OK, you’ve created your own weblog and your hands are shaking with excitement and terror. You just posted an excellent new piece that details your grievances with that jerk Kelly at work, an essay that is by turns insightful and thrillingly alive with a kind of erotic frisson. But where are your readers? Where are the hits? Why aren’t people falling over themselves to get at your sweet, sweet words?
There are many possible explanations, but one is that people are shallow, crass, and easily distracted by shiny objects. If they come to your site and just see a page full of text, their eyes will glaze over and they’ll head right on back to the Nude Animated GIFs site.
But, but, it’s the content that’s important, right? Shouldn’t your razor-sharp writing be enough to keep their attention? Wouldn’t dressing up the text with pretty pictures almost be an insult? Isn’t it what’s in here (gesturing toward heart) that matters most of all?
Yes, truly, but in the real world people like to see their content all gussied up, preferably as sextastically as possible. Sure, you can give them a few well-cropped and color-adjusted photos. But your blog also needs its fair share of arty, distorted, eye-searing pictures! And what about a zany logo?
Continue Reading “Use Filters in Photoshop” »
One of the main advantages of systems like PHP, XSSI, and CSS is the way they let us keep the functional code (or “business logic” as the eggheads call it) separate from how the content is rendered (“presentation”). At least in theory.
In actuality, this separation happens all too rarely, and muddled code with everything scrambled together is the norm. That kind of separation becomes especially important when multiple people are involved in a project, with designers, programmers and content writers working separately. Or, when you need to make frequent changes to, say, the look of a site without changing its wording, or vice versa.
Continue Reading “Keep Sites Clean With Smarty” »
Windows provides a little command line utility called cmd.exe, but it has nothing close to the power of the Unix command line and its integrated free tools and applications. Fortunately, especially for addicts of the Unix way, there’s a way to use a lot of the Unix tools in a Windows environment. That way is a free piece of software called Cygwin. Cygwin is a Unix-style command line for Windows; it comes with a selection of hundreds of free tools as well.
Installation is shockingly easy. Download http://www.cygwin.com/setup.exe onto your Windows computer, and then run the program.
The setup utility walks you through installing Cygwin. When prompted to choose a download source, select “Install from Internet”. Choose a reasonably local download mirror from the choices it offers.
Next, it’s time to choose which software packages you want included in your Cygwin installation. Choosing All is the easiest option, and it means you won’t get that annoying “command not found” error often — but it takes a long time to download everything, and it takes a lot of drive space. The packages are broken down into categories — Database, Devel, Editors — for ease of picking and choosing if you want to grab just the packages you need. I recommend blowing up the window to full screen for this process.
After you’ve picked some or All and clicked the Next button, all those packages will download from the mirror site and be installed on your machine. You can watch a captivating progress bar while this happens.
Finally you should see the “Installation Complete” message.
If, later on, you realize that now you want a package you opted not to install the first time around, just run setup.exe again and choose it. It’ll be added to your Cygwin setup, and any updates will be downloaded too, while your existing installation is left intact.
Continue Reading “Install and Use Cygwin” »
Continue Reading “Get Started With JQuery” »
Cascading stylesheets are a new-ish technology that promises to make the Web a better place by allowing you to control layout like never before, to make smaller, faster pages, and to easily maintain many pages at once.
Steve Mulder, author of “Web Designer’s Guide to Stylesheets,” created this five-day stylesheets tutorial which — modesty aside — kicks butt.
Your journey begins with a quick trip through the basics of cascading stylesheets — everything you have to know to get started quickly.
Continue Reading “Mulders Stylesheets Tutorial” »