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Take your daily dose of (only) relevant news, useful tips and tricks and valuable how to's on using the latest web technologies shaping the digital landscape. We're here to do all the necessary information sifting for you, so you don't have to, to provide you with content that will help you anticipate the emerging trends about to influence the web.

How to Improve the Collaboration Between Designers and Developers: Simple Tips on Preparing Design for Coders
As we all know, programmers and designers don’t have a lot in common in terms of workflow or the software used to complete their tasks. Communication and synergy between programmers and designers can either make or break a project. How can you improve your work with a programmer? Implementing a clear workflow and respecting it is crucial – both parties need to provide feedback as work continues and a clear plan of action needs to be set in place for the current project. Start planning your project Simply shipping your design work over to the programmer may work on very small tasks or smaller projects but for larger, more complex projects it could turn into a disaster. The workflow needs to be accompanied by careful planning. Your average plan should include a schedule estimate and an approximate cost. If you’re building the project for a client, cost estimates are mandatory. Project planning needs to also account for how an optimal collaboration can be reached – the small details count in this phase. Prepare your design for coding Instead of simply handing over your design work along with a few requirements to the programmer and waiting for the results to appear, designers need to also focus on things which will enable the programmers to help them in the long run. Here are a few aspects and tips you need to take into consideration when producing your design: Your key objective is Pixel Perfect – If you want your programmer to implement your design work properly, you need to provide him with exact details – elements such as colours, style, fonts, margins and padding need to be specified exactly before the programmer can begin his portion of work. Keep in mind that by doing this you eliminate the need for future changes or revisions – as a result the overall cost of your project will be reduced. Follow Photoshop Etiquette – Designers should properly name layers and structure their files accordingly. Images need to be aligned and the programmer needs to be provided with plenty of information – it goes a long way in building your project and speeding up your workflow. Keep in touch with the coder – It’s a good idea to maintain contact with the coder on a regular basis and ensure he has all the information he needs to properly do his portion of the project. Developers really appreciate it when you provide your support. Designs for interactions are important – These designs can be a great help to your coder as well. Examples can include the intended use of sliders, button hover states, dropdown menus and others. Research on the technology used – You’ll get a better understanding of what’s feasible from a programming point by keeping up to speed with the latest tech trends. Sometimes designers may ask for features which are simply impossible to implement. Don’t rush, time is plenty Planning ahead, coordinating your work and providing clients with meaningful estimates will save you a lot of time in the long run. Transparency will help all people involved to get a better understanding of the overall project and speed up the workflow. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 25'2016
Best Photoshop Plugin for Web Design
Get a Photoshop plugin that will help you perfect your work as a web designer! Here is the list of 10 amazing Photoshop addons: Codly Codly can automatically code your Photoshop mobile-design work, saving you lots of time and effort in development. With Codly you’ll have plenty of room for experimentation and new ideas. Codly’s interface is very intuitive, featuring a simple drag and drop system. This platform can generate code for BlackBerry, Windows 10, Android XML and of course iOS. Random User Generator Random User Generator is a free open source API which generates placeholder user data for forms and other similar structures. Random User Generator’s tagline is „Like Lorem Ipsum, but for people”. Data can include passwords, phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, emails and names. Suitcase Fusion 6 Suitcase Fusion 6 is the perfect Photoshop plugin for Google font lovers. This little add-on will keep your fonts perfectly organized in Photoshop. You can compare fonts and preview them before implementing, which can save you a lot of time. Retinize It Retinize It allows designers to slice and export from certain groups or layers directly as assets. Not only that but this plugin offers designers the option to magnify smart objects or shapes by 200-300%, making it easier to prepare the image for iOS displays and retina. PSD Cleaner PSD Cleaner will organize your PSD files in an instant. Browsing for empty layers or missing names is no longer a drag with this neat little add-on. PSD Cleaner will set you back $19.99 but you can work without any distractions. LayerCraft LayerCraft can help you export individual assets to Photoshop layers. You can export directly to Android or iOS, with options such as trimming, duplicating, removing empty pixels and scaling up to 200% or down to 50%. Photoshop Plugin for Prototyping Usually, after you create a mockup in Adobe Photoshop you need to build it again from scratch for prototyping purposes. The UXPin app solves this issue by allowing complete