Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
CMX Weekly Newsletter
Chicago: Developing a CSS Starter PageCSS Starter Chicago
Last fall Sheri German went to Chicago to present a workshop at Adobe MAX 2007. She took some photographs to use in a second tutorial series devoted to developing a CSS Starter Page.
The CSS Starter Pages are an invaluable addition to the CSS toolset in Dreamweaver CS3. With well over thirty different layout types from which to choose, you can rapidly develop page designs, free from the onerous task of having to build the underlying structure from scratch. However, a little knowledge is still necessary. There are some features that the starter pages must leave up to you to develop, such as navigation schemes, text styling, and background images to use in faux column technique.
In this five-part tutorial you'll learn to take advantage of a starter page as you modify the two-column, fixed-width, left-sidebar, header and footer layout. You'll use a Fireworks graphical representation of the layout to develop the graphics for a design we'll call Chicago. You'll add horizontal navigation and sidebar pods to jazz up the generic design and make it a functioning page upon which you can base a site.
And as a special addition to the series, Jim Babbage takes you through the process of modifying Chicago to use for a photography site.
Speaking of JumpStarts
In last week's newsletter, we asked folks to email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know which of our JumpStarts you've used and examples that have gone live. One of the many responses we received came from John Rives, who emailed us the following:
"A couple years ago I decided to switch my main company website www.discwritecd.com to HTML using CSS for positioning and layout. I had been studying SEO and all the experts agreed that HTML websites perform better for search engine returns and rankings than Flash websites.
I picked the Venice JumpStart template because I really liked the curved borders on the columns and felt that it would give my website a unique look compared to most HTML sites. It was hard for me to transition from Flash to HTML and CSS as I was used to being able to put things where I wanted them in the Flash authoring environment and having them stay there with no surprises in any browser. The JumpStart template gave me the basic CSS code to get things together very quickly and the code hints and tutorials gave me all the info I needed to modify the template and create my current website. I gained a much better understanding of how CSS works in various browsers from using the JumpStart template, and working through the tutorials that came with it, along with other CSS tutorials on the CMX website. I also began using Fireworks for the first time, since the main image file for the JumpStart template was built in Fireworks, and found that I much prefer it to Image Ready for slicing up images for use with websites.
I have had a lot of compliments on my site over the past couple years and am very thankful to Community MX for providing the valuable services they provide to the web development community which includes the JumpStart website templates and tutorials."
Thank YOU, John! We'll provide you with more great examples of how the CMX JumpStarts have been used in this manner in coming weeks. Keep those websites coming!
Apple Updates Safari to 3.1
You could read the whole article at AppleInsider.com, or you can check out CMX author Steven Seiller's succinct outline of Safari's improvements below:
Another Community MX Milestone!
Community MX writes a lot of tutorials. Plenty of 'em. As a matter of fact, we've just posted our 2,500th piece of content. Mixed into that 2,500 are articles, extensions and JumpStarts as well as thousands of tutorials. We've covered Flash, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, ColdFusion, Photoshop, InDesign, CSS and many other subjects relating to web development. As much information as we've covered, there's still a huge amount of information that we haven't touched on yet. Is there anything specifically you'd like to see a tutorial on? Whether it's something simple or something more advanced, let us know. Email email@example.com.
First Marriage Proposal on Twitter.com... Hold On... Is That Stephanie?!
The folks at Community MX have been deluged with people writing to us and asking us if we knew that Stephanie Sullivan, Community MX author, had been proposed to by Greg Rewis, one of our buddies at Adobe, via Twitter.com. If you haven't seen Greg's short but sweet proposal, here it is. Yes, we knew about it, but we thought we'd keep it quiet out of respect for our friends' privacy. Ok, the truth is we wanted to be the only ones able to goof on them. But all of a sudden, someone posted a link to an article at Wired.com that brought the online proposal into the light. Looks like we don't need to keep this under our hats anymore. Besides, if Greg really wanted this to be a secret he would have proposed more traditionally. That's right, via email, like the rest of us. Even though Greg chose the Uber-Geekiest way to propose, we know that Stephanie would want to reply to Greg in person. Oh wait... maybe not.
