Firebug Working Group Created; John Resig Joins It

I linked to John Resig’s post on what he loves about Firebug and what’s next for the tool earlier this month. John Resig works on/created JQuery and is an active developer at Mozilla.

So it’s fitting that today he announced the creation of the Firebug Working Group to consolidate development on the tool, and that he’d be spending 50% of his Mozilla time on Firebug.

This is great news, as John is very clearly brilliant and has some great ideas for the future of the tool.

[via Ajaxian]

Posted in: Tech News

Doing Twitter Right: Complete Twitter Immersion

So I’ve been staying away from the Twitter craziness for some time, primarily because Facebook integration was sketchy at best (the Twitter app used to add “is twittering” to your Facebook status so you’d look like a total ass) and because none of my friends were on it. But then I watched as the Intrigo folks commented on my post on Twitter, where I could see it and respond back and something appealed to me about the “open text messaging/IMing” concept. Allowing others to join in on a conversation is fun and, more importantly, a great way to find interesting people.

After I configured my account, it was time to make Twitter work for me, to the maximum extent allowed by the law. Here’s what I’ve done to make my Twitter experience a bit better, after the jump.

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Posted in: Cool Stuff, How To

The Lazy, Clever Programmer: A Compendium Of Code Reuse & Recycling

I started getting “serious” about development because I had a desire never to write lengthy, wandering streams of code again.  It was not for any reason but unadulterated laziness—the kind that so overpowers the better senses as to force a person to spend hours in a chair with the express goal of not spending hours in said chair.  It’s a wild, consuming laziness that seems to know no bounds.

As developers, once we start separating our code into abstract ontological typologies, we make use of the human mind’s phenomenal ability to work with types.  Our code becomes less about jump tables and registers and more about users, email messages and images.  What once was a problem of allocating resources and operations within the computer becomes an abstract, logical problem within a collection of objects.  Like children awe-struck by stories of magicians of old, speaking incantations and pressing their wishes into reality by the power of their mind alone, we become drunk with the sense of awe and possibility.

We *really* dive into things after the jump, so go ahead and hit it.

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Posted in: Articles, Development

Adventures of a Summer Intern: Volumes II-VII

As I make my second post in this series, we find ourselves deep into the hot, Arizona summer. The weekly posts suggested by Bob faded quickly into bi-monthly posts. So let’s get caught up, shall we?

Over the past month there has been a lot of action around here. We’re closing up several smaller projects and getting a move on a few new, larger-scaled ones. I’ve been able to contribute to six different websites doing various design and development tasks. I’ve created WordPress and Magento templates, worked on WordPress and Magento administration and installation tasks, written custom PHP for a few websites and worked a lot with CSS and simple designs.

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Posted in: People, Rants

Eat, Drink, Breathe and Sleep Web Dev: How To Get Hired At A Web Firm

I wrote the following (with some minor edits) on AskMetafilter in response to a user’s question, “Is someone with approximately one year of college and an Adobe ACE cert in Flash CS3 employable? And when I say employable, I don’t mean flipping hamburgers. I mean as a Flash or ActionScript designer/developer.”

What you need isn’t a degree. A degree in “multimedia design” doesn’t mean anything to me, or any other serious creative/dev house. What you need is experience, a body of work that’s pretty damn nice and a passion that you demonstrate by building things just for fun, researching what’s new and edgy and clearly taking the initiative to learn on your own and continue to do so.

We hire people almost entirely based on what we perceive are their ability to learn and absorb new concepts, what they’ve built themselves and even more importantly, their passion towards doing both those things. You have to live, eat and breathe this stuff. You have to work hard to stay a step ahead of the crowd. And you’ll run into a lot of issues that you have to be willing to work through to solve.

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Posted in: How To

The IE Temptation: Phasing Out Internet Explorer 6 Support

Internet Explorer 7 represented a step forward for “mainstream” browsing. Microsoft worked to fix a lot of the epic fails in CSS implementation that IE 6 had brought upon itself and those around it. There are a few departures from the standards and further from how Firefox handles things, but they’re farther and fewer in between and don’t impact us *too* much on a day-to-day.