integration. Just export your PSDs straight into the platform and then simply add interactions to your mockup for feedback purposes. This platform also preserves all your layers for prototyping. Oven Oven is a neat little Photoshop plugin that helps with other plugins – When you want to generate image assets from layers through the use of other plugins for web designers, you’ll need to name them appropriately before export images. Oven speeds up the process by baking your multiple layers properly. You can export in either .png or .jpg for Android or iOS. Oven also features a duplicate option which keeps your original label names intact. Perspective Mockups We all know that Photoshop CS6 offers some stunning presentation documents and deliverables. Perspective Mockups can make your PS files even better – this plugin allows you to stack, tilt, rotate or layer the perspective of the file according to your needs and preferences. GuideGuide This plugin allows designers to create highly customizable guides extremely fast. GuideGuide is a very popular Adobe Photoshop plugin – you can create guides with multiple options based on the selected layers, artboards and canvases. You can create instant guides for already designed selections – secondary options such as duplicating or sharing are also available. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 22'2016
Pagekit 1.0
If you’ve been following web development over the past few years, you will have noticed how fast it has evolved. The understanding of PHP and JavaScript has shifted, new frameworks have emerged, and the package manager Composer provides an easy way to integrate different components into applications. All this has lead to a new generation of content management systems that are built on modern principles, shed old ballast and simplify the lives of both developers and end users. One of them is Pagekit, an outstanding new CMS developed by YOOtheme, a company that has been creating themes and extensions for Joomla and WordPress since 2007. Pagekit is a modular and lightweight CMS built with Vue.js and Symfony components. Its focus lies on being intuitive for end-users on the one hand and a modern codebase that provides powerful tools for developers on the other. Apart from menus, pages, and widgets, Pagekit features a powerful user and permission system as well as a blogging extension, including a sophisticated comment function. Since the release of its first Alpha version in 2014, Pagekit has been supported by a rapidly growing community on Github, so that in spring 2016 it finally leaves its beta phase and hits the screens. Pagekit’s User Interface Pagekit’s simple user interface lets even beginners start their first website without any struggles. The administration is inspired by Google’s Material Design guidelines and provides a clean, intuitive and mobile-friendly experience for end users, featuring link and media pickers and a lot of one-click functionalities. It is limited to the essentials without compromising features that CMS users have come to expect. When logging into your Pagekit website, the first thing you’ll see is the Dashboard. It provides access to all areas of the administration and allows you to install useful widgets, like Google Analytics, to get an overview of your site’s activity and visitor data. The Dashboard leads you to the hierarchical Site Tree view. Here you can organize all your pages, menus, and widgets in a unified drag and drop interface. It is the central place to manage content in Pagekit and drastically simplifies creating websites. You can write the content of static pages, widgets and the built-in blog extension using a wonderful HTML & Markdown editor. It features syntax highlighting as well as real-time preview and has access to Pagekit’s file manager to upload media right into your content. The Pagekit Marketplace Pagekit features a built-in Marketplace. Users can install themes and extensions in one click without having to leave the administration area while developers have the chance to distribute their products to a global community. Since extensibility is one of the core ideas of Pagekit, its modular architecture makes it such a great base for interested developers. Right now, four official themes are at hand, including One, Pagekit’s default theme. The Marketplace also delivers a handful of in-house extensions: Google Analytics, a syntax highlighter, TinyMCE and the pre-bundled Blog. A number of third party themes and extensions are already available as well, for example, a form builder, a portfolio, and social media extensions. To help developers create their products, the Marketplace offers blueprints for themes and extensions. The idea is for the Marketplace to become a thriving theme and extension ecosystem. The Modern Architecture of Pagekit Pagekit is best friends with Vue.js, the new hot JavaScript framework you may already have heard of. Vue offers functionalities to easily build interactive interfaces. It takes care of updating models and views on the client via its two-way data binding. But there is more to it than having nice interactive views. By utilizing Vue’s concept of web components, we can build a client library for reusable components, like the media picker that can be used from any extension. What looks good on the interface level, should also extend to a strong foundation. Since extensibility is one of the core ideas of Pagekit, the team explored what “modularity” really means. On the code level, nearly everything is a Module object: a theme, an extension, a widget and the core functionality itself. This keeps code complexity to a minimum, as developers can work with the same concept