to understand the world, and how they learn new things. For example, aesthetically pleasing objects appear to the user to be more effective, by virtue of their sensual appeal. This is due to the affinity the user feels for an object that appeals to them, due to the formation of an emotional connection [with the object]. Read more – ‘Three Dimensions of Emotional Design’.
Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of the users in order to help to guide decisions about a product, such as features, interactions, and visual design. Personas are most often used as part of a user-centered design process for designing software and are also considered a part of interaction design. Read more – ‘Ten Steps to Personas’.
Carpe diem on any duplicate content worries: Google, Yahoo and Microsoft now support a format that allows you to publicly specify your preferred version of a URL. If your site has identical or vastly similar content that’s accessible through multiple URLs, this format provides you with more control over the URL returned in search results. It also helps to make sure that properties such as link popularity are consolidated to your preferred version. Read more – ‘Canonical URLs – What Are They All About?’.
The September 2009 UK edition of Wired ran an interesting article, carrying the same title as this post, by futurist Peter Schwartz. In the article, Schwartz proposed a 5 step plan to predicting and therefore safe guarding your future. Read more – ‘Plan Your Future in Five Easy Steps’.
The buzz around cloud computing has reached a fever pitch. Some believe it is a disruptive trend representing the next stage in the evolution of the Internet. Others believe it is hype, as it uses long established computing technologies. As with any new trend in the IT world, organizations must figure out the benefits and risks of cloud computing and the best way to use this technology. Read more – ‘The Open Cloud Manifesto’.
Before Ant, building and deploying web applications required a series of scripts or manual processes, which often led to mistakes. Apache Ant is a software tool for automating software build processes. It is similar to Make but is implemented using the Java language, requires the Java platform, and is best suited to building Java projects. However, that doesn’t mean it is restricted to Java projects. I use Ant increasingly for all my web development projects as it is an integral part of Eclipse, my IDE of choice. It makes building applications and releasing them across different servers far more efficient and less problematic. Read more – ‘Apache Ant Best Practices’.
One of Google’s mantras is to never settle for the best. The perfect search engine, says Google co-founder Larry Page, would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want. Given the state of search technology today, that’s a far-reaching vision requiring research, development and innovation to realize. Google is committed to blazing that trail. Though acknowledged as the world’s leading search technology company, Google’s goal is to provide a much higher level of service to all those who seek information, whether they’re at a desk in Boston, driving through Bonn, or strolling in Bangkok. Read more – ‘Google's Philosophy – Ten Things’.
Okay, so many of the points below aren’t purely my philosophy, but ideas and principles I have picked up along the way throughout my [development] career. Some relate to the UNIX philosophy, or even the Zen of Python, but wherever they’re from, they can be applied to many other domains. Read more – ‘My Work Philosophy’.
Take control of your code with these programming best practices from Kevlin Henney. At JAOO Aarhus 2008 Kevlin used a trash can, vampires, a train wreck, whiskey and much more to make you understand and remember his 13 constructive points (a programmer’s dozen) about programming and code smells. Read more – ‘Programmer’s Dozen – Programming Best Practices’.
PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and is a worldwide security standard assembled by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). The PCI security standards are technical and operational requirements that were created to help organizations that process card payments prevent credit card fraud, hacking and various other security vulnerabilities and threats. The standards apply to all organizations that store, process or transmit cardholder data – with guidance for software developers and manufacturers of applications and devices used in those transactions. A company processing, storing, or transmitting cardholder data must be PCI DSS compliant. Read more – ‘Secure Your Application – PCI DSS Specifications’.
ColdFusion is 13 years old. That make makes it the daddy of the web world! It does not make it any less hip or useful than the relatively new kids on the block. Let's not dilly-dally, bicker or insult one another about which is best, which one is dying and which one is not worth the computer it is compiled on. What is important is to understand the merits of each language and decide which one best suits the application, not only in technical terms, but also in terms of time-to-market, cost of development, availability of a skilled workforce etc. Read more – ‘Let's not Dilly-Dally: ColdFusion has its Merits’.
If you're currently not using Eclipse as your development tool of choice, you certainly should be! Eclipse is an open source community whose projects are focused on building an open development platform comprised of extensible frameworks, tools and runtimes for building, deploying and managing software across the lifecycle. Read more – ‘Using Ant with Eclipse’.
One of the most amusing quotes of 2008 must be this: At a party to mark the handover of the Olympic flag in Beijing, newly elected Mayor Boris Johnson laid claim to Britain's sporting inventiveness. Read more – ‘Boris Johnson's Wiff Waff’.
Four resources to consider when embarking on a new project: Precedent (who’s done it already and how?); External data; Internal data and knowledge; and, Educated guesses No. 4 is most valuable. After all, all the research in the world won’t tell you how to design it. (Source: Cameron Moll) Read more – ‘Embarking on a New Project?’.
An increasingly popular technique among websites and in particular, blogs, is the idea of making URLs search engine friendly, or safe, on the premise that doing so will help search engine optimisation. By removing the obscure query string element of a URL and replacing it with keyword rich alternatives, not only makes it more readable for a human being, but also the venerable robots that allow our page content to be found in the first place. Read more – ‘Enabling Search Engine Safe URLs with Apache and htaccess’.
Two Italians, Eva and Franco Mattes internationally known as 0100101110101101.org and self-styled net art pranksters and hacktivists have been besieging the art world with their clever hacks and elusive digital role-plays for more than ten years. Read more – ‘It's Always Six O'Clock’.
A web community is a web site (or group of web sites) that is a virtual community. Web communities in recent times commonly take the form of a social network service, such as Facebook, Upcoming and Last.fm, an Internet forum, a group of blogs such as WordPress.com and Blogger, or another kind of social software web application. Read more – ‘The Four C's of Community’.
For the seasoned Flex developer, we’ve been accustomed to using the Flex Component Explorer as a reference. However, this is set to change with a great new application called Tour de Flex.
Tour de Flex is a desktop application, built using AIR, with the goal of providing a way to explore Flex’s capabilities and resources, including the core Flex components, Adobe AIR and data integration. Read more – ‘Tour de Flex Hits the Ground Running’.
An accessibility statement makes a good addition to all web sites. It is not only a place to demonstrate that you are taking accessibility seriously, but more importantly, it should provide extra information for visitors to your site — particularly for those people with disabilities who need to know about the accessibility of the information and services you provide — and a mechanism to receive feedback on accessibility. Read more – ‘Writing a Good Web Accessibility Statement’.
