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Archive for August 2009

My love/hate relationship with Spry

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When Adobe released CS3 back in March of 2007, designing a UI for websites and applications took a step forward.  Prior to this, applications like Dreamweaver MX 2004 had used DHTML to add interactive elements to pages.  At the time, I believed that the new Spry framework would simplify interface design and make it less time consuming, so that I could work on adding new features and content.

I was wrong.

While I welcomed the change from more complicated DHTML-based solutions, which required extra work just to create a simple menu structure, I soon realized that Spy, in its early form, was not quite ready for prime-time.

If you look at some of the Javascript generated by Spry’s widgets and effects, it’s a mess.  Trying to maintain this piece of code is at least time-consuming and at most, an exercise in frustration.  Instead of trying to deal with this, a better way to do this might be to adopt an approach similar to what CSS – or even some kinds of  desktop development – has been doing for years: Put the code in separate files (where it belongs) and link to them!

Although I haven’t used it extensively, the Javascript Extractor in CS4 at least tries to address this problem, doing so in a way that doesn’t break entire sites by inserting several .js files into a page.  This might encourage a lot of web developers to make their code more easy to update and use,  instead of having to explicitly declare what the behaviors are for each individual element.  By the time you have a site with hundreds of pages, the time savings are significant.

With this in mind, I am hopeful that by the time CS5 comes out, Spry (or the Javascript Extractor) will be capable enough to be a viable alternative to jQuery, MooTools and the various other libraries used for UI development.

Written by @chrisfinazzo

August 31, 2009 at 12:29 pm

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All is not lost…maybe

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From John Nack’s “Adobe Snow Leopard FAQ

Surprised and disappointed that you haven’t tested it on CS3. It’s not exactly 5 releases previous is it?

[I found that really surprising, too, and I’ll try to get more info. I’d frankly be shocked if people at Adobe & Apple really hadn’t tested CS3 on 10.6. I *think* it’s just some corporate conservatism at work here, and Adobe doesn’t want to over-promise anything. As I say, though, I’ll try to find out more. –J.]

If only we knew for sure…I’m not ready to put down $500-600 for CS4 if CS5 is potentially out early next year.  Snow Leopard should arrive on Friday (Pre-ordered from Apple), might have a better answer by then.

Written by @chrisfinazzo

August 26, 2009 at 11:49 am

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Tech Support Cheat Sheet Reveals the Secrets of Troubleshooting

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When it comes to new stuff I’ve never seen before, this is pretty much how it goes; not including the strange conversation which occurs over the phone, with a fair bit of confusion, questioning and occasional yelling – on both ends – thrown in for “flavor”.  To the ‘Home Sysadmins’ out there, I feel your pain.

(Via Lifehacker)

Written by @chrisfinazzo

August 25, 2009 at 10:24 pm

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More Employers Use Social Networks to Check Out Applicants

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I’m not surprised at all to find out that social media is being used this way.  But it is telling that employers acknowledge that they investigate the use of these kinds of sites when screening potential applicants.

Written by @chrisfinazzo

August 20, 2009 at 9:30 pm

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The Paper That Doesn’t Want to Be Free

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Financial Times CEO John Ridding:

It was pretty lonely out there for a while in paid land, but it has become pretty clear that advertising alone is not going to sustain online business models. Quality journalism has to be paid for.

Generally speaking, I HATE news organizations that do this (Wall Street Journal, I’m looking at you).  The reporting may be first class, but that doesn’t excuse an access model which is outdated and irrelevant.  A few suggestions as to how this could be fixed:

  1. Adopt an archive system like the New York Times whereby old content becomes “paid-only” or “members-only” after a certain date (weeks, months, etc).
  2. Keep ALL content on the site free up until this date.
  3. “Special” sections and multimedia are excluded from this rule and remain free.
  4. When people buy a copy of the paper, either through electronic delivery or otherwise, give them a code which allows FREE online access to that day’s paper (This code has no expiration date – They bought the paper, after all).

Charging for access to the paper and online versions separately may generate more revenue, but it isn’t done in the interest of readers, the most important audience that these publications have.  In a bid to make traditional news offerings more compelling, paid-only “niche-publishing” seems like a bad move.  What’s really needed is a way to eliminate the differentiation between paper and online versions, it’s the same news, only delivered in a different way.  I don’t buy the “perceived value” argument for the physical paper, the content is the important thing.  Asking people to pay for an additional subscription to a product they already bought is unnecessary.

Written by @chrisfinazzo

August 17, 2009 at 12:00 pm

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AP Mobile News comes up short

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The only words I have to describe this are:

 

1. Buggy (Still feels like a beta most of the time)

2. Incomplete (NYT or WSJ offer more features, Bloomberg is more focused)

3. Slow (MAJOR work is needed in this area)

 

Overall, I’m disappointed as the app does nothing to show off the Push Notification Service and is well below the level of quality that is expected of the AP.  Until major improvements are made, it no longer has (or deserves) a place on my iPhone.

Written by @chrisfinazzo

August 10, 2009 at 1:54 pm

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Ice-T presents Mac Repair

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Funny stuff.

Written by @chrisfinazzo

August 8, 2009 at 10:45 pm

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