in many different places. Pagekit is extended through themes and extensions. They can make a small or big change to Pagekit’s functionality as well as make it look beautiful. The CMS manages them using the power of Composer. Install packages right from the browser, using the command line or by requiring them in your project definition. No need to distribute the package dependencies with your extensions. Pagekit will get and share the required libraries during the package’s installation. Pagekit Community and Resources Pagekit is an open source project and published under MIT license. So if you want to get your hands dirty, head over to Github and take a look under Pagekit’s hood. Everyone is invited to contribute. A number of useful resources are already available to help you find your way around Pagekit and even to start developing your themes and extensions. There are a lot of CMSes out there that suit different needs. But we suggest you give the new kid on the block a try. Its lightness, simplicity, and beautiful Material Deign user interface make working with Pagekit a true delight. It provides great tools for developers, and its modular architecture will make you itch to start creating cool extensions. We see a bright future ahead for Pagekit. Source: https://speckyboy.com... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 21'2016
News Alert: You Can Now Install and Use Bash Shell on Windows 10
Here’s something new: Microsoft Build announced that it is bringing GNU project’s Bash shell to Windows. Bash or Bourne Again Shell has been a standard OS X on many Linux distribution systems but the default terminal for Windows developers is PowerShell, produced by Microsoft itself. This means that developers will be able to write their .sh Bash scripts on Windows as well. The new system will work through a Linux subsystem in Windows 10 that Microsoft worked on with Canonical. Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth states: “The native availability of a full Ubuntu environment on Windows, without virtualization or emulation, is a milestone that defies convention and a gateway to fascinatingly unfamiliar territory,” “In our journey to bring free software to the widest possible audience, this is not a moment we could have predicted. Nevertheless we are delighted to stand behind Ubuntu for Windows, committed to addressing the needs of Windows developers exploring Linux in this amazing new way, and excited at the possibilities heralded by this unexpected turn of events.”, he adds. It gets better The idea behind moving the Bash shell to Windows 10 is to make Windows a better operating system for developers who want to target other platforms than Microsoft’s. Satya Nadella, the new CEO of Microsoft is actively pushing for projects that target all platforms and developers, not just Windows. A few years ago it was unthinkable for Microsoft to work together with a rival operating system such as Linux but now the company offers Linux support on Azure and plans to bring SQL Server to Linux in the near future as well. Bash will become available with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update but Windows Insiders can try it out before that. Microsoft is planning to bring other shells to Windows as well, which is a great thing for developers worldwide.   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 19'2016
App Development – Which language to pick? Ruby’s your best bet!
Picking a programming language for app development can be a real challenge nowadays since there’s an endless choice of software to choose from. Different programming languages have different advantages and disadvantages, especially when it comes to app development, which requires certain specific features. App development specialists can pick from one of the 3-4 more popular programing languages but all these have different approaches to solving problems. As a general rule, you should go with a language that provides good tools for scalability, optimisation and maintainability.   Ruby for App development Ruby is a favourite programming language for app development and web development – It can be used in many different areas such as writing scripts, apps, games, research, prototyping and administration. HP, NASA, Cisco and many other companies use Ruby for their tech needs. Apart from that, Ruby also works on Apache, nginx and there are even web servers written in Ruby. Ruby was first created in 1995 by combining different languages such as Smalltalk, Lisp and Perl into one well balanced highly reliable programming language. One interesting aspect is that the program code is stored in plain text, which can be an asset.   Ruby’s a clean app development programming language Ruby’s praised for its cleanliness and the following of certain principles which make app development easier: There’s no need to repeat code – by simply writing it and putting it in the right place, Ruby spares developers from unnecessary work. Conventions over configuration – with Ruby, there are plenty of methods already written and available for use but in certain cases they can be rewritten to fit a different purpose. This makes writing code much easier and clearer.   Objects With Ruby, everything is focused on the object. This is called object-oriented programming meaning that each piece of code can have its own actions and properties. Here is an example of code in which an action is applied to a number: 10.256.round # we will get a round number 10 In most languages primitive data types such as numbers are not objects – Ruby allows developers to define object variables and methods for all data types which in turn simplifies Ruby’s use since the rules applied to objects can be applied to the entire Ruby.   