What do we need the skin of a car for? What’s its purpose? Does it need to be made of metal? In reality we don’t. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a car with a human like skin that covered all the essential mechanical and structural components of the vehicle. These questions were addressed by the BMW Group design team behind the GINA project. Read more – ‘The BMW GINA Light Visionary Model’.
If you're looking for a stunningly-designed, futuristic-looking, eco-friendly motor vehicle, you need not look any further than the Aptera Typ-1. Forget the General Motors EV1 or the Toyota Prius, this car has all the looks and innovative technology to match. The Aptera Typ-1 is a 2-seat, three wheeled passenger vehicle. It is available in both all-electric and series hybrid configurations, at arounf £20,000/$30,000. Aerodynamic optimisation using computer-based simulations and light-weight composite construction yields a vehicle which consumes only 80 Wh/mi at 55 mph, about half the energy needed to propel the General Motors EV1. On the battery electric model, this means a 120 mile range on 10 kWh of electricity, or around 340 mpg price equivalent. On the hybrid vehicle, it leads to projections of 130 mpg on gasoline alone, or 300 mpg if plugged in every 120 miles. Read more – ‘The Aptera Typ-1: Part Car, Part Motorcycle’.
The first step to increasing your site’s visibility on the top search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN is to help their respective robots crawl and index your site. To avoid undesirable content in the search indexes, webmasters can instruct spiders not to crawl certain files or directories through the standard robots.txt file. Conversely and importantly, webmasters can also notify the search engines about the existence and importance of pages with a sitemap.xml file Read more – ‘Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Webmaster Tools’.
Little People in the City brings together the collected photographs of Slinkachu, a street-artist who for several years has been leaving little hand-painted people in the bustling city to fend for themselves, waiting to be discovered. Read more – ‘Big City, Little People’.
In the early 20th Century, Henry Ford realised a dream and brought the motor vehicle to the masses with the Model-T Ford. Skip forward a hundred years and personalised flight is the new arena. Igarashi Design has introduced a single seat helicopter with war-like looks. Read more – ‘Single Seat Helicopter Concept’.
The Rim is a unique timepiece. The hour and minute hands have been positioned on the outer edge of the clock face rather than the centre, making it a distinctive looking product that imbues style on any space. It minimalist design sits well in all environments, from office space to living rooms or kitchen walls. Read more – ‘Reinventing the Clock’.
A common need in SQL is the ability to iterate over a list as if it were an array. In SQL it is not possible to declare arrays, unlike other programming languages such as ColdFusion, ActionScript and Java. Fortunately, there is a way around this problem: use a User-Defined Functions (UDFs) to create a tabular version of the data. Arrays are, after all, essentially tabular data (at their simplest, one dimension level). Read more – ‘SQL User-Defined Function: ListToTable’.
Crossed between quasar and a game of tag, QR-kill is the new phenomenon spreading around the mobile community. Utilising high-end mobile phones like the Nokia N95 and Applie iPhone and 2-dimensional barcodes called QR-codes, this game is best played in public places like shopping centres or department stores for added amusement. Read more – ‘QR-kill – The Hi-tech Mobile Game’.
Daniel Simon is an automotive futurist. He's interned with Lamborghini and worked on concept cars for Volkswagen and Bugatti. But the auto industry -- indeed, the galaxy -- could not contain his imagination. Read more – ‘Cosmic Motors from Daniel Simon’.
Last weekend I attended Barcamp Brighton 3. For the uninitiated like me, a BarCamp is an international network of user generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants — often focusing on early-stage web applications, and related open source technologies, social protocols, and open data formats. Read more – ‘Talking QR.app at Barcamp Brighton 3’.
Lotus have developed a Concept Ice Vehicle (CIV) — a cross between a skidoo and a microlight — to aid research for the Moon Regan Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The Moon-Regan expedition team will cross the great continent using state-of-the-art bio-fuelled vehicle technology and cutting-edge communications equipment to raise awareness of how Antarctica’s fate affects the whole environment. Read more – ‘Lotus Concept Ice Vehicle for Antarctic Expedition’.
Whether you are new to Adobe ® Flex ® or have been developing for a while, frameworks can help you get organised quickly. Below is a list of Flex and AIR frameworks that will allow you to get up and running and develop highly-collaborative applications. The introductions are by the frameworks themselves, but I'd like to here from you about your experiences using them. Read more – ‘Rich Internet Application Frameworks for Flex and AIR’.
SQLite is a mostly ACID-compliant relational database management system contained in a relatively small (~500kB) C programming library. The Adobe AIR runtime includes the SQLite embedded database for use by Adobe AIR applications. This allows applications to run and store data locally and or synchronise the datastore with online repositories. Read more – ‘Preventing SQL Injection in an AIR Application’.
In my previous post, What is a SQL Injection Attack, I gave a brief overview of SQL injection and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), primarily with regard to websites. In the example given, we saw that an attack could take the form of a ‘hacked’ URL which contained either a literal SQL statement, or a hexadecimal string that could be interpreted by an insecure SQL database server. Read more – ‘How to Fix a SQL Injection Attack’.
Over the past few weeks, subversive elements in the international arena have decided that attacking websites is a fun thing to do! The online world has become the new battle ground between nations vying to de-stabilise rivals. This may seem all very Jack Bauer, but we are increasingly seening ‘SQL injection attacks’ eminating from countries such as Russia, China and North Korea. Of course, that doesn’t mean our countries aren’t doing the same in return, but we only see the results from foreign-based attacks. Read more – ‘What is a SQL Injection Attack’.
In the first part of this series I talked about setting yourself up in business. The next step is to publicise yourself and your skills. At this point, it is helpful to know exactly what line of work you want to be focusing on, since you will need to target your efforts. Read more – ‘Launching Yourself as a Freelancer – Publicity’.
You're an experienced designer or developer with aspirations to become a freelancer. Shrugging off the corporate cloak —"It's cosy! It fits well! You've had it for years!" — is becoming more and more common. Read more – ‘Launching Yourself as a Freelancer’.
It is not often that the little old ladies of the choral society scream "since Fate strikes down the strong man, everyone weep with me!", or when they are in a more cheerful mood, "My virginity makes me frisky, my simplicity holds me back. Oh, Oh, Oh, I am completely coming to life". Read more – ‘Carmina Burana – Drink, Sex and Medieval Monks’.
