As a web design studio, we give and receive feedback on the website/blog design every day. We make our lives simple by using Evernote’s premium accounts so that our clients get the ability to edit the notes that we share them for the feedback and we do the same while giving the feedback to our WordPress Ninjas! This certainly isn’t Evernote’s real function, however its been doing pretty well for us. However, it’s not as good as Notable, which is built to address this particular issue.

Zurb, a well-known company in the silicon valley that has worked with some of the top companies like Facebook, Ebay, Yahoo is behind Notable, an app that they built for internal use. Notable is a web-based application and great for designers and agencies who work from remote locations.

Notable - Easy collaboration for designers

The application works on Firefox, iPhone and of course, the browser-based functionality is available for all the platforms. You can clip any page on the browser and add notes on specific areas that you want to point out for the feedback. Once the feedback is uploaded on their servers, it can be discussed by team members using the comment form. All of this is part of the visual section, however since it’s focused towards the web agencies and freelancers, Zurb has taken care of the code and one of the best feature is that you can point out on the search engine optimization of the page as well!

Notable's Workspace

I was mostly impressed by Notable’s simplicity, its user interface is simple and without complex features that may confuse people. Its got the most important features packed for collaboration and notification, it allows you to restrict the collaborators to let them add notes or just view it.

Overall, I was fairly impressed with the application as it delivered all the features that we were looking in such an app. Notable certainly saves time as the feedback ends up being more contextual, visually accurate as it forces feedback givers to be specific. I would certainly suggest this app to all the freelancers who are into web designing as they’d find this app irresistible!

Bookmark and Share

Code is Poetry

Considering my love towards techie stuff and my love for WordPress, many have suggested to me that I should start coding myself. However, considering the fact that I haven’t gone through any formal education around computers and coding, I wonder if I can go ahead and create magical themes or plugins for WordPress. I won’t deny that I’ve given a shot to programming and for that I tried to learn Flex [I know its not related to WordPress, however there was a purpose behind it] however I couldn’t do anything with it due to lack of time and motivation.

I gave a thought on learning coding using WordPress as CMS, however all was in vein and I finally gave up on coding. However, don’t get surprised if you start seeing me posting tutorials related to coding anytime soon. During those motivational hours, when I tried to get my hands dirty with coding, I found out that IDEs [what the hell are IDEs?]are like “God send tools” for newbies. Although, I was equally surprised to find out that until recently there hasn’t been a single IDE that will be helpful in coding WordPress themes & plugins.

Note: Don’t Forget to check out the Big Question at the end of the post!

There have been only few IDEs, some of them are not known at all and all of them are commercial as well. Its definitely another surprise that WordPress, one of the most popular Open-Source CMS in the world doesn’t have any customized Open-Source IDE. We’ll surely discuss that further however, for now let us see the available IDEs for WordPress -

1. ThemeDreamer

ThemeDreamer is a Plugin for Dreamweaver that helps in coding for WordPress. The plugin is fantastic and provides WordPress functions as code hints as well. This is one feature that can surely help newbies to quickly learn the coding without worrying about remembering tons of available functions. The down side of ThemeDreamer is that its dependent on DreamWeaver [there is a positive as well, due to this it works on Mac & Windows] and which costs a fortune in itself and on top of it one needs to buy this plugin too. So if you are one of those who want to learn things without spending a single buck, then this is way too out of your budget.

Another reason, why this plugin fails to impress is that it is not up to date and probably one of the reason is that DreamWeaver CS5 supports WordPress & Drupal code hints. But then, there will be a dent of $400 if you buy CS5, although $0 if you plan to take the other route.

2. CodeLobster with WordPress plugin

CodeLobster is another IDE that provides WordPress functions although I’ve heard not so great reviews about this software. It doesn’t cost as much as Dreamweaver although when we talk about value for money, it doesn’t look like an impressive solution. To give you an idea about what users think about this IDE, i’ve taken this quote from its review by SoftPedia Editor -

The Good
As I thumb up, the autocomplete and function info options are to mention. They need work, but its a good start. Conversion options are also interesting, not something you find everywhere. I liked the interface: typical but clean and easy to use. Online help is available, for whenever you’re in need. CodeLobster is small and easy to install (unlike specialized platforms).