Still, instead of developing for Firefox and Internet Explorer, we’re developing for FF, IE6 *and* IE7. Cheers. Add to the fact that IE6 has some serious flaws including its lack of transparent PNG support without getting all hacky, different JavaScript implementations and limitations on what you can do with AJAX calls, et cetera, and it becomes a significant burden to develop for. It doesn’t help that you can only have one version of IE installed on a Windows-machine, or the other, without, again, getting terribly hacky. Just watch your workflow take a hit there.

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Posted in: Design, Development

Thoughts on E-Government and Open-Source Software

What follows is the concluding chapter of my Master’s thesis written a little over two years ago. If you are interested in reading the rest, check it out here. I just thought I would post it to see some of your thoughts on the idea of open-source software as a platform for government service delivery.

I am about half way through Lawrence Lessig’s book Code 2.0 and it has brought back fond memories of my days writing on e-government and open-source software. If you read only one book about the Internet, please make it The Future of Ideas, also by Lessig. This book was the foundation for my thesis and is, in my opinion, one the most influential books on the Internet and information freedom.

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Posted in: Rants, Tech News

Collaborative Idiocy: Intrigo and the Wiki-As-A-Company-Website Approach

From time to time, we like to survey the tech community around us and see who else swims in our pond. Our clients are from all over the country (nay, the world!) and while we’re “competitors,” there is *plenty* of work to go around. Plus, we’ve found that sharing our experiences and making friends only helps us better ourselves and each other.

That said, one of our competitors has attempted one of the stupider things I’ve seen online: a MediaWiki-based corporate website. I’m not one to typically outright pan those in the same space online; we all do dumb things from time to time. But this just seems righteously boneheaded to me.

Intrigo is a web development company in Tucson. They service mostly small businesses and startups. And their corporate website is a Wiki that anyone can edit. Without creating an account or logging in or anything.

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Posted in: Rants

HTML 5: New features, tags, attributes and what else to expect (in about a decade)

HTML 5 is coming our way. So goes the theory, anyway. (Recent chatter puts widespread adoption by user agents at close to a decade out from now… or more.) It is still a moment that many of us are eagerly anticipating. I remember drooling over my keyboard while reading through the HTML 5 Specifications the first time. We have been stuck with HTML 4.01/XHTML 1.0 for a long time and it is time to see some changes.

(In fact, HTML 4.01 has presented us with the longest gap in HTML revisions—it’s been 10 years since it was released; HTML 3.2 only lasted about a year, from 1997 to 1998.) There are some great things we have to look forward to that will make life a lot easier for us developers and designers. We’ll take a look at a few of them after the jump.

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Posted in: Design, Development, Tech News

Firebug and All Its Fancy: Powering A Web Revolution

John Resig (creator of JQuery) posted an absolutely great piece on how JavaScript/DOM debugger/profiler extension Firebug is truly powering a web revolution.

He examines in good detail some of the things Firebug has enabled developers to do: Things like real-time analysis of applied styles to elements of the DOM and how exactly your stylesheets cascade, let alone the ability to manipulate them in-browser. Things like the ability to profile JavaScript and network performance with a level of granularity and accuracy you could only dream of before—let alone the ability to monitor AJAX calls and debug them. And a bunch more.

He also posits what’s next for Firebug, with some good suggestions for things like visual performance profiling, AJAX-request manual triggering and a few others.

What’s most fascinating to me, though, is the sheer volume of downloads of the Firebug extension. We’re talking 6.2 million downloads since its release. Consider that number for a second. Even if 70% of those are duplicate downloads and only 30% of those downloads are unique users, that’s still 1.8 million developers. Now, Firebug isn’t an add-on for regular users. It’s strictly a power-user/developer tool. Hell, even the Firebug plugin YSlow has over 380,000 downloads.

I think it speaks volumes about the state of the industry and the real web revolution we have on our hands here: Creating applications, making useful tools and delivering quality results are elements within reach of so many more individuals, with such lower barriers to entry, considerably lower costs and a greatly smoothed learning curve.

Powering A Web Revolution [John Resig] | Firebug Extension

Posted in: Cool Stuff, Development