Since getting the new iPhone 3G I've been downloading 'useful' applications like there was no tomorrow. I now have the very useful Vicinity app, various social networking apps and the best of all, a Light Sabre. Read more – ‘The iPhone Application for WordPress’.
The Adobe ColdFusion 8 Developer Exam arrived earlier this year and it is about time I took it. But like Ben Nadel, the exam scares me! Why? Because there is so much more to know. With the introduction of new AJAX tags, native JSON support, .NET integration, image manipulation, threading, interfaces, not to mention full PDF integration, the presentation builder and across the board enhancements, there are a lot of new things to know. Read more – ‘A Minor Rant About The ColdFusion 8 Developer Exam’.
You're a YouTube addict with a serious amount of uncut video footage that you want to upload. If you want to transform that footage into an Oscar winning video clip that will be viewed millions of times, you'll need to do a little editing. But buying editing tools isn't a cheap pasttime. Read more – ‘Online Video Editors’.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, or more accurately, France, the forces of good and evil do battle once more. It's not the seventh instalment of the Star Wars series, it's a collection of striking images, created by Cedric Delsaux, involving characters from the Star Wars franchise in bleak surroundings. Read more – ‘The Empire Strikes a Bleak Scene’.
CFEclipse is a community project that builds on the open-source Eclipse framework to deliver expert, code-centric developers a new option for ColdFusion development. CFEclipse provides Eclipse with an outline view, a CFC (ColdFusion component) view, code completion (code hinting), syntax highlighting text editors for CFML and CFC files, and many more ColdFusion-specific features. Read more – ‘CFEclipse Keyboard Shortcuts’.
Adobe has progressively been developing an online presence with Buzzword, Share, Brio and Photoshop Express. But the online presence falls short of important spreadsheet and presentation applications.
So who could the contenders be? Here are two extremely promising applications built on the Flash platform Read more – ‘Are these Contenders for Acquisition by Adobe?’.
Adobe is slowly but surely increasing its online presence with the addition of four web-based tools; Buzzword, Share, Photoshop Express and Brio. Although these four applications currently function independently from each other, they have very similar user interfaces and with a small amount of work, these tools could be tied together, offering a new and unique online suite worth noticing. Read more – ‘Adobe's Expanding Online Empire’.
Here are 216 web colour charts. There are a variety of ways to colour web sites. These hexadecimal codes can be used in both XHTML and CSS. Decimal colour codes can be used in CSS and most graphics tools. Read more – ‘Web-safe Colour Charts’.
Adobe Integrated Runtime is more than just hot air, it traverses the previously unexplored space that exists between the Web and desktop applications.
Up until very recently, the void between the Web and the desktop seemed like a schism that could not be crossed. But since AIR's 1.0 release in February this year, a whole host of other applications are emerging to compete with AIR in the single site browser space. Read more – ‘More Than Just Hot AIR – Single Site Browsers’.
The ActionScript reference for rich Internet application development provides an alphabetical reference for all native ActionScript APIs for the Adobe technology platform runtimes: Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIRâ€”as well as the Adobe Flex framework APIs. Use this guide both as an API reference and a tool to learn about the ActionScript APIs available within the runtimes. Read more – ‘ActionScript 3 RIA Reference Guide’.
Sweatshop is the leading specialist running retailer in the UK with 29 stores and 6 websites. We organise 2 of the largest road races in the UK and have been in business since 1971.
Over the next 18 months Sweatshop is looking to dramatically develop its websites, road races and retail operation. We are looking for key personnel to take the business forward as we intend to treble the size of the company in the next 5 years. Read more – ‘ColdFusion Developer Required – Sweatshop.co.uk – Leading Specialist Running Retailer’.
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. Read more – ‘Aristotle on Excellence’.
Social network portability is one of several user-interface ideas and suggestions in the area of data-portability. As users, our identity, photos, videos and other forms of personal data should be discoverable by, and shared between our chosen (and trusted) tools or vendors. When you join a new site, you should be able to import or preferably subscribe to your profile information and your social network from any existing profile of yours. We need a DHCP for Identity. A distributed File System for data. The technologies already exist, we simply need a complete reference design to put the pieces together. This problem is solved by a number existing technologies and initiatives: Microformats, OpenID, OAuth, RDF, RSS, OPML and APML. Read more – ‘Data Portability for Social Networks’.
In the late 1990s, a large multi-national technology corporation, hoping to become a major force in online advertising, bought a small start-up in a sector that was believed to be the "next big thing". That corporation was Microsoft and the start-up was Hotmail. Hotmail and Microsoft established web-based email as a must-have application for personal use. The addition of Hotmail to the Microsoft inventory promised to increase the companies online revenues that were being dominated by Yahoo!, Google and AOL amongst a host of others. Read more – ‘Online Social Networks: Everywhere, Yet Nowhere’.
Say no to IE 6! The Save The Developers campaign focuses on assisting users in upgrading their Internet Explorer 6 web browser. This campaign will result in former IE 6 users having a more enjoyable experience on the web while (hopefully) creating a less stressful and complicated environment for web developers by hastening the retirement of an outdated Read more – ‘Save The Developers. Upgrade Your Browser.’.
On the Web, a walled garden is an environment that controls the user's access to Web content and services. In effect, the walled garden directs the user's navigation within particular areas, to allow access to a selection of material, or prevent access to other material. Read more – ‘Open Standards: Break Down Those Walls’.
Since the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) was released at the end of February, we now have a stable platform on which to build desktop applications with our existing web skills. A number of people have already started and the Adobe AIR Marketplace is filling with AIR applications by the day.
So what is the big deal? Read more – ‘Great Adobe AIR Applications to Check Out’.
With the release of ColdFusion MX 7 came the introduction of the Application.cfc ColdFusion component. This component replaced the traditional Application.cfm and OnRequestEnd.cfm ColdFusion application templates. Furthermore, if Application.cfc is present, both of these templates are ignored by the application.
In addition to replacing the Application.cfm, the Application.cfc introduced a number of built in methods that handle specific events. These events, as discussed in detail below, allow for a greater control over events within the application. Read more – ‘Anatomy of the Application.cfc in ColdFusion 8’.