The Bad
I’m sorry to say this, but it still needs much work. If for web development some interesting features are implemented, for other languages (Java or SQL, for instance) support is perhaps too much said. I’ve seen better freeware, so…more is needed! Spellcheck wasn’t exactly OK either and the menu could have been better organized. “Best” for last: unexpected errors occurred for no reason. This is not acceptable for a shareware product.

The Truth
Well, if you are looking for the perfect code editor, you probably shouldn’t stop at CodeLobster. The intensions are good, but I feel it needs much more work to justify the 25 dollar fee for the license. It allows 30 days of free trial, so give it a shot.

3. Adobe DreamWeaver CS5

We’ve already talked about it and expressed our ‘not so great’ opinion because of the price associated with it. However, that was only for those who want to learn and code. Although, there is not doubt that how Dreamweaver has won the hearts of thousands of developers out there who take web development as carrier. They’ve recently integrated Auto Complete features for CMSs like WordPress, Drupal & Joomla. Its these little innovative features that keeps Adobe Dreamweaver ahead of all the other IDEs that you come across. Not only it has matured with time, it is currently best known commercial IDE for web development.

Check out DreamWeaver CS 5 in Action -

What are Open-Source Alternatives?

Now comes the big questions, is there any open-source IDE that gives Code hints for WordPress? Well, the answer is NO! There are various Open-source IDEs like NetBeans, Eclipse, Aptana etc. however, none of them provides code hints for WordPress. There aren’t any commercial plugins either for any of these.

Don’t you think that there should be an open-source IDE for popular CMSes like WordPress? Don’t you think that much more development will take place and more newbies will start to adapt these CMSes if they’ll see that switch can be easier through IDEs? Always eager to hear your thoughts so please take your time to leave a comment!

Bookmark and Share

google-god.jpg

[image credit : LTSeo]

For hundreds and thousands of businesses, the term “Google is God” is true. It helps business owners to generate their living-hood and the best part is that they ensure that it can help in every possible way and that too with ease! Google provides various tools that help webmasters in ranking your website well in Google’s search engine index. Here are some of them -

Google Adwords

To start with a commercial product, Google Adwords is the program that helps you in generating targeted traffic for your website. It lets you target the visitors from every possible manner. You can target visitors specific from a city, state, country and who are searching for specific terms. This is now considered to be de-facto of getting the most targeted traffic!

Google Adsense

If Google Adwords is for business owners to get targeted visitors, Google Adsense is the program that helps business owners in making money from the visitors they get on their website. I’m sure that there would be no one on the internet who wouldn’t have seen those ads. Well, there are business who’ve made millions out of it!

Google Analytics

How many people are visiting my website? Where are they coming from? Whey are they going to? Well, there are whole lot of questions like these that get answered by Google Analytics, one of the most powerful tool given for free by Google! It integrates with Google Adwords & Google Adsense to give us the overall picture of the traffic of the website!

Google Webmaster Tools

GWT is one tool that tells you if there are any broken links on your website. If Google is able to crawl your website to include in the index or not. It gives the ability to control the speed of Google Bot’s visit, finds out if your website is infected from malware. It also tell you that if your website is loading slow for users. Isn’t that a must have a tool?

Google Keyword Tool

Google keyword tool is a true gem! As a business owner, you can find out that what exactly visitors are searching for. With the correct strategy, a business owner can easily get their website ranked for the right keywords and thus can reap the benefits easily!

Google Ad Planner

This tool from Google can help you in digging out some very useful information about the competing websites. Not only that, it can certainly help in finding out that what all keywords one should target. After all, choosing the right keywords means eliminating maximum competition!

Google Traffic Estimator

This little nifty tool will help you find out that how much traffic will you get for the keywords that you are eying on. Of course, this is integrated with Google Adwords and thats why you see Google Adwords Logo on top of it. But does that matter when they aren’t charging a single buck from you?

There are other fantastic tools that will surely help you in one way or the other. I’m sure that you’d find them equally useful – Google Zeitgeist, Google Trends, Google website optimizer and Google Insights for search. If you know any other tool, please share it with us and I’ll include it over here.