Ruby is flexible Ruby’s owes much of its popularity due to its flexibility – it allows users to modify, override or delete basic parts as needed. Ruby’s main focus is freedom for the programmer – this is one of the reasons why it’s such a great app development language. Ruby supports only single inheritance and offers the concept of modules where modules are collections of methods. Classes can mix in a module and receive all its methods. Eg: Any class may mix in enumerable module which in turn adds a number of methods that are used to create cycles: class Collection include Enumerable end   Portability Although it was developed on Linux/GNU, Ruby offers high portability – you can work on Windows XP/7, Mac OS X, UNIX and others. Another benefit is that you can work with the jQuery JavaScript framework, MVC, TDD, design demplates and ORM (ActiveRecord).   Community support Community support is one of the most important strengths of Ruby. You can publish your own modules in the open access section of Ruby’s website or ask for help with your project. Thanks to Ruby’s community, thousands of solutions and code bits are available for users just one click away. This is a treasure trove for programmers building app development projects. Other useful things include authentication and authorization systems, test data, share buttons for social networks, e-mail sending systems and many others are waiting to be implemented. If you need to modify it, you can do it with ease and share it with the community.   Conclusions All programming languages have strengths and weaknesses but Ruby is our top favourite due to its ease of use and versatility, especially when app development projects are involved. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 18'2016
Choosing the Right Web Hosting Service: 5 Most Important Factors to Consider
Nowadays there are plenty of web hosting companies to choose from, all with different perks and different services available and more importantly, for different budgets. But which one best fits your need? How can you really know? You need to pick a hosting company that fully supports your business needs and doesn’t hinder your way to success. There are many different factors involved such as bandwidth, your overall site speed, customer support and of course price. Here is a breakdown of the major types of hosting and some basic criteria to help you pick the perfect plan for your enterprise. Most hosting plans fall into the following categories:   Individual plans These are the most affordable hosting plans available these days. Most of these plans provide hosting support for only one single domain and limits on data storage, bandwidth and features apply. Individual plans are usually the best choice for webmasters who don’t expect a lot of traffic in their first year of business. Dedicated servers Individual plans are often called „shared hosting plans” because they share space on their hosting servers with different clients. Sometimes your business might outgrow the features and services offered by a limited individual plan – then you’ll need to upgrade to a web hosting plan that offers your very own server. Dedicated server plans obviously cost a little bit more – Hostgator’s dedicated server plans will set you back $139 a month. If you expect you’ll need a dedicated server it’s best to pick a web hosting provider which offers both of these plans and allows transitions between them. Reseller accounts Reseller account plans are somewhere between individual plans and dedicated servers – these plans allow clients to set up multiple individual account plans within a single account. Most reseller account plans will set you back between $10 and $20 a month – these are best suited for companies with multiple smaller sites.   If you already decided on a hosting plan type, you need to consider certain aspects before signing up with a certain hosting provider:   If you already decided on a hosting plan type, you need to consider certain aspects before signing up with a certain hosting provider: Your budget While looking for more reasonable monthly rates you might come across free hosting services – you should avoid using these services as there considerable drawbacks such as unreliability and on site ads. Customer reviews Customer reviews are a great way to evaluate web hosting providers. These days it’s very easy to build a professional looking website full of bold promises so it’s a good idea to search for multiple customer reviews before signing up for a plan. Customer support Your host provider’s customer support team is crucial to building an online enterprise. Things often go wrong and you need to know they’re there for you 24/7. Not having a reliable customer support service can mean loss of income for you and your business so it’s a good idea to look for hosting companies that offer 24/7 email support, chat support and phone support before actually committing to a hosting plan. Bandwidth and storage Most decent hosting plans offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space, so it shouldn’t really be a concern. Although this is standard, you should be wary of any potential limitations your desired account might have. Script support One final thing you need to keep in mind is your hosting company’s support for web scripts. Let’s say you want to build a Word Press website – some web hosts offer built-in script packages that make the installation process a whole lot easier. Also check the number of MySQL databases your host supports – you’ll need more than one if you want to run Word Press and other programs on the same host.   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 13'2016