The Web Standards Project (WaSP) is to expand its scope of collaboration with Adobe to advance web standards. Having successfully completed its initial goals for assisting Adobe's Dreamweaver team in supporting Web standards, the Web Standards Project's Dreamweaver Task Force will be renamed the Adobe Task Force to reflect its widened scope. The Adobe Task Force will collaborate with Adobe on all of the company's products that output code or content to the Web, and will continue to advocate compliance with Web Standards and accessibility guidelines by those who use Adobe's products to design and build Web sites and applications. Read more – ‘Web Standards Project Expands Collaboration with Adobe’.
The THIS scope in the Application.cfc contains several built-in variables that allow you to set the properties of the application; the name, session management etc. With the release ColdFusion 8 comes the introduction of application-based pathing in the form of the THIS.mappings and THIS.customTagPaths variables. Read more – ‘Application-Based Paths in ColdFusion’.
Download the SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver 1.2, a Type 4 JDBC driver that provides database connectivity through the standard JDBC application program interfaces (APIs) available in J2EE (Java2 Enterprise Edition).
This release of the JDBC Driver is JDBC 3.0 compliant and runs on the Java Development Kit (JDK) version 1.4 and higher. It has been tested against all major application servers including BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, JBoss, and Sun. Read more – ‘Microsoft SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver 1.2’.
I’m not a big fan of the BBC’s recent website redesign! While I believe that a few structural and hierarchical elements could have been addressed better, the overall result of this redesign is too “Facebook” and Web 2.0 for my liking; exactly what an online news site does not need. Who are the BBC trying to appeal to? They have gone from being content centric to design and technology centric. This in itself isn’t a bad thing, but I don’t understand the BBCs motivation for doing so. Read more – ‘BBC Appealing to the Facebook Generation’.
Following a conversation with a friend regarding how ColdFusion handles arrays and structures in 'the background', I was interested to find out what Java classes each were mapped to. This was a relatively simple case of using the functions getClass(), getSuperClass() and getName() to parse out the name of the Java classes. Read more – ‘The Java Behind a ColdFusion Array and Structure’.
Array and Structures are considered to be complex data types in ColdFusion. In contrast, simple data types are ones that contain a single piece of data, such as an Integer, String, or Boolean value. A complex data type can contain multiple pieces of data, which, in the case of arrays, are usually related. All the data are referenced under a single variable name. You can think of a complex variable as a variable that contains a collection of other variables inside it. An array maps Integers to arbitrarily typed objects (Integers, Strings, Booleans and Objects) while a structure, or associative array, maps arbitrarily typed objects to arbitrarily typed objects. Read more – ‘The Inner Workings of a ColdFusion Array and Structure’.
New Atlanta is announcing today, at CFUnited Europe - a ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) technology conference in London, U.K.- that they will be creating and distributing a free open-source Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) version of BlueDragon, their ColdFusion-compatible web application server. Read more – ‘New Atlanta Open-Sources BlueDragon’.
In an earlier post I eluded to the implicit creation of arrays in ColdFusion 8. Well, the same can be said of structures.
A structure, also known as an associative array, is a complex data type composed of a collection of keys and a collection of values, where each key is associated with one value (a key-value pair). The operation of finding the value associated with a key is called a lookup or indexing, and this is the most important operation supported by a structure. The relationship between a key and its value is sometimes called a mapping or binding. For example, if the value associated with the key "Age" is 29 and "City" is "London", we say that our structure maps "Age" to 29 and "City" to "London". Read more – ‘Implicit Structures in ColdFusion 8’.
An array is a data structure consisting of a group of elements that are accessed by indexing. In most programming languages each element has the same data type. However, ColdFusion, as we will see, is not strictly typed and therefore allows any data type to be stored in combination. This allows strings, integers, booleans and other complex data types all to be stored in the same array. However, doing this certainly isn't a good practice as it causes signification complication when accessing the stored data.
Variables of a simple data type commonly only store a single value but, in some situations, it is useful to have a variable that can store a series of related values - using an array. Arrays are described as complex data types because they can hold data in a structured, complex way. Read more – ‘Implicit Arrays in ColdFusion 8’.
In arithmetic and algebra, when a number or expression is both preceded and followed by a binary operation (a calculation involving two operands), a rule is required for which operation should be applied first. From the earliest use of mathematical notation, multiplication took precedence over addition, whichever side of a number it appeared on. Thus 3 + 4 — 5 = 5 — 4 + 3 = 23. Read more – ‘Operator Precedence in ColdFusion’.
GeSHi started out as a module for the phpBB forum system to enable highlighting of programming languages, which was largely unavailable at the time. Since its conception it has spawned into a standalone project, supported by many web-based PHP content management systems. Read more – ‘Generic Syntax Highlighter (GeSHi) for ColdFusion’.
In the following series of posts, I will introduce the changes and show some simple examples. The first in the series is Arithmetic Operators.
Arithmetic operators take numerical values (either literals or variables) as their operands and return a single numerical value. The standard arithmetic operators are addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), and division (/).
Ruby is a language of careful balance. Its creator, Yukihiro â€œmatzâ€ Matsumoto, blended parts of his favorite languages (Perl, Smalltalk, Eiffel, Ada, and Lisp) to form a new language that balanced functional programming with imperative programming. Read more – ‘UK Ruby User Group on LinkedIn’.
I've just discovered, nearly two months late, that I was a CFEmmy Best Newcommer Nominee for 2007. How did I miss that? I would have been on Todd Sharp's website voting like crazy if I had know!Read more – ‘ColdFusion Emmy Nominee’.
Installing PHP is a relatively simple task one would think. Indeed it is simple, but configuring the php.ini isn't; at least not so on Windows Vista! It is infuriating when such a relatively simple task is made inordinately complicated because of the nuances of Vista permissions. What started out as a 5 minute task took a significant number of hours searching for a suitable answer on Google, and not only by myself. Read more – ‘PHP.ini Permission Problems on Windows Vista’.
Installing PHP with Apache on Windows Vista is a relatively simple task until you try an configure the settings in php.ini. Problems can occur and stem from the fact that when you install PHP and edit the php.ini file, you need to not only be logged in as Administrator, but run the installer and Notepad text editor as Administrator. The php.ini file also needs to be located in the Windows directory. Read more – ‘Configuring PHP with Apache on Windows Vista’.
