Google Browser Size: Drawn By Five-Year-Olds

Browser SizeGoogle announced a new Labs product called Browser Size. At first I thought this might be a useful tool to complement their recent spate of great developer-oriented releases. Instead, I was assaulted by a hideous overlay that requires a left-aligned design. (Though they’re ostensibly working on that.)

Browser Size allows you to enter any URL  and see an overlay of visible browser space broken up by user demographics. Specifically, you can see what percentage of the Google-using populous would be able to see what portion of your screen on an initial page load. Apparently, this is based on typical browser dimensions for users, and not screen resolutions outright. (Taking into account non-maximized browsers.)

I understand that Labs products are by their nature not fully baked, but this one lands on the other extreme: half-assed. Perhaps the overlay is a rough attempt at being cheeky, but to me, it’s ugly, and its jagged, hand-drawn lines reduce its utility, rather than amping up its “cute” factor. The percentages aren’t even consistently rendered—it’s like My First Photoshop session here.

This isn’t to say that the concept isn’t a good one. I just wish they let this one cook a bit more before releasing it.

Browser Size | Google Labs via TechCrunch

Posted in: Design

Linux CLI Tutorial Part 1—Some Under-Utilized Bash Tools for the CLI Feeble

Today, web developers have a number of platform options to develop on. Some like the familiarity of Windows combined with an IDE like Eclipse or Zend Development Environment, while others (like myself) prefer the more down-and-dirty method of vi on a Linux workstation. Whatever your taste (or skillset) requires, if you develop on the LAMP stack as we do, then eventually you may have to interact with the Linux command line interface (CLI).

In my few years of experience in LAMP development, I have worked with a number of developers with wide-ranging abilities on the CLI. I have oftentimes been surprised that even some of the very best PHP coders can feel a bit uncomfortable when faced with the CLI (hey, sometimes it’s unavoidable). So I thought I might write a series of how-to articles on some of the more useful CLI tools, to help the budding or even advanced PHP developer increase their familiarity with the CLI when they need it. Dive in, after the jump.

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Posted in: How To

Book Review: php|architect’s Guide to Enterprise PHP Development

Our office purchased a copy of php|architect’s Guide to Enterprise PHP Development (TOC) by Ivo Jansch last week, and I called dibs on the review. In it, Jansch sets out to identify tools and methodologies PHP developers can use (and have traditionally not used) to increase their chances of success. Jansch points out that PHP rapidly went from a tool used mainly to develop Personal Home Pages (I don’t know why I capitalized that… so weird) to an increasingly well-regarded enterprise-level platform. Unfortunately, while the open source community surrounding PHP is one of the most active and vibrant ones around, it has been reluctant to pick up some of the more formal development processes that the .NET and J2EE platforms are known for. We’ll dive deeper into the book in about 20 pixels. (You might have to click on a link or something, just a heads-up.)

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Posted in: Reviews