What Are the Best Free FTP Clients? Our Top 5
A FTP Client is the software program you use to transfer files to and from your server or web host. Other more secure alternatives can include FTPS and SFTP. What to look for in a FTP Client: Having a GUI: This is a big plus when it comes to FTP clients. Some FTP clients offer a regular command-line interface but a graphical user interface is the norm nowadays – it’s also much easier to use and faster. Supporting secure file transfer protocols: Plain FTP isn’t really secure – it doesn’t encrypt the data you’re transferring. As such, your data can become compromised en route to the server or web host. If that happens, just about anyone can read your username and password. SFTP or SHH File Transfer Protocol is a more secure alternative to plain old FTP. 1. FileZilla FileZilla is a free open source FTP client. FileZilla is fast and able to handle multi-threaded transfers or simultaneous transmissions. If security is your thing, FileZilla also supports FTPS and SFTP. This free FTP client is also available on all operating systems – Linux, Mac OS and Windows. 2. Cyberduck Cyberduck can handle tons of simultaneous file transferring: Amazon S3, WebDav, SFTP and more. This FTP client features a minimalist UI, making it very easy to use. It’s available on Mac OS and Windows. 3. FireFTP FireFTP is a Mozilla Firefox add-on with a strong SFTP/FTP client right in your browser. FireFTP is available on all platforms which run FireFox, including Linux, Mac OS and Windows. 4. Classic FTP Classic FTP is free for non-commercial use. It features a very simple and intuitive interface, making it easy to use even for beginners. This file transfer client also features a “Compare Directories” feature which is quite useful – this feature helps you see any differences between your remote files and your local files. Classic FTP is available on Mac OS and Windows. 5. WinSCP WinSCP is a very popular FTP client simply due to its long list of features. WinSCP can handle multiple file transfer protocols such as WebDav, FTP, SCP and SFTP. You can also make quick text edits with WinSCP’s built in text editor. Scripting support is available for power users on this Windows-only FTP client. 6. Transmit Transmit is a very popular FTP client used by most developers on Mac OS. Although all of the FTP clients included in this list are free, Transit will set you back around $35 – it might not be the best choice for everyone but it does offer quite a few innovative features along with its user friendliness.         ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 12'2016
Cocycles: Main Reasons to Use the New Search Engine for Open Source Code
Up until now, finding open source code has been a real hassle for professional developers and beginners alike – Cocycles is here to fix that issue with a simple solution. Cocycles launched its very own code search engine specifically built to help developers find open source code sorted by functionality. Open source code is being sorted and neatly organized according to functionality – all you need to do is describe what you want the code to do and Ocycles will find it for you. The vast sea of open source code GitHub reports that the amount of open source code being written doubles itself yearly, with over 31 million different repositories currently in existence. Unfortunately enough, 98% of the code written becomes obsolete within a year from being written. Until now it was impossible to know exactly what open source code was already written and where to find it. Developers had the arduous task of searching for packages of code and then looking through libraries to find the bits and pieces they needed for their projects. But what happens when a developer just needs a single piece of code that does something – a simple JavaScript function that swaps two elements in an array? It was impossible to search through and sort the vast sea of open source code. Searching for open source code made easy Cocycles is a search engine specifically designed for code. Not only text or libraries but code. Users need to describe the desired functionality and with just a click of the button matching bits and pieces from open source code will appear like magic. The code itself is stored and organized by functionality, so the search engine understands what every piece of code does. NLP algorithms enable Cocycles to understand the developers’ natural language and translate these queries into code functionality. After that, the described functionality is matched to the code pieces’ from across the open source. For example, if you search for code that swaps two elements in an array, you just need to search for „swap elements” and you’ll find different open source code bits that do precisely that. Cocycles does not only provide interactive views of the full code implementation but it will also provide the original documents plus real usage examples and meta-data. Cocycles is able to generate a snippet containing all functions and dependencies within one line of code – this allows devs to use it as it is. Another feature of this code search engine includes „Cocycles Immediate” which is similar to Google’s „I’m feeling lucky” – it will instantly provide a view of the data related to your search. Cocycles currently supports JavaScript but the developers are planning to enable it to support other languages as well. Cocycles is and always be free or all developers. We hope it will have a good influence in the world of open source development.     ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 11'2016
Swift - „first class” language for Android?