Microsoft is finally making real efforts to woo the designer community who have traditionally worshipped the Adobe and Mac product ranges. One new product that addresses this previously overlooked community is Silverlight, which uses the XAML technology and is touted as Microsoft’s Flash killer. For anyone who is keen to listen, Microsoft proposes that Silverlight will achieve similar results to Flash, but it does so in an entirely different way and has different aims. So, the big question is, will Microsoft be able to break the dominance of Adobe’s Flash platform, that is available on the PC, Mac and mobile devices alike? I’m sure the jury is out on that one, but it can be said it is an uphill task. Read more – ‘Web 2.0 and Beyond with Silverlight and XAML’.
After installing ColdFusion 8 and Apache successfully you may still see an "HTTP 500 Internal Server Error" when navigating to a ColdFusion page. All is not lost, you simply need to configure, or check the configuration of Apache. Apache requires very little post installation modification, but it is always good practice to check the httpd.conf file to ensure that the ColdFusion "install" scripts did what they were supposed to do. Read more – ‘Configuring ColdFusion 8 with Apache’.
A few months ago I posted an article on Installing Apache on Vista, and it proved to be extremely popular. It appears that I was not the only one who found it a non trivial matter.
Now it is the turn of ColdFusion 8. ColdFusion 8 as we well know is the latest and greatest incarnation of the ColdFusion platform from Adobe. It has a lot of great new features such as cfimage, cfzip, cfexchange, some contentious features such as cfthread and cfinterface, and some not-so-necessarily-cool new â€œWeb 2.0â€³ features such as cffeed and cfajax. Read more – ‘Installing ColdFusion 8 on Vista’.
Adverse selection, anti-selection, or negative selection is a term used in economics, insurance, statistics, and risk management. On the most abstract level, it refers to a market process in which bad results occur due to information asymmetries between buyers and sellers: the "bad" products or customers are more likely to be selected. Read more – ‘The Principle of Adverse Selection’.
Both Web 2.0 and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) almost always depend up on the browser as a common denominator. It is with the web browser that web-based applications are accessed and run, yet the browser model is rapidly reaching its limitations. Prism is part of an experiment by Mozilla designed to bridge the divide in the user experience between web applications and desktop applications. Read more – ‘Refactoring the Web with Mozilla Prism’.
The Internet is the most important thing for the distribution of information since the age of the printing press. All information which can be online should be online; that is the best and most efficient way to distribute material to the widest possible audience. Read more – ‘Information R/evolution’.
Companies need to make the most of Web 2.0, and web content management tools can help firms meet user demand for interactive websites. These tools aren't simply restricted to the standard content management systems (CMS) used to publish text to a website, but tools that include file sharing, information sharing and instant messenging among others. Read more – ‘Tools to meet the Web 2.0 challenge’.
ColdFusion has never satisfactorily removed whitespace from generated content, however, removing this whitespace can dramatically improve your website's performance. Take a 100KB page for example. If 20% of the page is made up of whitespace, that is 20% that is unneccessary and 20% bandwidth cost that can be saved. Read more – ‘Eliminating Whitespace in ColdFusion’.
Killing ColdFusion is something I love to do!! This time I managed to kill ColdFusion by amending the Class Paths listed in the Java and JVM settings of my local instance of ColdFusion MX 7. When you amend any Java and JVM settings you need to restart the ColdFusion service and hope. Read more – ‘Repairing a Corrupt ColdFusion JVM Config’.
Desire lines are those well-worn ribbons of dirt that you see cutting across a patch of grass, field or park, often with nearby pavements, particularly those that offer a less direct route, ignored. In winter, desire lines appear spontaneously as tramped down paths in the snow. These paths are never perfectly straight but instead, they meander like a river this way and that, as if to prove that desire itself isn't uniform or linear and (literally, in this case) straightforward. Read more – ‘Website Success via Desire Lines’.
The Personal Exploration Rover (PER) landed on earth back in 2004 when the NASAâ€™s Mars Exploration Rovers began to land and explore Mars. And I want one; shame it costs $8000! Read more – ‘Personal Rover’.
Looking like something out of a James Bond movie the 'BOB' is a personal underwater scooter which replaces scuba gear. The pilot sits on a seat under which ballast weights are secured, with their head inside a clear acrylic bubble which is filled with air from a storage tank. Read more – ‘Bob, the Breathing Observation Bubble’.
The Law of Demeter (LoD), or Principle of Least Knowledge, is a design guideline for developing software applications, particularly object-oriented programs. The guideline can be succinctly summarised as "Only talk to your immediate friends." The fundamental notion is that a given object should assume as little as possible about the structure or properties of anything else, including its sub-components. Read more – ‘The Law of Demeter’.
In a clear attempt to play devils-advocate, "Facebook is designed to suck up all your free time so that you become a slave to 'the network'". What we have yet to see is Facebook drip-feeding that free time back to you at a premium; it will happen! Read more – ‘Playing Devils Advocate to Facebook’.
Whether you love it or you hate it, LinkledIn for Groups now has the UK Adobe User Groups for ColdFusion, Flex and Flash. To join the groups, simply click the appropriate link and start networking. Read more – ‘UK Adobe User Groups on LinkedIn’.
I recently taught a Fast Track to ColdFusion 7 course and what struck me was the liberal use of the isDefined() function throughout the course material. Now, I confess, I have used the function many times in the past, but now more commonly use the structKeyExists() function. So why does Macromedia and now Adobe, still highlight the isDefined() function when, in my opinion, structKeyExists() is more efficient? Read more – ‘isDefined() vs structKeyExists()’.
Unintended consequences are situations where an action results in an outcome that is not (or not only) that which was intended. The unintended results may be foreseen or unforeseen, but they should are the logical or likely results of the action. Read more – ‘The Law of Unintended Consequences’.
Apache is controlled by a series of configuration files but the one we will be dealing with here is httpd.conf. This file contains instructions on how Apache should run. Several companies offer GUI-based Apache front-ends, but it's easier to edit the configuration files by hand. Read more – ‘Configuring Your First Local Apache Website’.
I'm a ColdFusion freelance developer and as can often happen, I end up using a spare machine sitting in the corner of a room. Being relegated to the "dunce's corner" is bad enough, but commonly the ColdFusion password has also been forgotten. This happened to me just the other day. So, how do we go about resetting the password? Read more – ‘Resetting a Lost ColdFusion Password’.