Satisfied Customers Speak Out!
"Every man's work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself. " — Samuel Butler
iPhone: To Flash Or Not To Flash?
When asked whether or not the iPhone would ever support Adobe's Flash, Steve Jobs was not optimistic. He poo-poo'd Flash for being too resource-intensive for the iPhone and said that Flash Lite wouldn't do the trick since it doesn't work within an actual browser. He did say that he thought there might be an "in-between" product that would do the trick, but that it just didn't exist yet. Adobe wants to change that, and with the recent release of the iPhone software developer's kit, they're sure they can create a new version of Flash specifically for the iPhone. Adobe would have to figure out how to deliver it as something other than a browser plug-in though, since the iPhone developer guidelines don't seem to allow plug-ins for the iPhone. More on this at AppleInsider.com.
You Get The Picture
Sooner or later a client is going to ask you to snap some pictures for their website, brochure or catalog. "Eh, just go to Lexington and 42nd street and get a shot of that diner. It would be perfect for my ad!" But... is it legal to take pictures whilly-nilly of anything you want? Not quite. The rules on what you can and cannot take pictures of while you're out in public are not crystal clear, but you can at least find some guidelines at PhotoJojo.com.
We're Betting The Swimsuit Editions Get The Most Hits
This is fantastic news for sports fans. Sports Illustrated is putting every word and picture they've ever published in their magazine and they're going to archive them on their website. You'll be able to visit SI's "Vault" and view fifty three years of sports history. The catch is... there is no catch! The idea of posting back-issue content online is catching on pretty fast these days. Many of the major newspapers and trade magazines have already gone the route that Sports Illustrated is taking now. This article at NYTimes.com explains it pretty well.
How's About One Super-Browser Called Exoperafarifox?
Firefox just released the fourth beta for Firefox 3. A beta for Internet Explorer 8 is available. Apple updated Safari to 3.1 (see story above) and Opera hangs in there at version 9.26. Which browser should you use? With all of the web developers here at Community MX that build websites meant to comply strictly with WC3 standards, you can imagine that we've had to test each browser thoroughly, approaching each one from every possible angle to make sure it's going to work with whatever code we can throw at it. That being the case, we can say with absolute certainty that we have no idea which browser you should use. We're glad there are articles like this one at Cnet.com that outlines all of the pluses and minuses of each of these browsers so that you can decide which one is best for you.
News Flash: Sniffing Your Armpits Is Not Going To Get You Hired
We care about you. We want you to do well. We don't want you to blow your next job interview by wearing a spandex bikini. If you're the type of person that doesn't know that it's not ok to yodel while interviewing for a web developing postion, you might need to read this article from Reuters.com.
CMX Insert FlashObject 1.2 (Dreamweaver Extension)
We've Actually Gotten a Few of These
Here are some computer error messages you'd probably rather not see, like "Windows has detected a Strawberry Pop-Tart in your CD-ROM drive. Unable to toast." View the rest of them at Cracked.com.
Tom Green Remodeled His Bathroom
And this is the result. Ok, not really. Yet.
The King Is Dead. Long Live The Next One!
Robert Soloway, once called the "King of Spam" by the authorities, isn't in a good place right now. He lost a judgement for $7.8 million when Microsoft took him to court in 2005, and now it looks like he's going to jail for fraud and tax evasion. Soloway admits that he was the mastermind behind some of the largest spam operations in the world. He also bragged about never the hundreds of thousands of dollars he made in the world of spam while never having to pay out any money on any of the civil suits he lost. Soloway's fellow inmates will probably find his stories interesting. Read more about it at Yahoo News.