Bookmark and Share

typography.jpg

Typography definitely plays an important role in enhancing or diminishing the overall look of any web design. And all the web designers/developers were stuck with certain font families, even if they wanted to use the font of their choice, they couldn’t do it freely without compromising on various aspects. Of course, there were other ways too and I would love to include all those methods along with their pros & cons.

siFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement)

Scalable Inman Flash Replacement (sIFR) is an open source JavaScript and Adobe Flash dynamic web fonts implementation, enabling the replacement of text elements on HTML web pages with Flash equivalents. sIFR embeds a font in a Flash element that displays the text, preempting the need for a font to have been manually pre-installed on a user’s system. [via : wikipedia]

In even simpler words, instead of showing the normal text – it is replaced by Adobe Flash’s text and the font embedded in that flash file is used to display the text. You can add shadow, effects to the text and the best part is that its cross-browser compatible and thats why its loved. However, siFR is often criticized for making the pages load slower and is not supported by iPhone.

Cufon

Cufón aims to become a worthy alternative to siFR, which despite its merits still remains painfully tricky to set up and use [This is not the case, if you are using WordPress]. Some of the benefits of Cufon over siFR are that it loads faster, no plugins are required. [Via - Github]

Of course, nothing comes with cons. Cufon comes with the inability to highlight and copy/paste, not all fonts are supported. However, still its one of the preferred methods of using other fonts. We are using Cufon on this blog, so it can be a good example for you to look at.

There are other ways as well like Typeface.js, FLIR (Face Lift Image Replacement), however as browsers are getting better in supporting CSS3 – the better its becoming to improve the typography of the webpages. Although, with this method, copyright issues often come into play. In order to avoid these issues, few web services have come up with a model where by paying some fee, web designers will be able to choose various fonts (without worrying about licenses) for their website and the fonts will be served from their servers. Here are these services -

Typekit.jpg

Typekit

Typekit is one such service that has partnered with type foundries and have taken care of the legal issues. They let you choose the fonts using their web based editor. They have a plugin for WordPress, that lets you integrate this service with ease. There is an option of free plan and if you have one blog, you should definitely try this service.

fontmeup.jpg

FontMeUp

FontMeUp is another service that allows you to use any font on your website. They have a similar concept and have hundreds of fonts to choose from. They also have a free plan and a WordPress plugin.

So after, looking at the benefits of these services, I’m tempted to use these service for this blog. I’ll notify as soon as this will be applied and will try to post the results as well. Personally, I see no reason for not trying these services and why any one else shouldn’t. Will you be using these to improve the typography on your blog or will you be going via existing ways?

Bookmark and Share


wordpress-for-clients.jpg

Image Credit – Twimg.com

WordPress is an excellent CMS and one of the most popular blogging platforms available. WordPress is free, open-source, extremely extendable and it gives the clients control over the content of their own website. It is quite user-friendly, it provides flexibility, you can use hundreds of plugins and last but not least it has a huge support community. With all those positive attributes how can you not simply like it. However it can be a little bit different for your clients. While you are probably fully comfortable in managing, editing, and adding content, most of your clients probably will be regular people not technically savvy and may find WordPress hard to use. So part of our job would be to make things easier for these people for their better overall user experience with WordPress.

read full article →

Bookmark and Share

Dom Tabs Save Space
If you run a blog for a longer time, you will notice that there is always more and more contents to display but less and less space for it. A solution for that can be the tabs feature. The Tabs are used in sidebars but also in the header for providing easy navigation and make information more available in a compact space. By using tabs you can have wide variety of content on your blog and all you need is to click on any tab and only the content for that tab gets displayed and the rest of the tabs’ content remains hidden.

read full article →

Bookmark and Share

What is typography?

Typography is the art of arranging letters, words and paragraphs, and how they interact with each other in order to make them more readable, or more visually appealing. Good typography is just as important on a Web page as it is in the other mediums and it should be easy to read and pleasant as in every magazine or newspaper. Sometimes typographic style and its accompanying attention to detail have been overlooked by website designers, forgetting that 95% of web design is actually typography and the fonts you use are important as they will affect your website’s overall visual impact so it’s important for every designer and developer to know the basics of typography.
read full article →

Bookmark and Share