Many people who have worked on websites know that standard HTML and CSS allows the webpage author to assign any font of their choosing to a text element on a page. However, they also know that there is no guarantee that the element will show the desired font, as the browsing user may not have the same font, or set of fonts, installed on their local system. More often than not, only a set of "common" fonts are installed, for example Arial on the PC and Helvetica on the Mac. This has been a significant issue which has been addressed by two methods: the Fahrner Image Replacement (FIR) method and the Scalable Inman Flash Replacement (sIFR) method. Read more – ‘Rich Accessible Typography – FIR and sIFR’.
From the Adobe MAX Europe 2007 website itself. Join us for MAX 2007 Europe, a unique opportunity to connect with the Adobe community for an educational and inspirational experience that can't be found anywhere else. Read more – ‘Adobe MAX Europe 2007’.
Following the purchase of a spangly new Toshiba laptop running Vista, and not one for making life simple, I decided not to run my development environment on IIS7, but rather, I wanted to install the latest version of Apache. The installation process was not a trivial matter! Read more – ‘Installing Apache on Vista’.
In software engineering, a design pattern is a general repeatable solution to a commonly occurring problem in software design. A design pattern is not a finished design that can be transformed directly into code. It is a description or template for how to solve a problem that can be used in many different situations. Read more – ‘ColdFusion and Design Patterns’.
With the buzz around Rich Internet Applications (RIA) gaining a serious amount of steam and indeed press, with the likes of Adobe's Flash/Flex and Microsoft's Silverlight, Sun have now got in on the act with JavaFX. Announced at this years JavaOne conference, JavaFX makes use of a new scripting language and the Swing API for user interface (UI) design to position itself firmly in the RIA camp. Read more – ‘Lets Not Forget JavaFX’.
Rich Internet Applications are just the beginning. A key trend taking place throughout the Web industry is the urgency to integrate disparate systems and software tools to reduce costs, increase developer productivity, reduce the need for manual processing and intervention in transactions, and decrease time to market. To achieve these objectives, organisations have endorsed the adoption of standards-based systems combined with the migration to Web Services and Service Orientated Architecture. This has led to a requirement to create a consistent and intuitive interface to applications, data and services. The immediate goal of these efforts is to provide simpler, quicker and more efficient access and processing of information. Read more – ‘Future Directions for Rich Internet Applications’.
While Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) apply across a broad spectrum of industries and uses, one of their well-established merits is to allow a company to reduce the complexity that stands between where they are today with their traditional Web applications and where they want to be in the short to medium term. RIAs are consistently bringing companies closer to their vision of their application, closer to their customers, and closer to the business impact they believed the Web could actually have on their overall business model. This is expressed most clearly in what RIAs have allowed or enabled companies to do, namely provide Software as a Service (SaaS) as part and parcel of a Service Orientated Architecture (SOA). Read more – ‘Why You Should Consider Rich Internet Applications’.
The development of the internet and the web, and of search engines, has led to users doing their own searching. In the Web 2.0 environment users are now also doing their own content creation and information management. Because folksonomies develop in Internet-mediated social environments, users can discover who created a given folksonomy tag, and see the other tags that this person created. In this way, folksonomy users often discover the tag sets of another user who tends to interpret and tag content in a way that makes sense to them. The result is often an immediate and rewarding gain in the user's capacity to find related content. Read more – ‘Taxonomy of Folksonomies’.
I have been developing with Fusebox with ColdFusion for a long time now and recently I moved to version 5 (when I say recently, on closer reflection I started using 5 shortly after it was released in July 2006...wow its been that long!). A common feature that was found to be lacking was the dump and abort features, so useful in debugging applications. Read more – ‘Fusebox 5 Custom Dump and Abort Verbs’.
The day of the emasculated Web 1.0 where the client-side was functionally poor, where the user interface was akin to the days of the mainframe computer, is rapidly diminishing and the new era of the Web 2.0 has yielded a new way of thinking. The demand for web applications, particularly in the business arena, is increasing at an exponential rate as the benefits of new technologies and paradigms are comprehended by the CTOs, CIOs and decision makers. Web interfaces have significantly restricted the interactive user experiences possible on the Web, and the ability of those Web applications to present increasingly complex information to the user, to date. Read more – ‘The Principles of Rich Internet Applications’.
Microsoft finally unveiled its new product, Silverlight. But is it actually a product? Not really. It is more aptly described as a runtime system for a cut-down version of the .NET Framework and just-in-time (JIT) compilers. The runtime is tiny, designed to be a plugin to a web browser much like Flash is also available as a plugin. Microsoft see this technology as a potential "Flash killer", although it is unlikely to achieve such a status, at least in the short to medium term. They have stiff competition from Adobe with the AIR/Flash/Flex combination which is engrained into the designer/developer community. Read more – ‘Microsoft Gets Serious With Silverlight’.
The Internet has emerged from obscurity to become a dominant platform for application development and is integral to the idea of Software as a Service (SaaS). Unfortunately the demand to build applications of increasing complexity has continued to outpace the ability of traditional Web applications to represent that complexity and expectation. Utilisation of AJAX technologies attempts to reconcile some of the issues, but frequently the result is a frustrating, confusing or disengaging user experience resulting in unhappy customers, lost sales, and increased costs. Read more – ‘The Future of the Rich Internet’.
Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) combine the best user interface functionality of desktop software applications with the broad reach and low-cost deployment of Web applications and the best of interactive, multimedia communication. The end result is an application which provides a more intuitive, responsive, and effective user experience. Read more – ‘Rich Internet Applications – A Background’.
Thousands of businesses worldwide face the challenge of establishing their web presence; a goal difficult to achieve without efficient web site development and testing tools. If someone where to ask you how good your website was, how would you answer; could you answer? There are so many factors to take into consideration, such as code validation, speed of download accessibility, usability etc, that there is no one correct answer and subsequently no one website that can provide you the definitive answer. Read more – ‘Invaluable Online Website Tools’.
Accepting electronic payments is essential to modern business. The UK is currently Europe's largest ecommerce economy with two-thirds of consumers having shopped online. The power of the Internet continues to grow with 27.7 million UK adults having used the Internet in the last year. Current predictions believe that the rate of growth of Internet sales will see this channel occupy 15% of retail sales by 2010. Read more – ‘Online Payment Processors’.
