Author:

Rachel Andrew is a web developer, writer and speaker and one of the people behind the content management system, Perch. She is the author of a number of books including chapters in the Smashing Book Three and the upcoming Book Four, where she writes about Providing Technical Support. She writes about business and technology on her own site at rachelandrew.co.uk.

Twitter: Follow Rachel Andrew on Twitter

Speed Up Your Mobile Website With Varnish

Imagine that you have just written a post on your blog, tweeted about it and watched it get retweeted by some popular Twitter users, sending hundreds of people to your blog at once. Your excitement at seeing so many visitors talk about your post turns to dismay as they start to tweet that your website is down — a database connection error is shown.

Speed Up Your Mobile Website With Varnish

Or perhaps you have been working hard to generate interest in your startup. One day, out of the blue, a celebrity tweets about how much they love your product. The person’s followers all seem to click at once, and many of them find that the domain isn’t responding, or when they try to sign up for the trial, the page times out.

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Building A Successful Product: Start Small And Listen

Developing a product is one thing, bringing it to market is another. In this article, Rachel explains how to start with a new product, develop and support it over time. Interested in learning more? Rachel will be hosting a full-day Smashing workshop on "Shipping Your Product" in Berlin, and she has contributed a chapter on customer support to the brand new upcoming Smashing Book #4 (to be released in late November). —Ed.

Building A Successful Product: Start Small And Listen

If you are launching a bootstrapped product, then your aim should be to ship something that people are happy to give you money for as quickly as possible. This means launching with the minimum that will make your product something that people would be happy to buy. You can then begin to develop additional features based on what customers actually want and need, rather than on what you think they want and need.

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A Guide To PHP Error Messages For Designers

PHP is widely available with inexpensive hosting plans, which makes it a popular choice for developers who write software for the Web. From big platforms, such as WordPress, down to small scripts, such as ones to display image galleries or to send forms to email, thousands of script and products are out there written in PHP that can be installed and used even if you don’t know much about PHP yourself.

A Guide To PHP Error Messages For Designers

I have been a PHP developer for 10 years, and my company has developed a content management system, written in PHP, that is intended to be very simple to install and get started with. So, I spend a lot of time working with designers who are installing a PHP script for the first time. If you are installing a script and something goes wrong, PHP can be incredibly infuriating.

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Supporting Your Product: How To Provide Technical Support

Users will always need support. You could have a bulletproof product and the most excellent tutorials and documentation, and someone will find a way to break it or just not read the information staring them in the face. Later in this article, I’ll explain some ways to minimize support requests and the time spent in dealing with them. But you should expect to offer support and build it into the price of your product.

Your support systems should also help you track the amount of time being taken up by support, so that you can plan for future requirements. If you are a small company whose product developers are supporting the product at present, knowing the amount of time each license or user requires for support on average will enable you to project when you might need to hire additional support staff.

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Create An HTML/CSS Mobile Web App Using Sencha Touch

The world of mobile app development is quickly becoming a crowded and complicated space, especially for those outside of the development niche. “Which development platform should I use?” “Do I go native or Web-based?” “Which devices should I plan for?” “Can I build my mobile website by hand or should I use a pre-built package?” The questions are endless.

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As a designer, my job is to help my clients answer these questions. I try to stay in the category of “knowing enough to be dangerous,” and I keep tabs on the latest mobile development trends, one being the growing popularity of mobile Web apps.

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Designing for Content Management Systems

Designing and indeed front-end development for a website that will have content edited by non-technical users poses some problems over and above those you will encounter when developing a site where you have full control over the output mark-up. However, most clients these days want to be able to manage their own content, so most designers will find that some, if not all, of their designs end up as templates in some kind of CMS.

Tabs on the Long Hollow website

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By considering the CMS as you design, you can maintain far more control over the final output. If your designs will be implemented and integrated into the CMS by a developer, then taking control at the design phase will help you to keep control over the design as opposed to leaving decisions to the developer or the content editors.

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How To Use CSS3 Media Queries To Create a Mobile Version of Your Website

CSS3 continues to both excite and frustrate web designers and developers. We are excited about the possibilities that CSS3 brings, and the problems it will solve, but also frustrated by the lack of support in Internet Explorer 8. This article will demonstrate a technique that uses part of CSS3 that is also unsupported by Internet Explorer 8. However, it doesn't matter as one of the most useful places for this module is somewhere that does have a lot of support - small devices such as the iPhone, and Android devices.

dConstruct 2010 website on a desktop browser

In this article I'll explain how, with a few CSS rules, you can create an iPhone version of your site using CSS3, that will work now. We'll have a look at a very simple example and I'll also discuss the process of adding a small screen device stylesheet to my own site to show how easily we can add stylesheets for mobile devices to existing websites.

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