When Swift was going open source, representatives for three major brands — Google, Facebook and Uber — were in London discussing the new language. Sources said that Google is considering making Swift a “first class” language for Android, while Facebook and Uber are also considering Swift. Google’s Android operating system now supports Java as its first-class language, and sources say Swift is not meant to replace Java, at least initially. While the ongoing litigation with Oracle is likely cause for concern, sources say Google considers Swift to have a broader “upside” than Java. Swift is open source, which means Google could adopt it for Android without changing its own open source mobile structure. Could Google do it? Born at Apple as a replacement to Objective C, Swift quickly found favor with developers as an easy-to-write language that shed much of the verbosity and clumsy parameters other languages have. Swift can’t be copy-pasted for any platform, though. Specifically, Android would need a runtime for Swift — and that’s just for starters. Google would also have to make its entire standard library Swift-ready, and support the language in APIs and SDKs. Some low-level Android APIs are C++, which Swift can not currently bridge to. Those would have to be re-written. Using Swift for Android is not impossible, though. Late last year, developer Romain Goyet toyed with Swift for Android — and had some success. While that project was completed well ahead of Swift being open source, it nonetheless proved that it can be done. That project used the Android NDK, which allows other languages to be loosely implemented into Android. With an open source Swift and support from Google, Android apps wouldn’t require that toolkit. All told, Google would have to effectively recreate its efforts with Java — for Swift. Facebook and Uber Facebook’s interest in Swift appears to be completely founded in technological advancement. A benefit of Swift is that it can serve as both a forward-facing language as well as a server-side one. For a product like Facebook, that’s beneficial; apps and servers can speak to one another seamlessly, and it potentially gives the company a wider scope to write APIs for services. And work may have already begun. A Github pull request in the Swift repository named ‘Port to Android’ was made by a Facebook employee. It’s not clear if his work was official Facebook business or not, though we have confirmed Facebook is already working with Swift internally — it’s just not known how thoroughly. Uber’s road to Swift is probably a bit cleaner than either Google or Facebook. When could a move to Swift happen? We think that this won’t happen anytime soon, mainly because of Android. But Swift is quickly finding its way. Several studies suggest it’s one of the fastest growing languages around, and has blown up since going open source (GitHubtells The Next Web the language is currently its 11th most popular). Demand for developers who know Swift is also exploding, which could be all the indication these three companies need to at least explore using Swift more thoroughly. Google’s onboarding for Swift would be long; it essentially has to rewrite every Android service, app and API. Google would also have to spearhead Swift support for Android — which is still only being poked and prodded at by clever developers in the Swift community. In a way, Google has already begun moving away from bits of Oracle-flavored Java. It’s now using the Open JDK for Android rather than the proprietary Java API, and may be considering a post-Java life altogether. Talks in London were said to be exploratory; Google is not yet pushing to move on from Java. While it would be a big undertaking, Swift is meant for speed and safety, and Swift’s roadmap suggests it won’t be quite as difficult to use it for other platforms in the future, specifically when it comes to C++. Facebook and Uber face similarly daunting tasks when it comes to using Swift throughout, but can –and should — wait for Google to shoulder the load with Android. If the use of Swift is going to be as deep as our sources indicate (that is, all companies want to be using it for server side and forward-facing use cases), Android support is integral. Moving to Swift for any of the companies also makes little sense unless it’s a thorough re-do, but it’s probably not quite as hard as it sounds. Services like Perfectprove that server-side Swift is ready, and it’s worth considering that Facebook’s engineers (perhaps from the Parse team) may already be working on this. IBM is also working to make Swift ready for server-side functions. But don’t expect Google, Facebook or Uber to announce Swift-y plans anytime soon. Facebook and Google both have developer conferences on the horizon, and there’s no indication that Swift will play a major part at either. Source: http://thenextweb.com ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 08'2016