Like the mythical half-horse, half-man of Greek lore, Concept Centaur combines the best of several technologies to create an innovative whole. The result of exploration by Segway Inc.'s product development team, Concept Centaur will challenge the way you think about four-wheeled transportation. Read more – ‘Segway Concept Centaur’.
The PumpaBike has the ability to be used in a wide variety of water conditions. If you enjoy water sports and like to have fun while you exercise, the newly-released PumpaBike will surely turn heads at the lake or beach as you cruise at speeds up to 18 miles per hour! The PumpaBike's ingenious method of human-powered propulsion is simple: Push off to get going, apply force onto the rear of the PumpaBike and the resultant thrust propels you forward at speeds of up to 18mph. Read more – ‘Pumpabike Human Hydrofoil’.
There is a web browser that has only a vague association with modern web standards. That browser is Internet Explorer 6. Wouldn't it be great if it supported stuff like translucent PNGs? Well, now you can add decent PNG support to IE5.5+ on Windows with no changes to your website HTML source code. This script will add near-native PNG support with full alpha opacity, with only one line in your CSS file, that applies to all <img> tags and also background images! Read more – ‘PNG Support in IE6’.
Almost every web application will benefit from the compression of content. A compression filter optimises the size of the content that is sent from a webserver to a web browser via the Internet. Since generating content and serving pages via the World Wide Web is the core behind web applications, it is simple components that aid these processes that are incredibly useful. This is where servlet filters come into play. Read more – ‘Poor Man's HTTP Compression with ColdFusion’.
60,000 years ago people began to speak. 5,000 years ago people began to write. 600 years ago people began to publish. 47 years ago people began networking computers together. 15 years ago Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web. Its all pure, clear, free, unregulated information. No middleman, you produce, you distribute it. However, net neutrality and the internet as we know it is under threat from the big corporates. It happened with the press, it happened with radio and now its happening with the internet. "You know who won't be able to pay, it is the little guys and you'll be crushing the future of inovation..." This video is a look at the history of the communication and where it's going next. Read more – ‘Humanity Lobotomy – Save the Internet’.
RevolutionArt is an international magazine edited in pdf format as a collective sample of the best of the graphics arts. It's a revolutionary platform, a massive propaganda to communicate messages and make the people think about them. The objective of RevolutionArt is the one to serve as a inspirational source to artists, advertisers, photographers, designers and communicators in general who wish to explore new alternatives of expression through graphical samples of design, photo, ads, and general arts. Read more – ‘Revolution Art’.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life,
the most interesting people I know didn't know at 22
what they wanted to do with their lives,
some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't. Read more – ‘Everybody's Free – Baz Luhrmann’.
The worldâ€™s premier independent, vendor-neutral print resource for the ever-expanding international community of Internet technology professionals using the Java programming language and the Java development platform, has just completed volume 11. Read more – ‘Java Developer's Journal 2006’.
No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy firends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. Read more – ‘John Donne – Excerpts from Meditation XVII’.
A while ago a colleague of mine asked me the question "Do you consider your self to be a leader or a manager?". Initially I responded that I thought myself to be a manager as an important aspect of my role is managing expectations, ideas and developments of an internal CRM system. However, a debate ensued as my colleague believed me to be more a leader than a manager and now I am not so sure which one I am! Read more – ‘Leader or Manager?’.
The world's only magazine aimed specifically at Webmasters and Web application developers who use the fast-evolving and comprehensive Internet platform offered by Adobe Corp. and based around ColdFusion, has just completed volume 8. Read more – ‘ColdFusion Developer's Journal 2006’.
My new toy the Sony DSC-N2 Digital Camera (10.1MP, 3x optical zoom) 3" LCD is an awesome little toy. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N2 is an upgrade of the existing DSC-N1 model. The Sony N2 derives its higher ten mega pixel resolution from a 1/1.7" CCD imager, rather than the eight mega pixel 1/1.8" imager used in the previous camera. This is coupled with the same popup Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar zoom lens, which offers a 3x optical zoom range equivalent to 38-114mm on a 35mm camera. Read more – ‘Sony DSC-N2 Digital Camera’.
Social bookmarking is a popular way to store, classify, share and search links through the practice of tagging them with informal assigned, user-defined keywords that describe their content, and saving these bookmarks to a public website. This is in contrast to the classic idea of bookmarking, which is the practice of saving the website address to your web browser. Read more – ‘Social Bookmarking a Zeitgeist’.
A new breed of Web-based data integration applications is emerging across the Internet. Colloquially known as mashups, their popularity stems from the emphasis on interactive user participation and the manner in which they aggregate third-party data. A mashup is a website or web application that seamlessly combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience. Mashups are an exciting genre of interactive Web applications that are characterised by, and draw upon, content and functionality retrieved from external data sources to create entirely new and innovative services. They are a hallmark of the second generation of Web applications widely known as Web 2.0. Read more – ‘Wise Up to Mashups’.
During the 1990s business leaders and venture capitalists grappled with how they would make money from the web. This was tipified by the two VCs, Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital, investing $25 million in Google in the late 1990s; they new the search engine created by Sergey Brin and Larry Page was a winning formula, even though the pair had not yet monetised search. Bricks and mortar compaines were deemed "old hat" as the dotcom bubble was expanding. Companies such as eBay, Amazon and Yahoo! were at the forefront of every investors' chequebook. Every company needed a 21st Century "Blue Sky" web strategy; every company needed to do e-commerce. However, the bubble burst and everyone was brought down with a bang. Boo.com is a classic example of the fallout from the over speculation. Read more – ‘Drive Business Change with Web 2.0’.
Occam's Razor (also spelled Ockham's razor) is a principle attributed to the 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham. Occam's razor states that the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible. The principle is often expressed in Latin as the lex parsimoniae (law of succinctness). Read more – ‘Occam's Razor’.
By itself, Firefox is a lean and fast browser, but lacks many functions useful to a Web Developer. This is where extensions come to the rescue. Web Developers use a host of Firefox extensions to increase their efficiency. I have included a list of my most used extensions. All of these plugins are great for developing and bug testing web sites within the Firefox browser environment. Read more – ‘Firefox Extensions for Web Developers’.
Not quite Alex Tew's dollar-per-pixel advertising page that raised over a million dollars in just a few months, the Million Dollar Homepage, but Beggr brings internet money making scams to a new level! Read more – ‘Scrounging Web 2.0 Stylee’.
