Tools

Developing Locally on a Mac

May 23, 2010

It's taken a while (see an earlier post), but I've finally found my perfect setup for developing locally on my Mac.

MAMP & VirtualHostX

MAMP is essential for developing locally on Mac. But with URLs like http://localhost/mysite, testing in a browser was a pain.

Not anymore. A nifty little app called VirtualHostX makes setting up virtual hosts like http://mysite a snap. Goes with MAMP like peanut butter and jelly. (NOTE: VHX works with MAMP 1.8.4, but I couldn't get it working with MAMP 1.9.)

Using MAMP & VMWare Fusion on a Mac to Test in IE

February 7, 2010

I'm a diehard Mac and Firefox user, and if I were Queen of the Universe, everyone else would be, too. My royal aspirations aside, I realize that I have to take into consideration The Browser That Can't Be Named when developing a site. On average, about 58% of all people are still using some version of TBTCBN. At my place of employment, I'm sorry to say, that number is even higher—up to 68% of ASU's web visitors are poor, misguided souls.

Replace Entourage with Gmail and Google Calendar

February 21, 2007

If you're a Mac user who's stuck using a Microsoft Exchange Server at work like I am, you're probably drooling over Google Calendar, too. The other day I got so frustrated, I decided to replace Entourage with Gmail and Google Calendar. It's not a perfect system. I obviously have trouble scheduling meeting rooms—but then I had that problem with Entourage, as well. If you want to give Google a try, here are the steps I went through...

The Perfect Notebook Case

November 9, 2006

I've been looking for the perfect bag. It can't be just any old thing. I need something big enough to carry my laptop, my lunch, my phone and wallet and keys, assorted manuals, a power adapter, an odd cable or two, a sweater, and a few books. That's a lot to shlep halfway across campus. So I decided it also has to be on wheels.

The Handy-Dandy Layout Library

August 6, 2006

One of the handiest "tricks" I've come across is having a layout template library at your fingertips. It's taken me a while to build mine, but now I have a tried-and-true layout for most of the common designs. It makes life a lot easier if you can grab a layout "skeleton," knowing that it will work for the design and won't present you with nasty little surprises halfway through.

What's the Best Computer for Designers?

August 25, 2005

Every now and then, I get edged out of a computer and have to go looking for a new one. Last time, my kids got interested in computer games, and rather than fight them over Dora Explorer, I gave them my PC and bought this laptop. This time, I'm vying with football season. Apparently sports radio, 24/7 ESPN and the sports page don't cut it anymore. To be a true self-respecting fanatical sportsaholic you have to be able to sneak onto your wife's computer when she tucks the kids in bed and hang tough while she sighs, clicks her tongue, taps her fingers and repeats for the tenth time, "Are you done yet? I have to get back to work."

Basecamp Update and Evaluation

July 17, 2005

I promised an update on Basecamp and how it's working for me. I've used it now for two clients for about a month and a half. At first I was very enthusiastic about it. I really liked the idea of keeping all communications in one place, and I particularly liked the to-do lists. I set up two for each project--a designer's to-do and a client's list--so it was clear what each of us still needed to do.

Basecamp, New York & Other Totally Unrelated Things

June 9, 2005

I'm in New York for, of all things, an auction at Sotheby's (it's a long story involving my husband and a Babe Ruth contract, but I'm sure you, too, have had it up to the eyeballs with sports, so I'll just breeze by all that). For the out-of-towner, NYC is like a jolt from a giant defibrillator. Everything perks up and picks up the pace. You find yourself moving more quickly and even talking faster. They should re-nickname it The Big Java.

Firefox is a Web Designer's Dream Browser

May 23, 2005

Sorry, Bill. It was fun while it lasted, but I've fallen in love with another browser, and I'm never coming back. You can blame Christian Watson. He introduced me to Firefox.

I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. But I've found Watson's Smiley Cat Blog to be an invaluable resource, and he'd never steered me wrong before. So I downloaded Firefox and gave it a whirl, intending only to use it to check pages. The relationship got off to a rocky beginning. I couldn't get Firefox to work with HomeSite, which was terrifically frustrating. But once I figured out what I (yes, me) was doing wrong, I couldn't resist trying out some of the extensions for designer/developers and, well, one thing led to another and... You know, you never intend for these things to happen.

Web 2.0: Does Presentation Matter Anymore?

May 13, 2005

In the first article for their new Digital Web Magazine column, "Web 2.0 Design: Bootstrapping the Social Web," Richard MacManus and Joshua Porter discuss the future of the web and its impact on design.

[The] Web 2.0 world...is not defined as much by place and is less about visual style. XML is the currency of choice in Web 2.0, so words and semantics are more important than presentation and layout. Content moves around and is accessible by programmatic means. In a very real sense, we’re now designing more for machines than for people.

The HTML Editor Shuffle

May 11, 2005

If the tools we use are indicative of our personalities, then call me Eve, 'cause I've got multiples. When I work on a design, my screen bristles with open tabs, and I jump around from one HTML editor to another so much I sometimes forget which one I'm in.