Progressive Enhancement in Flash - Part I
Sometimes, when you're coding a Flex application, don't you just wish you could use a Flash animation, right there? And in Flash, don't you sometimes wish you could use that one class in Flex, or that one component, which would make your life so much easier? It is at such times that a developer encounters the limitations of their tools, be it in Flex or in Flash. This series aims to explore the possibilities inherent in an integrated Flash-Flex workflow, bridging the gap between the two technologies, enabling a greater range of development options.
You never really can tell when the design-inspiration bug might bite you. My eye catches all sorts of things as I go through the daily routine, and I'm frequently motivated by something I see on television. Perhaps it's an eye-catching effect that is found in a movie trailer, a regular commercial with some snappy graphics, or a logo for a television show.
In Part 2 you'll learn how to use some of the more creative possibilities in Fireworks. Specifically, that tutorial will cover how to:
In addition to the techniques shown here you'll also find sample Fireworks files in the download for both tutorials.
The Recreating the PBS NOW Logo Series:
Wax Seals were applied to envelopes and parcels to indicate whether or not the item had been opened. Seals were used as a tamper proof way to identify the sender and that the item was not a forgery. When a Wax Seal is used it allows for the choice of another color to be used, other than the paper itself or envelope. To Seal a letter or package the letter writer would pour wax over the envelope flap or package joint, and then press a ring, metal stamp or device with a personalized emblem or insignia onto the wax.
We all tell stories. Every night my wife and I sit down and, over dinner, tell stories about our frantic lives that day. What my wife and I do is no different from what web developers do every day. The only difference is web developers tell stories to a global audience. In fact did I tell you the one about being mugged by a werewolf on a site I was surfing.....
If you use ColdFusion you should be using ColdFusion Components (CFCs). One of the more perplexing parts of developing CFCs for the beginning ColdFusion developer is how to define variables and properties. The proper use of variables is important for memory consumption and data integrity. You don't want variables hanging around that aren't needed or accessed from areas that they should not be accessed from.
Tame your paths and make 'em do over time! In this 2nd part, learn how to have paths to some detail work, and how to coax paths out of selections.
So that the Community MX partners may spend this holiday weekend with their friends and family, we will not be releasing any new content Good Friday. We'll be back on Monday the 24th with two brand new pieces of content. Enjoy the weekend!
If you use ColdFusion you should be using ColdFusion Components (CFCs). One of the more perplexing parts of developing CFCs for the beginning ColdFusion developer is how to define variables and properties. This article will attempt to explain some of the differences between local and global variables as they apply to CFCs. The proper use of variables is important for memory consumption and data integrity. You don't want variables hanging around that aren't needed or accessed from areas that they should not be accessed from.
As we have discussed in other articles, ColdFusion compensates for the stateless nature of web applications by using session variables to track information across the entire time of a user's visit to your site. This allows you to store a user's ID after sign on, for instance, and use it to retrieve information about them from a database or to keep track of information that the user enters while completing a multi page form.
Whether you are creating new scripts or moving existing scripts to a new server, testing each one is an essential step to the success of your project. The following are practical tips for ensuring each of your scripts works properly. Although these steps are not complicated, it is their completion which shows the mark of a good professional. The examples provided here are specifically PHP, but these procedures generically apply to any server-side scripting language including ASP, ColdFusion, Perl or Ruby.
Using Photoshop to Simulate Flowing Water
This week's first Tip, Trick or Dirty Cheat is courtesy of Tom Green, Community MX author
Taming The Time Machine
When using OSX Leopard I am inevitably informed by Time Machine, the back up utility for Leopard, that the disk is full. Being the "cheap" sort buying a big honking external HD solely for this purpose doesn't make sense.
What I have started doing is deleting backups that are greater than 30 days old. To do this:
1) Open the drive where Time Machine stores your backups.
Problem solved. Just be aware that any important files in those folders will be erased from existence and can't be restored.
Would you like your tip published? Submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
That's it for this week. Stay tuned for the next CMX newsletter!