Swiss design company Rinspeed, makers of the Rinspeed Splash have created a true sports car which transforms into a hydrofoil speed boat capable of a very respectable 50 kph. Under the ultra-light carbon-composite skin lies much more than just an agile and lively sports car. The Rinspeed Splash is the true incarnation of a really cool and fun sports toy. At the push of a button a cleverly thought-out hydraulic mechanism transforms the sports car into an amphibious vehicle. A highly complex integrated hydrofoil system enables the Splash to fly at an altitude of about 60 cm above the water. Read more – ‘Rinspeed Splash Hydrofoil Car’.
The Moller Skycar is a prototype personal VTOL aircraft a "flying car" called a "volantor" by its inventor Paul Moller. Its proposed features would include 275 mph (442 km/h) cruise speed, 375 mph (603 km/h) maximum speed, eight redundant, low-emission Wankel engines for safety, residential garage size, fuel consumption like a big car, a parachute for the whole machine and road capability for short distances (to be driven to a vertiport). Although current plans call for use of alcohol fuel, cheap, lightweight fuel, such as liquid hydrogen, could be used as an alternative to gasoline, as in the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE, although the lower energy density will limit range. Read more – ‘Moller Skycar’.
Object-Relational Mapping (or ORM), is a programming technique that links databases to object-oriented language concepts, creating (in effect) a "virtual object database". There are both free and commercial packages available that perform object-relational mapping, although some programmers opt to code their own object-relational mapping for their systems. Read more – ‘ColdFusion ORM Frameworks & Tools’.
A CAPTCHA (an acronym for "completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart", trademarked by Carnegie Mellon University) is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human. The term was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, and Nicholas J. Hopper of Carnegie Mellon University, and John Langford of IBM. A common type of captcha requires that the user type the letters of a distorted image, sometimes with the addition of an obscured sequence of letters or digits that appears on the screen. Because the test is administered by a computer, in contrast to the standard Turing test that is administered by a human, a captcha is sometimes described as a reverse Turing test. This term, however, is misleading because it could also mean a Turing test in which the participants are both attempting to prove they are the computer. Read more – ‘CAPTCHA’.
One of the many reasons to use ColdFusion MX is that it has a large, standard toolset that enbales the creation of full-featured, dynamic Web applications. The tag-based language makes it relatively simple to query a relational database and send e-mail. In a similar way, you can create and search Verity full-text indexes. Read more – ‘ColdFusion & Lucene’.
For many ColdFusion developers, server setup, tuning, troubleshooting and configuration is one of the least understood areas of ColdFusion. Achieving the highest possible performance and scalability with a ColdFusion MX application is a complex combination of many different factors. Standard performance tuning guidelines in conjunction with the tips provided below should allow you to achieve maximum application performance and scalability. Performance refers to the response time of requests to CFML pages and Components (CFCs), whilst scalability refers to how the performance results change when the load on the server increases. Read more – ‘Coldfusion MX Tuning’.
From the creator of Wordpress, Matt Mullenweg, and developed in collaboration with Dougal Campbell, Ping-O-Matic is a service to notify different search engines that your blog has updated. Update pinging is a great way to increase your exposure, and there are so many different services that want that data, it is a daunting task to visit each site in turn and manually ping. Ping-O-Matic neatly fills this requirement. Read more – ‘Ping-O-Matic’.
CFML is the name of the scripting language used by ColdFusion and several alternative server environments. It stands for ColdFusion Markup Language and is similar to HTML in appearance in that it uses tags. CFML is the code that powers ColdFusion, a program available from Adobe (formerly Macromedia), as well as such engines as BlueDragon, IgniteFusion, Railo, Coral Web Builder, and other web development platforms. Read more – ‘ColdFusion (CFML) Engines’.
Marketers (and all human beings) are well trained to follow the leader. The natural instinct is to figure out what's working for the competition and then try to outdo it - to be cheaper than your competitor who competes on price, or faster than the competitor who competes on speed. Read more – ‘Seth Godin – Don't follow the leader’.
Bryan Kaiser & Michael Haynie talk about the usual news and then digress into the topic of the future of ColdFusion and its limited uptake in the developer community. This is a hot topic with a number of key figures in the ColdFusion community, in particular Simon Horwith and Ben Forta, writing articles to 'defend' ColdFusion, something I find myself doing almost on a daily basis. Read more – ‘The Coldfusion Podcast Episode 19 – Where is Coldfusion?’.
With the introduction of ColdFusion MX, the ColdFusion community is maturing. Most CF developers have moved beyond spaghetti code and the mixing of business logic with presentation code. But it can be difficult and wasteful to "re-invent the wheel" for every application you write. Frameworks can help promote good development practices, standards, and a sound foundation for creating an application. Read more – ‘ColdFusion Frameworks’.
The first episode of the ColdFusion podcast. Bryan Kaiser & Michael Haynie talk about MAX - Macromedia's developer conference, the ColdFusion 7.0.1 update, asfusion.com's thoughts on why CF developers should care about Flex 2, and Macromedia Labs. Read more – ‘The ColdFusion Podcast Episode 1’.
The Web Accessibility Toolbar, provided by the Accessible Information Solutions (AIS) team at the National Information and Library Service (NILS) , Australia, is a tool for advanced users or web developers, that helps to examine the structure, components and accessibility features of any given web page. It installs as an Internet Explorer (version 5+, Windows) toolbar and offers several integrated tools to inspect style sheets, tables, frames, images and more, as well as a wide variety of tests and features that are provide by other web sites, including link checks, HTML validation, page download speed, colour simulations, page resolutions and much more. A nice toolbox for web developers. Read more – ‘Web Accessibility Toolbar’.
TheHub, like other application development frameworks, utilizes the notion of a central hub template that all requests for the application pass through. That cental hub is the point or place within the application that the processing of all code hinges upon. Read more – ‘TheHub – Web Application Framework’.
Tartan is a command-driven service framework for ColdFusion. It was built to help produce the service layer within a larger application architecture which relies on strict separation or layering of functionality. Read more – ‘Tartan – Web Application Framework’.
The BlueDragon Server family of Java-based servers (Server and Server JX) enables the stand-alone deployment of CFML. Both BlueDragon Server versions contain a built-in web server for development and testing, and each integrates with Microsoft IIS, Sun ONE/Netscape/iPlanet (JX only), and Apache web servers for deployment. Read more – ‘BlueDragon – ColdFusion (CFML) Engine’.